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Michelle Stafford Interview: What To Look For During General Hospital's Live Shows!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Harkening back to soap opera’s humble beginnings, when they were broadcast live across the country, ABC’s General Hospital is set for a two-day network television event when GH goes LIVE from its ABC Prospect Studios in Hollywood.  Under the direction of executive producer Frank Valentini, who was also a key part of One Life to Live’s successful live week back in 2002, General Hospital is set to deliver major story revelations and surprises when it goes live next Friday, May 15th, and the following Monday, May 18th.  Be on the lookout for a wedding, someone getting caught in the crossfire, twists and turns … and secrets!

Daytime Emmy Award winning actress Michelle Stafford is one of the key members of the cast that will be part of the action, and as she teases to On-Air On-Soaps, even she was shocked when she found out what was going to happen to her character of Nina Clay during the live shows.  So just how is this all going to be pulled off?  Do you think it will go off without a hitch, or will someone make a major flub?  Whatever the case, the cast will certainly be put through its paces, as they actually will be performing two sets of live shows back-to-back each day to air in most time zones (West Coast will get the playback of the live show).  During our chat, Michelle shares some insight about working with her scene partner Roger Howarth (Franco) during the live shows, and how she is looking forward to having more scenes in the future with Nina’s nemesis’: her mother Madeline (Donna Mills), and of course, Ava Jerome (Maura West).

So, GH fans fasten your seat belts!  The daytime drama series is touting that the live shows will truly propel the stories further, where anything and everything can happen live!  To be part of the conversation, make sure to join use #GHLive via social media during the two-episode event.  Here now is what Michelle shared to give us a glimpse into what’s ahead when GH goes live!

Michelle, you are the official General Hospital Live Shows representative! (Laughs)  What are your thoughts about GH tackling two live episodes?

Courtesy/ABC

MICHELLE:  I think it’s amazing.  I am really excited about it, and I think its going to be fun.  Obviously, I am in it! (Laughs)  Actors love this … we are crazy people.   We love walking on a tight-wire.  When I heard about the live shows I was told I was in it at the same time they told me what I was doing in it.  I was like “WHAAT?”  They told me what was happening and I thought, “Cool!”  Then they told me how it was happening, and I went, “Wait! What?”   They surprised me and I don’t get surprised.  You, Michael Fairman, and everyone will go, “Wait! What?”  And I will tell you this … no one saw it coming.  You definitely will not see it coming, but maybe, you will be pleased by it.  I have a feeling, you, Michael Fairman; will be like, “Wait!  How are they going to do this?”  I think then after that you will go, “Whoa,” and then I think you will say, because I know you, “OK, well this could go this way, or this could go this way.”

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Are you in scenes with Roger Howarth (Franco) during it?

MICHELLE:  Yes, and then based on something I said to our head writer Ron Carlivati, he wrote a scene based on something I suggested between me and somebody else.  And I went, “Oh, my God. This is amazing!”

At this point, what do you think is happening with Nina?  Where is she at in her mind and in her life, and with Franco?

Courtesy/ABC

MICHELLE:  She is trying to make things work and she is a damaged little girl.  Nina is really in love with Franco, and completely in love.  I like the dynamic and what the Nina character does to the Franco character.  We definitely see a different side of Franco.  Roger Howarth is such a good actor and he is a leading man.  He is very beautiful and sensitive the way that he plays his character.  I think it’s interesting that the two of them are criminals and they’re crazy, and they’re off.  But I think there is this really interesting element that they find this beautiful and romantic love between them.  You will see a lot of that in the live shows, and the romantic side of their relationship.

I am sure Roger was thrilled to do the live shows because he is so spontaneous anyways during his scenes!

MICHELLE:  Yes, he is.  They have certainly given him quite the challenge.  I think three people are really challenged during the live shows, and Roger is one of them.  We are all challenged, but three different people, in my estimation, reading the scripts back and forth I was like “Wow! That is some tough stuff you gotta do live!”

How are the live shows being rehearsed?  What is the schedule for the cast?

Photo Credit: DuffImages.com

MICHELLE:  We are rehearsing all day next Thursday, and then Friday we do the shows.  Then we rehearse after that and into the evening, and then I am supposed to be at Nadia Bjorlin’s (Chloe, DAYS) wedding that my daughter Natalia is in.  So, Natalia will be going.  She will be Uber-ing there. (Laughs)  I am kidding!  She won’t be Uber-ing. (Laughs)  But, I will go be able to attend Nadia’s wedding reception, obviously.

Don’t you think the audience and the GH fans want to see someone screw up during the live shows?

MICHELLE:  Don’t you?   Do you want to see a screw up … or, do you want to say, “I think a person just screwed up their lines?”  Seriously, there are a couple of areas I can pretend that I totally screwed up, and the audience will go, “Was that intentional, or not?”

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When One Life to Live did their live week, which is the archetype for the GH shows, it went very smoothly, actually.

Photo Credit: ABC

MICHELLE:  It will probably go smooth, because you know how we shoot.   We basically have the mindset of being live every day.  We go up on our lines sometimes.  But because we have all these rehearsals, we will all be perfect on our dialog.  We will be rehearsing all day Thursday from early morning to late morning.  I also, which drives some of my co-stars crazy, throw stuff out there at the last minute and see if they can catch it.  Some of my co-stars dig it, and some of my co-stars don’t dig it so much.  I think underneath they do dig it, and they may make fun of me, but I think they like the challenge.

Maura West and you, as Ava and Nina have been so amazing in scenes together.  Do you think at some point GH will pick back up that on-screen vendetta, and the two of you will have more scenes together?

Courtesy/ABC

MICHELLE:  I am sure we will.  Those two women are not at a good place with each other, but there is simpatico between them, even though Nina hates her!  I don’t think she will ever be supportive of her.

Donna Mills (Madeline) is back at General Hospital!  At the Daytime Emmys she revealed that this time out, she thinks viewers will learn more as to why Madeline is the way she is.   What are your thoughts on Madeline and Nina’s mother/daughter steely relationship, especially as we head into Mother’s Day this weekend? (Laughs)

MICHELLE:  Donna and I were talking, and there was a moment in a scene when I decided to hug her and she doesn’t do anything.  She just stands there. This was stuff that aired months ago.  I thought that was such a good moment and so “Ordinary People” that Mary Tyler Moore moment in the film.  I said, “That’s their relationship!”  I also said to Donna the other day that we should discuss with Ron and Frank (Valentini) what are the elements that make up these women.  We saw the first part of their relationship, but now I think the audience wants to know:  What is up with Nina and why is she this way?  Why is Madeline like this?  Why do they hate each other?  What did happen between them?  I think you want to see that to bring a human element to these characters.

So, what do you think about General Hospital’s upcoming live shows? What do you think is going to happen to Nina Clay during it?  Who will get married?  Who will get caught in the crossfire?  Are you rooting for Franco and Nina to stay together?   Comment below on what Michelle previewed during our chitchat!

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Lou Piikes
Lou Piikes

Franco and Nina are cuckoo for cocoa puffs. They both can star in their version of two people who flew over the cuckoos nest.

Stefan
Stefan

Agreed

brenda byrd
brenda byrd

Agreed

CeeCee
CeeCee

Maybe…but I am completely under their spell. I love this couple to the moon and back.
It is time for Michelle to be an adult, writers!!! Show her stuff, now!!! Tout-de-suite.
I am so happy she is finally appearing on the GH stage as I am accustomed to see her. Stylishly dressed and in-your-face esprit. And, that willowy figure? Wow!!
I am thankful that Ms Mills is coming back. We need to understand the dynamics between mother and daughter. I do think there is love there, but obviously something went awry for having created this angst…this antagonism…this distance between them.
Maddie’s stay will not be prolonged, so I hope she and Nina will finally let it all out…whatever it is. Nina will be much more receptive at this point, yes? I mean, she is ‘cured’, yes?
This is one storyline I await with excitement and hope for a very very happy ending. Well, I would love to have Kristen back as Kiki, and for her to be Nina’s long, lost baby. There is always the possibility that Maddie is back for this very tumultuous revelation.

CeeCee
CeeCee

As I re-read my post I realized that I did not make clear that the rift between Nina and her mother must have existed pre-coma. The contempt and repugnance which we have witness from Nina toward her mother after her “awakening” ( in more ways than one), that is; Nina is now aware of what her mother did to her and her baby, is merely only one reason, albeit the biggest.
This enmity and resentment goes deep into the past….perhaps as far as when Nina was still a child. I think Maddie kept Nina under lock and key ( figuratively speaking) as a child and beyond. I also believe that Nina went through something very traumatic ….thus, the childlike behavior.
However, we are beginning to see a more mature Nina….a more stable Nina; contrary to Shay’s estimation…LOL. Okay , Shay, I can practically see your ears perk up….I can hear your brain thinking of a fitting response…double LOL.
Just teasing, Shay, girl! I do hope she will not be recast, though. Michelle has too much to offer, …..Timmm said it for me. All she needs is a ‘custom-made’ storyline with the right dialogue and the right direction.
I have watched her in action since I was a young teen……she has always wowed me, even as a starry-eyed kid. And, albeit the fact that Harry believes that Gina Tognoni represents the Phyllis character in a better light than Michelle, I must respectfully disagree. Gina overacts….tries too hard. Her dramatic entrance and departure into and from a scene are forced….a spectacle, not spectacular. But, Michelle’s Phyllis? Oh my!….the natural fluidity of her motions……the flair in which she exited a room caught and held the viewer’s attention…one could not help follow those sinewy, feline movements. I wanted to be her…!! Regrettably I stopped growing …LOL.

Patrick
Patrick

“… I am completely under their spell. ”

ditto

Michelle Stafford and Roger Howarth… are their own show… and magnanimous

triumphant

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Maybe there will be flubs on the live show that will be more entertaining than the flubs on the taped shows…lol…soooooo many dead eps so i look forward to the live ones…lol…i suppose Franco and Nina will get married—hope Heather is their and cuts the wedding cake and Ninas throat…lol…OMG, i sound like su talking about Sharon and Y&R…lol

su0000
su0000

aha!
Jimh, good one lol
I luv Franco and Nina !!!
they are an interesting, intriguing, entertaining couple..
Franco and Nina are indeed totally out of the box of soap couple (a rare couple) a rare love ..
Roger and Michelle are magic together..

Roger is a humorous guy, I’m sure he will give us some of his own throwin words lol

CeeCee
CeeCee

What you said, Su.
I love this couple.
I am still patiently waiting for the Kiki reveal..

Torqumada
Torqumada

No one – no one – brings crazy like Heather and I love crazy.

She’s been a great add. Looking forward to what’s next.

AJQ
AJQ

Sorry, but this interview reinforces everything I dislike about Franco and Nina and a lot of it stems from the actors and their approach. I don’t like watching schtick and that’s what I see, actors doing schtick. It takes them out of the character and it makes the character less believable if believable at all.

That is evidenced when Ms. Stafford says “there are a couple of areas I can pretend that I totally screwed up, and the audience will go, “Was that intentional, or not?” If that is the reaction you are going for, you are no longer presenting a character to the audience, you are an actor doing stuff and relating to the audience outside of the character. That may work if you’re doing skits on SNL. It’s the same thing with Howarth.

When she says she drives some of her co-stars crazy because she likes to just throw stuff out there, to see if her co-stars can handle it, it tells me even more. It’s one thing to improvise a bit, but if it is driving your scene partners crazy, you’re doing it wrong. There needs to be give and take and how often do we hear actors talk about other actors being “generous” and “giving.” Throwing things out there to “test” your co stars is neither and the fact that she admits that most don’t like it, tells you something.

jb44
jb44

I couldn’t disagree with you more. Nina and Franco are magical together. When they are on, I never fast forward. I hope the writers figure out a way to redeem their characters. Roger Howarth and Michelle Stafford are two of the best actors on television. They are so spontaneous and never seem to be just reciting lines, like some of the other actors. I can’t get enough of them.

su0000
su0000

AJQ..
Michell was referring to the ”live” show ..
Not the day to day regular shows ..

Ann
Ann

I wanted to see Michael Easton in the live shows. I guess not. Where Is Dr Silas Clay? I and a bunch of his fans want and need to know why he is not being used more.

GH-er
GH-er

I’m wondering about this, too. Silas is not integrated into the GH canvas at all and I can’t figure out why.

Love Franco but cannot abide the Nina character – still, I am looking forward to GH live. I think it will be fun to watch.

Sllison
Sllison

Can’t wait for the live show excited and looking forward to it wonder who will get married wow excited.

Kalle
Kalle

As I heard of the live episodes, I thought they’d show other actors from GH. So it’s going to be about Nina and Franco. Would they stick to their lines? The episode is going to be different, I am sure.

Stefan
Stefan

Really do not care for Stafford’s character at all.

Kevin
Kevin

Laughing at Michelle’s responses above… at times, she sounds like Nina magically thinking out loud! 🙂 Looking forward to what they all have in store. BREAK A LEG, ALL!

Lady Truth
Lady Truth

I like Nina and Franco and I was rooting for them but I think their relationship is going to be over very soon. I think both characters will be moving on to other people.

Timmm
Timmm

Michelle is SO talented. I hope they figure out how to properly write her. She alludes to being shocked on her character twist so maybe they are re imagining Nina Clay?

Shay
Shay

Sorry, Timmm, but the only way to “reimagine” Nina is to recast her….an action of which I would heartily approve!!!! (I know, I know…..you won’t like this suggestion, nor will CeeCee!!!! LOL….)

Timmm
Timmm

Well Shay, I loved Michelle on Y&R BUT she is really talented and would want to keep her. However, this is one of Frank’s few miscues, the character Nina is a bust! They either figure out how to use her or send her packing. No recast. Same with Franco. I hate that character but love Roger.

Rod
Rod

Of course the west coast gets screwed again

janet
janet

I think I will skip it. So far the characters I don’t care about are the ones going to appear. So Michaelle and Howarth both throw stuff out. No wonder I just FF all their scenes.

ediebailey
ediebailey

Thanks for this great interview. I love Franco and Nina. Roger Howarth and Michelle Stafford are daytime legends and have formed a truly magical soap opera super couple (and they haven’t even made love yet). Having followed Roger in daytime for over 20 years, he is my main reason for watching GH and I have sorely missed seeing Franco and Nina recently. Last we saw, she actually threw him out of their Metro Court suite. Therefore, it’s wonderfully reassuring to read Michelle’s view points on the state of their relationship. Nothing would be more marvelous than to witness Franco and Nina exchanging wedding vows on the upcoming live shows!!! Michelle and Roger are absolutely phenomenal performers and their characters deserve more screen time and a long reign as General Hospital’s #1 love story!!! Thanks again.

ediebailey
ediebailey

Mea Culpa: I forgot the salient fact that Nina is still married to Silas Clay so there cannot be any nuptials between Nina and Franco at this point.

Plus, it seems that Franco and NIna are currently scripted for a rather stormy relationship scenario including insults, mistrust and seeking forgiveness.
Again, sorry for my mistake.

Patrick
Patrick

“… Nina is really in love with Franco, and completely in love. I like the dynamic and what the Nina character does to the Franco character. We definitely see a different side of Franco. Roger Howarth is such a good actor and he is a leading man. He is very beautiful and sensitive the way that he plays his character. ”

this is thee answer: and, why… this pair is leading

it’s two powerhouses… who, are worth waiting for… but… at the same time… are taking too long! and it’s more for MS’.

GH has supercouples … moving :

Nikolas and Hayden : are stirring ALL my senses !!!! YES… keep them! Tyler Christopher is dynamic… welcome Rebecca Buddig.. isn’t she the teasingly “dangerous” counterpart to Nikolas stamina… and world turns his way

Jake and Liz: romance… love… teasing… force … being a part of something
that they can’t control? they have already solidified this twosome… when Jake finds out… it won’t matter… his heart already knows… draw this out GH production… just to see Rebecca Herbst layer !!! fiesty, fierce, foible, bitch back… take us with her

Franco and Nina : GET THIS PAIR trusting each other… and loving each other… with lust, fire, passion, unrequited !!! it’s them against the world… and they’ll win

do it now!!!! Mac and Felicia forefront frontburner… take the time to figure out a story for these two… it’s history veteran magic… I love them…. Felicia

sigh! I dont’ know yet what’s going on with Duke… tears… couples who have it… and if this is Anna tragic … then i’m in… just wish … WISH it was not at the expense of thee forever Ian Buchanon

Carly and Ric Lansing : !!!! ??? huh? whats to figure ? this works… I don’t know… you can’t tell me… with this new team… of RC/FV that they;ve done anything worthwhile with Carly…

i’m sorry that Wally Kurth’ Ned is leaving the show… i’m sorry that it’s at the demise ?? and expense once again… of Lisa LuCicero’ FUN from the bronx… Olivia… she would be so MUCH BETTER with Julian… than will tread over and over… Alexis…

MORGAN: with? Ava…. recast kiki… with Kelly Missal ! please… you want sexual

Brad and Lucas : dang ! it works for me… where’s that waterfront clinic… so Lucas can be featured more… make Brad a nurse along with lab tech… just to see these two working together

couple w/ honorable mention??? just not on the same tier as above mention

Sean and Jordan
Maxie and Nathan
Lulu and Dante

potential : I like Sabrina w/Michael… tone down his machismo… and loud behaviour like Carly… just doesnt add up….

I LOVE Michelle Stafford and Roger Howarth

Patrick
Patrick

Ava and Silas : sure, why not… a mature relationship… that Ava will route… because she’s recuperating, on the mend, and all she knows is her daughters… and fills Silas with….

but… once up and running… she runs in to Sonny ! LOL

if GH has to keep Sonny… he does work it with Ave(s) (2)

Patrick
Patrick

dang! (Jon Lindstrom) Kevin

and : Brandon Barash : Johnny Z

would be good RIGHT about now

Patrick
Patrick

” I “love” Carlos”

Jeffrey Vincent Parise

can do it

drama, comedic, foible… mix… draw… turn… and dang! all of it

I see Carly , Sabrina, Rosalie.. Valerie… Ava…

LOL any one missing…

the guys gush about him… ie: the actors … in SOD issue

Patrick
Patrick

ie: can you imagine : if Kiki was again recast with the acclaimed Kelly MIssal

should blew me away on the nuOLTL

she acts gangbusters and takes

as Dani, she had two of the best fathers…. Todd and Victor…. or vice versa

dynamic stuff

picture her on GH as Kiki… her OWN two mothers… Ava and Nina

???

POWERful scenes and big time stuff

CeeCee
CeeCee

Oh, my gosh, Patrick! Kelley Missal would be perfect. Why didn’t I think of her? I loved her as Dani…how ironic though, …. Starr’s sister !

Nick D.
Nick D.

Can’t get enough of Nina and Franco. Hope Ron finds a way to integrate them into some of the main storylines so they are not always off to the side as they have been for some time. They deserve to be front and center along with the likes of Sonny, Carly, Jake, Liz, Nikolas, etc.

Patrick
Patrick

I don’t know about “integrating” them … as these two are so heated, disliked by all of Port Charles

I posted about : Franco (aka Todd) owning or taking over that magazine or newspaper ??? was it “the Crimson magazine” that he tookover from Connie ???

why not have Franco and Nina …. as a newspaper team… magnates …. in your face Port Charles residents… nothing goes unnoticed by this duo… as this commanding duo “learn” report … and use to their advantage … and build an empire that only these two should

Nick D.
Nick D.

I like that idea a lot. Not sure TPTB would be willing to put Franco in charge of a newspaper because they’re still embroiled in the Todd/Starr/McBain lawsuit, but if they made Nina the owner and Franco a reporter that would work.

CeeCee
CeeCee

I think that would be a great storyline, Patrick. Once Nina recovers her assets, the sky’s the limit.
I would love to see her and Franco as a team in the workplace.
Furthermore, what Nick D. said.

Patrick
Patrick

I should rephrase that… as these two powerhouses… irregardless of like or wont

will take over

LOL

once the court frees up Nina’ inheritance…

there’s no stopping this magical duo….. can’t wait

Jenn
Jenn

Happy to see my new favorite couple Nina and Franco will bit on the live shows! Can’t wait the watch!

Jason W
Jason W

So Michelle Stafford said she likes to “throw stuff out there at the last minute” Kind of like that time she SPIT in Victoria Rowell’s face on The Young & Restless….hmm ok girl

Elaine
Elaine

I know that Roger Howarth will be totally awesome. He was great on OLTL when it went live so I know in my heart he will be awesome again. He is a professional, I am so curious who the other two who is to be challenged in this show. Can’t wait to see it. I love this show and love Roger.

Linda
Linda

Love Roger, do not like Nina at all!!

Jeanne Meurer
Jeanne Meurer

I am pumped over the live shows. Only thing, wish we could have seen it here on the west coast. Am sure,
everything will go smoothly, because they the players are terrific in their roles, and the audiences all over will have a blast. Thank you Messrs Valentini and Carlivati for your genius

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Lucas Gives Wiley To Michael; While Willow Learns the Devastating Truth

Friday’s episode of General Hospital, brought the highly-emotional moments viewers had been waiting for all-week long; following the year and a half reveal that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) and Brad (Parry Shen) engineered a baby switch with Willow’s (Katelyn MacMullen) dead baby, Wiley being passed off as Michael (Chad Duell) and Nelle’s newborn, Jonah, and Jonah being raised by Brad and Lucas (Ryan Carnes) as Wiley.  Now with the truth out, it was time for two of the heaviest beats of the story to be played out.

When Willow comes to at the hospital with Chase (Josh Swickard) by her side, needless to say she is dazed and freaking out that Nelle took Wiley.  Chase tells her he has some things to tell her and it’s not going to be easy to hear. Willow braces herself and then Chase tells her the story of the baby switch and how her baby died a SIDS death while at Brad and Lucas’ and then how the babies were switched.

Photo: ABC

In a heartbreaking and powerful performance from Katelyn MacMullen (yes, she is our pick for “Power Performance of the Week”), Willow struggles to come to grips with the truth and starts to realize all of Brad’s machinations, as she thinks back to herself how could she do that to her son … to trust him with Brad, only to have the little infant die.  The devastation played by MacMullen, whose Willow, now must realize her baby never lived the full and happy young life she thought, was gut-wrenching.

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Meanwhile, in yet another top-notch performance, William deVry (Julian) showed the pain and the need to unburden himself as Julian talks to his sister. Ava (Maura West) and spills what happened.   He goes so far to admit to Ava that he knew what Brad had done. Ava cannot believe he did not go to Sonny (Maurice Benard) right away with this Intel, but Julian just could not do this to his son, Lucas and rip the baby from his arms.  Julian says he will face-off with Sonny and not leave town, if it comes to that.   Ava says they have to come up with a way to silence Brad … before Brad gives up Julian’s part in the whole baby cover-up.

Photo: JPI

And in yet another masterful performance, we have to give it up to Chloe Lanier.  Who can play Nelle and spin stories and the tears so well, that if you did not know this pathological liar you would think she is telling the truth. When in opposing holding cells at the PCPD, Nelle lays it on about Brad so that the guard can hear them. She blames Brad for being the instigator in the baby switch and taking advantage of her – a distraught new mother, confused and dazed on the route where the baby switch happened.  It works! Brad is moved to a different cell and thinks look very grim for him.  Nelle smiles through her crocodile tears!

Photo: JPI

Then, in what we all knew had to happen, and even so, was still as heartbreaking as ever; Lucas spends his final moments with Wiley as his father in the kitchen at the Corinthos’ along with Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) and Carly (Laura Wright).  Lucas starts to tell his mother and sister, all the things Wiley needs and likes, such as having a story read to him.  All of this brings the tears as they know Lucas has to give the child back to Michael; who has been robbed of a year and half as the baby’s rightful father.

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Michael tells Lucas they will work this out, so Lucas remains a constant in Wiley’s life. He also tells Sonny and Sasha (Sofia Matteson) he feels so badly for Lucas, but they tell him to be happy for this chance to have the son he grieved for.   In the end, a tear-filled Lucas hands Wiley to Michael as everyone watches on in sadness for one father … and joy for the other.  Ryan Carnes was poignant in the scenes; as was Chad Duell.

Courtesy/ABC

So, what did you think of the performances from Friday’s GH featuring Katelyn, Ryan, Chad, William, Chloe and Parry? Comment below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Michael Blasts Brad As The Truth About Wiley Comes Out

FINALLY! On Wednesday’s episode of General Hospital, Lucas (Ryan Carnes) memory is jogged just enough that he clearly remembers Brad’s (Parry Shen) shocking words before their car crash; where Brad confessed that Wiley was Nelle (Chloe Lanier) and Michael’s (Chad Duell) biological son.

At the Corinthos home, Lucas stands up and announces to Michael that Wiley is actually his believed to be dead son, Jonah. Carly’s (Laura Wright) mouth drops and then she takes over getting to the root of the truth of the baby switch.

Brad is cornered and left with no choice but to fess up. He explains how Wiley died when he was no longer breathing, and how he was driving with him, when he ended up on the route where Nelle left Michael to die in the car he was driving (Michael recalls this bit of Intel in a flashback).

Then, Brad explains how Nelle appeared with her newborn baby and claimed the whole thing was engineered by Nelle …  and how he was so upset and panicked, that he went along with her plan.

Michael lets Brad have it for all of his lies and machinations, and the pain it has inflicted on so many people for over a year and half.  How on earth could he do that? Carly also lays into him.

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Meanwhile, Sasha (Sofia Matteson) has urgently called Chase (Josh Swickard), who leaves “Wiley” and Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) behind, and heads to the Corinthos’ where he hears the whole sad truth about the baby switch.

With Chase gone, Nelle goes looking for “Wiley” who is with Willow, and the two get into a major throwdown catfight.  Nelle comes out the victor and goes to get her baby ready to leave town with her son.

So, what did you think of how the truth finally came out?  What did you think of Michael’s tirade on Brad? What do you think will happen next? Comment below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

GH’s James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin’s Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

After all his bravado, machinations and lies to keep the woman he loves, and believing he was the rightful heir to the Cassadine fortune, suddenly it all came crashing down for Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) on recent episodes of General Hospital.

Payback can be a bitch, but for Valentin; who’s past has been fraught with numerous physical and emotional tribulations since his childhood, he now finds himself at the lowest point in his life; losing Nina (Cynthia Watros) who’s now taken up with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), realizing he is the biological son of the evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), and not Mikkos, and having all his best laid plans and misdeeds backfire.  (Remember, he shot and “killed” Nikolas, and set up the ruse that led Sasha to pretend she was Nina’s bio-daughter.)  Now, enter Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), who could very well hold the ticket, to Valentin’s rise to wealth and power all over again.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with James Patrick Stuart to get the lowdown on: those heavy and emotional scenes opposite Constance Towers, working with Cynthia Watros as his newest Nina, if Valentin might really kill Jax the next time he thinks about it, and what about a potential relationship between Anna (Finola Hughes) and Valentin?

Not many can play bad as good as James in this industry.  He does it so effortlessly and still brings out the humanity in the guy that has t-r-o-u-b-l-e written all over him.  Here’s what James had to share about all of Valentin’s recent dramatic moments, a tease of what’s to come, and much more.

Photo: JPI

Valentin’s world has imploded at the moment.  When did you initially find out that he was going to turn out to not be a true Cassadine heir?

JAMES:  Well, there were some clues dropped by Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) back when we did the gallery auction where Helena’s portrait went up in flames.  Frank looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jack Nicholson it up.  Have some fun!  You’re not going to be feeling pretty good for a while.”  (Laughs)  I’m like, “Oh … what are the plans?”  He pulled me aside and goes, “Yeah, you’re going to lose Nina, but you’re going to try to take over ELQ.  That’s when I started to go, “Wait a minute!  That sounds to me like Valentin’s losing his money.”  (Laughs)  With the character of Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) coming back; it’s pretty great.  I think the writing was on the wall there.  I put it out on twitter the other day.  I said, “Look what they’ve done to my boy.”  Somebody chimed in, “They gave him a storyline!” (Laughs)

Who doesn’t love to see you, James Patrick Stuart, play tortured soul?  They audience loves to see you get the opportunity to go to those depths in your performances.

JAMES:  It’s been really interesting for me.  I’ve had a lifetime of playing bad guys because the line was always shorter. (Laughs)  Everybody wants to be Tom Cruise, but the Alan Rickman’s of it all, to me, were what was so interesting.  Early on, you play one dimensional kind of twisting of the mustache, tying a woman to the train tracks.  After a while, you start to watch the truly great actors.  They start to take you on a ride.  If you’re paying attention, you start to feel what it would be like to be that damaged, and that’s why you do it.  Then you start to see the vulnerability. To me, I thought, “This is a great time in my life because I’m ready to do that.” A lot of people say, “I don’t understand.  I feel like that makes no sense. because why would I root for a person who behaves like this?” and that to me, I feel is the greatest compliment of all.

So much happened recently to Valentin in one fell swoop; he overhears Nina telling Ava (Maura West) she kissed Jax, then he envisions shooting Jax and then he is drinking himself into oblivion and he gets a “visit” from Helena!  But … the scenes between Valentin and Helena really summed up the bitter truth for him, wouldn’t you say?

JAMES:  Yes.  In the “Helena” scenes, it all basically is revealed.  It all comes down in a moment where he “sees” her.  I think he realizes with the DNA test; he’s not the person he thought he was, but he certainly had no idea that he had her blood in his veins.  The truly tragic moment of the evening is when it dawns on him that he has a daughter with Helena’s blood in her veins.  Now, he would kill her a thousand times over in that moment.  He can’t do it.  He’s fighting phantoms.  That’s the bottom below the bottom, and things got worse than he ever thought they would get.

Courtesy/ABC

Does Valentin have any idea then, who his biological father could be?

JAMES:  I don’t think so.  I don’t believe so.  I know I don’t.  I think once he realizes that Helena is in fact the mother, I think he’d rather just go into oblivion.  I think at that point, he’s out of answers.  Enter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) …which is wonderful because I think the world of Nancy, and she saves the day.   Alexis basically talks him out of hurting himself, telling him to count his blessings that he is not a Cassadine, etc, which was a really sweet moment.

I assume, when you have this kind of material to play, it must be exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time?

JAMES:  I think that’s exactly right.  As an actor, I think you want to do this stuff.  Maura West and I compare notes all the time.  I think it can be kind of emotionally draining.  You do feel it, and I felt it when I had spent a lot of time with Nina and Valentin, and when the actresses changed, and we brought Cynthia Watros in.  I worked twice as hard to make sure that Cynthia’s landing was as easy as possible, and I really grew attached to the Nina and Valentin connection.  So, when Jax steps in, Cynthia’s love life means nothing to me, I don’t care about that, but Nina’s love life means a lot to me!  And it bums me out, and I don’t know that I’ll actually be watching any future love scenes between them as much as I love them both!  I have a deep attachment to the Valentin connection to Nina.  So, the lines get burred because we just play these characters so long.

Photo: JPI

What was it like sharing those tough scenes with Constance? No one can play icy, evil villainess like her … and yet in real life, she is such a gracious and kind-hearted woman.

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JAMES:  In real life, Constance is such a sweetheart, and she’s so grateful to be there.  She was so ready to work, and rehearse, and play, and find the stuff, and she was great.  I’d been in scenes with her before.  Last time, we didn’t really talk to each other.  I was with the hump.  I was being Valentin pre-surgery.  It was some sort of moment in a graveyard, but this time we actually got to interact with each other.

You look at Valentin, and he’s not had the greatest life.  Do you bring his entire back-story into your performance; such as when he was deformed with the hump and how he had to literally reconstruct his life both in the physical and in emotional ways for many years?

JAMES:  Absolutely.  It’s the brokenness that he’s making choices from.  He was never truly and authentic person to begin with which is why his love fell apart.  He’s always been faking.  He’s always been putting on a show.  That’s not sustainable in matters of the heart.  It was unbelievably easy for Jax to swoop in, because it was inevitable that things were going to fall apart.  Of course, that anger and that brokenness were what lead him to want to kill Jax.  There’s no question.  He was prepared to do that.  If you look in the eyes in the fantasy sequence in the shooting, he just wanted to watch him die.  He wanted to watch the light go out in Jax’s eyes.  He was so furious … and even more tragic is … that was all he could think of, and somehow, he realized in that moment that wouldn’t work, because he’d lose his daughter.

Photo: JPI

Anna and Finn (Michael Easton) just kind of busted up.  Do you think Anna and Valentin will hookup? There is a connection and a history between the two of them whenever they seem to be in proximity of one another.

JAMES:  Personally, I’m waiting for that.  I hope so!  There is a finesse and elegance to that woman, and not only that, there is an effortless to the connection between Valentin and Anna, if one can say that about one’s own coupling.  I love to look at it!  I think we go together like a wink and a smile.  I just find that chemistry really great.  I think that’s mostly Finola, though.  She can probably have chemistry with most anything.

Valentin was going to leave Port Charles with Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), after Nikolas revealed all and the fallout began.  Interestingly enough, it was Anna who came to Valentin’s side and tried to talk him down from fleeing with his daughter and showed such compassion for him!

JAMES:  Wasn’t that great?  She was the one who got him.  She was the one who was able to calm the beast.  There was no one else he would have listened to.  In the moment in the police station, after Charlotte had been kidnapped, and there is that moment where Anna has that bruise, I thought it was such a tender moment.  I just said, “If I kiss my finger and touch your wound?” and she’s like, “Do it.”  It was just this moment where we had been bitter rivals and enemies for so long, but he just adores her so much it’s undeniable that he sees her wounded and wants to make it better.  It’s floating out there waiting to be done.  I know that everybody knows it.  It’s just a matter of what the right away to go about in the writing would be.

Photo: JPI

So, you’ve worked opposite two acting dynamos in the role of Nina – Michelle Stafford and now, Cynthia Watros.  Was the transition difficult for you when Cynthia came to GH?

JAMES:  It wasn’t.  It was scary because Michelle Stafford wasn’t just one in a million, I mean, she is one of a kind.  The last thing in the world that I would ever want to consider doing myself was recast that actress.  So, my deal was (and I’ve said this to Cynthia) I said, “I have no control over this.  All I can do is make the landing as easy as possible for Cynthia.”  We did a lot of photoshoots together, and I had flowers waiting for her, and I did everything possible to make sure that she knew that she had a friend and that she had somebody that was going to make it as easy as possible.  It was rough because a lot of the trolls on social media were just awful to her… just brutal, and she goes, “I have thick skin.  I can take it,” and then a week later, she goes, “I’ve closed all my social media accounts!”  (Laughs)  It’s been fun to watch those guys turn around and go, “You have a really special person.”  That wedding stuff was just incredible!  She came so prepared and she knocked it out of the park.  Cynthia has been wonderful.  I love them both.  I love her the reddest, and I love Michelle the bluest, and together I love them the purplest.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s interesting that all the women in his life such as Anna and Nina, all have a soft-spot for Valentin; even though they don’t necessarily want to be with him.  These ladies are just drawn to this dysfunctional guy.

JAMES:  Don’t you think?  Is it that you want to help him, you want to fix him, you see the potential, you want to help him despite himself?  I think that’s what it is.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Valentin’s still going to try to win Nina back, or is that done? 

JAMES:  I don’t know.  I do know that the Valentin I know will never shake Nina, and when he loves, he loves forever.  He can be simultaneously in love with Anna whenever she’s near.  I don’t believe he ever truly got over Nina hearing his story and his brokenness and still loving him twice as hard.  Years ago, there was a moment where he said to her the stuff that he’s never said, and Michelle beautifully kissed my tears away and said, “You’re beautiful” to me.   I think in that moment his fate was sealed.  I think he knew that this was his woman forever.  So, I just don’t think that that goes away.  I think he will always carry a torch for Nina, for sure.

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Do you see Valentin becoming darker and darker now that he had found out he is Helena’s offspring?

JAMES:  Well, yes and no.  I remember watching these scenes and we’ve done a lot of this stuff, and you know how easy it is to sort of go, “Let’s go dark, let’s go dark, let’s go more dark,” and after a while, I go, “You know, maybe he does learn something.  Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.”  Of course, more bad stuff will happen to him, and he will do more bad stuff, because that’s just who he is.  A leopard can’t change his spots, and those are his survival instincts, but there are some new colors, and it’s all a direct result of all of just these horrible things that have happened to him… mostly learning that he is part Helena and he can’t undo that.

Photo: JPI

We saw that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) called and then goes to see Valentin, because she wants to sell her shares of ELQ.  So, obviously he has the potential to become really rich here which is what would give him his power back.  How do you think that will go over with the rest of the Quartermaines? (Laughs)

JAMES:  (Laughs) A lot of the Quartermaine actors have been asking me that in the hallways of General Hospital!  Isn’t that interesting how he’ll just sort of switch families? (Laughs)

Of all the people, just as Valentin’s life is in the gutter and he is at his lowest, who should show up with a sort of lifeline, Nelle! How will he go about attempting to gain control of ELQ?

JAMES:  Valentin knows he has to get the majority shares to gain a control of the company, and he has to do it fast before people see that he’s doing it.  So, that’s where Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray) has been.  He’s gallivanting the states rapidly accumulating shares.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s been so fun seeing you and Michael Knight on-screen and on a daytime soap together again, as so many remember you as Tad Martin and Will Cortlandt on All My Children.  How has it been getting the chance to work with Michael?

JAMES:  My God, are you kidding me?  He taught me!  He’s the guy who taught me.  I didn’t know how to do this.  Nobody instinctively knows… this is a very unique art form.  It’s more Jazz than anything else, and he showed me how to do it!  Walt Willey (Ex-Jack, AMC) showed me how to do my hair, and Michael Knight taught me how to break down a script!  And, what’s so funny is he is still doing it.  In a scene on GH, when he threw in that line, “From now on, you pay in advance,” I just about fell on the floor!  I thought, “There he is!  That’s the Michael I’ve always known and loved.”

Photo: JPI

Who would have thought that you guys would get to share scenes like that again on soaps?  You just never know in this life who may be wind up back in your orbit.

JAMES:  It’s incredible.  That’s what we say all of the time… “Who would have thought?”  You could never plan something like this and that we’d still be doing it at this point.

Now with Lulu (Emme Rylan) learning that Valentin is not a Cassadine, and Nina apparently moving on to a relationship with Jax, what do you think it will mean for their relationship in raising their daughter, Charlotte?

JAMES:  I think in the short-term, Valentin’s shelved any ideas of getting her out of Charlotte’s life.  He’s sort of putting out the fires in his own personal life.  Charlotte needs a mother in her life, and he’s quite willing to share custody as they always have been.  She seems to be looking at this as an opportunity to paint him as an unfit father, and she wants full-time custody.  So, we’re back to that again.  It looks to me like Lulu is kicking Valentin while he’s down.

Photo: JPI

It was so nice to see you, and some of your GH co-stars such as: Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) show up for Y&R’s Eric Braeden’s (Victor Newman) 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS.  It was quite the event; speakers galore, and so many from our industry and beyond in attendance.

JAMES:  It was pretty profound.  Eric has always been kind to me.  I only worked with him on one movie, a western, called The Man Who Came Back, and that was probably 12 years ago.  He has been so complimentary of me in interviews and in his book.  So, if he does that with me, I can only imagine how many dear, dear friendships he has.  So, the fact that everybody showed up like that from the president of CBS Entertainment to local councilmen, and that they were willing to do be there for 2 hours was really proof of how much they love him.  Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I don’t even think was working that day, came in for it and spoke at the event. There was so much respect shown for Eric and what he has meant to this medium.

Photo: JPI

Your album The Apple Tree was so well-received, and everyone always loves seeing you get the opportunity to sing on General Hospital as well.  Will you continue to put out more music in 2020?

JAMES:  Yeah, that’s the plan.  I have another one that I’m working on.  I have a bunch of songs.  I’m in no rush to get it out.  Unfortunately, I lost Glen Roven, who wrote the cello part for Book of Love, passed away right after the Nurses’ Ball where I played Book of Love, which is really heartbreaking, and then, Michael Sherwood, who helped me with a number of songs on the record passed away right after The Apple Tree came out.  So, I’m a little gun-shy.  But, I’m planning on having something out by December for Christmas.

In closing, what would you say the fans should look forward to in the weeks ahead from Valentin?

JAMES: Look forward to that moment where Valentin is so low that there’s nowhere to go but up!  The comeback is going to be one for the books.

So, what do you think of how Valentin’s life hit rock bottom?  Do you think he will ever win Nina back? Do you think he will takeover ELQ? Share your thoughts on James’ recent performances and his thoughts contained in this interview via the comment section below.

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