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THE A MARTINEZ INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

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Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

This week A Martinez returns to daytime! What prompted your decision to come back to daytime and to “OLTL”?

A:

It’s really an interesting show, and so many of the actors on there are actors that I have loved. When I was doing “GH”, I had met most of those actors around ABC functions and the Daytime Emmys. I got to go to a party once for Erika Slezak (Viki), who I think is the most remarkable actress. I have had such a high regard for her and the show. I had met Frank Valentini (executive producer, “OLTL) back in the day, and when you are in daytime, it’s really a small community. Even the people I worked with going way back to, “Santa Barbara” they are still working, and you feel like a connection to them even though months and often years go by, without any real conversations. It’s an interesting feeling to walk back into it. Going back to the set of a daytime soap felt so immediately comfortable. It was actually quite surprising.

MICHAEL:

How long can fans expect your stay in Llanview to be?

A:

I signed a five-week deal and I just finished my last tape day. I think the stories and the scenes will play out over 8 weeks.

MICHAEL:

Was the shows intention with your character, Ray Montez always supposed to be for a short stint?

A:

The character had various incarnations; I think he was originally thought of as someone who would be around for awhile, and then someone who was somewhat disposable quickly. I think, but you never know, but he may survive. I won’t say more than that. I think there is possibly a future for him. I hope so, because he is a lot of fun to play.

MICHAEL:

Is there a down side to only being able to explore this new character for such a short time?

A:

There is no down side. It’s a really fun character and the actors are wonderful to work with. At this point in time, it’s greatly pleasurable to spend time in New York City. We would have to think long and hard as a family if we make a decision to move here.

MICHAEL:

Vince Irizarry (ex-David) who recently left “Y&R” told me he was flying back and forth every week from his home on the east coast to continue taping his role on the west coast. Would you consider a set-up like that?

A:

The thing is, you can’t quite tell how you are going to respond to it until you try it. So far what has happened is, I came and when back to LA once, and did that again, and then my family came and visited me and we had our wonderful little August summer vacation. It’s been a great five weeks, I have to say.

MICHAEL:

What were the circumstances that led you to Llanview?

A:

My agent called me and said, “There is this thing, and would you consider doing it?”, and it was a little much to consider. It was sign on the dotted line and move to New York for two years, and that was a little too much to imagine. But then the showed changed the way they thought about it, and I looked at what was on the table and thought it would be great.

MICHAEL:

You are one of the most beloved and cherished actors the soap genre had ever had. Why do you think you work so well in this medium?

A:

I have always loved working in daytime, it’s certainly where I feel the most free of anything. Once you establish that in your mind, it’s hard to let go of it. Even though I am getting better,  and ‘god knows’ I should after all these years, I think I am getting better in film than I used to be. There is just nothing like it, the soaps….the freedom of being and performing live with live cameras. I love to play with good actors and it literally is fun.

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MICHAEL:

Why do you think some actors and characters transcend in this genre, while some do not?

A:

When I did, “Santa Barbara” I played Cruz for more than 1600 times. He took on weight in my emotional life that was shocking when he was gone. I had no idea for what it would feel like to say, “Goodbye” to that guy.

MICHAEL:

The fans weren’t either.  It was so hard to say goodbye to “Santa Barbara” and to Cruz Castillo. It’s such a testament to you and the character, and how you portrayed him. It is legendary!

A:

He is a great guy, and at the end of the day, it’s about the writing, and he was the best guy I got. There is just no getting around it. He was my teacher and he was my brother, and when he went away, he demanded he be mourned in my own personal architecture. All that being said, it was a nice day when I could finally let go of it.

MICHAEL:

From Cruz on “SB”, we next saw you return to daytime on “GH” as Roy Deluca. This week you come back to daytime as Ray Montez. What can you tell us about him?

A-look.jpgA:

He’s tortured and misunderstood. He’s not well-mannered, but he is capable of being charming. He defaults more often to certain rudeness. He is real different.

MICHAEL:

Is he a criminal?

A:

He is perceived to be a criminal, and legally he has been imprisoned, but it remains to be seen what goes on with his heart. The thing that is so great about him is he is really tortured. He is not a guy that has got the world on a string. He is struggling, and it’s so much fun to play. It’s hard not to root for somebody, if you have empathy for anyone who is struggling unless they are utterly irredeemable!

MICHAEL:

So he is not irredeemable and not a villain?

A:

No. I would not say he is a villain, but people do talk a lot of trash about him.

MICHAEL:

Who have you worked with at “OLTL”?

A:

First, I got to work with Jerry ver Dorn (Clint) immediately. Clint brought Ray to Llanview and Jared went and did the deed. So, then I met Brittany Underwood’s character Langston, and then that turned into the Clint/ Dorian feud. Then I got to do some fairly operatic stuff with Robin Strasser (Dorian).

A-jared.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell me about working with the amazing Robin Strasser?

A:

She is amazing, fearless, and brilliant and that is the heart of it. You go, “OK, this is a person who inserts her fangs and goes to work and attacks the work and has such high standards and a willingness
to take risks.”

MICHAEL:

She knew you were thee A Martinez? Right?

A:

We were aware of each other. We met, although briefly, at this party that ABC threw a few years back. We met across this big white table, and we saw each other, and acknowledged each other and expressed our mutual admiration for the work. I always thought she was fabulous. When you get to do a scene with someone who raises your goose bumps that to me is the thing I most feel and crave as an actor, and as a person watching the theatre.


MICHAEL:

The rumors are that Ray will be adversarial with Dorian, but that he could be a potential love interest for Dorian.

A:

Hmm. From the get-go and the way we worked with each other, it was really cool.

MICHAEL:

So there could be some sparks between them ?

A:

Yeah.

MICHAEL:

Many fans and insiders were swirling around in their soap fantasies, that perhaps when you were going to be brought on to “OLTL”, Marcy Walker (Ex-Eden, “SB”, Ex-Liza, “AMC”) would soon follow?

A:

It’s among my dreams. I work love to work with Marcy again, but I have not heard that rumor personally.

MICHAEL:

Have you stayed in touch with Marcy?

A:

I have not talked to her for several years.

MICHAEL:

Why was that such an unbelievable pairing, Eden and Cruz?

A:

A lot of it was dumb luck of having such a similar approach. We are cut from the same clothes as how we see the task. She is really committed and detailed oriented, and the thing I would always say, right? The one thing that stood out over time, depending if one of us had a bad day, is it would never happen two days in a row, it would never recur. And sometimes that’s hard to do after a time. After awhile it’s real, real tempting to mail this one in… and that was not going to happen with us. And that is what set us apart. We were ferocious about how we protected the quality of the work. I say this to my kids all the time, and I am so grateful about this in my life, and that is, “We knew how good it was, and how special the work was while we were doing it. “ It was utterly clear to us that we had something very special, and we ran with it as long as it was there to run.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Ray’s Llanview relative Langston, played by Brittany Underwood?

A:

She is great, and it’s a sweet group of young actors they have on the show. They have a sense of doing the work, and they seem to know how lucky they are to have the gigs and are committed to the work. Brittany is a strong worker.

MICHAEL:

Langston did not know she had an Uncle Ray.

A:

She did not know of Ray. Langston was looking for relatives when her parents perished.

jachendy.jpgMICHAEL:

Ray has wife, Vanessa!

A:

Yeah, Jacqueline Hendy is the actress that
I have done one scene with. She is very nice. Jacqueline plays my wife and somebody is a trouble maker in this group and that’s the big debate. Who is the most trouble in the marriage? We don’t really know.

MICHAEL:

Any other famous “One Lifers” we should look forward to seeing you on-screen with?

A:

I got to do nice stuff with Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio), and briefly got to work with Hillary B. Smith (Nora).

MICHAEL:

Well, I thought perhaps they would put Hillary and A together? The two Daytime Emmy winning dynamos, and that would really screw Clint for bringing Ray to stir up trouble in the first place.

A:

Hillary’s character, Nora just treated Ray terribly. He is apparently an easy guy not to like. I just knew Hillary from back in the day.


MICHAEL:

So how do we get you in a scene with Erika Slezak?

A:

She walked in the door today! Erika was on vacation the whole time I was there. I just got to say, “Hello” to her, and she’s Erika Slezak. I saw her in the hallway!

MICHAEL:

If you were to explain who Ray is, what would you say?

A:

He’s a tortured guy who is trying to crawl out from under a rock.

Double2.jpgMICHAEL:

So, you have completed everything with “OLTL” at this point?

A:

I filled my contract.

MICHAEL:

What do you think needs to happen for everyone at the show and ABC to commit to telling Ray’s story long term?

A:

I am sure that they have to reconvene and figure what they want to do next. It’s like so many aspects of this game. You don’t really know until you put it on its feet, and see how it stands up. They have to look at it on how it plays within the flow of the show, and then see how the viewers respond to it. I think as you mentioned and intimated, it’s sometimes difficult to separate me from Cruz. He is probably one of 150 people I have played and still he is that guy. I think it’s always questionable how people will respond to any actor, when they are expecting a certain thing and what they are getting is something else.

MICHAEL:

My thought was “OLTL” would be stupid if they did not try to keep you on the show, first of all, for your value?

A:

I think a lot depends on how people respond to it. I am very hopeful.

MICHAEL:

Was their one scene that you felt you got to “dig” into?

A:

There was one scene were Dorian got Ray to loose his cool and he become undone. She got him so mad that he started breathing heavy, and then he tried to get out of the room, and before he could get to the door, she jumped him from behind, and tore him up! It filled my eyes and gave me goose bumps.

MICHAEL:

There was a wonderful new Lifetime Television movie you just appeared in, “Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story”. Tell us about it?

pow-wow.jpgA:

It’s a true story and it was a wonderful experience to get it. I was approached by a woman from the Native American Cultural Studies class at Cal State Dominquez Hills. They had used one of my earlier movies called, “Pow Wow Highway” on their syllabus. She called me and asked me, “If I would come meet her class?”, and I had not seen it in a long time, so I thought I would love to go, and I would watch it again. She let me come and see the movie. It was a joy to see it. I had an audition that same day. I am on this wonderful high from seeing the movie, and I am driving to Hollywood. At that point, my manager calls and says: “Well, there is good news and bad news. And bad news first… the interview you are currently driving to, they have decided to go in another direction. So you don’t need to keep driving.” I go, “Well, what is the good news?” He then says, “The good news is that Lifetime called and offered you this movie, “Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story”. It was one of those great days.

MICHAEL:

The story is so moving. Did you know when you got your part in the film that this was going to be an incredible and powerful experience?

A:

Judy Reyes (Nurse Carla, “Scrubs) played this woman, Luz Cuevas. She busted us down at the table read, and when I saw that, I knew this was going to be something special. Usually, at the table read hopefully there will be hope for optimism on a project. She just killed. She turned to me at one point in time, and this woman thinks she has lost her baby, and thinks her baby is alive, and everyone including her father, and husband and the police are telling her she’s crazy, and she need to get a grip and get on with her life. Well, she finally comes to my character, who in the real-life true story, is the person she turned to, and in the table read she turned to me and said, “Do you believe me?” When Judy said that line to me… her face was pale, her eyes were wet, her lip was moving, and I was thinking, “Holy Moly! This is going to kill, and it did.” We went to the premiere in Hollywood at the Director’s Guild, and it tore the room up. Then the executive at Lifetime addressed the room and said, “I want you to know the real Delimar Vera is here with her momma. Here they are!” We all stood up and turned to her. The baby and she are now together. That is the baby that was supposedly dead in the film, and the entire room gave her in a standing ovation. They just bathed her with respect and it melted her.

little-girl.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell us about your role in the film?

A:

I play this guy named Angel Cruz, who is a representative in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who is out of Philadelphia’s 180th district. I think he may be the first Hispanic legislator to come out of Philly. I think he is in his fourth term now and made it possible for this woman to have her life turned back around, because when she came to him, he promoted himself as the friend of the common persona. When she came to him, he did not brush her off. He went out of is way to get her access to DNA tests which she could not afford under her own auspices and functioned as an angel in her life. So it’s really cool to say the least.

To read a write up and review from the Philadelphia Daily News about the background of this horrific yet triumphant story on Delimar Vera, click here!

MICHAEL:

Have you stayed in touch with Jill Farren Phelps (executive producer, “GH”)? I know she is one of your closest friends from way back to your collaboration with her, when she was executive producer of “Santa Barbara”.

A:

Yeah I have. She is as good of friend as anyone, and helps me with so many things in terms of a career. As a person, she is one of the wisest people I have ever known. Our family owes so much to her family, and the things they do instinctually is just wonderful.

MICHAEL:

When Roy Deluca wondered out of Port Charles and you left “GH”, did you and Jill feel the character had it’s closure?

A:

Basically, they sent him to Miami.

MICHAEL:

I got confused. I think he kind of felt shuffled off the canvas.

A:

There was a thing where he was trying to undo Sonny and then Alcazar came in. Then Roy went into ca-hoots with Sonny and went to Miami to cover some of Sonny’s operations. At that time, I got offered this Lifetime Series, “For the People”. That was a real sweet gig. I was hoping it would turn into something, and then in true show biz fashion, you walk away with another gig.


MICHAEL:

How was it working with heavy hitters… Maurice Benard (Sonny) Steve Burton (Jason)?

A:

They are wonderful, and the best thing for me is that I got to work with Tony Geary (Luke), because Roy and Luke were thick as thieves. It goes back to the very beginning of the show that relationship, and obviously it’s Tony Geary! It’s a wonderful group of actors. I got to do things with lots of people on the show, but most of the stuff, I got to do with the men was with Tony. There really is no one quite like him. You don’t know how much I respect him.

MICHAEL:

What is it about him that makes him so unique and special as a performer?

A:

Tony steps up on a daily basis. He explores these colors, and the palette he is using is just so huge. It’s so hard to pin that character of Luke down. There are things we have come to understand about him. The day by day exploration and wanting to try new things made it such a joy to work with that guy.

MICHAEL:

How was it getting to work with Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) when you were back in the fold with her? So many loved her, as Julia Capwell on “Santa Barbara”.

A:

We’re down. She’s awesome!

MICHAEL:

Also, I know there was a moment in time you thought was very special for Maurice Benard.

A:

When Maurice won his Emmy… it was long overdue. What a night that was!

MICHAEL:

We thought your Daytime Emmy was long overdue by the way!

A:

Oh bless your heart….

MICHAEL:

….I remember. I was there.

A:

The thing I will never forget about it was that afterwards, my wife, Leslie and I stood off one of those big ballrooms, because the show was inside the main Marriot Marquis ballroom in New York City. We stood there together shoulder to shoulder for three hours or so. We fielded a river of people coming to express their best wishes and their pleasure that I had been recognized. That’s a moment where you feel your whole sense of the world tilt a little bit. I mean… it was beyond. It was so genuinely generous from so many directions and gave us certain value to the work.

A-tux.jpgMICHAEL:

Where is the Emmy?

A:

It’s my living room. I will tell you what though, whenever we evacuate because of the latest fires or what not in LA, you grab your Emmy! At the end of the day one thing you can say about it is, “that they are very pretty items.”

MICHAEL:

I wanted to just go back to your “Santa Barbara” days with you. Give me a few words about some of your former female co-stars…Kim Zimmer (Ex-Jodie, “SB”, now Reva, “GL”)?

A:

She was profoundly energetic and fun.

MICHAEL:

Sydney Penny (Ex-BJ, “SB”)?

A:

Soulful.

MICHAEL:

Eileen Davidson (Ex-Kelly, “SB”, now Ashley, “Y&R”)?

A:

Beautiful and passionate.


A-Chains.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing, as you premiere on “OLTL” this week, what can we tell fans to look forward to?

A:

The fans can look forward to that he is a real interesting guy. He got to do a bunch of real interesting things with a bunch of the characters. If people enjoy watching it half as much as I enjoyed doing it, then they will remember him fondly.

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Nelly Were Otube

Hi, am Nelly, from Africa (Kenya) I have read this whole interview but with only one interest, Cruz and Eden..how is it possible that A has not talked to Marcy for several years? this is simply heartbeaking… I think. Their incredible perfomance on SB left many of us all over the world marvel at what real love should be, it was sort of a yardstich for which all love should be measured. The least they could have done for their fans, especially hopeless romantics like me, is to stay friends.. atleast… what happened? so heartbeaking. Yes we respect that they… Read more »

General Hospital

GH’s Finola Hughes, Marcus Coloma & Josh Swickard Talk On 15,000th Episode Milestone

The juggernaut that is ABC’s General Hospital, is marking yet another accomplishment in its storied 59-year-history.  The iconic soap opera is set to air on Wednesday, June 22nd (unless preempted), its 15,000th episode.

As part of the celebration, General Hospital’s Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Marcus Coloma (Nikolas Cassadine) and Josh Swickard (Chase), who all appear in the standalone episode, chat with Michael Fairman to mark the occasion.

During the conversation now on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Finola and Marcus, and later Josh, who logged on later while at Disneyland, discuss: their beginnings on GH from landing their respective roles, who in the cast perhaps most intimated them, at first, and what it has meant to be part of the legacy of General Hospital.  In addition, Finola, Marcus, and Josh reveal some of their more challenging storylines, and more.

Photo: ABC

Later, the trio each gives us a tease of what’s to come now that Nikolas has slept with Esme (Avery Pohl), what lies ahead for Anna and her love-interest Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and Josh talks on working with his on-screen love-interest, Amanda Setton (Brook Lynn Quartermaine).

Watch for a special appearance by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) within the interview, as we do a deep-dive of being part of the ensemble cast.

We also take a moment to send out our condolences to Kristina (Felicia) and Jack Wagner (Ex-Frisco) on the passing of their son, Harrison, and how you can donate to the scholarship fund in his honor.

Check out our GH 15K interview with Finola, Marcus, and Josh below, and make sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming features, interviews, and upcoming Daytime Emmy red carpet coverage.

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Interviews

Sean Kanan Talks On The New Season of His Streaming Series ‘Studio City’ and The Life and Times of B&B’s Deacon Sharpe

The second season of the Emmy-Award winning, digital streaming series, Studio City is now available on Amazon Prime. The six latest episodes bring us back into the series of an aging actor, Sam Stevens, played by soap vet, Sean Kanan, who is one of the stars of the soap opera, Hearts on Fire, in the role of Dr. Pierce Hartley.

Throughout Studio City, viewers go on the journey of Sam’s foibles through life off-camera juxtaposed with his life on-screen. A sundry of delicious characters enhances the premise of the series portrayed by the likes of: Carolyn Hennesy, Anna Maria Horsford, Justin Torkildsen, Lilly Melgar, Tristan Rogers and more, all names familiar to soap fans.

While Sean is busy promoting the latest season of Studio City, and his book Way of the Cobra, he is also continuing to appear on The Bold and the Beautiful as bad boy – trying to straighten out his life after years in prison – Deacon Sharpe.  Since his return last year, Sean has been mixing it up in stories with the likes of Kimberlin Brown (Sheila) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).

 

In this chat with Michael Fairman TV, Sean weighs-in on: what could be next for B&B’s Deacon, the struggles and the joys of continuing his streaming series, and the homage Studio City is to the soap genre and much more. Check out what he had to share below.

Courtesy/StudioCity

How challenging was it to shoot this season of Studio City?

SEAN:  When we do this thing on a shoestring, everything needs to fall into place in order for it to happen properly.  We know that everybody involved with the show was going to potentially get other projects, or do other things   One of the biggest issues we have, is that a lot of times, we didn’t know what locations we had because Studio City is the real world, and then it’s the show within a show (Hearts on Fire).  So, with the show within a show, those actors aren’t in the ‘real world’. For instance, Tristan Rogers (Doc), is only in the ‘real word’, so, if we have a location that isn’t for the ‘real world’, we can’t shoot Tristan because he doesn’t exist there.  We would have to literally decide what we were writing (sometimes the night before) based on the locations we could get.  It was just an enormous challenge.

Sarah Brown (Laurie) was not a part of the newest six episodes as well as some others cast members. Will she and others be back at some point?

SEAN:  Sarah was directing a podcast, and we kind of had to look at who was available to us, and what stories we needed to tie-up, and hopefully we are going to wind up doing another five episodes to finish up this season.  Then, hopefully we are able to get the actors who weren’t able to do the first six to come back and do the second five.

What I liked about the new six episodes is that I thought you built-in some really solid scenes for the actors.  How did you feel about the outcome?

SEAN:  We make the best show that we can make with the resources and time that we have.  I was glad that we got to develop the story a little more with Delilah (Juliet Vega), Sam’s would-be-daughter.  We always try to do something that’s socially responsive, and diversity is certainly and important issue in Hollywood, without a doubt, but I also think that you need to see the comedic side of everything.  I thought there was some really funny stuff about that with Sam doing the podcast and the scene with Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene) and Will Roberts (Dennis), where she comes in, and she’s like, “The production is too white.”  I thought that was some funny stuff there.  I loved the monologue my wife, Michele, wrote for Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria) about the soaps – that thing about how all of the soaps are dead, and Carolyn just railed in support of the soaps, about the soaps being this dependable thing.  For a lot of people, soaps are their point of emotional contact.

Photo: StudioCity

I talk to fans all of the time and for many times soaps are their lifeline.  Your character, Sam, lands a part in action-adventure film and screws that all up while on set. Where did that plot point come from?

SEAN: It came from a couple different places.  I think that there is not a male actor alive, who some part of him doesn’t harken back to when he was a little boy and doesn’t want to be an action star.  I think the funny thing about it is, of course, Sam is right on the precipice of being over the hill for it, and he’s not going to let that stop him.  Natalie Burn (Shelby Brock) is a legit action star.  She’s a terrific martial artist.  Our director, Timothy Woodward Jr. has done some action movies.  So, we sort of said, “Okay, we’ve set this thing up where Sam wants to get this film.  Let’s give him the film and have him struggle abysmally.”  Marching orders for Studio City are always to keep as much mishigas on Sam’s shoulders as we can.  You never want to see the lead of your show succeeding wildly because that diffuses all of the conflict.  I do think I’ve had some really great dramatic stuff.  I really liked the scenes that I had with Delilah in the sixth episode, and I loved the stuff with Tristan, and I loved the stuff with Lilly Melgar (Becky).  I thought it was really funny.  Lilly killed it and so did Justin Torkildsen (Jacob).  I thought Justin was great.

Courtesy/StudioCity

I thought when you utilized on-camera testimonials from the cast and the EP, that was really a hilarious piece to add to the story.

SEAN:  That was great.  I’d love to take credit for that, but it was Tim’s idea, and it was a really great idea from a production standpoint, because you can do one of two things.  You can either do a whole show where you’re using those, or you can chop them up and use them throughout different shows. From a production standpoint, we had to build some things into the show to insert those when we needed.

Courtesy/StudioCity

You also cast celebrity publicist, Anthony Turk, as a network executive in the series.

SEAN:  Yes. Way back when I created Studio City, there was a part for a publicist, and I had talked to Anthony about doing it.  We had eliminated the publicist part until Lilly became the publicist; which ended up in a completely different plot point.  I always knew I wanted to put Anthony in the series, because I think he’s a good actor. I was like, “You know, I didn’t write this part for you, but I think you can do it,” and I was really happy with how he did it.

 

Courtesy/StudioCity

I also liked the scene with Anna Maria Horsford’s Jolene where she tells Sam to keep his mouth shut while he is working on set. 

SEAN:  She is so fabulous.  I love that woman.  She is such a talent, and I was so happy when she got nominated for a Daytime Emmy last year.  I have such an affection for everybody on our show, because they really put their heart and soul in it, and it just means so much that they show up, and they support, and they do great work.

What I noticed is that the way Timothy Woodward Jr. captures you as an actor.  There is so much going on in the reaction in your eyes of what is happening to Sam.  He realizes the, “Oh, my God,” of each situation as he realizes what he just stepped into, or he finds the humor in it, or when he lets out his frustration, as he did with his daughter in the sixth episode.

SEAN:  That was one of my favorite scenes.  I wrote that one.   It was great because it’s my real-life stepdaughter, and I thought she really stepped up, and I was so proud of her.

For the first time in the realignment by the television academies, Studio City will now be competing at the Primetime Emmys instead of the Daytime Emmys, if the series receives nominations.  How do you feel about that?

SEAN: We are really excited to be competing with the big dogs now at the Primetime Emmys, and rather than being intimidated by it, we are saying, “This is the universe opening up and saying, ‘this is what you need to do,’ and so let’s embrace it.”  It’s going to be exciting.  In my 35 years in the business, I’ve never been to the Primetime Emmys.  So, we shall see.

Photo: StudioCity

Justin Torkildsen’s role greatly expanded this season.  In story, do you see Jacob attempting to thwart his Aunt Gloria and take control of Hearts on Fire as the EP? 

SEAN:  I don’t know if the goal is for him to take over for Gloria.  It certainly was a lot of fun to see what happened when he got just a little taste of power.  He’s got his own agenda, and I also love that he wants the love from his Aunt Gloria.  He’s not just a young guy trying to ascend the power ladder of the show.  He really does want his aunt to be proud of him and to love him, and she’s a tough nut to crack.

There was scene after the network executive tells Gloria, “You’re out, if you don’t fix the show.”  Doesn’t Jacob gloat in it for a minute?  Doesn’t he want payback for how she treats him?

SEAN:  I don’t know if he does.  I think he certainly does like to see when Gloria gets her little comeuppances, but when push comes to shove, I think he’s really got her back, I do.  Justin is so naturally funny.  He’s a great guy to have on set.  He’s got a great attitude, and he’s a very good actor.  I was really struck by a moment in season one where he’s coming up the stairs, and he had this abject fear of interrupting Gloria, and Justin didn’t have any lines.  He just played it beautifully with no dialogue.  I was like, “We’ve got to give Justin more to do,” and for me, it was nostalgic to work with him again because the very first scene I had on The Bold and the Beautiful was with Justin.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about Carolyn Hennesy; who often is the quintessential scene-stealer in Studio City when she appears on-screen?  Does she go with the script or ad-lib parts of the dialog?

SEAN:  She’s a gorgeous, red-haired, flaming beast.  She definitely did some wonderful ad-libbing to elevate what was on the page, and she made it her own, and that’s one of the things that I love the most about her.  I love that I can write a 20-page scene and give it to, for example, Tristan Rogers, 20 minutes before and know that he’s going to nail it.  That’s one of the things that I love about working with Daytime actors.   Say what you want, but when the chips are down, and your back is against the wall, a Daytime actor is going to be the one who can take the dialogue, digest it quickly, and give you a good performance.  With the way that we are run and gun in our style of shooting, you have to move really quickly.  I’ve worked on a lot of films, and with people who are recognizable in the business, and sometimes they get overwhelmed when they have more than a couple of pages in a day … and you know what we do in Daytime.

Courtesy/StudioCity

When you were writing the new season with Michele and Tim, was it laid out pretty definitively, or did it evolve?

SEAN:  We laid out some large arcs.  We knew the storyline that we wanted to do with Natalie and with Will.  Natalie, actually joined us as a co-executive producer.  She is Ukrainian and has family there.  So, she had a lot going on.  I just feel like she really stepped up.  She really helped the production both as an actress and as a Co-EP, and we were very fortunate to have her, and have her at a time when it would be completely understandable when her ability to even act would have been compromised, yet alone have the facility to Co-EP.  In addition, we knew we wanted to deepen the relationship between Sam and Delilah.  We had a different idea with what we wanted to do with Doc, and we wound up doing something another way than what we had originally discussed.  Sometimes, you have to make these decisions that are sort of production-based and you have to alter storyline.  Of course, we knew we wanted to continue to create the storyline that like a lot of soaps, Hearts on Fire was potentially on the chopping block.  At the same time, we really wanted to illustrate that the soaps are full of people who are talented, gifted actors, who love what they do, they work really hard, and they don’t always get the respect that they deserve.

Courtesy/StudioCity

It looks like Doc might be having a change of heart?  Will he begin chemo to save his life?

SEAN:  That’s what we are thinking, and we are hoping to bring Patrika Darbo back in, and finding out where she’s been and having some really nice scenes between, she and Doc.  I think things are going to develop between Dennis, who is the producer, and my character, Sam, and we are going to learn that all has not been revealed of who Dennis really is.

Courtesy/StudioCity

What did you think when you saw your performances in the latest six of Studio City?

SEAN:  I’m always super critical of myself.  I like the stuff with the podcast because I thought it was really organic, and I thought it was funny.  I loved the stuff with Lilly.  I always see things that I could fix and do better, but I also saw stuff that I liked, and I really liked a lot of what was going on with Juliet.  We had another take where Sam really breaks down, and unfortunately, we had a sound problem with that one, and we couldn’t use it.  That was really crushing to me, but again, you make the show that you can make. Michele and I always joke and say, “Making a 50-million-dollar movie is easy.  You want to really produce something?  Produce it when you have no money.”

Photo: JPI

What did your wife, Michele, say about how she thought the latest season of Studio City turned out? 

SEAN:  I do have to say that Michelle really stepped up this season of Studio City.  She ran the show.  She is an executive producer, but she was also the supervising producer, in charge, responsible for crewing up.  She amazes me to no end.  I couldn’t be prouder of her, and I’m so honored that she and I were able to both win out at the Daytime Emmys.  We have very different skillsets, which is great.  There are not a lot of areas where we overlap, but we compliment, and that’s why I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

You are also busy with The Bold and the Beautiful.  How has this most recent return been for you as Deacon Sharpe?

SEAN:  Oh, my God, it’s been fantastic.  The Bold and the Beautiful consistently ranks as one of the best professional experiences that I have ever had.  I love the people I work with.  I love the creative freedom that I have on the show.  I love what they write for me.  It’s just great.  Listen, I’ve done four Daytime shows, and by far and away, this has been the best experience.   It’s a great role.  I’m the only guy who has ever played Deacon, so I’m fiercely protective of the character.  I know I’m coming into a really big storyline right now, which is very exciting.  I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’m going to be working with a character who I haven’t worked with very much before, which is very exciting.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Kimberlin Brown receiving an Outstanding Supporting Actress Daytime Emmy nomination? I believe you are in some of her submitted scenes.

SEAN:  I think it’s incredibly well-deserved. She just brought so much to it, and I’m just honored that I was able to be a part of what she did.

People are saying you’re going to get all wrapped-up in the Li (Naomi Matsuda) Sheila, and Finn (Tanner Novlan) storyline.

SEAN:  Well, I guess I already am to a certain extent.  I like to think that in his infinite wisdom, Brad Bell (head writer and executive producer, B&B) knew that Kimberlin and I would find humor in an eccentric relationship; rather than just being two kinds of ‘baddies’.  Deacon is not nearly as bad as Sheila, but rather than be two people with somewhat aligned wants and needs, I think hopefully Brad was like, “I think they’re going to come up with something interesting,” and I think we did.   The fight that Deacon had with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), that is not something that you see on Daytime all the time.  That was really exciting and fun.

Photo: JPI

I love that Deacon’s home-away-from-home is the supply closet!

SEAN:  I was teasing Brad.  I said, “If I get a raise, do I get a Swiffer?”  I love it.  In terms of Sheila and Deacon, I didn’t know if we were going to wind up in the sack together or not, and I thought, you know, if that happens, that would be interesting, too.  By my calculations, Deacon has now been out of jail for how long, and he has not gotten any action.  No action for a guy who just got out of prison for 5 years.  So, I don’t know what’s going on in that broom closet. (Laughs)

What was it like working with Katherine Kelly Lang during the whole ‘New Year’s Eve drunken night with Brooke’ story?

SEAN:  You know, Kelly and I really were able to capture lightening in a bottle many years ago, and I think it was wonderful.  I always wondered, what was going to happen all this time later if we worked together again?  Are we going to be able to come up with something great?  I love working with her.  Poor Kelly, just broke her ankle, which is terrible, but she is a champ.

Photo: JPI

Do you think there is still chemistry between Brooke and Deacon?

SEAN:  Yeah, I do.  I try to create chemistry with anyone I work with, men or women, but don’t we do that in life?  We always want to be interesting and sexy with anyone we talk to.  Ultimately, what we are trying to do on some level, is we are always seducing as human beings.  That’s where I come from as an actor.  You’ve got a goal.  You’ve got a series of actions that you use to get the goal.  You usually fail a couple times in the scene, so you change the actions, and you try to overcome the obstacles.

Right, and seduce people …

SEAN: … And seduce.  Deacon is a very adept seducer.  I think a lot of it was from being a conman.  I think now, Deacon is finding that he can be seductive by being authentic.  I think that’s new to him.  I think ultimately, when you’re authentic, that’s a way more powerful brand of seduction than something that is some sort of a manufactured, fabricated, external seduction.

Photo: JPI

So, what would say in a tease of what’s coming up for Deacon on B&B?

SEAN:  All I can say is that I’ve been told that I’ll have an exciting story coming up, and I’m looking forward to it.  I always like when I get the ball, and you never know what another actor is going to bring out of you.  Whenever I work with someone who I haven’t worked with, I hope that they are going to allow me to tap into a part of myself that maybe I haven’t demonstrated before.  That’s what I look for, and that’s what keeps me enthused in this job.  We do have to give the same information a lot in Daytime.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  The challenge is, “How do I do this in a way that is not only interesting for the audience but allows me to stay engaged as an actor?”  If you start getting apathetic as an actor, you start doing bad work, and I can’t do that.

Have you checked out the latest six episodes of Studio City? What do you hope happens next for Deacon on The Bold and the Beautiful? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn Chats On Her Daytime Emmy-Nominated Performance and Its Significance

When the nominations were revealed for the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital mainstay, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), was recognized for her stunning work in the Alexis-centric standalone episode which honored her 25th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series.

Grahn, is already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner.  She won back in 1989 in a tie for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work as Julia Wainwright on Santa Barbara along with All My Children’s Debbi Morgan, and again received the honors in that category in 2012 for her work on General Hospital.

Now. she is vying for the gold in 2022 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category against other formidable actresses including: B&B’s Kimberlin Brown, DAYS Stacy Haiduk, Y&R’s Melissa Ordway, and her GH castmate, Kelly Thiebaud.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Nancy to talk about her decision to enter the Emmy race this year, her powerful and moving scenes, why this nomination is significant and important to her, and her take on some very important social issues of our time.

Always candid, insightful, combined with great humor and wit, here’s what Nancy had to share below, and make sure to check out GH this week when sparks fly between Alexis and Gregory (Gregory Harrison). Will he turn out to be the new beau in Alexis’ life? Stay tuned.

Courtesy/ABC

Congratulations on the Emmy nomination.  How do you feel about being in the running again, especially with the material from your 25th anniversary episode?

NANCY:  You know, I don’t submit myself if I don’t think I have something, and I didn’t last year.  This year, I had the one show, and the first reason I submitted myself was I had the episode that was worthy of the competition. These judges have to sit, and watch this stuff, and very often, it’s hard to watch soap opera scenes.  It really is, unless you’re in it.  It’s a different kind of material that most primetime people aren’t used to watching.  So, it’s tricky business.  I don’t want to put them through anything too awful. I don’t want to torture them and I’ve judged before. It can be a bit tedious. So, for me to submit myself, I thought, it has to be something that isn’t going to torture another human being. The second thing is, older women get marginalized the older they get, and they get diminished very often, and every time we get nominated, it means something different to me.  This time, to me, I want it to somehow be symbolic, or a shoutout to women who are still producing, who have been doing their job for a long time and are still doing it good enough, and that it’s still worthy of respect and recognition.

When we were at the GH Convention back in March, I played the scene on-stage for the fans in attendance of when Alexis goes over to the corner of Kevin’s office and heals her younger self.  You saw the reaction just from the fans.  It’s such a beautiful moment within the story.  What did you think about how the standalone episode was crafted?

NANCY:  It was a different experience for me because GH co-head writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, and script writer, Scott Sickles gave it the attention, but even more to that, they allowed me to participate in the creation of it.  They allowed the director, Phideaux Xavier, to participate.  We all sat in a room.  They said, “You know what?  Make it how you’re comfortable with it.”  There were so many people who gave it time and effort, and Phideaux gets a lot of credit because he came up with a lot of ideas.  So, the little girl in the therapy room wasn’t initially a part of it.  That was Phideaux’s idea, and they let us alter things, and they allowed me to write some words that meant something to me with the character.  Our producers, Michelle Henry and M.K Weir, who I both adore, were also a part of this.

Courtesy/ABC

That is great to hear that you were involved in the collaborative process of the creation of the episode.

NANCY:  We read through the whole script, and we worked it like you would on primetime. We went through it like, “Does this moment work?  Does that moment work?  Does this make sense?  Does that make sense?”  We never do that in soaps.  We don’t get to that.  So, it was a gift to me.  It really was. Chris and Dan, and Scott and Phideaux, and the two producers, generosity in gifting me that experience and making sure that it was to everybody’s liking, was really very special to me, and it meant a lot.

Did you come up with the key lines which summarized Alexis as a person and her journey: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a fighter, and an idealist and an advocate?”

NANCY:  No. They designed it, but we were allowed to enhance and contribute creatively to it, and, we don’t normally have the time to do that.  They don’t have the time to – and you can’t allow people to do that with every episode, to be creatively participating, because it would turn into madness with everybody.

Then, when it came down to choosing the scenes from your anniversary episode to include for your Emmy submission, was that a challenging process of which moments to go with?

NANCY:  I just told a little story with it with the time that I had, and so, I edited it with a friend of mine.  I did a sort of pre-edit on it, I’m good at that, and handed the timeline to our editor, who nicely put it together. It took very little effort.

In my humble opinion, I think that episode featured one of your all-time best performances.

NANCY: Thank you. There was a nice effort from everybody, from the lighting to everybody else, and all the effort Phideaux put into it.  He worked so hard on that!  It was fun for us.  It was like the old days where you really got to work something out.

Photo: ABC

It truly harkened back to everything we knew up to that point about Alexis and her past as well, and included a montage of scenes over the years.

NANCY:  I think it was M.K. who put that together, but when you’re working at the pace we’re working now, to have to sit and put together a montage of twenty-five years, that’s not an easy feat.  Nobody has time for that anymore, but they did it, and like I said, it was really, really appreciated.  My only thought with it is that I wanted it to be relatable to other people.  I didn’t want it to just be some, you know, self-indulgent Alexis episode. I knew that by bringing in the little girl and talking about people being hurt in their childhood and how that makes somebody feel that it was probably relatable to many people, and so it became meaningful to other people and not just me.

Do you think you’ll attend the Daytime Emmys? I know the last time you won you were not present.

NANCY:  Yeah, I’m planning on it.  I mean, barring anything happening! (Laughs)

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

NANCY:  Of course, it does.  It always does, and way too often, women who are still producing well in their jobs, don’t get the respect and the acknowledgment for it.  So, that’s why I’m saying, this is no small thing, and that I want other women to know that I know that, and that I wish for them the same thing.

What was the reaction of your daughter, Kate and your fiancé, Richard, when you told them you were Emmy-nominated?

NANCY:  Richie goes, “What is this?  Your 18th nomination?” (Laughs). You know what I mean?  It was just kind of like, “Yeah, sure, why wouldn’t you be?” It wasn’t like, “Oh, my God!”  It was like they kind of expected that.  That was nice!  I’m glad they feel that way.  I’m glad they weren’t surprised.  They were like, “Sure!  Of course, you would be.  Why wouldn’t you be?”  I said, “You know, it doesn’t always work like that!”

Photo: JPI

Now comes the part of having to find a dress and all that goes with it for the red carpet.  Do you enjoy that part?

NANCY:  No, I hate that part.  That is my… oh ‘boohoo’, you know?  I mean, I have to find something to wear.  Also, the older you get, that becomes so much less important, and the more makeup, and the more hair, and the more foofy, the more ridiculous I look. I start looking like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  You’ve just got to keep it simple.

You were talking about women and ageism.  Do you not feel that also exists for men?

NANCY:  It exists for men, but it’s not at all on the same par as women.  I mean, men still get paid more than women, and men still are valued more than women.  I mean, there are exceptions, but if you look in any place of employment, even the soaps, you will typically find the men making more money than the women, and the older the women get, the less they get.  Life’s not fair right now.  It’s fairer than it was, but still the equality game is not won yet.

Photo: JPI

I know how much all of this means to you in terms of equality for women, and people being run out of their jobs because of their age.

NANCY:  It’s just a reality.  It’s not something that I’m hopeless about, but I have a story to tell.  I’ll tell it when the time is right.  It’s life!  It happens in every field everywhere.  When my mom was 70, she was still producing the exact same way she was producing when she was 30, and she got run out, and was replaced by a man who was 40 or something, and there was no particular reason for it.  It was just, “You’re done.  We decided you’re done,” but like I said, it happens everywhere, in every line of work, and that’s why I just wanted to give a shout-out, when you still, after 36 years, can be recognized or shown respect or acknowledgment for what your do.  It’s a very big deal that I am appreciative of and grateful for.

So, rooting for Nancy to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize? Happy she was nominated for her work in the the milestone episode devoted to Alexis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and to tune-in to the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Friday night, June 24th.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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Cynthia Watros as Nina

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