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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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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.

Donna Conti
Donna Conti

I would LOVE to see him with Phyllis!!!

Grand Hotel

Denyse Tontz and Lincoln Younes Preview Forbidden Romance & Intrigue As ‘Grand Hotel’ Premieres

When Grand Hotel opens its doors to its audience tonight on ABC (10PMET/PT), it will have a very familiar feel to soap fans for several of its series regulars and its executive producer all come from the world of daytime or serialized storytelling.

Executive Producer, Eva Longoria (Ex-Y&R, Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids, Telenovela) brought to the screens a provocative drama with Miami Beach as its backdrop of the last family-owned hotel (by the Mendozas) with a contemporary take of an upstairs/downstairs story of 2019.

Former General Hospital’s Bryan Craig plays Javi, who is joined by two other soap notables; former All My Children reboot star, Denyse Tontz (Ex-Miranda Montgomery) and Australian-born actor, Lincoln Younes (Ex-Casey, Home and Away) who’s characters are interlocked in some very sexy and mysterious ways.

Tontz, plays Alicia Mendoza the strong-willed daughter of the Mendoza clan, who is fresh out of business school… and who will make a huge discovery about her dad, but is also set to embark on a romance with a new staff hire!  And that staff hire is Danny played by Younes, whose character Danny is not who he says he is at all … and he has one goal in my mind which brought him to the hotel … but things get complicated for him when he feels a massive attraction to the hotel owner’s daughter … Alicia!

Michael Fairman TV took part in a press roundtable discussion with Tontz and Younes to get some teasers of what’s to come when Grand Hotel premieres.  Here’s what they shared in some questions posed by us and others below.

Photo: ABC

Danny and Alicia definitely have an instant attraction in the season premiere. Where can you tease that it might go?

LINCOLN:  Well, it can go in a number of directions, but hopefully towards a positive one.  They each have their own motivations for why they’re at the hotel.

DENYSE:  Alicia’s main goal, or at least from the beginning, is to prove herself, just having graduated business school and sort of step into her mother’s shoes a little bit. She’s had a lot of pressure on her for most of her life to sort of fill that role and keep the family together.  I think it’s really tough to have to juggle that and the desire to explore this potential romance with this person who is so intriguing to her.

LINCOLN:  I think with Danny, his reasons are kind of unknown as to why he’s at the hotel.  He comes in as a new employee, but there is something off about him.  It is complicated by the arrival of Alicia and the chemistry the kind of ensues between them.  I think that’s kind of the interesting thing to watch is them navigating their priorities and their initial motivations with the inevitable chemistry and dynamic that has appeared.

Photo: ABC

The main family in Grand Hotel is Hispanic.  And what is intriguing about the premise is that their ethnicity is not the backdrop of the story, it’s just who they are.  Would you agree?

LINCOLN:  Eva is kind of a trailblazer in that way because this is about the story of a family, and a hotel, and the guests, and the employees, and the employers, and all of the different things these people go through.  It’s not so much the color of their skin and their background.  I think as soon as you take away the magnifying glass of how a person appears and really look at what is going on inside, that’s a step in the right direction.

DENYSE:  I think that even though we are really a diverse cast and crew, that really has nothing to do with the actual premise of the show, and I think that’s really cool even to just see that.  To just play a character who happens to be Hispanic, and that’s not the central theme of this character, I think there really are no stereotypes that are perpetuated in any way.

LINCOLN:  It’s the perfect melting pot of culture, and the fact that it is set in a hotel where anyone from any part of the world can come into, it creates this show that I don’t see anything like this on TV, and that’s very exciting.

Do you see Danny and Alicia as a duo to root for with their dysfunction and all throughout the series?

DENYSE:  I think there is this sort of allure to the forbidden romance aspect of it all.

LINCOLN:  They have these obstacles in front of them.

DENYSE:  But you want it to happen. (Laughs)

LINCOLN:  You want it to happen, and it’s just against all odds.  That complicates things.

Photo: ABC

You have such a great cast to work with; chief among them Demián Bichir, Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids)!

DENYSE:  Oh man, working with Demián and Roselyn and Eva Longoria was a dream.  They’re each so special in their own way.

LINCOLN:  Three powerhouses.

DENYSE:  Yeah, three powerhouses and very different.  They each have their own way of approaching a scene.  Demián is mostly a movie actor, and it really shows in the way he approaches scenes, and the way he is not glued to the lines, and it’s kind of cool to watch him and learn from him in that way.  He’s so funny too.  He makes it a really comfortable environment, and you feel safe to try stuff.   Eva … same thing.  She has a clear vision for what she wants.  She can direct in such a way that I think a lot of directors can’t, because she has been on the other side of the camera, and she has got a really good perspective.  I think she’s really great at articulating what she wants you to do.

LINCOLN:  Yeah, she’s very meticulous.  I think the thing about all of the people who you’ve just mentioned is that they all have levity.  They are all very specific, but they are all very authentic.  That carries through in both their acting and how they carry themselves off set.  That was really great to kind of learn from them.

Photo: ABC

Many in the cast are from daytime dramas, or soap operas previously, including both of you!  Was that a coincidence in the producers casting choices, you think?

LINCOLN: I think, just knowing Eva so well now, and Brian and Ben, the creators behind it, they searched long and hard for the people they wanted to play the roles.  So, it might just be a happy coincidence.

When the scripts came out, how did the cast handle the twists?

LINCOLN:  There was a lot of speculation going on.  There was a lot of gossiping on set and off set.

DENYSE:  Lots of gossiping, stealing scripts… a lot of bombshells though.  There really is no shortage of plot twists.  A lot of these characters you think are going to start out a certain way, and then you find yourself completely changing your opinion of them halfway through the season. Without giving too much away, nobody is really who they appear to be.

Photo: ABC

How do you both feel about the fact that the wait is over and Grand Hotel is finally premiering?

DENYSE:  It’s super exciting.

LINCOLN:  It’s very surreal.  This is my first American show, so I have no idea what to expect.  I just go to Denyse for advice.  I’m like, “What do I do?”  (Laughs).  It’s all very exciting.  I think when you love a project; there is another element when it is released to the public.  Everyone on the show loves it.  Everyone is so passionate about it.  So, I just hope that the audience feels the same and that we get to keep doing it.

So will you be checking out Denyse, Lincoln, Bryan, Eva and more on Grand Hotel?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below. But first check out this promo for the kick-off tonight!

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General Hospital

GH’s Cynthia Watros Talks On Taking Over The Role Of Nina & Ingo Rademacher Dishes Jax’s New Love Interest

Today on June 3rd, Daytime Emmy winner, Cynthia Watros is set to begin taping all-new episodes of General Hospital as she steps into the role of Nina Cassadine, last played by Michelle Stafford, who has left the ABC daytime drama series and headed back to The Young and the Restless to reprise her signature role of Phyllis Summers.

Watros, best-known for her delicious portrayal of Annie Dutton on Guiding Light, and who was last seen on daytime on Y&R, is back to the grind of the soaps taking on the complex Nina.  Add to that, it is clear that GH is setting up a potential love triangle, or new love interest for her, now that Jasper Jacks is back in Port Charles with GH fan favorite Ingo Rademacher returning to the show.

Last month on the recent GH Nurses’ Ball episodes, we saw Nina (then Stafford) lock eyes with Jax, and the two demonstrated an instant attraction to each other.  Add to that in story; Jax was revealed to be the new 50 percent owner of Aurora Media, which Nina’s Crimson Magazine falls under, putting them in each other’s path in more ways than one.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Cynthia and Ingo along with other members of the media at last week’s ABC Summer Press Roundtable junket, and here were some intriguing and insightful moments from the conversations below.

When we asked if Cynthia had a conversation with Michelle Stafford on taking over the role of Nina, Watros responded: “I did.  We had lunch together, and I have to say, Michelle is an amazing, lovely, giving woman.  Just to be able to sit across from her and talk about Nina and to talk about the show, I was just in awe of her generosity.  I will always be a fan of Michelle’s.  She actually reached out to me and said, ‘If you ever want to call or text…’ and I said, ‘Let’s have lunch!’  So, we found and afternoon and spent like three hours just talking about it.”

Photo Credit: ABC

Since Watros has brought the cray-cray to her best known role of Annie on GL and is so adept as an actress to go from that to playing grave reality, Cynthia weighed in on how she sees Nina and the challenges of being a recast in a soap role: “Nina has all of this stuff that I can’t wait to play.  She’s got stuff that she hasn’t explored for a long time because her life is going pretty well right now.  What happens though when your life doesn’t go really well?  You start exploring those things that you thought were sleeping a little bit, you know, that weren’t necessarily bubbling up to the surface.  So, I like it all: when a character’s life is going well and when a character’s life is not going well. Because I’m playing Nina now, it’s going to be different.  It’s going to be challenging.  It’s the first time I’ve ever taken over a role that someone else has played.  I don’t want to totally go off, so people go, “Wow.  Nina’s totally different,” but of course, I want to make it my own.  Again, I’m an actor who likes to use all of the tools.  I like it all … the funny, the not so funny, the playful, and the crazy.”

As to the timing of Watros returning to the soaps at this time in her life … and how it went down that she landed her new gig at GH, she revealed: “It sounds not very dramatic, but I got a phone call.  Just a phone call asking, ‘Would you be interested?’  Guiding Light will always be in my heart because I had such a good time doing Annie, and I was on Young and the Restless and Another World for half of a second.  So, daytime has always been in my life and in my world.  My last show was in Atlanta, and my daughters were in high school in LA, and it’s hard to go back and forth for them, for me, and for my life as a mom.  So, I kind of took my acting and said, ‘Well, I’m going to slow it all down until they graduate high school.’  They graduate high school June 2nd and I start GH June 3rd.  So, it just seemed like it just made sense.”

Photo: ABC

As to what the future holds for Nina as she takes over the role, Watros shared: “I can tease that I get to play with this guy (Ingo) a lot, and Nina is trying to find a stronger role in the magazine where she is really going to step up in making that a success and her love for the magazine , and trying to navigate her relationship with Jax.”

Cynthia will also get to work with Nina’s present love interest, James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), which the actress is also excited about:“I have to say, I have not met him, but I have been watching the show, and he is just phenomenal.  I love his character.  I love how he is this sort of like bad guy, but it seems like the women really dig him.”

Watros says she is excited to work with Maura West (Ava), Laura Wright (Carly), and Billy Miller (Drew) from the cast.  She has previously worked with Laura and Billy in her soap career. As to her nerves for her first week at the ABC studios where GH is taped, Cynthia shared that she is: “Less nervous, more excited. I feel like a 20-year-old back in soaps.  I remember Kim Zimmer (Ex-Reva, Guiding Light) back in the rehearsal room, and I was off script, and she was on the show for a long time before me, and I was new. I was yelling my lines, and she goes, ‘Excuse me! Can you tell this actress not to act so early in the morning?’ (Laughs) I feel like I’m going to do that again.  So, I’ve got to tone it all down.” (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

For Ingo, he certainly has a view as to how Jax fits into the canvas of Port Charles: “Jax is to me, and I’ve only just been able to put it into words now that Captain America came out, but he’s ‘Captain America’.  He’s all about fairness.  If he sees a bully, he will stand up for the person who is being bullied.  So, that’s who he is.  He’s the white knight.  He’s the person who will always do the right thing.”

Now that Jax has big time ownership in Aurora Media and thus Crimson, does he see the sparks flying with Nina? Ingo reveals: “Yeah, basically he walks in, and she goes, ‘What are you doing in my office?’ and he goes, ‘Actually, it’s my office.’  When I heard about him doing that magazine, I was a little surprised because that’s usually much too small for Jax.  He’s more of a Richard Gere in Pretty Woman character, corporate leader, takes corporations apart, sells pieces … this is, I think really for his daughter, Josslyn (Eden McCoy).  He’s thinking about the future.  Also, to keep him busy in an actual job that he might be good at.   I think it’s a big change in lifestyle for him where before it was about businesses which were much more global.”

Photo: CBS

As to what is behind Jax’s attraction to Nina, Ingo summed it up by sharing: I think Jax is attracted to Nina the first time he sees her.  I have a feeling he already knew who she was the first time he sees her at the Nurses’ Ball, because he’s been studying Aurora Media before purchasing it.  He’s done his background work, and to piss off a Cassadine is just a bonus.  Also, I think what is interesting for Nina’s character is the two different guys.  She’s engaged to this more mysterious character, and then, you’ve got this jolly, upfront one going, ‘Hey!  How’s it going?  Everybody having a good day?’ (Laughs)  He’s very confident as well, but in a different way.  I think it’s nice for the story for Nina to be tugged between two completely different men.”

So, excited to see the debut of Cynthia in the role of Nina? Are you up for a triangle between Jax/Nina/Valentin? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first, watch Cynthia’s Emmy-winning moment as Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Guiding Light.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk & Paul Telfer Talk On Masks, Villainy & Their Wildest Storyline Yet

Take three great actors, add a prosthetic mask into the equation, and let them have at it! That’s just what NBC’s Days of our Lives is in the midst of serving up to its fans with this latest plot device and twist.  Last week, it was revealed that the nefarious Kristen DiMera (Stacy Haiduk) is alive and well and pretending to be Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) donning a mask, a voice alternating device, and some other body tweaks!  The goal …  to be with Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) and she will do anything to accomplish that!

Enter Xander (Paul Telfer) who has been in the thick of the plot being the only one we know of, so far, who knows that Kristen is parading around as Nicole.  They hatch their next moves inside a room at the Salem Inn.  They even went so far as to set it up to appear that Nicole’s daughter, Holly was killed, so she could blame Eric (Greg Vaughan) and cause a break-up of the long-suffering lovebirds and play it off as she needs to be consoled by Brady!

Michael Fairman TV chatted in an entertaining and wickedly funny interview with Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk, and Paul Telfer to get the lowdown on what happened when they learned they would be wearing or working with a mask, how they pulled off the emotions in the storyline twist, and what to look forward to from here.  Under the clever pen of head writer, Ron Carlivati looks for the hits and twists to keep coming as this storyline continues to rock the world of Salem for some time to come.  Here’s what Arianne, Stacy, and Paul had to say about their latest on-screen predicaments and schemes!

Ari, at what point did you know that you really weren’t Nicole … and that you were Kristen playing Nicole?

ARIANNE:  I actually didn’t find out until a little bit after the van went off the road in the storyline; thinking it was Holly who was killed.  Sometimes, the less I know makes it fresher, and I think if I had known before those scenes, and the scenes with Eric (Greg Vaughan), and when I first came back, I would have had a little too much Kristen on my mind, and I don’t know if I could have been as raw as I felt in those scenes.  So, anyway that’s my long explanation.  I found out after I started back on the show! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Additionally, did you have a conversation with Stacy about certain mannerisms hat Kristen has if you’re “masquerading” as Nicole?

ARIANNE:  Our co-executive producer, Albert Alaar had talked to me about watching Stacy because everything was happening fast.  Stacy and I really hadn’t had a chance to even talk to each other even from the last round of me being thereI remember Stacy was inundated with dialogue up the wazoo when I came back for that twelve-episode arc.  So, because of all of that, Albert said, “Watch Stacy! Watch her mannerisms, watch what she does,” and then I’ll throw a little Ari in it.  I just hope that I do as good of a job as Stacy does.

Paul, you and I talked about this on the NBC ‘Inside Salem’ podcast, when we played back for you (for the first time) the clip of Kristen taking off her Nicole mask.  Xander had the perfect set-up line for the reveal: “The part of Nicole Walker is being played by Kristen DiMera!”  Did you not have a good laugh doing that scene?  How did you get through doing that moment?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  Oh, yeah, I was laughing my ass off the whole time.  This is an insane storyline with masks and doppelgängers.  But, it looks great on-screen, and that way it’s edited.  So, I was really happy.

STACY:  There was one moment when Nicole would hold steady to unfold the neck.   So, Ari started that to the point where I’m pulling it off completely.  I think it’s cool.  It’s “Mission Impossible”.  How nice!

PAUL:  That’s what I going to say.  If Tom Cruise can make a hundred million dollars doing this stuff …

STACY:  … then, we can do it!

ARIANNE:  Right?  We can make a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of that.

STACY:  We’ll make it look good!

What is the real deal between Xander and Kristen?  They are conspiring and in cahoots, but there’s this underlying sexual tension between them.  I think Xander respects Kristen in a way, because she can one-up him!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  I think every character who Xander has interacted with who isn’t a member of his family, he’s trying to either get something from, or get into bed with, and he can’t really do either with Kristen, because she’s crazier and more dangerous that he is up until this point.  That’s certainly the way that it feels.  The way Stacy plays it, she is not to be messed around with. Honestly, I think that turns him on.

STACY:  Yeah, there you go.  That sounds good. (Laughs)

PAUL:  I mean, it makes sense.  Just like, “Wait a minute.  This is a bit spicier than I’m used to,” so, he’s excited, but at the same time he knows which side his bread is buttered on, and he doesn’t want her to murder him!  (Laughs)

STACY:  Well said.  I like that. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what does Kristen think of Xander at this point?

PAUL:  That, he’s a useful idiot.

STACY:  She actually needs him to go out into the world because she can’t leave.  When she does, she has to leave as Nicole, and then it becomes a whole other storyline.

PAUL:  It’s fun because Kristen is actually the boss, and Xander is convinced that they’re actually partners and that becomes our whole dynamic where she’s treating him as her lackey, but he’s like, “No, we’re partners, because I know your secret.”  Then, it becomes kind of a bargaining chip between the mask and all of that.  It’s so crazy because certain evil characters when they come back, they have to come back in disguise; whereas Xander’s always quite happy to be just jogging through town square with his shirt off after holding someone ransom or kidnapping a baby like, “Ah, whatever.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Arianne, it’s been awhile since you got to play the villainess side of Nicole, and with this return to DAYS you get to play that side of her as well, even though it’s really Kristen. Do you enjoy playing the bad girl?

ARIANNE:  Stacy and I were just saying today that you have these conversations about the villain character, (and Paul, I’m sure you’ve felt a lot of this too) people hate you or they love to hate you, and you’re like, “Hey, it’s a good thing because I’m doing my job if you hate me,” but in order for the storyline to move, you’ve got to have a villain.  Nicole used to be kind of villain-ish but playing someone like Kristen who is such a valued villain on this show is just … oh, my God!

Stacy and Paul, what do you think is the most heinous thing your characters have done so far?

STACY:  The most heinous?  (Laughs). Wow.  You know what’s funny is that she’s done all of these things, and I don’t think she thinks what she does is bad.

PAUL:  It’s so funny because you totally would expect her to be like, “The other characters are evil.  We’re the good guys!”

STACY:  I mean honestly, so she kidnapped Nicole, and took her baby.  There’s Marlena and the window.  I mean, it’s hard when she’s done all of these crazy, horrible things.  I’ve just really enjoyed playing her because she’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s this brilliant, deviant person who just wants one thing, and there’s one thing on her mind, and everything else gets in her way.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is the one thing Brady?

STACY:  Brady, Brady, Brady, and I think even Xander has to repeat it over and over again.  We were playing in rehearsal, and I think I had him do that.  I don’t remember the line, but I said something, and he goes, “Brady Black,” and I go, “Say it again,” just because I want to hear him say it again.  That’s her driving force.

What did Greg Vaughan and Eric Martsolf say when they found out about what the twist was?  Did you tell them?  How did they find out?

ARIANNE:  Well, Eric Martsolf always has a great chuckle.  He has a great laugh, and I think Greg Vaughan just stared at me for a minute.  Then, I told him about the mask process … about making the mask …. and how I thought I was going to pass out and die.  (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is putting on the mask an extremely weird experience?  How long does it take to put on? 

STACY:  About an hour?  It’s quick, and I thought we were going to suffocate when we were under that because I’ve never done my whole face before, but I’ve done body things. Make-up department is like, “You’re going to be fine.”  It was heavy too, really heavy.

ARIANNE:  Yeah, and because it’s so heavy, after a while, it starts to pull your skin down a little bit, and you’re like, “No, no!” (Laughs)

Did anybody else go running around with the mask on?

PAUL:  Oh yeah.  Everybody!

I knew it!

ARIANNE:  How could you not?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what is the relationship between the real Nicole and Xander, which we saw play out before her death?

PAUL:  She’s my wife!

So, Xander sees Nicole as his wife?

PAUL:  I’m happy to give Xander’s perspective on Nicole, and then Arianne can feel free to correct it.  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  Alright, that sounds good.

Photo Credit JPI Studios

PAUL:  The way I’ve tried to handle it over the years in our ins and outs of this failed romance is that they’ve saddled poor Arianne with: this psycho chasing after her, and kidnapping her and her baby, and whisking her off to foreign lands – and also to Nashville.  When Xander first came into town, before they decided to make him a total psychopath, it was all working nicely, and Nicole wasn’t really on the up and up with Xander, and she wasn’t really honest about what her intentions were.  Meanwhile, Xander was involved in all of this chicanery with Serena, so once that metastasized into full-blown evil, and Nicole was aware of this, it shifted from, “I just really wanted to take this girl to the movies,” to, “Well, I guess I have to kill her now.”  (Laughs)  So, I think he’s just been playing that out ever since.  “Well, if I can’t date her, and if she won’t love me, then I guess I just have to torture her for the rest of her days.”  I think now on the other side of her supposed death, I think Xander has probably reconciled that his twisted romantic notions, or torture, or whatever he was doing with Nicole, is probably over, and he’s moving on to greener, more alive pastures like Sarah.  To be fair, I do think they’ve purposely made it confusing.  Not just for the audience, but for us.  There’s a real sense of, “Am I playing this to Nicole as Kristen, or do you want me to play this just to Nicole?”  Very often they just go, “No, just play it to Nicole,” because it’s funnier if for Xander it just occasionally slips his mind because she looks just like Nicole.  I’m kissing her… like he’s just enjoying the fact that he can.  “I never really got to kiss Nicole much, but this is Nicole’s face, so I’m going to.”  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  That’s hilarious.

Ari, what would you say is their relationship?

ARIANNE:  Well, I’m certainly not as long-winded as that.  (Laughs)

PAUL:  He’s a creep!

ARIANNE:  He is a creep.  What cracks me up coming from Nicole is, “Ew, what a jerk.  He’s so gross.  Yuck, yuck!”  Like, really?  You’re not going to make that one work, huh Nicole?  When you reach that far back to the history of Xander and Nicole, it doesn’t have a lot of depth for the two characters because the next thing you know he’s trying to kill her and Eric.  It’s like that scary online dating when you go on one date and it didn’t work out because that guy is going to kill you.

PAUL:  Xander is like the ultimate bad Tinder date.

ARIANNE:  Totally. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

That is classic.  The bad Tinder date.  That’s basically it.  Xander also apparently feels bad for Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) as she is having her bout with alcoholism.  Is that correct?

PAUL:  Yeah, I’m actually excited to see some of that stuff.  It was great doing it because I love Suzanne to bits.  I was very afraid of ruining Xander by making him too nice, but at the same time when I was first brought on to Days, I wasn’t offered a villain role originally.  Xander morphed into a more severe villain than I’d been led to believe he would be, and it happened quite quickly.  So, I’m actually quite happy to right the ship a little bit back towards he’s bad but he has some occasional glimmers of goodness in him.  So, Maggie really represents that because she’s actually quite nice to him and nurturing in a way that no other character on the show is.  When she has her dalliance with alcohol, he’s one of the few people who doesn’t judge her for it, and we finally get a little bit of Xander’s back story.  I’m actually excited to see those scenes because they felt nice to do, so hopefully they come across well.

Stacy, how did you track this storyline, when Arianne would be playing Kristen as Nicole? 

STACY:  Well if I didn’t get the script, I didn’t know about it.  So, if I wasn’t in the script that time, then I would be looking at Paul going, “What are we talking about?” and then, Ari had obviously already shot those scenes, so they were written for me, so I’m like, “What did I do?  What did I do?” It’s just scenes between Xander and Kristen at the Salem Inn.  Occasionally, you’d get somebody knocking at the door, but then I’d have to quickly put on my mask. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, Ari did you ever have to go to Stacy to get tips about Kristen’s past or anything?

ARIANNE:  It was all about the future moving forward.  I think old, former Nicole had some crazy similarities with current Kristen because it felt kind the same as pulling some things from what she used to do … you know, just a couple of crazy chicks in one crazy character. (Laughs).

The other big part of this is Rolf’s diary that Xander has in his possession.  Is Kristen in cahoots with him on that?  Is she trying to get that from him?

STACY:  I think she is.

PAUL:  Yeah, that’s when she starts to get mad at him; when she realizes that he’s not just being her underling and he’s off scurrying around with his own agenda in the meantime.

ARIANNE:  He’s manipulating and doing his own thing.

PAUL:  I use it to start manipulating Eve (Kassie DePaiva).

So, what would you say to the fans to look forward to?  “You never know who you’re talking to on DAYS?” “Gird your masks?”

ARIANNE:  I definitely think fans know that’s not Nicole the way she is.  And, you never know who is going to give you a shot in the butt and turn you into somebody else.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Well, that’s true.  You never know.  One day they’re going to tell you that you’re playing Julie today! (Laughs)

ARIANNE: “Today the character of Julie will be played by…”

STACY: “… you will never guess by whom!”

PAUL:  This was fun.  This is a fun way to do it.  Let’s all do all of our interviews together moving forward!

So, what have you thought of the plot twist? What do you think of the Nicole mask and the performances and comments made here by Arianne, Stacy, and Paul? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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