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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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bottomchef
bottomchef

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.

Breaking News

Ingo Rademacher Back To General Hospital As Jax

What a fun reveal by General Hospital and Ingo Rademacher!  And with that, look who’s coming home to Port Charles?  Hot on the heels of his stop over at The Bold and the Beautiful where he took over the role of Thorne Forrester, the GH fan favorite is back at his old stomping grounds.

In the video teaser, Jax and Carly’s (Laura Wright) last goodbye scene plays, which aired the last time Ingo was on GH, and then the camera pans to the back of a man’s head watching the TV

“Oh, come on!  Well, that can’t be the end. Cause it’s not,” says the guy.  In true soap opera fashion, the camera reveals it’s Rademacher who states: “I’m coming back to General Hospital and Jax’s legacy is going to continue in a big way. See you soon.”

So, will Jax be back in Carly’s arms or someone else’s? What will happen when Josslyn (Eden McCoy) reunites with her father?  Will Jax be involved in a major mystery? Share your thoughts on Ingo’s return to GH via the comment section below.  But first, check out the teaser video that contained this exciting cast addition announcement.

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Breaking News

Dominic Zamprogna Making A Return To General Hospital

After posting a photo from an empty dressing room, Dominic Zamprogna certainly had General Hospital fans interest piqued!  Turns out, Zamprogna is back shooting at the ABC daytime drama series for what it appears to be a short appearance and reprising his role as Dante Falconeri.

As fans know, Dominic departed GH in 2018, after 9 years in the role.  In the photo he posted on social media, Zamprogna is in one of GH’s temporary dressing rooms for the day.  His original dressing room was re-assigned to Josh Swickard (Chase), when Dom exited the show.

The last time viewers saw Dante was in the Sonny-centric episode; where Dante is the mobster and Sonny is by the book.

In current GH story, the character of Dante has been recently mentioned following his wife, Lulu (Emme Rylan) being stabbed by serial killer, Ryan Chamberlain (Jon Lindstrom).  Dante’s parents, Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) and Sonny (Maurice Benard) also discussed his whereabouts. Dante had gone undercover on a major case after leaving Port Charles.

From all reports, it seems that Dominic is making a short return, but it will be more than just a one-day stint.  So, stay tuned.

So, will Dante return to Lulu’s side? Do you hope Dominic’s return means more down the line? Comment below.

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Breaking News

TONIGHT: GH’s Maurice Benard As John Gotti In Lifetime’s ‘Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter’

Fans and colleagues of Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) have been eagerly waiting to see the General Hospital star take on the role of famous mobster, John Gotti. Well, tonight (February 9th) is the night!  Make sure to watch the Daytime Emmy-winner in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter on Lifetime at 8pmEST/7CST.

In the log lines for the movie. it relates: “Executive produced by Victoria Gotti herself, the movie takes us deep into the world of what it was really like to grow up as the daughter of mob boss John Gotti, revealing the glamour, glitz and unique hardships of her world.  Sharing never-before-revealed stories about her life, Victoria (Chelsea Frei) tells of a sensitive child growing up with a beloved father (Maurice Benard) she worried about constantly; the tragedy of her younger brother’s death; and her turbulent romance, forbidden by her father, with the man who later became her husband.  Victoria had a front-row seat to a life the world became fascinated with, all while trying to reconcile the loving father she adored with a man the outside world was determined to bring down. . The film is based on Gotti’s book This Family of Mine: What It Was Like Growing Up Gotti.  Victoria Gotti will appear on camera narrating.

Benard spoke with ABC Soaps In Depth about taking on the role and wanting to get the performance just right, where he expressed: “That’s up to the audience to decide.  I played him like a real-life guy who’s loyal to his people and loves his family — and that’s kind of what the story is about. It’s through Victoria’s eyes and told with complete compassion.”

Photo: Lifetime

As to how playing Gotti compared to his role as Port Charles’ loveable mobster, Sonny Corinthos, Maurice added: “When I was shooting the role, I didn’t really know how different it was from Sonny. But my last day, I wrapped at about 1 in the morning in Canada, flew back and went straight to work as Sonny. I remember shooting the scene and thinking, ‘Wow, Sonny’s in about second gear, Gotti’s in about fourth or fifth gear!’ It’s two different energies.”

Check out the promo for tonight’s Lifetime Movie starring Maurice as John Gotti below, and the let us know if you will be watching, and if you caught it, what you thought of Maurice’s performance, and the movie via the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

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  • su000: “hi nancy .. While Jax and I are having pillow talk, I will bring up his beautiful leonine head…
  • su000: “ahaa Celia, good to know you ''no like this guy'' then I have no competition! ((WHEW!…
  • su000: “Hi Celia. Laura isn't mother anything toward Valentin and Franco, she's wacko obsessed and vengeful crazy lol ..…
  • su000: “Timmm-- Ok- now I got it ..
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