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Michelle Stafford Dishes On Her Brainchild SECRET MIND OF A SINGLE MOM & The Crazy Life Of General Hospital's Nina Clay!

Courtesy/MStafford

The mighty Michelle Stafford’s latest project, Secret Mind of a Single Mom bowed a week ago on NickMom.com to great reviews.  The short episode series follows the two-time Daytime Emmy winner’s first foray into the web with her wildly entertaining series, The Stafford Project.  Now with ‘Secret Mind’, it’s Michelle and her five-year-old daughter Natalia who are front and center in tales that any single mom, or parent, can wrap their head around while raising a child.

From real life circumstances, one can find the humor in life – and that is exactly what Michelle does seemingly effortlessly in ‘Secret Mind’.   As creator, writer, director, and star of the series, Stafford gets to flex all of her talent muscles, and in the process comes up with a winning vehicle that showcases herself and little Natalia!

And, while Stafford is getting the word out on Secret Mind of a Single Mom, this busy chick is also creating havoc as Nina Clay on ABC’s General Hospital!  Where after the GH Live shows, viewers found Ms. Clay married to none other than Ric Lansing (Rick Hearst), while a jilted Franco (Roger Howarth) stood by heartbroken!  Now, with Ric scheming with Nina’s badass mother, Madeline (Donna Mills), will Nina ultimately get duped?  Will Franco rescue her?  Will Nina remain loony tunes after 20 years in a coma?  To get the answers to these questions and more, and insight into her latest project, we chatted with one of our favorite gals, Michelle Stafford for the scoop.  Here’s what she shared!

Courtesy/NickMom

First off, I was smiling watching the four episodes of Secret Mind of a Single Mom, and might I add … your daughter has become quite the actress!

MICHELLE:  Thank you.  Lord help me, Michael. (Laughs)  It’s very tricky working with kids, and then there is an extra dynamic when it’s your own daughter, who doesn’t listen to you. (Laughs)  So there was that, and that was in there and how to deal with it.  But I can say … my daughter knows her comedy! (Laughs)

Not only do you star in ‘Secret Mind’, but you created, wrote, and directed this project.  This has been in the works for a while, this partnership with Nickelodeon.  How did it all come about?

Courtesy/NickMom.com

MICHELLE: Nick Mom, which is part of Nickelodeon, saw The Stafford Project and then they started to check me out, and my social media, which is now a huge part of life, and even getting a job.  So everybody should be very aware of what they put up on their social media.  Nick Mom saw my hash tags, and my Instagram account where I would say #Doinitasasinglechick, and they really felt they lacked telling stories for a single parent, and they really wanted to touch that audience out there too, which there are many, and where they felt there was an untapped audience.  I agree with that.  When I started posting things on my Instagram about being a single parent, just the barrage of comments I got was amazing.  Even if they are married, many women feel, and I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, that they are a single mom!  Many women are like: “Wait a minute. My husband is worthless!  He doesn’t help at all!  I am in this group, too!” (Laughs)  So we developed it, me and Nick Mom, and I just wanted to tell stories of the minutia of being a parent, and have it really speak to any parent, and even for people who don’t have kids.  I want them to say, “This makes me laugh.  I know this, and I understand this.”

Well, there is a reality to it.  These are circumstances we can all pretty much understand, and relate to.

MICHELLE:   I wanted to make this real.  I have so many more things that I wrote down that I would love to use in the series, just as things happen in life. I think to myself, “Oh, my God!  That is hilarious!  I’ve got to remember this!”  So we did four episodes thus far, and if they do well, and if people clamor for more, then we will make more.

Courtesy/NickMom.com

When you did the first episode with Natalia not wanting to eat the sandwich, or the bedroom episode where she is keeping you awake when you are trying to sleep, or the hot guy on the street vignette, what did you think of how your daughter pulled off the performances in those?  Were you giving her direction?

MICHELLE:  I kind of act out what I want her to do, and explain the situation, and try to make it fun, and give her the line reading.  The sandwich episode was the most difficult, and in fact it went back and forth between us a little more than in the final cut, but I thought, “Oh gosh.  This may be too much for her.”  So I changed it around.  We actually rehearsed that one a lot, she and I.  She would be in the tub and I would say, “Hey do you want to run lines?” (Laughs)  I made it really fun, because otherwise who would want to do that? (Laughs)  She knew it was a joke, and she got the joke.  She could not stop laughing in the sleeping one …. to the point where I was getting a little nervous.

So when Natalia had the lines in the hot guy on the street episode going, “My mommy’s hurt.  My mommy’s hurt,” which was hilarious by the way, did you have a moment where you thought this was too hard for her?

Courtesy/NickMom.com

MICHELLE:  No, honestly if it was too difficult for her, I wouldn’t have her do this. Remember when we did that joint interview with Maura West (Ava, General Hospital) for your Daytime Emmy piece, and I said, “Let’s see how my daughter does … or … I may call to have Maura’s daughter Bird be in it!” (Laughs)  I have no problem getting rid of my kid for the good of art! (Laughs)  If Natalia didn’t like it, or didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t allow her to be in it, but she thinks we are playing.  So, you have to keep it like that, as she has no concept of what we are really doing.  Honestly, we have to have strict guidelines on set: such as there is a teacher there at all times, and we have to follow all the rules where kids are concerned because it’s Nick Mom, and the Nickelodeon network is very careful about that.  In addition, anybody working on set had to go through a background check to ensure there are no known pedophiles working on this.  They are very ‘by the book’.

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Has Natalia watched herself in the episodes of Secret Mind of a Single Mom?

MICHELLE:  She has seen herself in it, and she thinks it’s hilarious!  She loves the sleeping one!

What a unique and wonderful experience to share with your daughter, don’t you think?

Courtesy/BroadwayWorld

MICHELLE:  It is cool!  I know there is a small percentage of people who may not think it’s a good idea to be working with your daughter, who is 5-years-old.  Honestly, if my kid did not like doing this, and it’s not fun for her, and if she wasn’t good, I wouldn’t have her to do it.  That’s really the bottom line, and if it was also a miserable experience for her.  Again, I would be calling Maura and asking for Joe West, but I couldn’t afford Joe at this point! (Laughs)

In episode four, in comes this take-no-prisoners babysitter, who charges for every millisecond she has to watch Natalia, while you have to leave for the day.  Who played that babysitter?  She was hilarious!

MICHELLE:  Christine Barger is her name, and I actually asked got her from DAYS casting director Marnie Saitta.  I told her what I wanted, and the description, and she was really helpful.  I wanted someone who was very straight-laced with horned rimmed glasses, and totally humorless! (Laughs)  She was awesome.

Wearing so many creative hats in this project: director, creator, writer, actress, was it daunting when push came to shove?

Courtesy/IMDB

MICHELLE: I watch “Secret Mind” and I see mistakes over the place.  In fact, I remember telling my camera guy I needed to get more coverage on the hot guy.   I also see things I missed as an actress all over the place, and the whole thing is about one minute and a half, and so it’s OK.  It’s not Birdman.  (Laughs)  Thank God for Paige Dorian, because she took care of all of the production aspects of getting people paid, and pulling all the technical stuff together. There was no way I could have done that all by myself.  If we continue to do these, the Paiges are going to write some of them, and Paige Dorian will direct some of them, and Frank Valentini (EP, GH) will direct some.  I would direct the first 8 to 12 just to get the tone in to establish what it is, and so then I can bring in other people to handle the directing of the episodes.  I actually would prefer that.   I am not a micro-manager and I really love collaboration, and so I want other people to direct.

Now, we all loved The Stafford Project.  Will there be a season two in the near future?  What is the status of that show?

MICHELLE:  Really, this is the plan – it is not the easiest thing to do and people are going, “Where is it?  Where is it?”  And I am not annoyed by that at all, and I would do the same thing if there was a show I really liked watching.  I would be going, “Where is it?”   For The Stafford Project, my hope is to get someone else to finance it, and we had some meetings on this, but sometimes our visions haven’t meshed.  We have had a couple companies like something specific in The Stafford Project, and then we will do a whole treatment of it for two seasons and write a few scripts, and then we give it to them, and they will give us as feedback, “Well, what we really want is this…”   And then it really becomes not the same show.   It has happened a couple of times.   That’s what goes on.  I don’t want to sell it just to make money, and it’s not the same show.  None of us want that, and I am speaking for myself and the Paiges.  The thing that people loved about it is what we created.  I think if this project Secret Mind of a Single Mom becomes successful, it might be easier to bring The Stafford Project back.   There are some things we are all good at it in our lives, and know about ourselves, but I know I can tell a good story.   I know how to make someone laugh at my expense.   I’ve always been able to tell a story ever since I can remember, since I was three-years-old and lying to my mom! (Laughs)  I love telling story on GH, too.  I get story and I read through the scripts, and I get what the writers wants.  I feel I am instrumental in helping them get what they want out there through my acting.

What did you think about the GH Live episodes, where you and other cast members were out there on a livewire, sort of speak?

Courtesy/ABC

MICHELLE: I loved it, and people were looking for more screw-ups, actually.  And of course, they are!  So, I thought, “Should I throw a curveball out there on purpose?”  I just was not going to do that to Roger Howarth.  And I just have to say, Roger was amazing in the live shows.  The funny thing is I did not know what was going to be in the two live shows, and we did not see the scripts ‘till about the week before we shot the live shows, and so we had already taped the aftermath of those shows.  And, when I read the scripts I was like, “Oh my gosh.  These are so beautiful”   And then when we played them, Roger played it so beautifully, and I was so affected by it.  The following day I was so bummed out, because I as Nina was supposed to be mean to Franco.  I wish I would have known how he was playing it on the live show, because he was so sweet.

What did you initially think when the powers-that-be told you that your character of Nina would be romantically paired with Roger Howarth’s Franco?

MICHELLE:  They never said they were going to pair us together … never.  I just knew when I worked with Roger, and our ways of working together, and our interaction in scenes, were good.

Were you completely taken by surprise when you found out that Nina was actually marrying Ric Lansing in the GH Live shows, and that you would now be working with Rick Hearst?

Courtesy/MStaffordTwitter

MICHELLE:  It was totally a surprise … and I was like “What????”  They told me Nina was getting married, and I was like, “OK.”  Then they told me, “You are not going to marry Franco.”  I was like “What???”  Then Shawn our wardrobe guy said, “I am glad you are marrying this guy.  You will like this actor.”  And so when he said that, immediately Rick Hearst came to mind, and that was just because the way Shawn started to tell me. Then later when I found out I was like, “Oh, my God!”

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Had you worked with Rick before?

MICHELLE:  No.  Well, he was across the hall at The Bold and the Beautiful when I was at Y&R, and so we were always really good friends.  Rick is a wonderful person, and a wonderful actor.

At this point, do you want the audience to feel bad for Nina … since it appears she is being screwed over by her mother Madeline and Ric, who are in cahoots for Nina’s fortune?

MICHELLE:  I don’t know, honestly, you can feel any way you want.  That is not my job.  But, I am thinking the story is interesting where they are going with it, and what you will see in the next few weeks is really fun to play.  I think Rick Hearst will really shine in the story.

Ultimately, no matter what Nina says or does … she loves Franco, correct?

Courtesy/ABC

MICHELLE:  Oh yeah!  She loves Franco.  First of all, she has been in a coma for 20 years, and she comes out of that, and her husband doesn’t love her anymore, and she is not emotionally together.  She doesn’t know what to do when her husband doesn’t want her anymore, and so she is trying to get him back, and then she realizes it’s over.  And then there is this other crazy-ass guy, and so she really has feelings for him.  She really loves him, and she doesn’t know what to do with it.  I think that is sometimes scary and very true in life that you realize about someone: “Oh, wow! This is real!  This is real love, and I am uncomfortable about it.  I have to run from it.”  I think that is kind of Nina’s reaction to Franco, in that “Someone really cares about me. What do I do now?  I’ve got to leave!”

What do you think about your on-screen nemesis Maura West coming back on to the canvas as Denice DeMuccio (AKA Ava Jerome)?

MICHELLE:  I think it’s great.  I think Maura is playing it, and going for it, and it’s great.  I am a huge fan of Maura’s, and she is amazing, and its fun, and it’s not a doppelganger.

Courtesy/ABC

Eventually, will Nina help takedown Denice?

MICHELLE: We will see.  It might be happening.  Right now the stories are taking left and right turns, and I think you will be surprised.   I hope you’re gonna like it!  Everyone is trying to entertain folks the best they can at GH.

Sometimes on the soaps all stories are working and firing on all cylinders, and sometimes the A story may be working, but the B and C stories aren’t, or the whole show may be disconnected.  I think that is one of the biggest challenges for all four network soap operas.

MICHELLE: You go in with the intention of making everything great.  I watch myself and I will go. “Ooh, that was not the right way to play that.”  It does help me to watch it and check myself and my work.

Will you and Donna Mills (Madeline) be sharing more scenes soon?

Photo Credit: DuffImages.com

MICHELLE:  Yeah, we will!  She is great.   Mom is back.  I just think Donna is very Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People, and I always tell her that.  I think that is the relationship between Nina and Madeline, except that Madeline is more evil.  Donna loves it.  She is fun.  Listen, when I was on Y&R we had actors come on who had never done a daytime soap, and they were at first like, “Well, I don’t know about this.”  And then their story arc would run out, and they would be bummed out, because they wanted to continue.  It’s a fun job!

Some closing thoughts on your awesome latest endeavor: Secret Mind of a Single Mom.  What is the message you want to get out there about creative working women in Hollywood, such as yourself?

MICHELLE:  I want people to know that in Secret Mind of a Single Mom that I directed, wrote, and acted in them, and I only say that because I am a chick in Hollywood.  It’s really important that women are getting recognized for what they are doing.  We have this whole new wave of really talented women, and we always have had a wave of talented women, but in the past they didn’t have a chance in a predominately male industry.  Now we have women coming in and doing great work and we have this wave of funny woman, it’s terrific!

Courtesy/MStaffordTwitter

Everyone has been commenting recently because of ‘Secret Mind’ that you should really get a lead role in a sitcom comedy series.  I think that this concept would also be a fantastic vehicle for you.  Would you want to do one?

MICHELLE: Yes, if it’s funny.  Who would say ‘no’ to that?   That would be the goal, and Nickelodeon has Nick Mom, Nick Junior, Nick at Nite, and they are a monster company, and really a great company to work with.  They are looking for good programming, so if this does well, bottom line on the web, and they continue to garner more views, then if it continues it will expand.  And it could expand on to their primetime channel, which starts on Nick Mom from 8 PM to 12 Midnight.  They have a couple shows that are originals, but they are looking to expand.  Of course, it’s a goal, because if it’s a fun show to do you want to see more of it, and it’s just like when people complain they want to see more of The Stafford Project.  They want to see 30 minutes of it.  They want to see more of it, and that is a great complaint and I love it.  It’s really an exciting time for women, and especially funny women right now in this industry, and people want to read and see pro-female things, and funny things, and I love being a part of it.

What do you think of Michelle’s new online series Secret Mind of a Single Mom? Are you enjoying the concept and seeing Michelle and her daughter Natalia together in the series concept?  What do you will happen next to GH’s Nina Clay … will she see the light and head in the direction of Franco … or, will her mother and Ric Lansing take her for everything she is worth?  Share your thoughts below!

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TimmmGemmaGhloverJenndavlestev1 Recent comment authors
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Ann
Ann

Nothing on Michelle’s recent scenes with Michael Easton. Why is he being left out of so much these days? He’s such an amazing actor, he needs a story of his own. It is disheartening and puzzling. I’ll bet we will hardly see him this Summer. Not cool and not acceptable.

su0000
su0000

It is not there turn..
After Tony exists the stories will start to revolve around others if they are available..
Now, it is Tony’s exit..
After, other stories will develope..

Ryan
Ryan

Really not one of my faves. She is way too over the top for me!

Jenn
Jenn

Why would she mention him? She doesn’t need to mention him or talk him up for his fans. The interview is about her web series and HER role on GH.

su0000
su0000

Michelle wow she is talent !

I am a huge Franco and Nina fan- I luv the two misfits !
they are magic ..

I always look forward to Michelle’s internet projects!! ( good stuff …

Charday
Charday

I still don’t understand why Nina married Ric. It came out of left field for me. GH didn’t lay the groundwork properly.

su0000
su0000

it was a in the moment thing.. no background needed..
it is what it is .. is all 🙂

Rose
Rose

The Ric thing does seem like it’s just pulled out of the air. And a pretty extreme revenge on Franco coming from Nina…she could bare her soul over a drink with her ex, Silas. And he had cheated on her in the past with Ava.

davlestev1
davlestev1

How much groundwork can you lay on a greedy manipulative jerk going after an unstable crazy woman..get in there and get it done fast while her head is still spinning..and the viewers too..LOL

Abruzzfan
Abruzzfan

Loved the series and Nina & Franco!

Jenn
Jenn

Great interview! Looking forward to seeing what’s next for Michelle!

Ghlover
Ghlover

Hmmm off topic here but what if Nathan’s real dad is Madeline’s dead husband…could HE bevthe real heir to the family’s money?

Gemma
Gemma

Another praise filled interview for no reason.

Timmm
Timmm

I just wish Michelle was still on Y&R and playing those scenes with Marco. It would be great! Gina is a good actress but she sucks as Phyllis!

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Kelly Clarkson and Tamron Hall Talkers Debut With Strong Ratings; Hall On GH Friday

The newest talk shows in the daytime arena premiered on Monday and their initial ratings were quite strong. First up was the premiere of Grammy-winner, Kelly Clarkson and her new series The Kelly Clarkson Show.

According to Variety: the NBCUniversal new daytime series scored a 1.9 household metered market rating and a 6 share in the 56 metered markets. That is the highest debut for a new syndicated show since 2012.

Elsewhere, Disney’s Tamron Hall posted a 1.4 household rating and a 5 share, and with that Tamron scored the highest other debut other than Clarkson in the past five years.

Nashville was the most successful and predicted market for Clarkson, the show scored a 5.97 household rating on its premiere day which climbed 7% to a 6.41 on Tuesday.

Hall will be promoting her show with a cameo appearance on this Friday’s episode of General Hospital where she appears in scenes with Ingo Rademacher (Jax).

In a tweet Tamron also promised that on Friday’s episode of her talker she will talk about her “longgggggg #GH love and history.”

So, have you checked out the new Kelly Clarkson or Tamron Hall Shows? What do you think of them? Comment below.

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The General Hospital 16-Episode Collection: ‘All Sonny’s Children’ Debuts

General Hospital fans know that Sonny Corinthos  (Maurice Benard) has fathered a lot of children in Port Charles and then some, and there is even another Corinthos baby on the way.

Now, available on ABC.com and the ABC app (no sign in required) comes a new collection of past GH episodes entitled, ‘All Sonny’s Children’ featuring life-changing moments in the mobster’s life.  The collection is available for viewing today September 9th through December 1st.

Courtesy/ABC

Included in the the 16-episode collection is: Sonny learning the truth about Dante, Michael’s devastating confession, Morgan’s heartbreaking struggles with mental health, Sonny’s unconditional love and support of daughter Kristina, as well as the hesitation and joy that comes with knowing a new baby is on the way.

So, check out the collection and let us know which episodes are your favorites? And, who is your favorite kid of Sonny’s of all-time? Weigh-in below.  But first watch the just released promo for the collection.

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GH’s Michael Easton Talks On Finn’s Hayden-Less Story, Finola Hughes & Favorite Soap Roles

It was a pretty wonky summer for General Hospital’s Dr. Hamilton Finn (Michael Easton), especially concerning the women in his life.  After proposing to Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) she exits to go deal with her twin sister, Alex, thus facilitating Hughes’ summer break from the series.

Meanwhile, another great love of Finn’s life, Hayden (Rebecca Budig) re-emerges on the canvas during Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco’s (Roger Howarth) wedding reception, and is now clearly involved in some story with Jasper Jacks (Ingo Rademacher).  But what about the unresolved feelings and story with Hayden and Finn? After all, she left him and Port Charles and had his child (who is apparently alive) but is not letting her ex know that little fact.

Meanwhile as a doctor, Finn has had to deal with numerous medical infectious disease crisis’, with the latest being what happened to Sasha (Sofia Matteson) at the hands of the evil Cassandra Pierce (Jessica Tuck), who Finn would love to put behind bars for all of her nefarious drug-related crimes and for what she previously perpetrated on him.

Michael Fairman TV recently caught up with one of our favorite gents in daytime, Michael Easton, to get his thoughts on the on-screen developments in Port Charles, what he hopes is ahead this fall, a look back at some of his favorite soap roles (from One Life’s John McBain to Port Charles’ Caleb Morley), why One Life to Live was such a gem of a soap and a special time for him and his enduring soap career, and much more.  So, here’s what Michael shared in our irreverent entertaining, and candid chat.

Photo: ABC

Hayden has been back.  But you and Rebecca Budig have not thus far shared many scenes together.  Do you think we will eventually circle back to their story?

MICHAEL:  First of all, it is amazing having Rebecca back.  I’d like to say that I had forgotten how beautiful and talented she is, but I didn’t.  She stays with you, and her performances resonate.  So, coming back to work with her is like falling back into it.  For selfish reasons, I am somewhat disappointed that I thought when Hayden came back; she would completely turn Finn’s life upside down.  So, to be honest with you, I don’t know much more than what you are seeing is going on.

I don’t understand why the show is keeping that apart.  That’s what people wanted to see when Hayden came back, because many fans loved them together.

MICHAEL:  I’ve taken a hit anytime I’ve run into fans because I think (any fans that follow that couple), when they left, are a little disappointed in what they are seeing in that the girl who left is not the girl who has come back.  I think that has been the difficult thing for Finn.  It’s almost like she has reverted back to a character she was a few years prior to that.  In terms of having his life upturned, it hasn’t been upturned because she has been rather cold to him.  So, it probably isn’t the way I would have told the story, but maybe they have some great stuff up their sleeve.  I think the stuff that we have had together has shown promise.  Hopefully there will be more, because I enjoy working with her so much.

So, there’s a baby.  Does Finn ever think the baby Hayden said died, could be alive?

MICHAEL:  I don’t think he does.  I think he (just from Finn’s nature) would believe that she would never to that to him.  I imagine his thought would be, “What did I ever do to you?  You would do this to me,” because he was clearly in love with her, and she broke his heart.  I don’t think he ever sees that coming.  I know it’s hard because the audience all knows that, and it’s hard to play the person who is not in the loop when everybody else knows the truth, but you have to play that.  You have to play that you don’t watch the show.  I think Finn has to come from that place that she would never do that, and I think that will probably take it to a place (if that is the case) that will just make the fall that much grander, but again it is incredible having Rebecca back.

Photo: ABV

Has Rebecca said anything to you like, “What’s going on?  I’m barely talking to you on the show?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Yes.  I don’t want to speak for her, but I think she probably thought it was going to be more the character that left who was coming back.  I think we’ve all been a little surprised, but maybe the writers have some great surprises up their sleeves, and this will play out.  It’s just different than I thought it would play out.

Finola Hughes had gone off on her summer vacation for awhile which put a pause in what’s next for the Anna and Finn romance, as well.

MICHAEL:  Well, you work with me long enough, and then you need some time off, right?  It’s like PTSD, right?  You need a three-month treatment plan to make it back.  So, I don’t blame her for taking some time off. (Laughs)

Finn proposed to Anna with this impromptu-at-her feet-moment at the Nurses’ Ball.  Did you like the proposal?

MICHAEL:  The only thing that I would have done differently is that I originally thought she said no, just because I love playing uncomfortable, embarrassing moments.  I would have had a lot of fun with that because being embarrassed in front of groups of people is something that I would like to play.  I do that quite often in my own life. (Laughs)  I didn’t watch it back, but in the moment, it felt really nice.  She’s lovely.  Who wouldn’t propose to her?  So, there wasn’t a great deal of difficulty in doing that.

Photo: ABC

Do you sense the on-screen magic between Finn and Anna?  

MICHAEL:  I hope we both bring each other out of our comfort zones a little bit.   I think Finola embraces that, and I embrace that.  I think we both sort of pull each other a little bit.  When the writers write it that way, especially early on, there was a lot of great dialogue and banter, it was like a very adult-type of movie for a while, and I really enjoy that.  It is like Sullivan’s Travels or something like that.  That’s a really dated reference.  Who else do you know that is going to pull out a reference to Preston Sturges movies?  (Laughs) How about Moonlighting?  Even that might be dated now, but it’s closer.  (Laughs)  I think that’s it.  She’ll go with it.  Sometimes just in the flow of it, stuff comes out, and nothing goes by Finola.  There is no ad-lib or gesture that you can make where she won’t go with you on it.  She’s such a pro, and she is so good at that.

Photo: JPI

You’re both smart actors, in a way.  

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MICHAEL:  She’s smart.  She’s really smart.   She’s extra smart, and I’m a little bit under, (laughs) and she balances us out.

Do you think Finn will finally help apprehend Cassandra?  How is it when you get to work with Jessica Tuck?

MICHAEL:  Yeah.  I would imagine.  I love Jessica.  I think she is fantastic, and I always like when the “bad guy” doesn’t know they’re the bad guy.  I know when I played Caleb on Port Charles; one of the things I liked about him was that he never thought he was the bad guy.  I think that is always the right way to play a bad guy, and Jessica certainly doesn’t play it that way.  She plays it like she is just really devious.  She is lovely. I sort of look at it like a team, and anytime you lose good players, your team is not as good.  So, anytime someone says something about someone coming back who is a really good actor, it’s great when they come back.

Photo: JPI

How does Finn feel now about his brother, Chase (Josh Swickard)?  He just can’t seem to get himself to show his affection towards his younger brother.

MICHAEL:  He does love him, and that’s right.  That’s the conflict, but it’s hard to be mad at Josh because he is the sweetest kid.  He looks at you with those big brown eyes, and you go, “Why am I being such a jerk to this guy?  He’s just too nice, but it’s good.  I think we’ve slowly developed a rapport, and it’s just one of those things that I think every so often, daytime gets right where you can almost tell something in real time.  It wasn’t rushed.  It’s taken a year, and they are sort of coming around to one another, but there are still a lot of secrets.  That’s coming up.

Photo: ABC

Where would you rate Finn in the scope of your characters?  I mean, for me, McBain will always be #1.

MICHAEL:  Is McBain 1?  (Laughs)  You and Steve Burton (Jason, GH).  I’ve never sat and ranked them. Obviously, I played McBain the longest, and it was probably the character who was the most like me I did ride-alongs with cops in New York City for like a month.  So, I was able to ground him in some reality for myself, and I was able to stick to that.  We had a great adviser on the show for over a year who was a former New York City detective, gold shield guy.  Someone once asked why the police department was so good at One Life, and that was it.  They really embraced it.  We didn’t have people sneaking out of the jail-cell with a bobby pin picking the lock. (Laughs)

It was a bit grittier on One Life.

MICHAEL:  I enjoyed that.  McBain not saying “I love you” for 10 years, being on daytime and being able to do that – now that is quite the accomplishment!

Photo: JPI

I remember when McBain FINALLY told Natalie (Melissa Archer) “I love you.” I lost it, but then again, I am sucker for soapy goodness like that. It was a big moment.

MICHAEL:  It was.  Then, he had to kind of retract it and said, “I was drugged.”

Yeah right, he had that “What did I do?” moment.

MICHAEL:  “What did I do?”  That’s right.  So, that was a challenge, and that was really interesting.  Port Charles’ Caleb was probably the most fun to play because that was just an incredible amount of freedom.  There was no grounding it in anything.  It was the biggest sandbox I’d ever played in.  If you wanted to walk over to the couch, you walked over to the couch.  You did whatever you wanted to, and obviously, getting to work with the lovely Kelly Monaco (Ex-Livvie, Port Charles, now Sam, GH) every day… it was just nice.  Caleb only had one intention.  He was in love with this girl, and he just wanted to be with her, and anytime you get one specific need as an actor, it makes it so easy. You’ll stop at nothing to be with this girl, and that’s so fun to play.

Photo: ABC

Right, and Kelly Monaco and you have amazing chemistry when you have been paired romantically together in story.

MICHAEL:  Yeah, I think those things exist in a special place, and they probably belong in that special place.  Although, I thought it was an interesting dynamic for a period of time, it would have been interesting to see where that would have gone on GH with McBain, and Jason, and Sam, because there was something there that they could have built on very slowly.  I don’t know what would have happened, but I think that dynamic was the only dynamic that could have worked for a period of time.   I don’t think Fin would work, but that one dynamic would have been interesting when you have the cop, the outlaw, and the girl who comes between them.

Photo: ABC

One Life to Live recently would have celebrated its 51st anniversary if it was still on the air.  Back in July, I posted these photos of major characters through the years.  I received so many “likes” and so many comments on social media such as, “I miss it so much. Bring it back!”  What can you say about those enduring One Life fans and being part of that one-of-a-kind show?

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MICHAEL:  They’re the most beautiful fans.  All of the daytime fans are beautiful, but I think it was a really nice connection with the One Life to Live fans, and we got to know so many of them working in New York on the streets, you came out of the studio, and people were right there.  So, you really got to know them.  You got to engage with people.  I love that show, and I miss it.  Otherwise, I still stay in touch with a lot of them.  I think that speaks to it.  I have lifelong friends who I met on that show, which never happens.  Usually, you walk out of a show on your last day, and you’ll never see anybody again.  You’ll all say, “Yeah, let’s exchange numbers.”  I walk out of there and I go, “Thank you, and I’ll never see you again.”  I don’t even lie to people.  Like, I know I’ll never see you again, and I never have except for that show, and I am still in touch with so many of those people.  So, I think that spoke to how close we were.

Photo: JPI

Were you and Roger Howarth (Franco/Drew) always close on One Life, or are you closer now because you do all of the personal appearance events you do together?

MICHAEL:  Well, Roger and I have known each other; it must be going on… 25-30 years now.  So, it was pre-One Life.  I think at some point we both had long hair, and both had done daytime, so we were pretty interchangeable.  I think one time they called him about a part I did, and one time, they called me about a part when he left.  I actually know Roger because I did a series called 413 Hope St., and Jesse Martin was the lead in it.  It was a Damon Wayans series for Fox.  So, I had known of Roger, but I really got to know him at a New Year’s Eve party in like 1995/96.  Obviously, I’ve become really close to him now because we never did appearances or that sort of thing, but I think we have both sort of gotten over ourselves a little bit now. (Laughs)

Because you weren’t very visible before.  That goes for both of you!

MICHAEL:  No, and that’s by default.  I don’t think we ever discussed it.

Photo: ABC

It wasn’t a conscious decision?

MICHAEL:  No, I just thought (especially when I came back to daytime to do Caleb) it was just more interesting if people didn’t know a lot about me because the character was that.  So, it took me a while to ease into it, and also, I just had to get over myself.  I had a fear of engaging with large groups of people for a while.  In a strange way, Roger and I have kind of gravitated to each other.  I think we are both similar types.  Between the two of us, we make up one real man, you know?  Each of us is like half a man. (Laughs)

Together you can conquer.

MICHAEL:  We are a good crutch for each other!  He picks up my half, I pick up his.  That’s the solution.

So what do you think GH viewers can look forward to coming up with Finn?

MICHAEL:  I’m assuming at some point he is going to get his world turned upside down when he finds out about Hayden and the baby, and how he is going to react to that will probably be interesting.  I hope that’s going to happen.

Photo: ABC

If he became an addict again, how would you feel about that?

MICHAEL:  I think him struggling and getting over that would be interesting.  I would hope that wouldn’t be his reaction, but I guess that always hangs over your head.  Certainly, him falling apart would be interesting.  I think your faith in the universe would be crushed in that moment.  I don’t know how he would react.  I’m just really curious to see how that would shake out and to play that.  I think it would be a challenge.  I think you’re always looking for some way to turn everything … and I invite that.  I always think that sometimes in daytime we play the gimmick, but you should always play to the heart of the story.  What’s going to make you feel something?  If you feel something as the character, as the actor, I think the audience will feel something with you.  I think it is maybe one of the things that we have gotten away from a little bit is that emotional attachment.  When I watch shows that really move me, it’s still that emotional attachment between two people, and at the end of the day it should still be a love story … no matter what it is.   I think that is the heart of what we should be doing.  I think every poem should be a love poem of some sort.  I know they have to weave the other stuff, the science fiction, and the memories, and the missing babies, and the twins, but at the heart of it, it should really be about two people finding themselves in love.

Are you working on graphic novels, movies?

MICHAEL:  I’m always doing something, Michael.  It keeps me balanced, and it keeps me from losing my mind.

Photo: JPI

Will you be producing and directing any new short films?

MICHAEL: Trevor St. John (Ex-Todd/Victor Lord Jr. OLTL) and I are always talking about doing a short film.  Every time we drink too much beer, next thing you know, we are going to be doing a movie.  We have many beers, and then we shoot a film.  Then, we call our friends like Kamar de los Reyes (Ex-Antonio, OLTL), and Sherri Saum (Ex-Keri, OLTL), and Dan Gauthier (Ex-Kevin OLTL), and we go, “Now you guys, drink many beers, and you will join us on this film.”

See, now I get how movies are made!  

So, are you hoping that GH tells more of the story between Finn and Hayden?  Are you hoping that Anna and Finn make it to their “I do’s? What would you like to see happen to Finn? And finally, of all Michael’s soap roles which has been your favorite? Share your thoughts 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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