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Jordi Vilasuso Previews His New Role Of Rey On The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/CBS

He’s played a young man growing up in a Mafioso family, a well-respected doctor, and a brother with a questionable past and future during his daytime career, but now Jordi Vilasuso takes on a mysterious new role on the top-rated The Young and the Restless, who we only know thus far by the name of “Rey”.

When Vilasuso debuts on tomorrow’s Friday, August 16th episode of the CBS daytime drama series, viewers will start to see just how his new character unveils itself, while we get to see one of our favorites back in action.

From his roles on Guiding Light, All My Children, Days of our Lives and his primetime and movie roles, Jordi brings his unique charm, acting chops, and sex-appeal to every role he plays.

Michael Fairman TV chatted it up with Jordi for this tease of what’s to come when he hits Genoa City, what it has been like working with his new co-stars, nabbing this sought-after role, and reflecting back on the journey that got him here.  Check out what he shared below.

When the news broke that you were coming to Y&R, fans of the genre were really excited.  I thought it was a great testament to you.

JORDI:  It’s great.  I mean, the way that the show has announced me and has been pushing me… from the promo that was just released this week, to my discussions with Mal Young ((EP and head writer, Y&R).  Everybody has just been asking me if I’m good, and the network is really responding to my work.  Because, you never know, right?  You put it out there, but when you get that feedback, it’s like, “Okay.  I’m doing the right thing here.”  There’s been a lot of reassurance, which is always great for people to get in a workplace.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel pressure now to deliver to Mal and to the audience?

JORDI:  Of course.  I always do.  What do they say?  Innocence is bliss?  Naiveté is bliss?  I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I first walked on to Guiding Light!  It’s such a great place to be in as a young kid.  I was just like, “I’m an actor.  I’m going to create a character…”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

And you won an Emmy!

JORDI:  And I won an Emmy … and then it’s “I’m going to go be a star, and I’m going to be in a pilot.”  I signed with a huge agency, and it was fantastic, and then reality sets in.  You get a couple of notches on your belt, and you get kicked in the ass a bit.  You learn, and then you crawl out of there, and you gain a lot of character doing that.  Really, in the last couple of years I’ve seen there are reasons for all of this stuff.  The lens that I’m looking through now is that of a father.  I just want to give them tools that can help them deal with life.  If they want to become actors, awesome.  Go for it.  I will support them.  Whatever it is they want to do, there are going to be ups and downs, and that’s all part of the journey.  For me, I think God has been molding me into the kind of man that I’ve always aspired to be.  .

From the Y&R promo this week, it looks like Rey is looking into what happened to J.T. (Thad Luckinbill)? 

JORDI:  Yes.  That has been revealed in the promo.  Rey is getting to know the heavyweights in town, and asking a lot of questions.

Speaking of heavyweights, what was it like working with Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) for the first time?

JORDI:  It was cool.  There was a little bit of that being in “awe” of him.  I never worked with him, but I always saw him on the cover of magazines.  I heard he’s very warm and open with other actors, which I got.  Playing with him on set, he kind of goes off the page a bit, which is fun.  After talking to him for about a minute, I felt like, “Okay, I get who this guy is.”  He’s very professional.

Will your new character be connected to anyone in Genoa City?

JORDI:  You never know.  It’s a soap!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I would assume if you’re on the number one soap, Rey might have a lover interest.  Who would you like to be in a romantic story with, if they should write it?

JORDI:  All of the women! (Laughs)  All of them have so much to offer from Tracy E. Bregman (Lauren), to Sharon Case (Sharon), to Melissa Ordway (Abby).  I know I may be a little bit cryptic, but I have to say, everybody has been extremely lovely to work with.

What can you say about the character in a broad stroke?

JORDI:  I think Rey knows what he wants.   He is very serious about his work, and he has a lot of ways of working through different situations.  Whether it’s a smile or knowing something about you that you may have not known… he may bring you into his orbit in that way.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

He’s a mind reader!?  (Laughs) 

JORDI:  He can really read people, I think!  He’s very adaptable.  He can be put in any situation and have a conversation with anyone.  From Victor Newman, to Sharon, to Michael… he can talk to whoever is thought of as having the most status.  He has that knack.

Is Rey street smart, or intelligent smart?

JORDI:  I would say both.  I think Rey grew up very quickly, and I think a lot of that is street smart.  I wouldn’t say he is an intellectual philosopher.  I would say he leans more towards street smart for sure.

Were you informed on what the long term trajectory of your storyline would be on Y&R? Other actors on the show have talked about how Mal Young tells them where the character is going, so it better prepares them when they are doing their scenes.

JORDI:  Yes.  I found out on a Tuesday that I got the job, and I was asked to come in on Wednesday to wardrobe, and start work on Thursday, and I did four shows that week.  I sat down with Mal for an hour.  I had only met him at the screentest and there were a lot of heavyweights there up for this part.  He told me about his history, where Rey came from.  He showed me what he was doing on the show, how he was trying to change things, and some really exciting things that he was doing.  Mal was an open book, and then he did break down what he saw as the next couple of months for my character would be, which I fell in love with. I was like, “Yes! This is so cool.  This is a meaty story.  This has roots in a lot of things that I can pull from, that I am passionate about, and that are meaningful   I felt in a sense, that it was collaborative.  Even though he is steering the ship, he was interested in what I had to say as well and very open to questions.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How does Rey stack up against your other daytime characters: GL’s Tony Santos, DAYS Dario, and AMC’s Griffin?

JORDI:  Man, it’s so funny, because somebody actually had sent me some clips of Tony the other day, and I was like, “Oh my God, that was crazy long ago!  Look at the clothes!  It was so mafioso,” but it was so cool and so fun.  There only will ever be one Tony Santos.  Then you go to Griffin Castillo who was a doctor and just starting to open up to Kendall (Alicia Minshew) and get that whole romance kicking on All My Children.  And as for DAYS Dario… God bless Dario … that poor guy.  What can I tell you about Dario?  He just couldn’t seem to make it work in Salem.  He couldn’t find his way, so he said, “You know what?  I’m going to run away!”  So, he just ran away, and who knows maybe he’s in Mexico running from the law, where I guess he resides now.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You were recently at the All My Children and One Life to Live reunion event.   What did the fans say when you got to inform them that you were coming on to The Young and the Restless?

JORDI:  They were so happy for me.  There was a lot of joy and a lot of happiness.  That was the one thing that I got from it.  I think they get what the business that we are in, which I really appreciate.  It’s such a hustle.  You wait for that other gig to come down, and when you get it, it’s a great moment to share.  They get it.  A lot of that empathy was shared from the fans, and I really, really appreciated that.

Your former AMC co-star Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenlee) was there, too.  How was it seeing her again?

JORDI: I did see her, but just for a second!  I think she was so caught up with seeing everyone. She’s beautiful!  She hasn’t aged.

When do you think viewers will know what Rey is up to in Genoa City?

JORDI:  Sooner rather than later.  We have very good pacing for his entry on to the canvas.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We are wondering if Rey might be an adversary to Nick.  Did you know Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman) before you came to Y&R?

JORDI: I wonder of Rey and Nick will be nemeses too!  But no, I didn’t know Joshua.   He’s such a dude’s dude.  From the get go, he said, “Do not look at me when you’re on set, and are you ready for my breakfast order?”  (Laughs)  I kind of bowed down and said, “You know, you’ve been on this show for twenty years.  Are you a vegetarian, or can I throw some ham in your omelet?”  (Laughs)

So, are you excited to see what goes down when Jordi debuts tomorrow on The Young and the Restless?  Do you hope Rey is on the right side of the law? Which woman in Genoa City do you think would make a good romantic pairing for the guy? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Tani SterlingCeliaTimmmTani SterlingFanny Recent comment authors
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Soaphound
Soaphound

Let’s face it. The show has been batting ZERO with recent additions. Shauna? Nate? One’s more repulsive than the other. Mr. Vilasuso was very good on GL years back, so I’m reserving judgment. But I am so sick of all these handsome guys like Billy Miller, Josh Swickard, Joshua Morrow, et al, sporting these grubby beards that just make them look unkempt…and much older than they are. When is THAT grooming trend gonna die?

Momo
Momo

Yes, he looks better in that photo where he’s clean-shaven. I guess it’s supposed to show he’s rugged. Whatever.

Timmm
Timmm

And you know Shauna will seduce Devon and those two are like watching grass grow! And speaking of grass, I think the casting director was smoking it when he or she hired the guy who plays NATE!

Celia
Celia

Hey, Timmmy,
Never thought of that happening….my mind didn’t go there. But, now that you mention it, Shauna and Devon hooking up is not so far fetched, is it? It’s a soap. But, T, she’s a minor….Devon could get into trouble with the law……does he have enough integrity to sway from the perversion?

Timmm
Timmm

She is young. She could be on the cusp of 18 OR she could accuse him of misconduct and Lilly somehow would be the one to witness that Shauna set him up? That brings him and Lilly back to at least being civil.

Celia
Celia

Anything is possible, T……Devon is in a lot of pain and the sense of loss could steer him in either direction…..give into temptation or become completely numb.
As far as Lily working her way back into his good graces is sort of iffy at this juncture. Devon’s anguish is suffocating him….which is the crux of the situation.
He would not be so bestial with Lily if he were not suffering……although ‘bestially’ is how Lily treated Hilary, at every turn.
Hilary had been trying to make amends for the longest time…..yet, Lily was on such a hard-arsed spree, she couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
You know, T….I realize this is a soap but, I abhor those who think they are ‘better’ than others…..to me, what makes a person is what’s in one’s heart, not in the palm of her/his hand, as it were. Lily did her best to make herself seem superior and Hilary less than. Such hypocrisy, considering her husband’s history and progenitor—Colin and his stellar reputation, she was always over the top.
However, Lily’s fate seems kind of harsh. Prison for twenty years??
I asked my parents about the accident ( although it’s a soap) …..they both said that there was no intent, so this prospect sounds steep……it also depends on the state.
It’s silly to me. Yes, Lily was hatefully out of her mind….all the anger was thrown in Hilary’s face, which made her lose any sense of where she was, what she was doing, and that there were kids in the car……but, it was still an accident.
Sometimes, I wish the writers would stick to reality and facts as much as possible.
❤️

Timmm
Timmm

You know C, the had a longer send off for Hillary than they ever did for Kathrine! Hillary was an evil bitch! Katherine was royalty!

Celia
Celia

LOL, my T….my grandmother doesn’t agree with you about Katherine…..she reads these comments…..and, sometimes she COMMANDS me to ‘say’ what to say:
So…..she told me to tell you that Katherine DROVE ( in caps) her husband to his death. She said Katherine was a low-down drunk who did things worse than Hilary. LOL.
I agree with you….Hilary was a B. But, she repented waaaay before she died…..the winds had changed. It was, actually, Lily who lost all sense of forgiveness and compassion—-which I found incredibly ‘pot/kettle’ blackish-like transformation.
I was an avid fan of Lily’s. She was no longer the Lily I knew ( she and I are of an age) ….I identified with her…..no more. The writers should have never paired her with Caine….
Perhaps, she will go back to her old self?
❤️

Timmm
Timmm

Grandmother knows best!

Fanny
Fanny

Will he be hired by Nick or Victor to look into JT’s disappearance? or did JT’s ex
wife hire him for the same purpose.

Celia
Celia

Good guess, my lady….why does he have pictures of the Newmans? And, why of Phyllis? I guess my interest is somewhat piqued….minimally, LOL.❤️

Fanny
Fanny

Sweet CeeCee,
Minimally is right.

sonniorsolita
sonniorsolita

Can’t wait to see him on TV again! Have enjoyed his work since “Guiding Light.”

Deb
Deb

I want to see him paired with Sharon

Momo
Momo

No, not excited. I do not like this actor. I was glad when he left Days. Not happy he’s joining Y&R. I hope it’s for a short time.

Edmund
Edmund

Michael you are a good interviewer,however you ask to many character questions.I cannot figure out does jordi have kids,a wife,where did he grow up?what ethnicity is he?does he like california.Please start asking more personal questions of these actors and actresses.

Timmm
Timmm

I really dont care. The show’s writing is so bad and the Winter’s clan has hogged up so much of the show, I dont think Rey is really going to matter at this juncture!

Soaphound
Soaphound

So right…and so sad, Timmm. For the first time in over 40 years of viewing, I’m reading a book during the show. It’s that bad.

Celia
Celia

That’s so funny, Soaphound……I was actually helping my little girl with her addition/ subtraction flash cards…she’s four. I could not get into the episode.
This Billy/Summer nonsense makes me want to barf. Thompson is not exactly the type of man a girl would drool over. C’mon!!
I never imagined I could ever be bored by Y&R—-I was today.
I agree with Momo. I do not like the characters Jordi plays. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, get a feel of or for him……
DAYS was a flop ….and I think Y&R will prove to be the same.

Soaphound
Soaphound

Celia, dear, can imagine if Billy M. were still playing Billy Abbott? Heck, I’d COMPLETELY understand amoral Summer’s obsession. The blonde hair, blue eyes, knee-weakening smile, deep voice….phew! THAT’S a guy you’d wanna steal! This version of Billy is so snarky and judgmental…my guess is that if he DID consummate with Summer, his only response would be, “I’ve had better. Now get back to work.”

Celia
Celia

Summer serves no purpose, from what I can see, Soaphound. She is not the typical femme fatale….she’s too young and she does not have the sensuality….the oomph. And, with NuBilly? Mother and daughter are fighting over him?????
However, I do think that Kyle has a point. Summer is infatuated with infatuation and to see how far she can go to win Billy just to prove a point to herself and to her mother.
Why was she brought back? To break up Billy and Phyllis?
Hmmmm. Mayhap….I see the writing on the wall. Jack and Phyllis??

Tani Sterling
Tani Sterling

Been gone as usual. Hard to know how to negotiate the new setting. From my last viewing I remain not very interested in anyone. The new people have not been viewed by me.

However, going backwards, Hillary’s passing was handled with grace. Devon’s pain has pulled beyond the outsides of normal, and families must sometimes pull together regardless of the pain. His Lilly animosity is too painful

I need to reset on the entire program. What was times ago looked for was a one unit or person holding the show together for stability. Then, let the rest roll.

The original characters are growing older, but someone must become stable.

Nick looks uncomfortable suddenly showing up in a suit. What a negative name: DARK HORSE.

There could be some overall positives with opposites working together, and letting the underlying stories travail minus destroying the overall effort.

Still always want to watch. I am forever behind the rest of you.

Celia
Celia

You say it best, Tani, as usual. Y&R looks to be gaining more and more the ‘attributes’ of a Gothic revelation…..I, simply, do not get it….I mean I get IT, but why?
There has always been good versus evil in any soap—-as a well-written piece should—yet, it seems that no one is redeemable.
Jack is not Jack; Phyllis is confused; Summer’s head is in the wrong end; Nikki is afflicted, unless there’s a young stud to stir her senses and fancy; Nick does not the executive make—-a complete fallacy…..all of it.
The topper is the Summer/Billy/Phyllis ‘Triumvirate’…..how dumb!!
I really don’t want to cry on my own parade, Tani, as this is my fave soap…..of all time. But, what the hey?
There’s just one little, big thing I may not see the same way as yourself….that is, DARK HORSE. I, actually, see it as an encouraging positive.
Isn’t a dark horse someone whose capabilities are swept under the rug, but out of nowhere, he/she wins the ‘race’, as it were?
This is all about showing Victor, “So there”— the underestimated son, THE DARK HORSE.
Will Nick show his father a thing or two? Hmmmm…..Victor is the devil incarnate; “El Conquistador”!! I wonder, my friend.
Stay well, Tani.

Tani Sterling
Tani Sterling

Thanks Celia regarding DARK Horse. Had not taken the time to think about what the name inferred. It immediately struck me as not necessarily appealing as a consumer. Of course it depends upon the product. I am so far behind in viewing. Enjoy your comments.

Celia
Celia

❤️

Celia
Celia

I enjoy your comments, as well, my friend. I have missed way too many episodes, myself…..
One small correction: should read….rain on my own parade….
Something should be done with these characters….especially the adults, who act like teens in the first throes of young love.
Phyllis and Billy need to part, posthaste….
Mariah is the only one who seems to have her head screwed on sagaciously!!

Tani Sterling
Tani Sterling

Celia, again, subsequent to your comment, I do think the writers gave much thought into the title of “Dark Horse.” I just did not! Interesting, and wonder how much I have missed as I close down my evening viewing and recuse my thoughts of the day. Thanks again.

Interviews

Y&R’s Hunter King Talks Summer’s Clash With Phyllis, Seducing Billy, ‘Life In Pieces’ & Being Newly Engaged

On The Young and the Restless viewers just watched the summer of …  Summer!  When the top-rated soap brought back two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Hunter King to the canvas, you knew it was going to be to stir up some major drama.  But, little did viewers know that Summer came back a vixen, ready to steal her mother’s man!

Last month, it became game on between mother and daughter after their epic showdown, where Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) got wind of Summer’s attempts to put the moves on Billy (Jason Thompson) and her plans to meet up with him in Philly! (And that spelled trouble for the couple known as “Philly” too)  Oh yes, and there was that well-deserved bitch-slap!  So, where will it all go from here?

Michael Fairman TV caught up with King where we discussed: Summer’s new attitude, if Summer will get her wish and have sex with Billy, her real-life engagement, and her upcoming return to the CBS sitcom Life in Pieces, and more. Check out what Hunter had to say below.

Summer is so pursuing Billy! When you came back to Y&R, did they tell you we need her to be really vampy and this seductress?  What has happened to her? (Laughs)

HUNTER:  Yes.  I understood where it was coming from, and I was excited to play the same character, but being able to play it totally different.  I get to sort of reinvent her.   I think when Summer went away she discovered herself, and kind of grew into Phyllis’ daughter … maybe.  But I will say, it has been very vampy, and you don’t even know yet what’s to come!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How is working with Jason Thompson?

HUNTER:   Working with Jason is great.  He is always so professional and prepared and always willing to collaborate on scenes.  Jason is just so creative, and so in it, and loves to work so much that he just exudes that the scenes.

Let’s just say when Summer and Billy “finally” hit the sheets … (Laughs)

HUNTER:   We don’t yet … we shall see.  The way this whole storyline unfolds you think it’s going one way and then there is a twist, and then twists on top of twists.  The more layers that come into play you start to understand why everything is happening the way it is.

Now, Summer had no idea that Billy had a gambling addiction, which put this whole spiral of his in motion?

HUNTER:  I guess not?  (Laughs)  It’s hard to know. I would say she evidently did not know about his gambling.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Viewers saw Phyllis slap her daughter in the face as the fight between them escalated; when Summer admitted she was going after her mother’s boyfriend!  How was it taping that scene, and working with Gina Tognoni?

HUNTER:  She’s amazing! Gina didn’t really slap me, but I will say afterwards they wanted to put red blush on my cheeks, and I said, “Oh, just pinch my cheek instead, and I wound up bruising my cheek.”  So Gina goes, “I really didn’t hit her!”  It was the funniest banter on set.  Gina was scary in those scenes, like a good scary.  I went, “Damn!”

On August 18th, you got engaged to your beau, Nico Svoboda.  Were you expecting him to propose when he did?

HUNTER:   I was so shocked, even though I had wanted it to happen, very much.  But, I had no idea when it was coming. It was amazing, and the best day of my life and, we are engaged!

Photo : HKingInstagram

And he got down on one knee for the proposal!

HUNTER:  Yes!  I thought it was sweet.  It’s something you dream about when you are a little girl.

What it is about Nico that makes him the guy for you?

HUNTER:  Besides the amazing qualities he has as a person – he’s compassionate, he’s caring, he’s driven, he’s loving, and just cares for others so much – I love the way that he loves me.  I have never felt so loved before, and so accepted, and he is very supportive of my career.

Courtesy/CBS

Are you excited to go back to your role as Clementine on the sitcom, Life in Pieces?  It is slated for a midseason premiere.

HUNTER:  I am super excited to be back.  We are back taping again   I am excited to do the sitcom and Y&R   As an actress, it’s so exciting to get to do different things:  a sitcom and soaps … why not?! (As noted in the press: King took a three-episode break from Y&R to film some episodes of the sitcom due to a scheduling conflict.)

Then speaking of “All in the Family,” it was just announced, your sister, Joey is coming onto Life in Pieces.

HUNTER:  Yes!  How crazy. She will be on for a few episodes, and it will be fun.  I think we will interact a little bit on the show, and we have never had the chance to work together before.

Photo: HKingInstagram

You and your sister have the funniest Instagram videos.  Do you plan those out?

HUNTER:  Joey is so funny.  It kind of just happens when we get together.  Sometimes we film something and sometimes we don’t.  But Joey is so much fun and my best friend. She is the funniest person in the entire world, and so it’s just easy to laugh when I am with her.

So, what did you think of the showdown between Summer and Phyllis?  Are you glad Phyllis slapped her daughter, or was it a mistake?  What do you think will happen next?  Will Summer ultimately sleep with Billy? Do you want Summer to end up with Kyle (Michael Mealor)? Will you be checking out Hunter on Life in Pieces? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kirsten Storms Chats On: The Emotional Impact Of Nathan’s Death & Who Could Be Maxie’s New Love Interest

2018 has been a difficult year for Port Charles’ beloved Maxie Jones. She became a widow and a single mom following the untimely death of the love of her life, Nathan West (Ryan Paevey).  Maxie’s portrayer, General Hospital fan favorite Kirsten Storms delivered in scene after scene, tearjerker after tearjerker, as viewers experienced the grief of losing a good man, a good cop and her husband, and the father of her child.

Complicating things was Maxie’s friendship with Peter August (Wes Ramsey), who came to town with an agenda and who was revealed to be Henrik Faison, Nathan’s half-brother. As Maxie soldiered on with life after-Nathan, she formed a bond with Nathan’s sister, Nina (Michelle Stafford). Through various (and one nefarious) twists and turns, the two women have grown closer always trying to have each other’s back, and to be there for one another in their times of need.

This past Labor Day, ABC and General Hospital aired the encore presentation of Nathan’s funeral, which reminded us all of great soap opera storytelling, and Storms’ powerhouse performance in this storyline.

Michael Fairman TV recently chatted with Kirsten where we found out: how she handled this 10-hankie inducing storyline, who she thinks the ultimate new love interest for Maxie will be – with Peter and Chase (Josh Swickard) in the running, and how she has stood up for herself on social media when she has had to set fans straight on their often misperceptions. There is no question that Storms contributions to making the character of Maxie come to life, make her one of the standout MVP’s of daytime drama.  Here’s what Kirsten shared.

Nathan’s funeral has been one the standout episodes of the year thus far in soaps. Every aspect of it was beautifully executed from the performances, the writing, the directing, camerawork, etc.  What were your thoughts of the storyline that followed with Peter (Wes Ramsey) being kidnapped by Nina (Michelle Stafford) and Obrecht (Kathleen Gati)?  Maxie did not originally have a clue as to what was going on to avenge Nathan’s death. 

KIRSTEN:  I have chats with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) occasionally about storyline.  He and I have a very good relationship.   He’ll talk to me about things I have coming up, because he knows I’m not the type of person who talks to other people about it.  I’m literally the last person on the gossip train.  I’m always the last person to find out about things.  It almost makes me feel stupid. (Laughs)   So, it’s nice because he’ll say to me, “This is going to happen: Nathan is going to die, and Maxie and Peter are going to become closer, and Nina and Obrecht are going to kidnap him and start breaking his limbs ….”   I thought, “Oh cool. We’re going back to crazy Nina,” who is one of my favorite characters.   I love that we always forget the stuff that Nina has done in her past.  It’s not brought up, but it’s there!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

They have balanced the character of Nina out since her beginnings of the show, which has made her a more fleshed-out character with many dimensions.

KIRSTEN: They have!  Nina’s job with Crimson really leveled that character out, and the relationship with Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), although he’s crazy himself so it works!  Michelle has built up such a great character, and Kathleen Gati always brings one hundred and ten percent.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I love the bond between Maxine and Nina, because Nina has been the grieving sister, and Maxie gave birth to Nathan’s son, and they were trying to help each other through their despair.

KIRSTEN:  Yes, it wasn’t too long ago that Maxie was following Nina around in steam rooms begging her to take her back with her jobs, and now they’re inseparable.  (Laughs)  She jokes that Nina’s transferred her love from Nathan to Maxie in a creepy way. (Laughs)

Maxie has worked for Kate Howard and Nina. Who does Maxie think is a better boss?

KIRSTEN:  Selfishly, I think she’d probably say Nina, because I think Nina takes into account her opinion a little bit more.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How did you get through the amount of crying leading up to, and following Nathan’s death, that was called upon for you as an actress to play in so many tragic and heartbreaking scenes?   Were you able to get through it, and not take the emotional toll that was hitting the character home with you?  

KIRSTEN:  It’s always difficult to have emotional scenes, but to have so many of them felt like it went on for a long time.  There was a good two and a half weeks where I had to be sobbing going into work.  I had recently been reminded of what it was like to lose somebody that you care about.  I remember when I was breaking down my dialogue (because there’s a whole huge process that I go through) thinking, “Oh! I remember what this felt like, and I have to remember to try to portray that when doing this.”  The moment when Nathan flatlines, and Maxie goes outside, and she hears it … he’s dead.  That unexpected turn, because they woke Nathan back up that’s what killed me.  Nathan gets shot, he has surgery, he wakes back up and starts talking, and then he dies moments later.  I remember thinking, “Oh, my God!”  Having Nathan wake up, and giving Maxie that hope and then just taking him away … from that moment on I knew I would have to be just crushed completely… while playing pregnant.  I felt that there were a lot of days after work when I would stay for an extra hour and just decompress, but I was happy when they started to move on from that a little bit, because it was a heavy couple of weeks.

Photo Ctedit: JPI Studios

Did you watch any of those performances back?

KIRSTEN:  I did, and I never usually do that anymore.

So, you’re going to submit yourself for the Emmy this year, right?  If you don’t, I am going to do it for you myself! (Laughs)

KIRSTEN: (Laughs) Yes, I plan on submitting.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Where do you see Maxie’s relationship going with Peter now?  Will Chase (Josh Swickard) be in her life?  How many cops can she have relationships with if she were to date Chase? (Laughs)

KIRSTEN: (Laughs) I know, right?  I was kind of hoping for that fact alone that she wouldn’t end up with Chase, but then I worked with Josh.  Not only did people like it, but I liked it!  I worked with him the day after I came back from two sick days that I took, and I felt terrible.  I was there pretty much because I didn’t want to let Frank down, and Molly Burnett (Maxie sub, GH) was working on something else, and she couldn’t work one more day for me.  I remember being on set and I kept saying, “Josh, I am so sorry.”  We had already had our scenes in the police station, but they were so brief.  This was the first real set of scenes with him that I had.  I just felt that it wasn’t the first impression that I wanted to make on him for who I am as an actor, but he was so supportive.  Josh didn’t let it alter his performance.  I could barely look at him and I could barely look into the lights!   I just felt like I wanted to be at home in bed, but he made those scenes fantastic.  They wouldn’t have been what they were.  If I had walked on set, new to a show, with someone who had been there for a long time… and now, knowing that he was a Zenon fan, he probably had all of these other expectations, and I’m like, “I can’t even look at you!”  (Laughs)

(Laughs) So you would be okay with a Maxie/Chase pairing?

KIRSTEN:  One hundred percent.

And as far as Peter goes?

KIRSTEN:  I have a soft spot for Wes.  I really do.

He’s been given a tough time by many fans of the show on social media.

KIRSTEN:  He has, and I think that’s unjustified.  I have really high expectations for my scene partner, because I know that when I’m going in there, I’ve prepared my dialogue, and I have a good sense of what I am going to bring to the table.  You should do that too as my or anybody’s scene partner,  because there are lots of soap actors out there who are not working anymore, who would be willing to put that type of work into this part.  With Wes, he respects acting so much that never in a million years would he not go to the set with that same mindset – if not more so than I have – and I think we have this mutual respect for each other on that level.  We are committed to our scenes, and kind of don’t really care what else is going on in the storyline at that moment.  For example, when he tells Maxie that he’s Henrik in the hospital and she is in a wheelchair, there were four or five other people in that scene who didn’t have dialogue, so there was chatting and laughing going on.  He just completely zoned in to what he was doing.  He was able to bring emotion and cry.  I texted him and was like, “I don’t even think I’m going to be noticed in those scenes.  Great job!  It’s good, because I didn’t like the way I looked in the wheelchair!”  I just adore him, and he and Laura Wright (Carly) could not be a cuter couple with each other.  She’s happy. They both are very happy, and they both are genuinely good people, and to anyone who has anything to say about the reason why Wes was hired, or his part in the show, I’ll say that he has a better work ethic than a lot of people who I have had the opportunity to work with throughout my career.   He’s earned his place on the show, and if people just gave him a chance and step back from what they know goes on behind the scenes as far as his relationship Laura, they’ll be able to see how talented he is.

Does Maxie give Peter a pass for what he’s done, and his lies and deception?

KIRSTEN:  So many people have given Maxie a pass for stuff she’s done.  I’d have to say, “Yes”.   I do like that he’s Nathan’s brother.  I feel like that has got a weird thing to it that I can understand Maxie’s draw to him, but he’s also a different person than Nathan.

Courtesy/ABC

You’ve recently been great at shutting things down on social media when fans make assumptions about what is going on in your personal life and explaining the situation.  Can you talk to me about that?

KIRSTEN:  I guess motherhood changed me so much.  There’s no time for the b**s anymore.  Going through everything I did last year, I had to really accept that I am human.  The things that I go through and experience, or that have happened in my life are no different from somebody who is sitting at home watching the show.  I’m a person, too.  I can’t be ashamed of the things that happen to me.  I just have to own it and move forward, because owning it is how you get better with something.   Last year was a very rough year for me.  I think a lot of things came to a head for me personally.  I’ve never been the type of person to kind of slink back and let that take me over.  I’ve always been like, “Nope.  I want to get back to work.  I love my job.”  As much as I love it, I take it that seriously.  I know the emotional and mental condition that I have to be in to be able to be prepared and work as well as I want to.  So, I don’t want anyone to be confused about what my time away from work has been for.  I pride myself on the work I have done on myself, and I want to be able to acknowledge that.

So, what have you thought of Kirsten’s performance throughout her storyline following Nathan’s shocking death? Would you like to see Peter, Chase, or someone else as Maxie’s new romantic interest?  Share your thoughts on this and other points and views shared in this interview via the comment section below.

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This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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