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Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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SusanVicki comptonCHERYL DeGirolamoViolet LemmMisty Caldwell Recent comment authors
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Jimh
Guest
Jimh

He is better off staying away from GH…doubt the would write for him anyway..GH is becoming a whole new soap…may as well write out the entire Spencer family…once Lulu is gone like her or not FV will have room for even more newbies-new character refresh the soaps and are needed but this soap goes overboard and alienates many of us long time fans…i get you got to attract younger viewers to keep the show going for many more years but you dont anger the viewers you got at the moment-plenty of room to tell stories for all ages…Prediction if FV… Read more »

James R. Poissant
Guest
James R. Poissant

I have the same thoughts you have, Jim.

Iindie
Guest
Iindie

I agree with you. I have been watching GH for 40 years. TBTB are not good to fans or vets. I LOVE JJ but the show would not do him justice with the writing. He is too talented. He won’t come back.

David
Guest
David

Bobby, Carly and Lucas are Spencer’s as well.

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

I actually meant Laura’s immediate family and not inlaws

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Excellent post, Jimh! It’s true; they do need (and should) bring in younger characters but not at the expense (literally and figuratively) of losing our GH vets! They have gotten rid of so many…I think the “mature” actors should get together and publicly “question” why that is.

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

You know i watch Coronation Street-a very successful British soap…it features characters of different age groups…yound, middle-aged and older…something for everyone-our soaps should be more like that..well, Y&R does(and uses most of its vets while mixing in younger characters) and why it remains number one!!!!

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Funny; that’s the one I don’t watch. Tuned in for a bit to see Justin Hartley and Jason Thompson but didn’t keep up with it. I got hooked on Days and B&B in the last, maybe, two years? Something like that. Like them both. Since I’ve only watched them a short time I don’t know if they weeded out older characters. As for GH, it’s never going to be what it was; just too many characters and the actors that played them gone. When I see the old clips a tide of nostalgia washes over me. But, it is what… Read more »

dmr
Guest
dmr

The show has been decimated. Jonathan is better off staying far away from Port Charles.

Gigi
Guest
Gigi

Thanks for the great interview with Jonathan!

Nancy Chandler
Guest
Nancy Chandler

COME BACK TO GH

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

I have loved him on both shows, playing such different parts, and would love to have him back on GH.’I wish him well, in whatever he decides to do.
I also remember watching Hayden as a little girl on GL, with her mass of curly blonde hair.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

I have so enjoyed Nashville. Could not watch for a while after Rayna died, but am glad I started again,to see it to the end. I loved all the characters too numerous to mention, especially Deacon, Scarlett and the girls. A wonderful bonus having Ronny Cox towards the end. I’ve missed seeing him over the years, and this father, son relationship brought some tears. Wonderful cast, will miss the show.

Susan
Guest
Susan

Speaking of Nashville and GH…did anyone else think Deacon’s father reminded them of Mike, Sonny’s father?

Patti Christopherson
Guest
Patti Christopherson

I would Love to see Jonathan back on GH but that would be Selfish on my part. Only 1 Spencer left.I do have to say the one scene that Tony Geary ( Luke ) did. When he thought Lucky died. He said ” I thought I taught my Son everything, but I forgot to tell him to blow out candles. The Spencer’s will always have a place in my Heart.Which has been over 40+ Years. Looking for to hearing his band❤

Annalee
Guest
Annalee

JJ is a wonderful actor! My hope for “Avery” is he stays with Juliette 2.0 (lol…she does seem chill after the Columbia experience) especially now that she is pregnant…and they live happily ever after……. And Scene….

Tessa
Guest
Tessa

I had no idea Nashville kept going after ABC cancelled it. I would have been watching ! What station is CMT ? Is it on in Los Angeles I have Direct TV? I loved Jonathan Jackson as Avery and loved him as Lucky . Had no idea he had a band . Only time I listened to country music and enjoyed it was on Nashville and cross over country on pop stations . Would love to see finale . Last time I saw it the plane Juliette was on blew up I thought she had died . What happened how… Read more »

Lee
Guest
Lee

You should be able to see the last 2 seasons on Hulu or buy them from iTunes. Nashville is on CMT on Thursday nights at 9 Pacific. You can find out more about the band at enationhq.com.

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Try 327 or call your cable company. Not sure if they’ll still be showing it or if you’ll have to pay. Sometimes when series end they charge; depends on the company running it. At some point it’ll probably go to DVD and you can take it out of the library.

Denise A Daniel
Guest
Denise A Daniel

I agree with you Michael. The father son relationship between Luke & Lucky was daytime’s best. But sadly they burned everything we loved about Luke to the ground when he became a nihilistic ass. They even ruined Lucky for me too when he told Elizabeth he missed the battered girl he found crawling from the bushes & when he told her her children would grown up to hate her.
I have no desire to see either character again.

Karen McEachern
Guest
Karen McEachern

I don’t think Jonathan Jackson will ever come back to GH permanently , but may pop up now and then. He has done so much with his music and other gigs. Personally, I think “Avery” should be on his own for awhile before he figures out what direction his life should go ( Cadence will be with him or shared custody with Juliette).

Sassy Duck
Guest
Sassy Duck

I have always loved Jonathan Jackson’s character, Lucky. He played multi-levels of complexity with such ease, beginning in 1993 with making his way back to Port Charles, alone, after leaving Canada, and then reuniting with Luke and Laura. And, one early storyline had him and Emily selling composting worms to Lila Quartermaine. It was so sweet. And, then there was the amazing sensitivity that he showed Elizabeth when she was raped; sleeping on her bedroom floor so that she would feel safe. However, I have to agree with Jimh, unless the writers can really step up their game, I’m afraid… Read more »

Nanci Montesinos
Guest
Nanci Montesinos

I wish he would go back to GH. But he doesn’t I still think it’s time for Lucky to come home even if someone else plays the part. And bring back Ethan too. Lulu needs her brothers.

Tina Grams
Guest
Tina Grams

As a huge fan of Jonathan’s it would be crazy not to want him back as Lucky on GH because he is magic!! But I also just want him to find fulfilling work for himself. Broadway…. with that voice….enough said!!!

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

He was a great little actor his time has come and gone the Spencer family has been dissolved ! Now did George Hamilton really show up selling chicken ??! We have gone to the bottom of the barrel

Renee Quinalty
Guest
Renee Quinalty

I want Avery and Juliette to get back together and have the baby that she is pregnant with . And I want Avery and Juliette be inlove together with there daughter that they have together and the baby that Juliette has in her stomach . Avery can not leave Juliette . Jonathan Jackson aka Avery has to stay with Juliette with their daughter Cadence and the new baby and the 4 of them living together happy in love with each other asp a family forever and forever

Leslie Ballis
Guest
Leslie Ballis

I think an appearance by Jonathan Jackson on GH.and reacuring role like Diane would be a good compromise.He could be free to pursue his music and other intrests at the same time.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Never say never but he has his wings. Its like Justin Hartley, he is so much above and beyond daytime now, its probably going to be a no. If GH were to leave the air and all the Spencers reunited I could see JJ returning for that because of all the love and respect he has for Mr. Geary.

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Mr Geary last appearance I thought it was Carol Channing let sleeping dogs lie! Remember the good times and let it go I think JJ was a outstanding actor on his youth I think he is a kind and gentle soul
But never come back never this show like all the others have wonderful moments but with the revolving door of writers I use that term reluctantly its time to close the door

suebhoney
Guest
suebhoney

I think that Netflix needs to pick up Nashville – such a good show, will miss all of the characters.

Misty Caldwell
Guest
Misty Caldwell

I think & hope Avery & Juliette can work things out & stay together.they are a cute & great couple together!

Vicki compton
Guest
Vicki compton

I hope jonathan and juliet get back together

CHERYL DeGirolamo
Guest
CHERYL DeGirolamo

In would like him to end up with Juliette and use their farm n music to help others n notnget back on the wheel of chaos they love each other .. Avery n deacon are truly gifted actors and I look forward to their music n acting careers wish them both and the whole cast all the best ☹️❤️

Interviews

Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Kim Waltrip Talk Plans & Launch Campaign To Make ‘Dial Emme For Murder’ into a Series

Two-time Daytime Emmy winner, and soap opera favorite Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R and Ex-Kristen/Susan, Days) is bringing one of her soap opera mystery novels to life with a proposed six-part series for the soapy and hilarious mystery, Dial Emme For Murder.

Joining Eileen in the cast will be none other than Judith Chapman (Gloria, Y&R) , Knots Landing favorite, Donna Mills (Ex-Abby), and primetime TV and film actress, Nancy Valen.  More cast members will be announced in the future.

Photo: JPI

In Dial Emme for Murder, Davidson plays actress Emmanuelle “Emme” Peterson, a successful soap star who finds herself smack dab in the middle of a  whodunit.

Now, in conjunction with the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television (PSWIFT), and its president and director/producer, Kim Waltrip, Davidson is launching a fundraising campaign to get the series made.

Photo: EDavidson

In an exclusive interview on the Michael Fairman Channel, Eileen, Judith and Kim exclusive reveal key Intel on the project, campaign and working together.  The proposed series has also launched its official website here.

About PSWIFT:  PSWIFT (Palm Springs Women in Film & Television) is a non-profit organization, founded in 2001 dedicated to promoting our members, both men and women in the Entertainment, New Media Creative arts community. In 2020 Palm Springs Women in Film & Television created and launched a Filmmakers’ Lab to teach members how to make a film, by making a film, hands-on.

PSWIFT is currently seeking donations through their non-profit – which are 100% tax-deductible – to fund the Filmmakers’ Lab’s next venture Dial Emme for Murder.  You can find out more on the different perks and packages if you donate to the project here.

Watch the interview with Michael, Eileen, Judith, and Kim below.

Then let us know, if you think Dial Emme for Murder featuring powerhouse actress, Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Donna Mills, will be a must-see for you via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Chats On Mia St. John’s Powerful Interview on ‘State of Mind’, Winning the Daytime Emmy & Sonny’s Future If Carly & Jason Get Hitched

Since the launch of Maurice Benard’s You Tube series, State of Mind, he has welcomed numerous guests who have opened up and shared their struggles with different aspects of mental health.  But this Sunday, July 11th, Maurice will share for the first time his powerful and emotional sit-down interview with Mia St. John; one that he reveals was one of the most moving of his series thus far.

With Maurice being a huge boxing enthusiast throughout his life, having St. John, who is a boxer, herself, on as a guest was, of course, special. However, as soap fans know, Mia is also the former wife of the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters, Y&R) and they shared a son, Julian.  Both men died, tragically. Julian, suffered from a long-history of mental illness, and his death was ruled a suicide, and Kristoff was consumed with grief following his son’s death which ultimately set him on a downward spiral.  Kristoff’s death was ruled accidental caused by hypertrophic heart disease; which was exacerbated by alcohol use.  In the conversation with Benard, Mia opens about her own personal struggle with addiction and how she coped with these two devastating losses. (See an exclusive preview clip below within this interview)

It’s also been a whirlwind year for Maurice. He just took home his third Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series during the 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards for his moving portrayal as GH’s Sonny Corinthos, as he goes through all the stages of a child watching his father, Mike Corbin (played by Emmy-winner Max Gail) slip away due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Since the Emmy broadcast was pre-taped due to Covid restrictions, except for revealing who the winners actually were, Benard shares what went down when his name was called watching the show from home with his family.

 

And … things are heating up on General Hospital!  For months, Benard has been playing an amnesiac Sonny aka “Mike” who has become taken with deceitful Nina (Cynthia Watros), who knows he is alive and well and living in Nixon Falls, but fails to tell her nemesis Carly (Laura Wright), or anyone else in Port Charles.  With everyone believing Sonny is dead after his showdown with Julian Jerome, Carly and Jason (Steve Burton) find themselves having to save Sonny’s territory and go up against the five families.  So, what are the besties deciding to do? Get married! And as viewers saw, Carly recently removed her wedding rings to Sonny.  So, now the question on GH fans inquiry minds is; will Sonny get his memory back in time, and stop Jason and Carly from tying the knot?

Benard weighs-in on what the future may hold for Sonny, the difficulties he faced during the Covid-19 lockdown with his mental health, his conversation with Mia, and much more.  Here’s what Maurice shared.

Courtesy/StateofMind

Having Mia St. John on as your guest on the upcoming episode of State of Mind was quite emotional for you. What can you preview? 

MAURICE:  I can say that during last ten minutes, there’s a lot of spiritual stuff going on.  I felt it.  She’s very tough.  You can tell that she doesn’t want to hurt anymore, and with me, I don’t know for sure, but I think she felt safe and protected.  We got into Julian and Kristoff and what happened.  I’m pretty sure I asked her and said, “I’d like to get into something.  You could say ‘no’ to me.  It’s fine,” and she told me the whole story.  Michael, I know you were friends with Kristoff, you’re going to really be moved because I was extremely moved.  It really, really hit me hard, because of what I’ve just been through during the pandemic. I just felt the need to be there for her.  I mean, I have that in me anyway, but with her, I did because it seemed like a lot for someone to go through.  I didn’t know Kristoff.  I met him once, and we talked for a bit.  He seemed like a great guy.  I knew he was a great actor because I watched his work.  I do know that everybody seemed to love him, but through State of Mind, it seemed like I got to know him a little better through Mia.  I was looking in her eyes, and taking it all in, and she was telling me everything.

Throughout your series, you seemed to have become more comfortable in the role of the interviewer.  It’s quite the switch isn’t it from always being on the other end as the interviewee.

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve gotten better.  You know what it is with me, and somebody said it, I’ve got a curiosity that I love to hear people’s stories, and I have a way to make people comfortable.

Photo: KSJIG

Does it help you in listening to what other people have gone through in dealing with your own struggles with mental illness?

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve said it before.  It’s like therapy for me.  After Mia, I was drained, but in a good way.  In the beginning of doing “State of Mind’, I was just learning.  I wish I was more well-rounded in my intelligence.  I barely graduated out of high school, but as far as what it is with me, if I know something like acting or mental health, I really completely know it.  I’m into it.

How did the interview with Mia come about?  Did you ask her to come on State of Mind?

MAURICE:  I know who is involved with mental health.  I know who would be interesting to interview, and then I reach out, and I have people coming who are not in the soap world.  I have a WWE person; I have a TV critic, etc.  So, I asked her, and Mia said ‘yes’, and then we did the interview.  I’m a huge boxing fan.  So, to be able to talk to her about boxing and things that happened to her right before her fights, I was just really fascinated.

That is right in your wheelhouse!

MAURICE:  Way up my alley!  If I could have more boxers on, I would love that.  I love sports, but boxing is my one sport, so I was like a kid in a candy store talking to Mia.

How do you feel Mia is doing as she has been very open about her battle with alcoholism?

MAURICE: Any time you’ve been through that much, I think it’s a daily struggle for anyone. In addition, there is a really great organization she works with that I hope people will check out as she is trying to help others.

In terms of all of your State of Mind’s, did this one impact you in a different way?

MAURICE:  The good thing for me about State of Mind is that I learn from each person about things that I didn’t know.  For instance, coming up I have: Linsey Godfrey (Ex-Sarah, DAYS) who got hit by a car.  I mean, you could read about it, but when you’re talking to someone, things come out.  That’s what I love about doing this show.  Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R) didn’t know anything about mental illness, personally, but he talked about mental illness more than anyone!  I said to him on the episode, “For somebody who doesn’t know anything about mental illness or didn’t have someone with it, you talk more about it,” because he had a curiosity on the subject.  Mia’s was a little more because of the boxing and how deep we went with her talking about death.  In an upcoming episode with Ken Shriner (Scott, GH), he teaches me a lot about death.  When your parents die at 16, I don’t know how you could keep going.  He taught me how.  It was beautiful.

Photo: NATAS/CBS

Let’s go back to a few weeks ago on June 25th and you win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  How did you find out you took home the gold?

MAURICE:  I was at my place in LA with my son, Joshua and my wife, Paula and we were watching the show.  When they called my name, I was very moved to watch my wife and my son get so excited, it really was sweet.  I liked my speech even though people had a problem with it, which is fine.  It’s always great if Max Gail wins or I get a win, because it’s the Alzheimer’s storyline that gets the attention.  And as I told you already, my dad has Alzheimer’s so it makes it even more personal.

And as you know, my mom had Alzheimer’s and died.  That’s why what you and Max did together on-screen together felt so real and raw and touched so many people – especially those who have a loved one going through this now, or that has passed.

MAURICE:  Yeah, it’s tough. I truly believe with this Emmy win, that it is the Alzheimer’s that really pushed it over the edge because it was a real story, greatly written, everybody deals with it, including you, including me, and you just can’t help but have a feeling about it.  You know, if I have a reel that shows me as Sonny yelling at people, beating people up, it’s not going to give you the impact.

Photo: NATAS

Was it weird coming to the stage and doing a pre-taped Emmy acceptance speech knowing that everybody else that was nominated had to do one too?

MAURICE:  Well, thank, God I didn’t have to do it in front of actors; I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it.  It’s weird, right?  I knew I had to adjust.  When I’ve won before, it’s in front of a lot of people, or semi-in front in a lot of people.  So, with this year, your energy is different.  So, you can’t act in a speech like that, because then it would seem kind of over the top, maybe.  So, I just made a speech that I thought would work for what I was doing; which is kind of acting because I didn’t want to come out and say, “Oh, my God!  I can’t believe it!”  So, I said, “Okay, I’ll thank the actors, I’ll thank Frank, and I’ll make it about Alzheimer’s.”

Photo: GFrancisTwitter

I know some fans on social media jumped on the comment you made within the speech about ‘being the star of the show’ and you did tweet out that you went to Genie Francis (Laura, GH) to make sure there were no ruffled feathers there.

MAURICE:  I went to Genie because I thought, I don’t want her to take what I said personally, and she’s like, “What are you talking about?”  Sometimes I respond to a negative comment on Twitter with an emoji which can incite people.  So, I decided, “I’m not going to do that anymore. No more responding.”  Like I always say, you want to be loved and you want to be hated.  You just want to be loved a little more. So, I stopped with the child’s play.  I’m cool with it.

It seemed that things got twisted up, because you had related in the speech, that Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) came over to you and said you have to do the storyline, because you are the star of the show, when you were overcome in the screen-test with Max Gail. 

MAURICE:  Sometimes people love to change the narrative.  If you watch everything … they say what I said, but they don’t say that I also said ‘Alzheimer’s’ was the star, but I’ll take the hit.

Courtesy/ABC

I recently posted a clip of my interview with Cynthia Watros from the red carpet at the Daytime Emmys saying how she is so thrilled and honored to work with you.  How is it working with Cynthia?

MAURICE:  Let me tell you about Cynthia, and this is just my experience because I don’t know her that well.  We hadn’t worked together before. First of all, we tend to overlook, because of her character and the story, or whatnot, is that she is a real actress.  Let’s not forget that, I know she did Lost, and I didn’t watch her on another soap.  I know from working with her.  She can act She makes adjustments, and she listens, and I’m really happy to be working with her.  She is just stuck in a circumstance that is not her fault, but you know what, like I said today I think on Twitter to somebody, ‘but wait’.  I’ve been working this last month doing some scenes with her, and when you see that, there’s a little bit of magic in there!  I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world, I’m just saying there’s a little magic!

Photo: ABC

Have you liked being “Mike “and not having Sonny’s memory because it opened up the story?

MAURICE:  I know people think this story is my idea, like I needed a break or something.  It has nothing to do with me needing a break.  They came to me and said they were going to do this story.  I said, “Let’s do this!”  I’ve been enjoying this.  It’s a different energy.  The energy that Sonny has is dark.  It’s like in third gear.  Mike is like in first gear, calm, relaxed, happy.

You’re just realizing that now?

MAURICE:  (Laughs) Well, I guess until you’ve gone somewhere else you really don’t know.  Often times, when I do movies and other projects, it’s often the same kind of energy that Sonny has. I’ve never played a character like “Mike” where it’s a whole other feeling!

Courtesy/ABC

Is it more challenging to play a character like Mike?

MAURICE:  No, easier!  Sonny can be difficult to play.  But guess what?  The audience – at least my fans – they don’t care how happy I am or whatever, they are screaming “Go back to fricken Sonny!”  I like that in a way, but I didn’t know that it was going to be this vocal from people.  It’s not that they hate Mike, they just want Sonny, and Cynthia is put in a tough situation because of her history in that character.

So, now everyone saw last week that Jason and Carly have decided they have to get married for the sake of the business with Sonny believed-to-be-dead.  What did you think when you heard that they were going in that direction with the story?

MAURICE:  Well, I was the last one to know.  I didn’t know they were going to get married until I heard about it in the makeup room.  I think the first thing I thought of was … we are all going to be having some great scenes coming up, like, “Alright.  Let’s rock and roll!  Let’s do it!  I’ll get into this character of Sonny when called upon.”  It might be and dark and the whole thing, but once I’m in there, I’m fine.

Courtesy/ABC

It would seem if Carly and Jason do actually get married, it’s not going to be an easy road to reconciliation for Carly and Sonny down the line.

MAURICE:  No.  I would say not.  The thing about Sonny is that it’s what Sonny does best, or what I do playing him best, is betrayal.  So, for him, this is not a good thing.  I would assume he’s just going to go, “What the…” and all hell is going to break loose.

Sonny’s body washed ashore and he was very much alive, while the search and rescue mission quickly became a recovery.  Once again, law enforcement in Port Charles isn’t very good! (Laughs)

MAURICE:  So, there you go.  It’s going to be a bigger fight.  It’s going to be a great fight when Sonny does return.

Photo: ABC

Fans are predicting that Jason and Carly are going to be at the altar, and Sonny is going to walk in alive and well with his memory back to the nuptials!

MAURICE:  Well, however it goes, I would say, just let them just watch the fireworks as they unfold.

But you’re enjoying this story?

MAURICE:  I’m cool, man.  I will say this, I’m glad that I have been given this last month playing Mike, and the Nixon Falls story.   I don’t know how much more we have ahead.  I just know that what we’ve taped has been really cool, and I’m glad that they gave me that.

Photo: ABC

I know that the coronavirus pandemic and its isolation was rough for you.  What can you share, and how did you find your way out of a downward spiral?

MAURICE:  Yeah, Covid was just one of those things where I was hit with a lot of different things all at once, which was …  GH shutting down production, my book tour not being in New York (although the book ended up probably doing better because of the pandemic, which was interesting) … my mom and dad moved out …  and I thought it was the end of the world.  We all did at some point, and it all hit me with a rush of anxiety that I had never felt before in my entire life, and it was four months of terror … way too long. I was shaking like a leaf, not sleeping, it was tough.  What I tell people is that when you go through these things, it will pass.  I know, for me, four months was too long, but it did pass.  You’re better because of it.  You can take one of either two roads.  You can get worse, and you can say, “I’m a victim, I’m a victim,” or you can take the other road and say, “I’m stronger now.  Look at what I’ve been through,” and then, look at what happens … a year and a half later, look at what my life is.  I have a pond here at home, and I used to run around this pond crying my eyes out, every morning crying, like I couldn’t do it anymore, and a year later, I walk around the pond like it’s the greatest thing in the world, but that’s what this is, this mental health.  You can think you can’t go on, but then it rewards you with a better life.

Photo: Noah Harmon

I was going to say, that’s pretty profound.  When you were going through the four months, did you think you were going to come out of it okay?

MAURICE:  No,   I’m going to be honest.  I finally got on Lexapro after three months.  If Lexapro didn’t work, I can’t say positively what would have happened.  It gradually made me feel better.  Like I have said, if GH had called me a month before, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the storyline.  It would have been the end.  I wouldn’t have been able to go back to work, because I was in that state of mind.  So, they called at the right time.  I went back to work and I was on Lexapro.  The thing about Lexapro is – and we always tell people to get professional help. There are a lot of people like me, and I’ve got to say, first you get professional help because you’re on the brink of whatever.  So the first five days of taking Lexapro, you feel worse than you did just before you started taking it, and that is scary because you’re like, “I can’t take this.  This is horrible,” and then I stayed on it.  It got gradually better, and just a month and a half ago or so, I weaned myself off.

How are you feeling now?

MAURICE:  Oh, let me tell you, the day that I weaned off, was a Thursday, and I wasn’t going to take it, and I was on my bed, and I felt the greatest I felt maybe, ever.  Now, I’m not saying people should go off it, whatever, because I was on it for like 8 months or something, but it saved my life like lithium for my bipolar disorder, and that’s an amazing thing that these pills could do.  What happened with me with the pandemic is that I had never really taken anything for anxiety.  I had only taken lithium, and I’d been on lithium for 30 years, but for anxiety, I never wanted to take anything, but if you’re bad, if you’re like (you know those gears I’ve been talking about) in 4th and I was like in 5th gear, you’d better get some help, man, because you can’t get off it on your own.

Photo: State of Mind

I want to conclude checking in on your dad, Humberto.  When did you learn he had Alzheimer’s, and how is he doing now?  

MAURICE: It’s been a while since I found out.  I didn’t really want to talk about it, and then I did something in People magazine with the book, and I asked him if I could talk about it, and he said “yeah”.  So, it gave me the green light, and that was maybe 10 months ago.  He’s actually doing good.  It’s slowly kind of happening but that is how the disease works.  This has been a really great conversation, man!

So, what do you think will happen with Sonny aka “Mike”? Will he return to Port Charles before Carly and Jason tie the knot?  Have you been watching Maurice’s State of Mind series, and has it helped you with any of your mental health issues or concerns? Were you happy that Maurice took home the gold this year for his portrayal in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Shares Her Emotions & Reactions On Her Second Daytime Emmy Win for Lead Actress

Last Friday night on CBS broadcast of the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy Forrester) took home the gold in the hotly contested Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category.  This marks Jacqui’s second win.

MacInnes Wood’s performance in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline, that aired in 2020, was the ticket to victory for the talented young actress and new mom to her second son, Lenix.

As viewers saw, the Emmy telecast was pre-recorded including all the nominees taping acceptances speeches ahead of air; with the winner being revealed for the very first time on the broadcast.

 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Jacqui post-Emmys, to find out how she felt about her speech, her emotions at having her name called for the second time in her career, and how she felt Steffy’s addiction storyline resonated with so many people at home, and obviously, the Emmy voters.  Here’s what she had to say …

Photo: NATAS/CBS

What was it like for you to do have to pre-tape your acceptance speech?  Yours, actually came off very in-the-moment, because you kind of stumbled over a word, but it seemed like you were very excited.

JACQUELINE:  Yeah!  I was very excited.  Of course, it is strange to do it that way.  I am very grateful that I was up to my nose in The Bold and the Beautiful scenes and dialogues in the week and the days before, that whole week.  I wasn’t sitting around going, “I’m going to rehearse this in the mirror.”  I just wanted it to be very heartfelt and real.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t like last time – I truly was not expecting it the first time I won.  I think that this time I wanted to be mindful of who to thank and talk about the story, which was so important to bring up opioid addiction, and I really wanted to thank Brad Bell (executive producer and executive producer, B&B) for giving me this story, and allowing me to tell it, because it was such an important message to tell.  Even though this year’s Daytime Emmys were shot differently, I was still nervous. I was so excited to get on a stage. Last year, we were on a Zoom, so it was nice to be able to do this on a stage again.

So where were you on Emmy night?  Were you watching the broadcast at home?  

JACQUELINE:  I was at home, and I was with my friends and my family.  To be honest, it was such a fun way to do it.  Even though it was so wild the way that we shot it – they do this on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Sometimes they’ll do it live, but everyone has their acceptance speech.  I was just happy during the Emmy taping day to be dressed up, wearing high heels, and to be with my cast, Then, I got to celebrate watching it with my friends and family.  It was so cool to find out in that moment, then afterwards we ended up going out.  We went to Ronn Moss’ (Ex-Ridge, B&B) house for a party, where Ronn was performing, and it was great to be with some of the cast and have everybody together.  So, we danced the night away, and it was so much fun.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Of course, if we had been able to be at the Daytime Emmys that way would have been great, but it was nice to be able to go, “Okay, I can celebrate in my casual clothes, and dance, and not be uncomfortable.”

Photo: JMW Instagram

Were your children, Rise and newborn Lenix, with you watching when their mom won her second Daytime Emmy?

JACQUELINE:  My children were with me, and we celebrated together, and of course they don’t really understand what is going on, but they just saw all of us jumping around.  I probably scared my 4-month-old.  My mom ended up watching them.  Then, we all went out.  So, it was a good night.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

Did you have an inkling that you were a frontrunner to take home the gold as Lead Actress for your work in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline?

JACQUELINE:  Were there times when I thought I could win?  I wasn’t sure, but I knew what we did was very special.  The first time I won, I was very proud of myself knowing I had to do all of these long scenes, but I was not expecting to win.  This time, I thought there was a possibility, and I wouldn’t say that it’s all because of me.  I know it’s cliché, but honestly those days when we were filming, you could just feel the energy.  Everyone brought it.  We do film so quickly, and some performances are great, and some of them aren’t, whether it’s because you don’t sleep that night, you don’t know your dialogue that well, you don’t understand why your character is doing a certain thing, but you’re trying to figure it out.  When we were filming these scenes, I thought it was just such an important story to tell, and I felt like everyone gave it 110%.  I looked at everyone, and I knew we were all connected, and even though it was such a heavy storyline, there was something so magical those days and those weeks of filming.  I was so proud of everyone, and it wasn’t something that was like, “Here I am forcing myself to cry,” I was like, “I am just going to be in this scene and really tell this story that millions of people have gone through.” When I watched back those scenes after they initially aired, it was not only about the cast, but it was just how the audio had been added, how the directing was done (since we had to be six feet away from each other because of Covid-19 protocols) which made it all come to life.

Did you think when you came into this medium that you wind up being a two-time Daytime Emmy-winner?  Was it something that you aspired to have?

JACQUELINE:  I think yes and no.  I can’t sit there and say, “No, I didn’t.”  I have goals for myself, and you want to manifest some things, so I wanted to visualize that one day.  I’m in this industry, and I want to do the work, and I eventually wanted to have the Emmy one day, absolutely.  I’d be lying if I said, “I just want to go with the flow, and if I get an award, great.”  No.  I definitely thought about it and said, “Okay, this is something that I do want one day. I didn’t think I’d have two!  I just wanted an award, one day.  So, I think that’s amazing in itself, but I am very honored.

Courtesy/CBS

So, during the Lead Actress nominee package during the Daytime Emmy broadcast, they showed the gut-wrenching clips of yours, where Steffy admits in front of Ridge, Liam and Finn, “I’m addicted.  I’m addicted.  I have a problem.”  Do you remember performing those scenes?

JACQUELINE:  You know, you remember it sometimes as if you’re out of your body. In that moment, I remember being so in my body, but in a good way.  To say those words, to finally realize how heavy – even in talking to you right now – my body feels heavy.  I felt the weight of what Steffy was finally admitting. It broke Steffy, and it broke me.  I’ve never been in that position, but I did my research, and I looked up people who have suffered from addiction and the families, and to look over at Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) and see the heartbreak in his eyes, in Ridge’s eyes, to see what Steffy was doing to other people – she realizes in that moment, “Oh, my God. I am addicted.”  Looking back at those scenes, there is just so much truth in them, and for so many people who have been there.  It just breaks my heart that people have to go through this every day.  People sent me messages from all over the place, it was amazing.  I couldn’t believe the number of direct messages they sent me on my Instagram.  It was pretty incredible.

Courtesy/CBS

Your performance just felt so raw and real, which is why I think it registered with people who have been in that situation, and for the peer vote for the Emmy.  Whenever I talk to other actors about what they look for in judging other performers work, they always say they look for the truth. They don’t want to see a false note delivered in a performance.

JACQUELINE:  Absolutely.  For sure.  That’s why I’m so proud of everyone in the scenes because they all gave that.  It wasn’t like you look over at a cast member and went, “Oh, what’s my line?”  We were there.  It just gave me goosebumps.  It isn’t just my award.  It was everybody’s award.  When you get to really feel like you’re really alive in these scenes, living in those scenes, it’s such an incredible feeling. After this win, I am just riding the wave right now and really just enjoying it.

Photo: MFTV Inc.

Well, I’ll finish on this last question: How do you rate our Emmy photo together this year? (Laughs) We have well-documented our issues taking a decent photo together; usually because we break up laughing trying to take one.

JACQUELINE: (Laughs) I mean, okay … I am happy that we had those LED bars of light.  We have to have LED lighting around us 24/7.  So, I’ll give it a 9.5 rating   Moving forward, we need indoor, 3-4 LED lights, and we’ll be good.  Now that I have two Emmys, I’m going to be asking for that lighting moving forward … now that I’ve turned into a diva. (Laughs)

Share your congratulations to Jacqui via the comment section below … and let us know your thoughts on her winning her second Daytime Emmy – this time for Steffy’s powerful opioid addiction storyline.  But first, check out our red carpet interview with more with the eventual Lead Actress Emmy winner.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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