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JOY Director/Writer David O. Russell Calls Soap Actors "Professional Athletes" After Working With Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Susan Lucci & Donna Mills!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

In David O. Russell’s latest film Joy (which opens nationwide on Christmas Day) Virginia Madsen plays the mother of Jennifer Lawrence, who is obsessed with her soap operas!  The motion picture features some very famous soap notables seen on screen on a daytime drama.

But rather than dig up old relic clips, Russell created new soap material featuring: General Hospital’s Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Laura Wright (Carly), Knots Landing favorite, Donna Mills (Ex-Abby), and the one and only Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica) of All My Children and Devious Maids, who appear in the film!

In a director’s roundtable of the most acclaimed films for this award season via The Hollywood Reporter, David said of working with actors from the soaps: “Jennifer Lawrence’s mother [in the film] is into soap operas. So we shot a soap opera from the ’60s to the 2000s, with Susan Lucci and Maurice Benard, who is like the Brando of soap operas. And those guys are like professional athletes. I’d go, ‘Donna Mills! Susan Lucci! Let’s have a catfight.’ They don’t go, ‘Oh wait, what’s my motivation?’ They just go, bang! I was blown away by the power of these women actors.”

Courtesy/ABC

Fellow director Quentin Taratino, who was part of the rountable for his latest film, The Hateful Eight chimed in and said: “That might be one of the most interesting things said at the table. The power of soap opera actors. That actually is a nugget, and I buy it 100 percent. (Laughter.)”

So, what did you think about the analogy made by David O. Russell on the soap opera actors as professional athletes? Excited to see Joy come Christmastime?  Glad to hear a Hollywood “A” list director/writer/producer is giving props to the work ethic and talents of the likes of Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Susan Lucci and Donna Mills? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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StephanieJoanna Carollsu0000SusanP. Xavier Recent comment authors
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Lana
Lana

Finally. They deserve far far more credit than they get. I hope that they get some consolation from the absolute fact that soap fans are die-hard. We support our favorites and will support them.

Rose
Rose

Finally, soap actors are getting the respect they long deserved. Can’t wait to see Maurice, Susan, Donna, and Laura all together on the big screen.

su0000
su0000

Maurice, Laura, Donna, Susan.
WOW & WOW!!!!! ^^^
David O. Russell picked GH power actors–

This I loved;
quote David-
”Maurice Benard, who is like the Brando of soap operas”

I love and agree ^^^

P. Xavier
P. Xavier

Totally agree! Maurice is TOTALLY the Brando of daytime. I’d like to see him doing Apocalypse Now! He blows me away every time I watch him. Mo is a national treasure.

su0000
su0000

Yes!
Sonny is the soaps Marlon Brando, for sure the best description.
I really luvs Sonny!!!
Once you peel away the all the layers, you do find a treasure, The Sonny !.

maddiehayes
maddiehayes

So good to hear soap actors are finally getting the respect and recognition they deserve. Many of them are just as good as “A”-list movie stars. Many of them have later BECOME “A”-list movie stars. And those who choose to stay on their soaps can go toe-to-toe with movie stars like James Franco. I am really excited to see “Joy”!

Mo
Mo

It’s great that soap opera actors are getting some recognition for their hard work.

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Can’t wait to see this. Really nice, yet well-deserved, comments by industry big-wigs. About time!

vinman
vinman

Yeah….now if only the networks,would feel that way.

Sarah White Sees
Sarah White Sees

This is so true! Soap actors should get that kind of recognition! They work all year; not just do a movie every one or two years.

jeremy
jeremy

I cannot wait, to watch this movie JOY…

PJ
PJ

Soap opera actors have been doing the “heavy lifting” for years. These professionals have to learn pages and pages of dialogue each and every day. In addition, they must emote and film, put the scenes to bed and be ready to do it all again the following day. Oftentimes movie actors have weeks and weeks to learn their lines and “find motivation” Bravo that Soap Stars are FINALLY being recognized for their amazing talent and work.

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

Kudos to Mr. Russell for recognizing the true professionalism of soap actors. Too bad the network suits can’t or won’t see that.

Sean
Sean

Very excited about this movie. Can’t wait to see Donna Mills on the big screen. It’s her 75th birthday today too. 🙂

Patrick
Patrick

“… I was blown away by the power of these women actors.”

there you have it… the reason I watch and laud this genre

easy on the eyes menfolk is one thing

Carol Ann Bertucci
Carol Ann Bertucci

Sounds good to me! Love the actors, watched G.H. since start, and heard bout movie ”Joy” from HSN, have all her products! L.I. girl, like me! Can’t wait!

Adster13
Adster13

It is high time soap actors receive props from Hollywood. Our soap stars give their all each day, no time for retakes. I am proud to say I am a soap fan and the actors keep us coming back even when the story line may be inferior.

Allen saint james
Allen saint james

I remember thinking that when james Franco guest starred on gh he would bring some kind of Legitimacy but he chose to play the cliche soap opera actor (over the top) instead.

su0000
su0000

Roger has taken Franco in many directions, seeking the right fit..
I believe he has found it..
I am so loving Franco, as of late… a BINGO!

Soapluv2010
Soapluv2010

These industry “big wigs” know there stuff! They couldn’t have chosen better than my personal favorites – the ever gorgeous and intense, uber talented and fabulous – Maurice Benard and Laura Wright. They represent the best of a long list of actors who work hard everyday to bring their iconic characters to life day in and day out for decades, not just a couple of months. Kudos and thanks! Congratulations, much deserved, long overdue.

Soapluv2010
Soapluv2010

Sorry, “know their stuff”.

Susan
Susan

I am so excited to see this, if our soaps stars are in it. I am 100% thrilled. Finally our soap stars get the credit, they so deserve.

su0000
su0000

If you read the cast of Joy, Sonny is the only one with a charter name, he will be Jared.
The others have no name given to them, they are just listed by their names.
Looks like quite small parts, perhaps? ..

su0000
su0000

sorry..to be character name..

Joanna Caroll
Joanna Caroll

Soap stars have the ‘office jobs’ in acting….reliable, steadfast and they show up on time. Can’t wait to see “Joy!”

Stephanie
Stephanie

Benjamin Hendrickson worked for him years ago so he has always appreciated talent. I’m glad he’s giving them recognition, though more needs to be done.

All My Children

8 Years To The Day Of All My Children & One Life to Live Being Canceled; Still Considered By Many Worst Move For Daytime

It’s hard to believe that 8 years ago today on April 14th, 2011, the soap world, its fans, and the cast members, learned of the heartbreaking news that ABC, in one swift move, decimated its daytime line-up when they announced the cancellations of long running series, All My Children (which would end at its 41st year), and One Life to Live (which would ends its run in its 43rd year).

At the time, ABC announced it would move to more lifestyle/entertainment series to replace these dramas.  In its place came The Chew and The Revolution, neither show is still on the air today.  Executives at that time pointed to research saying that times are changing and that their decision was “guided by extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want,” and blame, in part, “the changing viewing patterns of the audience” for the axing of AMC and OLTL

Then ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons had joked to Deadline about the big announcement that he: “Pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.”  He added that “The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making.  A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go.  When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them.  Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew and The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama.  The way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”  Of note is that when it went off the air, One Life to Live was in third place among its competitors in the ratings.

The press release that came with the cancellations stated: “To honor the core, passionate audience and their rich history both shows will conclude in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Following the cancellations daytime reeled. The mainstream was sure it meant the endings of the soaps, period.  However, four shows illustrated that is not true at all.  For Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless all remain, and still whether they are up or down in their numbers/ratings, they remain relevant and important to the enduring daytime viewing audience.

Sadly, as with any shows, the end of ABC’s AMC and OLTL meant loss of jobs for so many working in front of the camera and behind the scenes. One Life was the last soap opera in production in New York at the time.  AMC was already being shot in LA to cut costs to save it.

Still in 2019, if you venture on to social media, especially Twitter, you see fans constantly missing its stars and the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, wanting this wrong rectified.  Although Prospect Park tried to revive the show with their online versions, eventually after legal battles that went on for a few years, ABC now retains the right to these properties,

The good news is that many favorites from AMC and OLTL have found success and been hired on other soap operas, bringing their followings with them, whether it be on-screen, or in the writing, producing, directing or crew departments.

So, do you think the loss of AMC and OLTL consolidated daytime and made the remaining shows stronger so they would not be touched or canceled?  Do you think ABC should try to mount a resurrected AMC and OLTL or an amalgamation of the two?  Do you remember where you were when you learned the two soaps were cancelled? Was this the worst misstep of all-time for daytime? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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All My Children

George R. R. Martin’s “Leak” Of New Hulu Series WILD CARDS Featuring Eden Riegel, Thorsten Kaye. and Greg Rikkart

April Fool’s Day started off with a bang today when Eden Riegel (Ex-Bianca, AMC) posted a photo of herself with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Greg Rikaart (Ex-Leo, DAYS)  in a very intriguing image.  See above pic!  As it turns out, it’s said to be from behind the scenes from some leaked footage of the upcoming Hulu series, Wild Cards.

The premise of Wild Cards is based on the sci-fi anthology series edited by George R. R, Martin, best known for writing the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels, on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based.  Riegel’s husband, Andrew Miller is the showrunner attached to the upcoming series.

On Martin’s website he teases the set-up of the “leaked” video clip:  “This was not supposed to go public.. Everybody (Well, everybody that has been paying attention knows that we are developing two Wild Cards as a series for Hulu  Andrew Miller has taken the reins as showrunner, a writing staff has been hired, and they have been hard at work for months.  What was NOT supposed to be known is how far they’ve come.  Not only have some scripts been finished, but the first show has gone into production and has been shooting.  That was supposed to be a deep dark secret, however.   We wanted to surprise the world. It’s hard to keep secrets in Hollyweird, however.  And now it appears that some of the rough footage has been leaked by person or persons unknown”

Meanwhile, Riegel sent out a series of tweets: “Hooo boy…cat’s out of the bag! Fans, please don’t judge our show based on these leaked videos!! The effects are going to knock your socks off. And my costars, and , are doing the best work of their lives!”  That was followed by, T”hank you for the chance to work with you on your first foray into soaps! I am humbled and honored. We won’t let you down.” And then, “I’m probably not allowed to share this with all the NDAs I signed, but damnit I’m just so proud of the team!  think we are breaking new ground for soaps. So proud to work with you!”

Now below, check out the Wild Cards “leaked footage” and let us know if you think of the …. um … drama! Comment below.  And one more thing … Happy April Fool’s!

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All My Children

WATCH: All My Children Reunion On Strahan & Sara

On Monday’s episode of ABC’s Strahan & Sara, the show welcomed several stars of the beloved All My Children for a reunion, of sorts. Joining hosts Michael Strahan and Sara Haines were Susan Lucci (Erica), Walt Willey (Jack), Cady McClain (Dixie), Jacob Young (JR) and Jill Larson (Opal).

While it was wonderful to see the stars from Pine Valley again, it was also a painful reminder that this network, ABC, canceled the show, and had put in its place – The Chew, and now Strahan & Sara – since canning the series.   In fact, as you will see on the clips below, many of the crew who work on this talk show were once the crew for All My Children.

During the segment, Susan Lucci was tested to see if she remembered all of Erica Kane’s wedded names.  Later, Walt Willey and Susan re-created the final scene of the ABC version of All My Children between Erica and Jack, where Jack walks out on her.  However, this time, they have Jack changing his mind and coming back to Erica and sealing their relationship with a kiss – a moment of closure that never happened (since the show moved to online via Prospect Park).

In addition, Cady McClain and Jacob Young re-created the infamous Dixie “dying from eating poison pancakes” scene, as JR watches his mother die, only this time she lives.

It’s always great to see these veteran performers, but Strahan & Sara is trying to capture the soap viewers to put eyeballs on their show by bringing in talent from the show that sadly and wrongly went off the air.

Watch the clips below from the All My Children reunion below.  Then, let us know what you thought of it via the comment section below.

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

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