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SCOTT, TOM, STAFFORD INTERVIEWS -IN LA MAGAZINE, SOAPS IN THE CITY

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By Michael Fairman

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JAMES SCOTT

DAYS OF OUR LIVES

Days of our Lives’ James Scott raises temperatures daily on TV screens playing sexy, charming, bad boy EJ Wells. Scott has just been named this year’s, “Soap Adonis 2008,” voted on by the readers of Soaphunks.net. This is his second year voted as, “the hottest male actor on daytime.” Scott hails from Newcastle, England. A world traveler, he had made stops in under-privileged nations for humanitarian efforts. The sexy Brit took time out of his acting schedule to pose for our latest cover and answer some of our most burning questions.

MICHAEL:

Why did you decide to participate in the “IN LA” cover shoot for “Soaps in the City”?

JAMES:

I did not think I went through a process of making a decision. I knew you had asked me and it was a great opportunity to do a cover. I don’t get asked to do covers very often. I felt quite flattered.

MICHAEL:

Since we are doing this benefit, “Soaps in the City” for AIDS Walk Los Angeles to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles, what are your thoughts about the current AIDS crisis? Do you feel that in the United States it has been pushed under the table more now than in recent years, and less at the forefront?

scott91508_805011.jpgJAMES:

I am not going to pretend to be an expert. However, when I was living and working in New York for example, I did some work with an AIDS hospice with kids who were HIV+, whose parents had died. Some of the children had been put in care facilities when their parents could not deal with them anymore. That was because children born with HIV have a lot of problems, and they all seemed to fall in the same socio-economic demographic. They were the people who had no voice. If it was a disease that affected the most affluent one percent of society, you can be pretty sure it would have been a major election and political issue. I think you will find that it falls to the smaller social groups be it: race, economic, social, or sexual statuses, who tend to have less of a voice in this country. The problem is in America; there is this idea where you can live with AIDS now. Now, if you go into other parts of the world, such as in Africa, you can’t. They are not living with AIDS. They are dying with AIDS.

MICHAEL:

You are quite the accomplished world traveler, so perhaps you have seen more of this pandemic than other soap stars?

JAMES:

I have more experience than someone who has not left his or her armchair, and you see what you see, and it lends you to have somewhat of an opinion, while not a mission, but you have a little more information to base your perspective on.

MICHAEL:

In the latest Nielsen ratings that just came out 22% of the audience were males ages 18-49 while women were 26% 18-49, not much of a difference. Men are watching the soaps but it seemingly goes unnoticed. Why do you think that is?

scott91508_804991.jpgJAMES:

People do not notice that men watch daytime. It has a smaller male following. It is paid less attention to, because if you want to get into the business behind the soaps, the advertisers who are looking to sell into the show are looking for women 18-49, that’s their market. So, they don’t cater the show for men in that way, and they are not well represented. But, I am really happy to hear that we have a large number of men watching “Days of our Lives”. I don’t care who you are; it’s an addictive thing. You start watching, and it’s hard to switch off. It’s frustrating! I was talking to our new executive producer, Gary Tomlin the other day, and he said, “When they get to the end of my show, I want the viewers to be so angry at me,
and angry at the fact that that they have to tune in the next day. It’s that reaction which is built into the ways soap operas work. I don’t care if you are a man or a woman, you are left with a piece of information you have to know and crave.

MICHAEL:

What do you think fans of your character, EJ Wells, can expect in the coming months, now that there is a new executive producer at “DAYS”?

JAMES:

I don’t know what that means for EJ. They are making changes with the writing since Gary Tomlin came on board, and I think it’s a good thing. I hope the audience will like it and it will be more compelling to them, and in turn they will invest in it. I think Gary has a good vision for the show, and the support of the writers in his vision, which is very important. There is some stuff coming up with EJ that will keep him on the canvas… in the long term, I don’t know.

MICHAEL:

Being very attractive and one of the hottest men on daytime screens, are photo shoots like this easy for you?

JAMES:

I hate photo shoots. I hate it. I am incredibly self-conscious. I have never felt comfortable in them. Now people will take photos of me when I don’t know they are taking them and they come out very nicely. One thing is when people come up behind me and want me to smile at fan events, then I can’t smile! It’s tough. I am probably not the easiest subject to photograph.


HEATHER TOM
tom91508_80409.jpg

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

A political activist and accomplished actress, the outspoken Heather Tom plays Katie Logan on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful. Tom has received two Daytime Emmy awards, and has become the only actress under the age 35 to receive a record 12 nominations. Fans may also recognize her for her work on The Young and the Restless and One Life to Live. The IN Los Angeles cover girl has always been a good friend to the LGBT community in supporting its fight for equality. She sat down and with me and chatted about her work for the Barack Obama campaign, the current state of HIV/AIDS and what’s next for Ms. Logan!

MICHAEL:

Heather, you have been so politically active and socially conscious for so many years, and currently, I know you are out on the campaign trail on the weekends!

HEATHER:

I am working for Obama right now, and we are working hard to bring change to America. The other issue is for the proposition 8 issues for people living in California. I think it’s important they have to vote “No”. A lot of people are confused as to what this is, and basically it means they want to strip rights away that have been granted by the Supreme Court of California. We have to make sure they fail in their efforts, and that they are exposed for the hate-mongers they are.


MICHAEL:

What is your feeling on the state of the domestic awareness of HIV and AIDS?
tom91508_804153.jpgHEATHER:

Unfortunately, for the last 8 years the focus has shifted from domestic AIDS issues to international AIDS issues, because it suited the Bush administration. Then, they could get away with telling other countries what to do, and not have to talk about contraception here in the States…. which is one of the main ways of combating the spread of HIV. Also, they have shied away from domestically talking about HIV. It’s still an issue! It’s a killer, and people are dying from it! Luckily, we have had major medical advances where people are living longer, but it’s not cured, and it’s not chronic. It’s not holding steady. The numbers are going up. It’s definitely an issue we need to focus on here domestically. I think HIV is also so much more prevalent in the African American and Latino communities, that I think Obama will be a presence who will focus on domestic issues regarding HIV.

MICHAEL:

What’s coming up next for your character, Katie Logan, on “B&B”?

HEATHER:

It’s so funny. They don’t tell me anything. I get these scripts, and I go, “Oh, that’s good to know!”


MICHELLE STAFFORD

horizontal4shot1.jpgYOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

As the sexy, brash, unpredictable schemer Phyllis Summers Newman on the top-rated daytime soap, CBS’s The Young and the Restless, Michelle Stafford is one of the most critically heralded and lauded actresses of the soap genre. The two-time Daytime Emmy winner and IN Los Angeles cover girl sat down and discussed the cover shoot, soap fans and her philanthropic efforts.

MICHAEL:

Do you like doing photo shoots? You seemed to have a great time with us for the ”IN LA” cover shoot!

MICHELLE:

I liked the “IN LA” cover shoot; because I got to hang out with people I never get to see. It was nice to get to know James. I just met him. I had briefly met Kimberly a few times before this, and to catch up with Heather Tom was great. It was cool! I usually am not a fan of photo shoots, because most of the time it’s the same thing, same pose, and the same look, and they can get boring. This shoot was different and it was fun to be a part of it.

MICHAEL:

You have participated in AIDS Walk Los Angeles before, correct?

MICHELLE:

I have done it three times in a row… of course! I did it a couple of times with my sister and my mom, just the three of us… like normal people… and then one time with my show, “Y&R”. It’s great fun! You are doing something for someone…and for people. Everyone feels good with that going on.

MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts on HIV and AIDS awareness here in our country, with the rise in HIV+ cases this past year? Do you feel some of the focus has been shifted away from this disease because people are now, “living with HIV”?

MICHELLE:

I think, in the beginning, it was so misunderstood this new virus that came out of nowhere. Certainly people were leaving us right and left. I think since we have some medications that gave us a handle on it somewhat, then it’s like, “OK. We’re good. We have a handle on it.” I think it’s just normal for people to do that. Listen, I raise money for many things, and believe me; a lot is going to AIDS research. If you think that people are looking the other way, that ain’t happening, comparatively to other things. There are a lot of different cancers that people don’t donate to. I have noticed that’s where it’s hard to get money from… lung cancer for one. The rise of people who don’t smoke and who get lung cancer is heightening. The reason a lot of people don’t donate to lung cancer, is because there is this perception that: “It’s you. You smoke, and it’s your own fault.” It’s been very difficult to get donations in the past. It’s really since Dana Reeves died from it, and she was not a smoker, nor was Christopher Reeves, that it changed a bit. AIDS is still getting a lot of attention and money. However, I think there was just more attention in the media previously, because so many celebrities passed away from it. That’s just how it is! If somebody in the public eye gets taken by one of these diseases, it gets noticed more.


MICHAEL:

Have you lost people close to you to AIDS?

MICHELLE:

Oh God, of course! We are in the arts and there are so many creative men and women who have been taken by this.

MICHAEL:

You have always been so supportive in your humanitarian efforts for many charities. What compels you to give back ? Have you always felt the need to give back?

MICHELLE:

I feel that people with a lot of things and a lot of money, who buy pretty things, and don’t do things with it, are just the most boring people in the world. They are the most angry, most selfish, and they are stuck to their things. I would rather stick 16,000 needles in my eye than hang out with somebody like that. There is nothing wrong with having things, if you have the money to buy it, but if you are not giving back you are just a very sad individual, to me.

MICHAEL:

I always think, “How can people not support people in need when they have the means to help out?”

MICHELLE:

It’s not about the money, because I do things to raise money for many different causes. You know, 20% of the time, it’s not people who have a lot of money who are donating. It’s mostly the people who do not have the money that donate! It’s phenomenal and it eludes me. That’s amazing! When I did the September 11th fundraiser, I got a huge check from a little child who was on, “GH”. I got $250 from this child, and I also got $250 (from a person who shall remain nameless) who makes a lot more money than this little boy. So, it’s just where you heart and soul is.

michelleblackdress1.jpgMICHAEL:

A recent Nielsen Ratings report came out showing that 6 Million men (22% of the 18-49 yr. old male demographic) of the audience are watching the soaps. So many gay men have spoken to me about loving the soaps, and they are a very big core part of the loyal audience. It’s time we recognize them.

MICHELLE:

And they are all Phyllis fans, girl! (She laughs) I have to say, “I have yet to meet a gay man who is not a ‘Phyllis’ fan.”

MICHAEL:

But I think it’s great that we acknowledge that gay men can “come out of the closet” and admit they watch the soaps, too!

MICHELLE:

Of course! I even hate to say, “Oh, the Gay people. It’s just people.” If we must point out an audience as being gay, then all right, but the soaps are a guilty pleasure and guilty fun. You get to talk with your girlfriends about it, or your co-workers. It’s just fun to do. Soaps are for anybody who likes to have fun.


MICHAEL:

Who is Phyllis Summers Newman? How would you explain the character you portray on “Y&R” to someone who has never watched the show?
darkdress1.jpgMICHELLE:

She is a completely damaged woman, who is always trying to win the prize and never gets it.

MICHAEL:

Have you always enjoyed the different storylines, journeys, and challenges that Phyllis has gotten the chance to take on “Y&R”?

MICHELLE:

I have always enjoyed the challenges. The last couple years, Phyllis has been a little tamer than she once was. Some people on the street go, “I like Phyllis. She is not as mean anymore.” However, reporters say to me, “When are you going to be vindictive and conniving again?” It’s interesting to me. I like the change in Phyllis and it’s something different to play. I have been playing her for 11 years now. You want to have ebbs and flows, and not always play the same thing. So, it’s been nice to be a little bit different over these past few years.

MICHAEL:

But, Phyllis has to remain redeemable no matter what bad deeds she does, right?

MICHELLE:

I think that’s kind of up to me. Even when you play a villain in soap operas, you have to give the audience the reason why you are doing what you are doing. It’s day in and day out. You have to allow the audience to be on the same journey with you and your character, or they will check out, and they will not invest in the story.

Days Of Our Lives

Kassie DePaiva, Nathan Purdee & Taylor Purdee Talk ‘Killian & The Comeback Kids’, One Life to Live & Eve’s Reign of Terror on DAYS

It’s ‘all in the family’ + a dear friend that makes the film Killian and the Comeback Kids something that soap fans will want to see. In it, daytime veterans, Kassie DePaiva (Ex-GL, OLTL, GH and Days) and Nathan Purdee (Ex-Y&R and OLTL) are featured in the new movie directed, written and starring Nathan’s talented son, Taylor.

One Life to Live fans will get a kick out of that Kassie and Nathan play a married couple in the film.  In story, a millennial (Taylor A. Purdee) comes home to live with his parents in a depressed rural town after getting a college degree in the big city. The film illustrates the issues facing many of America’s youth today, which could not be more apropos for the times we are living with many children moving back in with their parents. However, the movie shares an uplifting message filled with original music from Taylor’s folk-rock band, The Cumberland Kids.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kassie, Nathan and Taylor to get the inside scoop on: collaborating together on this project, revisiting Llanview with some memories and thoughts on the cancellation of the beloved soap, plus Kassie’s last turn on Days of our Lives as an unhinged Eve Donovan – a performance that just may garner attention come Daytime Emmy time next year.

This conversation was filled with candor, humor, and a parent’s love for their child. Killian and the Comeback Kid is playing in selected theatres and dates including tonight Friday, September 25th in Atlanta, and October 2nd in Chicago. For more movie info go to the film’s website here And now here’s what Kassie, Nathan and Taylor shared.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

I was really intrigued by the film. Taylor, how did you lure your dad to be in the movie?

TAYLOR:  Oh my gosh, it was the craziest negation ever.

I bet! (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  When I was a kid, Roberta, my mom, made me promise to always write him roles.  So, it was kind of obligatory.

KASSIE:  That is so funny!

TAYLOR:  It’s true.

Had you met Kassie before, or was this the first time? 

TAYLOR:  I knew Kassie from when my dad and her were doing One Life to Live together.   Five years before I was filming this movie, Nathan texted me, “Hey!  Kassie and Jim (DePaiva) are right by your dorm room.  You should go see them!”  So, catching up as an adult was so nice.  I had a non-parentally controlled grown-up hang-out with her.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

What was the journey this film, Killian and the Comeback Kids, went on as far as from the writing of it, to production, to its completion?

TAYLOR:  Well, the front half was surprisingly quick.  I think writing it through to having it finished was about 18 months, and there were about 6 months of, “how’s it going to come out,” and then, we thought we knew what was going to happen, and we were all getting ready for it to hit in movie theatres in the spring when the world ended, and that’s how we got here three years later.

Nathan, tell me about the role you play; because Kassie and you are husband and wife in the film.

NATHAN: Well, yeah, you kind of covered it! (Laughs)  I play her husband, and she plays my wife, and I appreciated the casting situation.  It’s interesting how Taylor chose Kassie because he did say that he wanted someone who was close to his mom’s personality.  I couldn’t think of anybody else other than Kassie because the only difference is Kassie is taller, but they both are such loving, caring people.  They always want to mother you and make sure you’re fed, and you’re safe, and you’re happy, and neither one of them knows the word, “no,” when it comes to the people who they’re taking care of.  I love Kassie anyway, so good for me.

KASSIE:  Yeah, they cut our love scene, and I don’t know what that’s about. (Laughs)

Kassie, what do you remember from when you first met Nathan?  You were at One Life, right?

KASSIE:  No, when I first met Nathan, we were in San Antonio, and we were doing an appearance.  I met Bobbie Eakes (Ex-Krystal, AMC and Macy, B&B) for the first time then too, but I was on The Guiding Light, and I was singing, and Nathan was there.  Nathan and I sat beside each other.  I honestly felt like I had known Nathan my entire life.  We were drinking margaritas and talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.

NATHAN:  Yep!

Photo: JPI

KASSIE:  Nathan and my husband, Jim are very good friends.  I have to say, Nathan was so lovely when I was going through my cancer journey.  He came to see me every week, sometimes twice a week when I was in the hospital, and he would come up, and he would hang out with Jim.  I will never, ever forget how lovely he was (it makes me tear up right now) to be there with support for my husband and myself as we went through that.  So, when Nathan asked me to be his wife in the film, I thought, “Well, hey, you practically live with me now, so that sounds good.”

So, Taylor, how did they do on-screen as husband and wife?

TAYLOR:  They’re fantastic.  We’ve only had one test screening, but one of the most consistent things audiences tell me is that they’re not just great together, but they each have such a quiet, brooding depth to them that you can’t help but imagine the back-story that they’re not talking about

KASSIE:  That’ll be the sequel!

TAYLOR:  Killian and the Comeback Kids 2: They Comeback Kids Comeback.

KASSIE:  They’ll come back again!

NATHAN:  Thanks for planting that seed in his head, Kassie.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

TAYLOR:  It was important for me to try to synthesize a mixed-race couple.  So, it was really great to be able to have them, not just be so great together, but there was also the issue of we had to have a little girl who looked like she could not just be my sister, but also both of their daughter.  Creating a family from scratch was great because Nathan and Kassie already had the rapport.

Did you watch them on One Life to Live together? 

TAYLOR:  Yeah!  I was in school most of the time, but I would go to set, and over the last 10 years, friends would send me YouTube clips from the show because for some reason none of the soaps are streaming.  There’s not like a soap Netflix!  It kind of needs to happen!  Soaps, they’re epic; there are decades worth of episodes and shows.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

In this film, music is the backdrop.  It’s your music and your band that is featured?

TAYLOR:  Yeah, my best friend growing up and I were staring to write folk music around the time when I was deciding what script I wanted to make into a film.  We wrote the soundtrack, all the music that people sing, and the underscore, which was surprisingly the most fun part of it all.

Kassie what did you think of Taylor’s music?

 ASSIE:  I think it’s wonderful.   I love music. It’s totally in the heart of me, and I just think that this movie is so timely. Kids these days are having to deal with not knowing what their future is going to be.  In the film, my son comes home, and he is trying to find himself, and he throws himself into his art and his music.  I just think there are a lot of people right now who are going through that.  I think it is extremely relatable, even more so than when you wrote it, Taylor.  I think people are looking for some type of connection, and I think this little movie is a good start.  It’s about people pulling together, and it’s got a strong rooting factor, and you want people to succeed, and it is great.  It takes you on a really nice journey.

You have some dates coming up where the film will play in a movie theatre- one is on September 25th in Atlanta and then another one on October 2nd in Chicago.  Taylor, how do you feel about making appearances for the film during the pandemic? You’re going with masks on? 

TAYLOR:  Oh yeah.  We will be in a bubble; we are just getting into a car and sticking together.  I and John Donchak, who plays opposite me through the whole film, are going to all of those dates, and my co-songwriter, who also appears in the film, will be in Atlanta, if not at both premieres.

NATHAN:  And let me add, please, they’re going against my wishes as a parent, but he is 28- years-old, so all I can say is that we are hoping for the best because we want him to be safe.  He is very determined and passionate about it, so he’s got our support.

Photo: KarmicReleseLTD

Taylor, in your story, why does Killian come home and live with his parents? 

TAYLOR: His plan at the time is that he has just graduated from a pricey university, and he is supposed to go off with his bandmate on a modest music tour.  He comes home to get his stuff and see his parents after graduating, but his bandmate drops out, and so the plan falls apart, and that’s how he gets stuck in this town and everything is just kind of falling apart. The plan that he had for his life after college gets pulled out right out from under him.

Photo: Getty

Nathan, when Kassie and you were on One Life for years, you weren’t there when it ended, as you had already left the show.  How did you feel upon learning it had been canceled by ABC?

NATHAN:  I was so disconnected by that time.  I just knew it was ending, and it wasn’t the first soap to go.  I saw it happening when the other shows started being canceled due to, I could be wrong about this, but I put the blame on reality TV.  By that point I had moved on in my personal and private life.  I was doing a lot of theatre then, traveling back and forth from North Carolina, really trying to keep busy, and fighting off the depression of not working full-time.  I missed Jim and Kassie the most, but I was thrilled that I could bump into them at any time and visit with them.  I kept in touch with Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora) and Bob Woods (Ex-Bo) and also, Timothy Stickney (Ex-RJ); in fact, Timothy Stickney’s wife did Taylor’s hair for the film.

Photo: JPI

Kassie, how do you feel years later about the cancellation of One Life to Live?

KASSIE:  I still miss it.  I loved it. The hard part about this show in particular being canceled is –one – that there wasn’t closure on it.  It kind of happened randomly, and there was still a lot more story to tell.  They kept it going on General Hospital, where they’ll bring some characters there.  So, it’s still in peoples’ minds. The second part is the friendships and the family connections that you’ve made over the many years that you’re there. Nothing lasts forever, that’s for sure, but as you were saying, there’s no streaming of these shows, but if you catch an episode on YouTube, One Life to Live, truly stands alone.  It just has great stories, great characters, and there is connection there that is very real.

Kassie, your last go-around at DAYS was just epic.  Did you guys see it?

TAYLOR:  I did see pieces of some of it.  I caught some of the “super villain”!

Photo: JPI

Eve went in guns blazing, evil as all get out, but so heartbreaking at the same time while she was torturing Ben (Rob Scott Wilson).  What did you think about all of that, Kassie?

KASSIE:  I was really hesitant to watch it because I remembered how “super villain” I was.  I remember getting on the plane, and Jimmy said, “How was it?” and I said, “I’ll probably never work again a day in my life. I’m like this (evil laughs) muah-ha-ha, muah-ha-ha kind of character.”  I mean, you hated what Eve was doing, and you were supposed to, but I think that they did a great job with production values, and it was reasonable what she was doing because she was going off the edge. It’s great to be able to sink your teeth into something that is so out-there and completely different from your own life.  I mean, it was exhausting.  Every day, I would come home and just be like, “Oh my God, give me a cocktail.” Eve had justification for her revenge, even as wrong as it was, and she needed to be heard, and she needed closure, and she made a bunch of wrong moves, and did a bunch of bad, bad, bad things, and now, she is probably in a mental institution somewhere, so…

You and I were on set of DAYS and I was going to interview you.  If I recall, at that point, you did not even know what the story arc was.

KASSIE:  No, I didn’t. When I arrived and looked at the script, I’m like, “Well, who blew up that wedding?”  Then, all of the sudden, “Oh, no!  I blew up the wedding.  This is bad!  I probably am not going to be coming back on this show again.”  I look at story and go, “Uh-oh.  There’s a shut door.”  I like open doors and open windows.

Photo: JPI

Taylor, what is your project? Are you continuing to write?  What do you see in the future for yourself?

TAYLOR:  This is my life for me.  The next thing that I think we are releasing is actually something that I made before this because everything is backwards, which is a documentary (very different) about Central American politics, which I’m hoping is out next year.  In terms of new scripts, everybody is a bit torn.  I kind of want to do a biopic of Lee Grant, or I want to do a blues/punk version of something inspired by The Shining.

Well, those are very polar opposite!

TAYLOR:  Yeah, aren’t they?

NATHAN:  Now you see what I’m living with. (Laughs)

Photo: IMDB

Nathan, you must be proud of Taylor, and it must be very cool to see your son have these multi-faceted talents.

NATHAN:  Of course, I’m proud of him and it’s great, but it’s strange because watching Taylor develop into the person he has developed into and continues to, made me realize that I hadn’t had the type of courage he has.  I had my dreams and certain things that I was very courageous about in my life.  I certainly don’t see him doing some things the way I did them, because he has more common sense than I do when it comes to life choices. His courage just blows my mind.  Most of my closest friends are professional musicians, and many of them, if I were to namedrop, you would know who they are, and they’ve had successful careers, and I’ve always looked up to them and admired them, but I was never that guy.  I just wanted to be a musician because I knew them and we were friends, but I didn’t have the discipline to do what they did, and I certainly didn’t have the God-given talent.  I play a little bit of keyboard and a little bit of saxophone myself, but I have to play one song 757 times before I even start to feel comfortable with it, and Taylor can sit down and start strumming on his guitar, and the next thing you know, he’s written a whole song.  It just blows my mind how creative and talented he is.  He has been surrounded by creative and talented people all of his life. He has absorbed a lot from the different people and the different opportunities he’s had, and I look at him sometimes, and I even say it to my wife, “Who is this kid?”  I like to share this story.  We went to see Taylor do Hamlet.  I’m guessing he was 15 or 16-years-old at the time. I’m watching him doing Hamlet, and I’m sitting in the chair, and I’m crying because I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, my God, he is so good!”  I told Taylor, “I would not tackle Hamlet on a football field, yet alone on stage.”  It made me realize that we had a force to be reckoned with.  He’s pretty amazing.  The bad news for him is that I always tell him the truth, and I lied to him once, and he called me out on it, and I promised that I would never lie to him again.  So, be careful what you ask me because I will tell you the truth from this point on.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  Taylor was also the director of this film, which I mean, “What the hell!”  This guy is doing everything.  He was deciding on the shots, he was deciding on the lighting, he was deciding this and that, he was editing the script, I’m like, “Holy cannoli!”  He’s like, “No, I want her to wear that shirt; I want her to do this.”  You would do the scene, and he’d come over and talk to you a little bit.  I mean, he was just awesome; Taylor brought so much insight to my character because I’m like, “What’s my relationship, and who are all of these kids?  Are we a loving family?”  We did it very quickly, too.  Taylor, look at what you’ve accomplished, and it is such a beautiful piece of art!

TAYLOR:  From a more functional standpoint as a director, one of the really great things about having the two of them was that Kassie came in half-way through filming, and we’d been working with the young actor/musicians a lot.  Some of them, it was their first big job, but pretty much all of them had worked before.  On Kassie’s first day, they didn’t know what they were in for.  She just rolled onto set, and all of the sudden, the stakes and bar of how to be an actor just changed.  From that point on, when Kassie and Nathan started to work with the band, we knew those were going to be fun days because there was going to be acting involved.  Everyone else just had to come up to their level, which was great for me because it gave me so much more to edit with.

Taylor, who are your musical influences?   

TAYLOR:  That’s a really good question.  My musical obsession for the last few years has been this guy, named Josh Ritter, who is kind of a singer/songwriter/folk guy.  My real-life band, The Cumberland Kids, is named after one of his songs.  Also, Weird Al Yankovic, has been a massive inspiration for me and my songwriting partners.

So, your vibe is this folk-rock.

TAYLOR:  Yeah, that’s what I’m writing mostly.  My listening is kind of all over the place, but definitely that is what I’m writing.

Kassie, who do you like listening to?

KASSIE:  It all depends on what cocktail I have in my hand.

Photo: JPI

NATHAN:  Let me chime in on that too! I like jazz, blues, and country music, but imagine what my house was like because I have a lot of instruments here, always with the hope that Taylor would at least become interested in music.  I have congas, bass guitar, keyboards, you name it, and for a while, he wasn’t interested at all, and one day, I woke up and he was playing an acoustic guitar.  Then, the next thing I know, he is writing and singing folk music.  I’m thinking, “Wait a minute!” It was an important lesson for me that just because you want something for your children, doesn’t mean that is what they want for themselves.  We never pushed acting on Taylor.  He chose it on his own.  It’s exciting for me mostly because it was his choice.

KASSIE:  He’s a natural.

And speaking of that, Taylor, in the trailer nothing came across forced or pushed.  Obviously, we are all talking you up here, not that you need it.

NATHAN:  I’ll tell you this, Michael.  During the shoot, Taylor insisted on calling me “Nathan”, and I had a problem with it, but he basically told me to get over it because it’s his set, his movie, and while we are shooting, I’m “Nathan”, and he’ll call me dad later.  I’m still struggling with that but he was the boss.

TAYLOR:  It’s hard to walk that line and not make it weird for your crew, you know?

NATHAN:  I get it.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  It’s weird for me because when he would go, “Robbie is going to do this, and Nathan is going to do that,” I’d go, “Who are Robbie and Nathan?  Aren’t they your mom and dad?”

TAYLOR:  While I was writing the script I called him over, and I said, “Dad, I wrote you a really good role, and I think we are actually going to do this.  I’m giving you a once in a lifetime chance to name your own character.  Do you want to name him after a Greek hero, or one of your siblings?”  He didn’t take his chance.  So, you know what?  It’s “Nathan” now.  It’s easier for everybody.  We don’t have to break the method acting fourth wall.  (Laughs)

Do you think you would work with Nathan and Kassie again? (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  Oh, my God, are you kidding?

NATHAN:  That’s my contract: Kassie has got to be in it.  So, let me say this about Kassie, you had mentioned something about how much she has been working, and I look at Kassie as the James Brown of daytimes soaps.  She is the hardest working woman in daytime television. 

Photo: JPI

She is pretty spectacular. Kassie started on Guiding Light, had a long career on One Life, and then went to General Hospital, then to Days of our Lives.  It’s been amazing that we have been able to see her have a comeback in more ways that one.

KASSIE:  Nathan has jumped from soap to soap as well, and when you’ve done it, you just think it’s over.  It’s not like your regular acting profession jobs when you go out and you know you’re going to audition for twenty-five things and get one role for a short amount of time.  When you go in day in and day out and are creating all of this stuff on a soap opera, and then it ends, you go, “Well, now what am I supposed to do?”  I haven’t been on a set in 6 months, and I feel like I won’t ever work again.  Soaps are just a totally different head trip and so it can be really hard.

Courtesy/ABC

Nathan, do you have a favorite Hank Gannon moment from One Life to Live?

NATHAN:  Oh wow.  Man, there were so many of them.  I can tell you the funniest, to me, maybe not so funny to Hillary B. Smith though.  I think it was during a live show. This was during the time when I had a lot of dialogue.  But this particular day, I had one line, and the line was to Hillary and it was, “How are you feeling?” and her response was, “Well, I’m feeling the way I always feel, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”.  So, during the entire day, I’d see Hillary, and I’d say, “Hey, how you feeling?”  Maybe nineteen times before we started shooting, “Hey, how you feeling?” and she’d had about enough of it.  So, fast forward to “5, 4,3,2,1 action”, and now, I say, “How you doing?”  If you could see the look in her eyes, it is like, “I will kill you.”  So, she says, “You know how I’m doing.  I’m doing what I’m always doing,” so she could get her line out.  So, once again, she saved Nathan’s ass with that.  One stupid line … and I blew it.  I just remember that one because I just know Hilary wanted to strangle me.  She probably still wants to.

And on that note (laughs) I wanted to thank you all so much for this. I hope you find success with this little gem of a film, Taylor.

So what did you think of the comments made by Kassie, Nathan and Taylor on their film?  What did you think of Kassie’s recent performance on DAYS? What’s your favorite Blair or Hank moment from the history of One Life to Live? Share your thoughts and comments below,  But first, check out the trailer to Killian and the Comeback Kids.

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General Hospital

GH’s Chloe Lanier Talks On Nelle’s Twisted Plots, Her Co-Stars & That Cliffhanger “Ending”

Recently on ABC’s General Hospital, Chloe Lanier’s Nelle Benson created even more havoc for Carly (Laura Wright), Michael (Chad Duell), Julian (William deVry), Brook Lynn (Briana Lane), and of course, her son, Wiley.

However, is Nelle really gone after her ‘fall,’ which has left her MIA and Carly believing she is responsible for her sister’s ‘death’? But as we know with Nelle, she keeps secretly planning her next move and loves to slowly torture those who she believes have wronged her. There is also the ongoing mystery of just who is Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) daughter, especially since Nelle has the other half of the necklace so near and dear to Nina; leaving viewers pondering if it could mean they are mother and child, or is this all a red-herring?

One thing is for sure, Daytime Emmy winner, Chloe Lanier brings it each and every time she returns to GH. She gives always give the storylines a much needed injection of drama, drama and more drama. No one is quite like Lanier in the soaps either; she can play tough, vulnerable, manipulative, and street smart, like nobody’s business.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Chloe to get her answers to some of our burning questions for her and her portrayal of naughty Nelle, and how one of her co-stars helped her through a very difficult time in her life.  Here’s what she had to say about it all.

Courtesy/ABC

What did you think of the courtroom antics of Nelle during the custody hearing for Wiley?

CHLOE:  I mean, showing up in a wedding dress was her first mistake. Then antagonizing everyone in the room was probably her second. But she’s so wounded—so broken from her childhood. She doesn’t have the proper emotional tools to combat her self-destructive behavior.

Which showdown or confrontation between Nelle and Michael stands out to you?

CHLOE:  I particularly loved the scenes where Nelle, nine months pregnant, leaves Michael in the rigged car, hoping it would explode. It’s rare that you’re given comedic material on a soap, so that was particularly exciting for me. Also, Chad’s reactions always make me laugh. He’s great.

Photo: ABC

What is it like working with Chad Duell as feuding exes and parents of Wiley? 

CHLOE:  Chad is so easy to work with. He’s been doing the show for so long and is very technically gifted. The writers graced us with some meaty material that we were able to sink our teeth into.

Photo: JPI

What does Nelle think of Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? She really hates her, huh?

CHLOE: I don’t believe she hates her. She’s envious. Willow is the exact opposite and oftentimes we’re afraid of what we don’t understand. Particularly someone like Nelle, who was raised by a con artist and taught to exploit and manipulate anyone she comes across. So when she sees someone so pure, so innocent, she immediately distrusts her because that behavior is so far outside the lines of how she operates.

What was it like taping the fight scenes between Carly and Nelle, where Nelle “Plummets” to her death?  

CHLOE:  Shout out to Amanda Hall and Heather Bonomo, our amazing stunt doubles for those scenes. They were fantastic.

Courtesy/ABC

When you and Laura Wright get the scripts; where Carly and Nelle are having a huge showdown, are you thrilled about getting the chance to play the emotional beats of those moments? What if it’s a fight scene?

CHLOE:  Those scenes were such a joy, because we got to explore some of the deep roots of Nelle’s trauma, and Carly explicitly said, “I believe you love your son.” That, for me, was important.  Because despite all of her failings, she truly did love her son—in her own warped, off kilter, way.

Photo: Paul Smith

Nelle has really been blackmailing Julian, until he turned the tables on her on the pier?  What has it been like acting opposite Will deVry in those scenes?

CHLOE:  I love Will. He and I actually have the same acting coach, so our prep and how we’re working is from a similar place. What I love about Will is the confidence he has in his stillness. He’s lovely on camera, so connected.

Photo: ABC

Nelle has the other half of the necklace belonging to Nina.  What do you think if it turns out that Nelle is Nina’s daughter?  It is quite possible, tho, that she is not, and it’s all a red herring. How has it been working with Cynthia Watros?

CHLOE:  Cynthia is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met, truly. We haven’t known each other for long, but earlier this year, and not many people know this other than my close friends, I was having glaring mental health issues stemming from unresolved trauma. I was going going going for so long that I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had never dealt with any of it. She saw it and could tell I was silently struggling and reached out. You don’t forget kindness like that. So I’m very grateful for Cynthia—and of course, therapy. I would be flattered if they decided to make Nelle Nina’s daughter.

Photo:ABC

What do you think about how the writers have kept finding ways to have plot points that get all the other characters in trouble and make it look like they did something to Nelle, but she ultimately has her own diabolical plans for them with her actions? She is pretty smart!

CHLOE:  Nelle is the perfect victim, and her love language is sabotage. She’s also a narcissist, so she’s always going to think she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s basically a walking version of Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do. I love that the writers gifted me the opportunity work with almost everyone on the show. Josh (Swickard) and I always had a great time together. And Maurice (Benard)—god he’s hilarious. I would have loved to work with Briana Nicole Henry (Jordan) more though. I love watching her work. She’s going to have an amazing career.

Photo: ABC

Do you think Nelle can ever be redeemed at this point?

CHLOE:  Redemption is a weird one for me, because I don’t believe that people are inherently good or bad. We’re all human. We all have flaws, make mistakes, have regrets, experience shame. We have the ability to grow and we learn from our past. Nelle has done and felt all of those things, to a degree, but continued to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. A character either has to change or they die. So, I’ll say this—if Nelle is alive out there somewhere, I hope she’s going to therapy.

Photo: JPI

What has been the hardest scene for you to play emotionally in the time you have been playing Nelle?

CHLOE:  Probably the scene with the newborn, where Nelle runs into Brad on the side of the road. I had never held a newborn baby before, so I was TERRIFIED. I realized I was the only thing in that moment keeping that baby alive…a very bizarre and life altering feeling, I’ll say.

So, have you enjoyed Chloe’s performances? Do you think Nelle is plotting from afar?  What would you like to see happen in the storylines with  baby Wiley, Nina’s child, and more? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Chandler Massey & Freddie Smith Discuss Their Departure From DAYS, New Beginnings & WilSon’s Journey

This week, Days of our Lives viewers saw the highly-anticipated exit off the canvas, for now,  of Daytime Emmy-winners, Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith as Will and Sonny.

Tuesday marked their final airshow, while the actors found out they were being written-out of the show and had filmed their last six episodes over seven months ago, because at that time and before the pandemic, DAYS was taping far in advance of air.

Now with this leg of their journey complete as the popular Salem duo, Chandler and Freddie are embarking on new chapters of their lives, as Chandler details his move to Atlanta and Freddie in a few weeks to Florida.  But as they discuss in this very special conversation with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, they are not stopping acting either.

During this “farewell for now” interview with Michael, the two actors open up about their final scripts, their last tape day, how both characters helped many individuals come out and come to terms with who they are via watching Will’s coming out story, Will and Sonny’s on-screen relationship and more.

In addition, Freddie discusses what happened when he auditioned for the role of Sonny and what he thinks helped land him the gig; Chandler shares a story about a fan that is very moving, and that his biggest regret was not getting to play the wedding scenes between Will and Sonny (Guy Wilson at that time had stepped into the role of Will).   The duo also reveal their favorite and least favorite storylines they were involved in, and much more.

Watch the full interview below.

So, what do you think about what Freddie and Chandler had to share during our conversation? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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Cast of GH: Alzheimer’s Storyline

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Airdates: 9-14/18-2020

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