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James Franco on the art of soap acting and more!

Courtesy/NY Festival

Courtesy/NY Festival

I have to say, James Franco is doing a fantastic job bringing attention to soaps right now, not only with his acting, charisma, and performance art connections, but also his writing.  Check out his entry in a new piece out today by the actor entitled, The Limits of Control which is on Lapham’s Quarterly website.  In the piece, he details the control actors have in certain parts of the medium they work in, which adds to their performances or possibly subtracts.  Franco wrote these words below, which to soapers, means he completely “gets” the soap actor’s style and what they have to work with.

Franco, Recently, I performed in the soap opera General Hospital. It is easy to make fun of soaps, with their melodramatic plot lines, constant exposition, unnatural lighting, swelling music, and lack of action. Most of these aspects are due to the extreme speed at which soaps are produced. With five episodes a week, at least sixty pages need to be shot in a day. That’s a feature film’s worth of material shot every two days. This pace allows for very few takes, usually one. Soap acting is generally considered inferior to other acting, with the lack of takes cited as the reason. However, there are many fine film performances that are made up of just a few takes: Clint Eastwood is famous for doing one or two takes when directing; Robert Altman was very loose with his direction, always looking for spontaneity and truth; Gus Van Sant does very few set-ups, and very few takes. Innumerable directors of Oscar-winning films have used such techniques. The reason that soap actors look the way they do is context—how they are filmed, what they are saying, and how they are blocked. There is absolutely no way to act in a soap and pull off a performance like Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice, or Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. These incredible performances are supported by the incredible filmmaking that is behind them. They are given the time, dialogue, space, and aesthetic of films made by great directors.

This isn’t to say that soap opera performers are worse than film actors, or that their performances are inferior. The soap opera performance should always be perceived in context: it involves actors working in a tradition that soap audiences have come to expect and love. Soap actors are delivering exactly what they are supposed to—they are in tune with their audience and they are not attempting to transcend it. If Brando had tried to play Terry Malloy in a soap, he wouldn’t have had the time to sculpt the performance into the brooding, tortured, nuanced emotional force that won him an Oscar. The contender wouldn’t have been a somebody, instead he’d just have been another mumbling dope with bad eye makeup.”

So what do you think of Franco’s thoughts on soap acting?

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James franco is so full of it. This whole article is somehow “justifying” his film star self going into soaps. And it’s quite backhanded. Can’t he say “I went to soaps so I could try all kinds of mediums. Period.” and then he could shut up abt it forever. He’s saying that soaps are crappy bec that’s what the audience expects them to be. Certainly majority, if not all of the soaps are in bad, crappy states, and the ratings reflect that. There’s a lot of disatisfaction now bec of the bad writing and worse performances. But most probably nothing (at that time) was more addictive and dramatic and edge of your seat exciting than Bill Bell penning Y&R’s Sheila escaping to B&B. The acting, writing, directing were all engrossing. It was the definition of great soaps, it was gripping and the audience kept coming back for more. Soaps don’t know how to do that now. And what the hell is james franco saying abt characters not beinf fully fleshed out? Soaps have the luxury of creating storylines for the same characters for years, so the character evolves over long periods of time. B&B’s Felicia may not be the best ex., but the character evolved not bec of Brad bell’s neglectful writing, but bec Lesli Kay was able to develop the character bec of her performances. Here’s hoping Nancy Grahn delivers a verbal smackdown thru twitter directed at pretentious james franco again. His movie star presence did not even translate in the ratings.

General Hospital

General Hospital’s Michael Easton Pens Touching Farewell to Gregory Harrison

Following the on-screen death of his on-screen father, Gregory Chase played by Gregory Harrison, longtime soap vet, Michael Easton (Finn, GH) shared his feelings on a touching Instagram post.

Easton summed up getting to know Gregory Harrison, and to play emotional scenes with him for the last three years. In story, Gregory succumbed to ALS, a disease in which there is no cure.

Sharing several photos of himself with Harrison. Easton expressed, “Gregory Harrison. One of the finest actors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with and an even better human being. I learned so much from you, my friend, and it was an absolute honor to get to share a stage with you these past three years. Your talent, grace and powerful presence will be greatly missed around the studio. @gnhsurf @generalhospitalabc #gh #fathersandsons”

Photo: ABC

In addition, Josh Swickard (Chase), Harrison’s other on-screen son told Soap Opera Digest on Gregory’s exit, “Sometimes when you’re working on a show like this and someone plays your dad, it spills over. He really felt like a father figure to me in so many ways. Still does. He’s such a good human being. He’s been around the block in life, in Hollywood, and then some, and he’s just a wealth of knowledge. And he’s a humble human being.”

Courtesy/ABC

Fans of GH caught on the Monday, May 20th episode some very heart-tugging scenes between Gregory and Finn, where they each tell the other how proud they are to have been each others father and son.

Watch below the heartbreaking moment and the touching portrayal by Michael Easton when Finn finds his father has passed away.

So, what do you think about the words written by Michael Easton and he says farewell to the exited Gregory Harrison? What did you think of his performance on today’s GH? Comment below.

 

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A post shared by Michael Easton (@iammichaeleaston)

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General Hospital

Lane Davies on Possibility of Extending His General Hospital Run: “I Would Be Totally Open”

This week, viewers are catching the re-teaming of Lane Davies and Nancy Lee Grahn for the second time on General Hospital and the third time in their careers given their storied history as Santa Barbara’s Mason Capwell and Julia Wainright.

Previously, Nancy and Lane played opposite each other and shares scenes as Dr. Cameron Lewis and Alexis Davis back in 2002 on the ABC daytime drama series. Now in 2024, Davies takes on the role of Fergus Byrne, the brother of the late Neil Byrne, as Alexis tries to get her law license reinstated.

Speaking with TV Insider on his recent return to GH, Davies shared, “I know Nancy was wanting to work with me again. I ran into (former GH head writer) Patrick Mulcahey at (Santa Barbara co-creator) Bridget Dobson’s funeral and we had a lovely lunch together and a lovely visit and I think it was just the synergy of all those things coming together that did it. Patrick saw me and realized that I hadn’t completely deteriorated over the years and thought, ‘Well, this would be fun.”’

Photo: NBC

Lane also shared he isn’t closing the door for more episodes of General Hospital down the line were the powers-that-be to keep Fergus on the canvas.

The popular actor expressed,,”I would be totally open, but that’s all up to the writers and fans and producers and network people and I’m kind of out of that loop. But if it happens, grand.”

So, would you like to see Lane stick around Port Charles? Comment below.
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General Hospital

Gregory Harrison Wraps His Run on General Hospital

Gregory Harrison, who has played Gregory Chase on General Hospital, has left the series.  As viewers saw, on the May 20th episode Gregory remembers his life, then seemingly went to asleep.

However, on today’s May 21st episode, is it revealed Gregory, who suffered from ALS, passed away in his sleep. Harrison brought with him extensive television and movie credits from Trapper John M.D., Falcon Crest and more before coming to GH.

Harrison joined the ABC daytime drama series in a recurring capacity back in November 2020 and signed a contract back in June of 2022.  A rep for the show confirmed to Soap Opera Digest that Gregory’s exit was storyline-dictated.

 

Photo: ABC

In story, Gregory Chase was the estranged father to Finn (Michael Easton), as they had a complicated past. He also had a younger  son Harrison Chase (Josh Swickard). Gregory was also the grandfather to Violet (Jophielle Love). One of his last wishes was to see Chase and Brook Lynn (Amanda Set tie the knot.

Over the past few months before the character’s demise, he became close with Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) and Tracy (Jane Elliot).

The death of Gregory Chase will certainly rock Finn and Chase’s world.

So, sad to know Gregory Harrison has departed General Hospital? Comment below.

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