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THE ALLEY MILLS INTERVIEW – THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

AlleyMillis.jpg
By Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]

TV SOAP:
Were you surprised to find out that Pam was returning to “B&B” this time as a whack-job?

ALLEY:
I was somewhat surprised.  I did not know at first, it started with Stephanie being shot.  I was just coming back and thought maybe I was just still in love with Eric.  I did not realize I was quite nuts until I read the scripts.  Nobody really told me.

TV SOAP:
So, you figured out that Pam must have been on some sort of medication for a mental illness?

ALLEY:
Of course, not many people sit by somebody’s bedside and squeeze it like a pillow like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, with foam practically dripping from their mouth.  Then I       went, “Oh, she is taking a turn!”  Then I read ahead.  Ann, Betty White’s character says, “Have you taken your medication?”  Then I went, “Oh, I love it.”  So, that is when I realized I was on medication the whole time and somewhat normal.

TV SOAP:
So the meds are the great Pam “neutralizer”?

ALLEY:
It’s so much more fun to be off your medication and in life.
(She laughs)

TV SOAP:
The last time we saw you and your alter ego, Pam, was during the shooting of Stephanie storyline.

ALLEY:
After the shooting of Stephanie, I stayed on the show quite awhile as a suspect.  Then my mom, Ann, says, “You better come home darling.  What have you been doing?”  I was sitting there with my dog, which was eating my sandwich.

TV SOAP:
Pam has quite a dog as her sidekick.  How is working with the dog?

ALLEY:
“Tiny”, is the dog.  I love working with the dogs.  There are actually two dogs.  There is one that growls and grits its teeth, but he is the sweetest thing and his name is Hudson. Then, there is another dog playing Tiny, who leaps at the suspect.  Jennifer Gareis, who plays Donna, is actually terrified of dogs!  And in recent episodes that aired in the States, this time Stephanie and Eric are on the outs and Eric is with Donna.  Theoretically, I think I am helping Stephanie by saving Eric from Donna.  But of course, in Pam’s deranged mind she likes Eric too, and she hates Donna.  In the scenes I shot with Jennifer I had to use this wonderful man named OJ, who is this 60-year-old African American wrangler, because the dog would leap and Jenn could not be in the scenes.

TV SOAP:
What kind of dog is “Tiny”?

ALLEY:
He is a Doberman Pincher.  I am not afraid of dogs, but at the end of the scenes where I leap at Donna and leap at her again, I’m holding the dog by the leash, and OJ goes, “Good boy!”  Then, he takes this fake arm that “Tiny” has been holding onto the whole scene.  The dogs have really huge jaws, so it was quite scary.

TV SOAP:
So, how on earth, did you tape the scenes between Donna and Pam and “Tiny”?

ALLEY:
During the entire dialog, it’s a close-up of me.  OJ would be in Jenn’s spot, and I would be talking and the dog would leap at OJ.  Then, what we did was tape the whole thing without the dog.  I pretended to lurch forward with an empty leash going backwards and forward.  It is really hard though, because you have to remember what people did and where they were positioned.

TV SOAP:
How crazy is Pam going to get?

ALLEY:
It’s pretty deranged, but I put a tea bag in my mouth.  My husband, Orson Bean, who is a comic said, “Make sure to make the string hang in your mouth as long as possible.”  My husband helps me with the comic side of being crazy.  The crazy part I have already explained to Donna, is how I get obsessed and how I am borderline psyzophrenic.  I have told this to her to freak her out.  I am mostly keeping normal around other characters.  It’s mostly around Donna that I am freaking out.

TV SOAP:
Does Stephanie know what is wrong with Pam?

ALLEY:
Stephanie does not know what I am doing, and she does not know about the fact that I am off my meds.

TV SOAP:
How far will her insanity go?

ALLEY:
I don’t know.  Who knows?  Brad Bell (creator and head writer, “B&B”) knows. Everyday you pick up a script and go, “Oh thank you Brad.”  You just don’t know.  I know I am just going to mess with Donna with her exterior.  Pam is trying to get Eric uninterested in her.  Pam basically thinks all that Donna has going for her is her sex appeal, and wants Eric to just notice that. Her main motivation is to get Eric turned off.

TV SOAP:
Is Pam adversarial with Sister Stephanie, at this point?

ALLEY:
No.  Stephanie and I are having fun.  I tell her that I am responsible for everything that I do to Donna.  So this is what I do: I turn her hair green, I keep her in a tanning booth for 15 minutes or so… so she turns black, and her teeth gets stained.  So she loses her confidence.  Stephanie thinks it’s really fun, but she does not know I am mentally unbalanced, but I think she might know.  She knows that Pam has had a really rough childhood.  So, my excuse for me being mean and crazy is what happened to Pam as a child.

TV SOAP:
For those who don’t know, please recap the childhood abuse that caused the problem for the Douglas sisters.

ALLEY:
Even though Stephanie was the one that got abused by our father, Ann, our mother, would make me play piano in the next room while Stephanie’s beatings were going on. Even though it’s just soap, the show got so many calls from South American countries from people who had been abused.  They had an abuse hot line, which was used a lot.  I think Brad was freaked out by it, and it turned into a very serious thing.  I don’t think people talk about that in their lives, especially in other countries.  So, when I first came on the show, the whole thing was very serious.  The childhood was very bad.  As bad as it was for Stephanie that our father was creepy and hit her, it was left vague what he really did to her.  But Pam heard her screaming and saw the blood on her back.  I am six years younger than her and was always left out of what really happened.  Pam has lived with her mother her whole life, which is pathetic.  I think Pam has probably been on medication her whole life, and Ann has repressed everything.  She let her little girl get hurt in the next room.

TV SOAP:
My theory is obvious, that Ann has been medicating and drugging Pam her whole life! What are your thoughts on that?

ALLEY:
It has not been said that Ann was drugging Pam to keep her in check.  She just said, “Pammy have you been taking your pills?  You know what happens when you don’t take your pills!”  You get the feeling that Ann is the regulator.

TV SOAP:
But, you have made the whole crazy scenario a little like Lucille Ball from “I Love Lucy.”  Is that on the money?

ALLEY:
Yes.  It’s really interesting, because Brad had kind of made it comic like a Lucille Ball, trying to get Donna.  I love that!  It’s really fun and it’s fun to be funny.  If it were too cruel and too mean, it would not be the same thing with Donna.  Everyone likes to get the bimbo!  It’s fun!  The truth is, in real life I have a friend who is a lot like my character. But the truth is, the manic factor of this disease is actually quite fun.  When you are around people who are really manic, it’s fun.  The other side of it is not fun.  It’s really, really dark.  Brad has it in the writing that, “If Pammy does not take her pills; she goes to a really dark place, Donna.  I am going to take you with me, if you don’t back off!”  My threatening to murder her was pretty nasty. You just never know where this is going to go.

TV SOAP:
How long will you be back on the show this time?

ALLEY:
It’s been six weeks since I have been doing this story with Donna.  Then, you never really know till Brad wakes up in the middle of the night!  He gets these ideas and then the next thing you know… Pam is off her medication!  Last time, I was after Eric, so he changed that.

TV SOAP:
How is working with John McCook (Eric)?

ALLEY:
John is a doll, great to work with, and hysterically funny!

TV SOAP:
How is it working with Susan Flannery (Stephanie)?

ALLEY:
When I started working on the show, she was so powerful in the child abuse storyline.
Susan is an amazing actress.  I like her as a person and to hang out with her in her dressing room, running lines.

TV SOAP:
Do you run lines with her and go through a certain rehearsal process?

ALLEY:
She does that everyday, which is fantastic.  When you arrive at the studio, the first thing you do is blocking, even before make-up and hair.  Susan wants every one of the actors in her scenes to get together, whether it’s one or four people.  In this case, Susan had the four of us, John, Betty, her and me, and we would run every scene three times.  Then we would talk to each other about anything that we didn’t think felt real. Then, Susan will change lines to make it real if she has too.  She says, “Be free.”  You know if you run the scenes three times, then it’s not a free-for-all in front of the camera.

To hear this audio snippet, click back to The Global sections,
“New This Month” area.

TV SOAP:
How do you feel about working with you new on-screen rival, Jennifer Gareis (Donna)?

ALLEY:
I think she is great!  She will let me make fun of her without hurting her feelings.  That is the thing that gets kind of tricky, when you get into something.  I, as Pam, don’t like Donna, and Jenn is a very vulnerable girl.  She is young.  I keep forgetting at times that she is.  But, I want to make sure she doesn’t think I hate her.  I want to be free to feel it when we are taping.  So, I try to have lunch with Jenn and stuff so she knows that I like her as a person, and then I can be really nasty to her on stage.  Jenn is getting her MBA at Pepperdine, so she is not an airhead.

ALLEY:
Most actors I know would not be able to go and learn lines this fast.  “B&B” tapes four days a week now.  So, we tape one and half episodes per day right now.  There is a luxury in that you get a long weekend.  If you are in a heavy storyline, it’s a lot of lines, and if it’s emotional scenes where you want to be there, then you have to get them under your belt before then.  I am doing a play by J.M. Barrie who wrote “Peter Pan.”  It is called “Alice Sit By the Fire”, and every Thursday through Sunday I am in that, too.  So, it’s been a challenge to do both things, but I am alive! (She laughs)

TV SOAP:
Have you been to Australia yet?

ALLEY:
I have never been to Australia.  My husband lived there and the kids went to school in Melbourne.  I want to go really badly, and he has promised me he would take me.  We have really good friends that live there in an Arts Colony where a lot of people from the television business live.  It’s called Daylesford and it’s in Victoria.

TV SOAP:
In closing, by your best guestimate, what do you think is coming down the pike for Pam?

ALLEY:
My guess is maybe we are going to get another facet of Pam; the inside of her… of what this whack job is really going through.  I never know till I pick up a script.  It all depends upon the pill jar.  Do you know what I mean? (She laughs)

TV SOAP:
Now that you have spent time on a daytime soap, how is it stacking up against your other primetime work, such as “The Wonder Years”?

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Love the dress you wore to Ridge’s and Taylor’s wedding (July, 2011). Wondered if you can reveal the label? Enjoy your part very much.

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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Interviews

Y&R’s Melody Thomas Scott Talks Harrowing Childhood, Growing Up In Hollywood, Nikki’s Storylines

This week, The Young and the Restless’ iconic, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) new memoir, Always Young & Restless: My Life on and Off off America’s #1 Daytime Drama,” from Diversion Books, is available everywhere.

For everyone that follows Melody, this book has been several years in the making with some starts and stops, but in it she does not hold back and reveals some very painful details and moments from her upbringing when she was raised by her unstable grandmother and more.

Courtesy/DiversionBooks

Melody also talks about reuniting with her estranged father when he suddenly awoke from his coma while she was by his side.  Throughout her lengthy career in Hollywood, Melody has worked with some of the greats including: Clint Eastwood, Brian DePalma and Alfred Hitchcock.

Now in a conversation with Michael Fairman on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Melody opens about her decision on the stories she told in the books, her favorite and least favorite storylines as Nikki on Y&R, working with Eric Braeden (Victor) and the entire company of the CBS daytime drama where she has been for over 40 years, and how she hopes her memoir might help others; including those stage moms and children considering life in front of the camera and more.

To watch the full interview with Melody, check it out below.

Then let us know, what have you been most surprised to learn about Melody this past week as her memoir has come out? What is your favorite or least favorite storylines of Nikki’s on Y&R over the years? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Video du Jour

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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