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THE ALLEY MILLS INTERVIEW – THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

AlleyMillis.jpg
By Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

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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.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Head Writer Ron Carlivati Talks On: Ben Weston, Soap Amnesia, Doppelgängers, and the Time Jump

Days of our Lives viewers have been going through some changes over the past month since the launch of the innovative time jump from the creative mind of the series and Daytime Emmy-winning head writer, Ron Carlivati.  As episode after episode unfolds, the audience has been finding out just where their favorite Salem residents have landed and with whom, in the one year flash-forward.  There have been shocking deaths revealed, longtime couples facing different kinds of obstacles that could change their relationships forever, and some characters brought back on the canvas, in one form or the other, to shake things up.

On the series finale of the Inside Salem: Days of our Lives Podcast,  Ron Carlivati was the very special guest and addressed many of the decisions that went into making the flash- forward happen starting with when Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) wakes up from her coma after her fall, thanks to Princess Gina (Kristian Alfonso), and how it impacts the canvas.  You can listen to the can’t-miss interview here via iTunes or at NBC.com/Inside Salem.

Due to the length of our conversation with the talented head scribe, some of the questions and answers did not make it into the podcast finale due to time constraints.  So, we have brought you the rest the interview here as Ron discusses: the popularity of  #Cin, back-from-the-dead storylines, writing for the original series on the DOOL app and further creative decisions that went into crafting the one-year time jump.  Check out what Ron had to say below.

Photo: JPI

You have been able to make #Cin, the hottest duo on daytime by taking a now reformed serial killer, Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson) and pairing him with the daughter of one of DAYS all-time supercouples, Bo and Hope in Ciara Brady (Victoria Konefal).  Were you ever  concerned as to how this story/romance would play to the audience at home, because in reality no parent would ever just stand by and let their child get involved with a man who strangled and killed women, previously? 

Ron:  To sort of try to glorify a guy who strangled women and make him into a romantic lead, we don’t do that lightly.  Not unlike, Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) on One Life to Live who was a rapist, and who became sort of an anti-hero, but also a romantic lea.  And in this day and age, it’s even a bigger decision to do something like that, I think.  So, that said, it is a soap opera and there are certain things where we know we are pushing the envelope.  We know in the real world that no mother would ever get past her daughter being with a guy who murdered, killed, and strangled three women or strangled and shot one, but the pairing worked so well.

Photo: JPI

In the time jump, you gave Ben an intriguing prison cell mate in Will Horton, given that Ben had “killed” him previously.  Add to that you brought back Ben’s criminal father, Clyde back into the mix.  There’s lots of prison orange these days on the screen.

Ron:  When we knew we were sending Ben to prison, then obviously father and son have to cross path. It just added another element, so it wasn’t just going to be Ben and Will (Chandler Massey) talking to each other, and making a shawl together like Martha Stewart. (Laughs). Ben’s relationship with Clyde was interesting to me.  As horrible as Clyde was and is – there does seem to be some sort of love that he has for Ben.

Photo: JPI

On the soaps, and as has been part of DAYS enduring legacy, characters are killed off, only to be brought back to life somewhere down the road. Many return with classic soap amnesia as a vehicle to drive story.  Is there ever a time when as a writer, or as a soap fan, you think “enough is enough”, and characters should just stay dead?  Many fans who watch daytime dramas get very invested in tragic death stories, where characters have these shocking or sudden, or long goodbyes, and the viewers goes through the grieving process; along with the other characters, for what then seems like a waste of an emotional investment when said character turns back up alive.

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Ron:  We were talking about bringing Jack (Matthew Ashford) back right around that same time we had the Will story.  We couldn’t bring two people back from the dead at the same time, and that’s why Jack’s return kind of got put on the back-burner, so we could do the ‘Will is alive’ story arc.  Look, the audience will go with you, especially if they want somebody back desperately.  They will overlook how did it happen, and how could they be alive.  They will accept almost any explanation, but I think you’re right, if you do it too much, you tend to water down the permanence of death … especially deaths that you saw on-camera.

Photo: JPI

Viewers know you love doppelgänger storylines.  And, in the time jump you brought back none other than Hattie Adams (Deidre Hall).  Why the decision to bring Hattie back at this time?  I know Deidre loves playing her.

Ron:  I think Deidre likes playing something different than Marlena, because she played Marlena for many, many years, and she knows her like the back of her hand.  Hattie is an escape and something fun, and the chance to do and say outrageous things that Marlena would never do.  So, we bring her back whenever we can to have fun with, and again, it seemed to work because  she was in prison, and we set Eve in prison when we started the time jump off, and we’re like, “Who’s Eve (Kassie DePaiva) going to be talking to?” and we’re like, “Oh, well of course.  It has to be Hattie.” (Laughs)

When do you first see the fruits of your labor?  Do you see a feed from the set as the show is taping? Do you receive episodes where you see how what was written has come to life? 

Ron:  In prior shows, One Life to Live and on GH, I saw it when it aired. At One Life, I was in the studio, so I often saw production shooting scenes.  Here, they send me the completed shows once it has been completely edited, the music has been put into it, and it’s all ready to roll, and they email me the link to 5 or 6 shows.  So, I could in theory watch a couple of weeks ahead of the audience, but I tend to (unless I’m so, so curious about how a certain thing turned out) watch it when it’s on TV.

Photo: JPI

The “Lani (Sal Stowers) and Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) joining a convent” storyline is at a critical point in story.  How did you come up with the decision to put Lani, and of all people, Kristen together and about to take their vows as nuns, and kind of becoming bff’s?

Ron:  I mean, you can’t imagine sort of two more unlikely friends as Kristen and Lani.  We grew to really love the relationship that developed between the two of them.  I think we sat down and said about the time jump, “There have to be enough big changes that you do the double-take.”  Like, Will is Ben’s cell mate, Adrienne is dead, and Justin and Kayla are together now.  You had to have enough of those WTF moments to justify passing a year of time.

You have also been writing series for the DOOL app.  What did you think of Chad and Abby in Paris with that being the initial one and how it all came to pass?

Ron:   It was fun.  I had no time.  I was writing six episodes a week of DAYS, and I was asked “By the way, can you write two seasons of a web/app show for us?” (Laughs) Greg Meng (Co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) has really been the mastermind behind this app and developing this app into something.  I love all of the stuff you guys came up with for all the behind the scenes content, but I know that Greg really wanted original series content on it, too.  Chad (Billy Flynn) and Abigail (Kate Mansi) just seemed like the logical couple to do that with.  You wanted somebody tied to Salem that wasn’t currently on the campus, but you know the audience cares about what their up to, and Chad and Abby just seemed perfect.  The process was totally different because I’m used to writing six outlines a week that are 15 pages long, and all of the sudden, I’m like, “She comes in, this happens, and this happens.” .  That’s like a whole episode of an app series right there.  Corday Productions produced it while they were producing the regular show, and they made a special set into Chad and Abigail’s apartment, which I thought looked incredible.

Photo: JPI

Chad & Abby in Paris had a bit of a different look and feel then the regular airshows, which I think made it enticing.

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Ron:  I loved the look of it.  I felt it was just a little bit different than Salem.  We had the establishing shots of the Eiffel Tower and all of that stuff, and look, we had to keep it simple, but we added in Austin (Austin Peck).  We had Tony (Thaao Penghlis) come in season 2.  We had the new characters of Juliette (Rachele Schank) and Sylvie (Shawna Della-Ricca).  So, it was fun, and it weirdly just timed out so perfectly because we did 8, took like a week off, did another 8, and that last episode was posted right when Jennifer fell.

Right, so it timed perfect to get Chad & Abby back on the airshows.

Ron:  It timed out perfectly so that we could have Abigail get a call: “Something has happened to my mother.  We have to go back to Salem.”  So, you last saw Chad and Abby in Paris, and then the following week they were back in Salem.

Photo: JPI

Now, with the kind of massive move for DAYS with the time jump, you have to figure out: “Who are the casualties?  Who am I going to lose?” Viewers learned in short order that: Adrienne (Judi Evans) isn’t alive, Haley (Thia Megia) isn’t alive, and Jordan (Chrishell Stause) isn’t alive.  What went into the decision-making process to kill those characters?  I’m assuming it was to further the story of others on the canvas.

Ron:  Yes.  Anytime we kill somebody, it breaks my heart every time, because these are like my babies.  You fall in love with these characters, and you care about them a lot, and you care about the people who play them.  So, it’s a big decision to say, “Let’s kill them.”  It may be a great story, like, “I’m going to get this amazing story if I kill X,” but that’s a person and a job, and it’s not something we ever do lightly.  That said, in a year of passage of time, you know that life and death is going to happen, and to us, it felt like to really signify the passage of time, there had to be at least one or two people who are no longer alive, and then show how that affects our story.

Photo: JPI

Did you ever think that instead of 1 year that you’d do a bigger jump?  Like, “What if I did 5 years?”  Because it’s interesting, I was reading some comments on social media from fans who are like, “What year is it?  Is it just 1 year?  Why didn’t they do 5?” (Laughs)

Ron:  5 seemed like a lot.  I think people change physically a lot in 5 years. I wasn’t prepared to cast little children as teenagers… that would be a lot. (Laughs)  I think you run the risk of it being almost too disorienting for the audience.  Also, then it would be me having to figure out what happened over 5 years instead of just 1. (Laughs)  So, 1 year just kind of seemed perfect, and it had to be an even year so that even though it’s a crazy coincidence that Jennifer woke up 1 year to the day she fell into the coma, you needed Thanksgiving to still be Thanksgiving, and Christmas to still fall on Christmas, and that kind of thing.  So, it had to be an even year.  I think it worked out great and I hope the audience continues to go on the journey with us, because there is a lot more to come!

So, have you been enjoying the DAYS time jump thus far? Which storyline has piqued your interest most? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Rob Scott Wilson and Victoria Konefal Interview – Day of Days 2019

Days of our Lives stars Rob Scott Wilson (Ben) and Victoria Konefal (Victoria) talk with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019.

During the conversation, the on-screen duo known as “Cin” share their thoughts on the series time jump, and the shocking developments that find Ben in prison for the murder of his sister, Jordan.

In addition, Rob and Victoria reveal their thoughts on if a #Cin proposal may be on the way, and much more.

Check out the interview above this fan favorite duo below, then let us know in the comment section what you think of the plight of #Cin currently airing on Days.  Do you want Ben to get out of prison? Ciara to save him? Weigh-in.

For more Day of Days 2019 interviews check out the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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Days Of Our Lives

Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey Interview – Day of Days 2019

Days of our Lives stars Freddie Smith (Sonny) and Chandler Massey (Will) chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019.

During the conversation, they discuss the latest developments for WilSon with the series innovative time jump, which finds Sonny grieving a year later for the loss of his mother Adrienne, and that his husband Will is apparently the responsible party and in jail for her death.

In addition, Will was in for a surprise when his cellmate turned out to be the man that strangled him to ‘death’, Ben Weston.

However, in one of the funniest interviews during the Day of Days event, Freddie and Chandler reveal what really will happen next for WilSon (sort of, kind of, not!)

Check out the chat below. Then, let us know what you think of the current story in the time jump, which looks to be keeping Will and Sonny apart, plus there could be a new man on the horizon for Sonny, now that Evan is in Salem.  Weigh in via the comment section.

For more Day of Days 2019 interviews visit the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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Video du Jour

DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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Ryan Carnes as Lucas Jones

General Hospital

Airdate: 11-8-2019 –

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