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THE ANDREA EVANS INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

Evans- mainshot.jpgMICHAEL:

You’re finally back at your old stomping ground at One Life to Live. We are thrilled your back!

ANDREA:

I am thrilled, too!

MICHAEL:

You are such a kick to watch! I find myself laughing out loud during some of your scenes. I think this is the best Tina you have been. What’s fun about playing her?

ANDREA:

Everything. She is such a fun character. She is kind of a bigger than life character. She is driven, a little flaky but also a little smart. She is fun and sexy. She is a little bit of everything, and I think that’s what people can relate to. Tina is always the underdog in a way, because she is always trying to better her life, but always does it the wrong way.

MICHAEL:

You recently ended your run as Rebecca Hotchkiss on “Passions”. So why did you decide to come to “OLTL” at this point in time?

ANDREA:

I think it was always in the back of my mind that I would probably go back. I did not know for how long, though. I knew my audience wanted me to, and you guys are important to me. I had been in talks with ABC, in what seemed like forever. Executive Producer, Frank Valentini at “OLTL” had been in discussions with me, and we both agreed we wanted “Passions” to have its shot and stay there, and give it all I got while it was on the air. I loved that show. Once “Passions” went down, it really freed us up to work something out. Frank, and head writer, Ron Carlivati were kind of enough to work around my schedule and allow me to do this.

MICHAEL:

It seems like a great arrangement. You live in LA and fly to New York to tape episodes of the show. How does that work?

Frank Valentini.jpgANDREA:

I do many shows in a few days. I think I have done 18 shows in three and half days. That’s how I do it. I spend the majority of my time here in Los Angeles. I have a daughter and family which is the most important thing to me. I need to make sure her routine is disturbed as little as possible.

MICHAEL:

Is it harder to shoot all your scenes in one swoop because of the continuity, or does it seem a bit disjointed to you as an actress?

ANDREA:

It’s fine. It’s kind of like doing a mini-film before I go. Having done film, it’s like an odd cross for me between a soap and a film.

MICHAEL:

OK we need to discuss the new addition to Tina’s family, her dog, “David Vickers!” The best soap dog ever and he is Tina’s new sidekick.

ANDREA:

Who is just the sweetest thing!

MICHAEL:

What is “David Vickers” real life name? You seem to get along swimmingly.

ANDREA:

“David Vickers” name is Tallulah. I have never met a dog I didn’t get along with. I am a true animal lover and that’s one of the ways Frank tried to entice me back by saying, “I am going to give you a dog.”

tallulah.jpegMICHAEL:

I thought it was brilliant plot device.

ANDREA:

It’s brilliant and I am thrilled. When I am in New York it helps me ease the pain of being away from my own two dogs.

MICHAEL:

Why is Tallulah so terrific on screen?

ANDREA:

She is the perfect concept dog. On “Passions”, I worked with some dogs, but Tallulah is the best animal I have ever seen on set. She does not bark between scenes. You don’t have to remove her from the set after a scene is done. She puts her belly on the cold floor and she loves it.

MICHAEL:

Tina seems to have a bit more humanity to her this time around. She used to be very mean to her sister, Viki.

ANDREA:

She always did love Viki in an odd way. Tina gets things twisted up, and she gets convinced to do things. Remember when she came back, and was so mean to Viki, it was that she was being convinced to do that because of Mitch Laurence. Tina gets misguided easily by men. But how many women do we know like that? That’s a common problem. I think those are the things that make Tina wonderful. She also has done some nice wonderful things for Viki, and tried to save her on many occasions and loved her and her family. Tina gets…. side-tracked, shall we say?

MICHAEL:

When you returned for the 40th anniversary episodes you only had short scene with Viki at the airport. Many die-hard fans felt perhaps short changed. But I hear there are more Tina and Viki moments on the way!

ANDREA:

There will be more Tina/Viki absolutely. I think Ron Carlivati tried to bring in a scene with us before Erika Slezak (Viki) left for her vacation. Between our two schedules… to get me their before the 40th anniversary, and her leaving on her vacation was challenging. He really struggled to find the opportunity for us to have any scenes at all under those circumstances. I promise you there will be a lot more to come.

MICHAEL:

Tina is part of the first family of Llanview, The Lord’s. How is working with Erika Slezak?

Erika Slezak.jpgANDREA:

I love working with Erika. Erika has a very special place in my heart, because if there is another actress in this business who I have worked with for so long, and learned so much from it would be Erika. I have known her longer than my husband. She knew me before my first marriage, and through my first marriage. She knew me when I was a teenager. It’s a very long lasting relationship, and one I treasure.

MICHAEL:

You have a new Todd Manning to work with. Your last go round, Roger Howarth was playing the role, now we have Trevor St. John. How has that been?

ANDREA:

I am just getting to know him. I am enjoying working with him very much.

MICHAEL:

Tina is being blackmailed by Tess, Jessica’s alter. One recent episode had Bo and John making Tina squirm when they kept intimating there is something not quite right with Jessica. Tina was hilarious. How is working with Bree Williamson (Jess/Tess)?

ANDREA:

I had not worked with Bree before, but with Erin Torpey as Jessica, when she was a little girl. I think Bree is very talented!

Andrea- leopard print.jpgMICHAEL:

What can Tina Lord Roberts’s fans look forward to in the coming months?

ANDREA:

I think more vintage Tina and more what the fans want to see. I think the fans were very happy to have Tina come back for the 40th anniversary. We did the Medorra storyline, which is very 80’s Tina. Totally 80’s Tina….. and gave the audience what they want. I think now, they want to see her blend in to her roots with the family, and involved in more of the storylines that are in Llanview.

MICHAEL:

Will she have a love interest?

ANDREA:

Yes, I know she will.

MICHAEL:

Is it anybody currently on the canvas?

ANDREA:

I can’t tell you more than that.

MICHAEL:

How did you feel when “Passions” run ended? Rebecca was such an ‘over-the-top’ character, such as you are famous for in your career for playing.

ANDREA:

I think that is a good way to put it. I was sad. It was a bittersweet thing. I was there eight years, and you grow to love the situation. It’s the breaking up of a family, and it’s hard and a big adjustment. I knew long before “Passions” finally ended, that it would be sad to go. For many people it meant the end of working for awhile, which is hard and devastating in this economy we are in. Nobody wants to be in that situation. So it was very difficult.

Liza and Andrea.jpgMICHAEL:

Do you stay in touch with your former on-screen daughter, Liza Huber (Ex-Gwen)?

ANDREA:

Liza and I are close, and Kim Ulrich (Ex-Ivy) and I are close. Those are pretty much the actors that I have really stayed close with and of course, the crew. I am quite the crew chick! I love the cameramen. We share a love of sports. We text each other quite frequently.

MICHAEL:

What is your favorite sport?

ANDREA:

I love Baseball; I am a big Chicago Cubs fan.

MICHAEL:

So you must be happy?

ANDREA:

I am happy.

MICHAEL:

Well, I am from Milwaukee!

ANDREA:

Are you a cheesehead?

MICHAEL:

Yes. And I am not happy with what is going on right now. The Brewers are sinking fast out of the playoff race while the Cubs clinched the Division title.

ANDREA:

You know someone from Chicago, is the only person going to say that to you!

MICHAEL:

Milwaukee always bombs in the end. It’s a tradition!

ANDREA:

Yeah, but Milwaukee had done better than the Cubs in the last hundred years or something.

MICHAEL:

Will you go to a Cubs game if they make it into the World Series?

ANDREA:

I would love to. I have to admit, I have not been able to follow it as much, since I have been commuting. Also, with my daughter, I am not as up on things as I should be. My daughter is now four and half so that also keeps me very busy.

Andrea and Kylie.jpgMICHAEL:

Your daughter is named Kylie, which is very cute. What is the best thing about motherhood?

ANDREA:

All of it! It’s what I expected and that much more. The best part of it is the stuff it brings out in you. I desperately wanted a child, and all women don’t feel that way contrary to popular belief. I certainly did. I was driven during my “Passions” years. It was a good time for me to achieve that goal. I knew I wanted it, and I knew I had to have it. However, my thoughts about it paled in the reality of it, and it’s so life-changing, view-changing, and awe-inspiring. I just love it.

MICHAEL:

Are there some moments from your time on “OLTL” where you thought you: “hit it out of the ballpark” and felt great about the work you did that day?

ANDREA:

It’s been so many years. I always tried to leave the set feeling good. The thing I hate, are the days when you leave thinking, “Ooh… I could have done that better.” I love my job. I love the industry. I love daytime, and I always like to leave it feeling I did my absolute best. The days I feel not as good about it are hard.

MICHAEL:

Because on daytime soaps, things move so fast, you can’t re-tape an episode?

ANDREA:

….Or sometimes something occurs to you later and you are like, “Oh. I should’ve done that!” A couple weeks ago on a plane back to LA I was trying to sleep, and I woke up going, “Oh. I should have done that!”

MICHAEL:

What makes Andrea Evans and her portrayal of Tina so iconic that everyone said, “The bitch is back!”? What do you think makes Tina so captivating to the audience?

ANDREA:

I think there are a few soap roles like that. I am very fortunate to have embodied one of them. I think there are a handful of them that have reached the audience in a special way. I think it’s just the marrying of the character and the actor. I think actors become known for a role, for a reason. It’s because that role really suited them in the moment in time they are playing it. It may be a big melding of the two. I am fortunate to be included in that group. That’s why it was important to me to bring Tina back in a way that did the fans justice and in the right way.

MICHAEL:

You are so involved with City of Hope and charitable efforts. Tell us all about it?

andrea in black.jpgANDREA:

I am the Celebrity Ambassador for City of Hope’s, Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer. I have been for 8 years. I became involved because my mother was an 18 year breast cancer survivor, and years ago, I started doing the walks as a celebrity. I saw several celebrities show up and then leave in a limo. Personally, I think that’s wrong. If I am going to do that walk… I do it. I want to make myself available for the people to come up and talk to me. When City of Hope approached me, I thought it was an opportunity to make a difference. My fans have helped raised over 25 million dollars. It is a phenomenal amount and that keeps me going. I have known women everywhere who struggle with this disease or family members who have lost their battle, or family members who have just started their battle. I have had women show me their mastectomy scars. I am touched that they want to share this with me. I am happy to be there, and to walk and to honor those who are fighting their battle, and who have lost their battle, and to honor the survivors like my mother, who are continuing to win that battle. To raise money for better research, it’s a fabulous thing. I take it very much to heart.

MICHAEL:

You are set to do several Walk for Hope’s around the country.

ANDREA:

I am doing a walk in Chicago on October 12th and a walk in Los Angeles on November 9th. For more information you can go to www.walk4hope.org.

MICHAEL:

And now you have launched a very special line of soaps for the consumer and your fans, ”Soap for Hope”.  Tell us about how this came about?

ANDREA:

I have teamed up with a company called, “LATHER” for this special project. It’s called Sandalwood Rose Soap. www.lather.com I have been a fan of their products forever, and I have sensitive skin. They use no dyes, their soaps are all natural and olive oil based. One of the struggles with the soap, is we wanted it to be pink, because we don’t use any dye. So, what we used were rose petals which gives it a slightly pink appearance without dyes. They do no animal testing and their products are very pure. Some of their products are unscented. So people should definitely give it a whirl!

MICHAEL:

And there is a big launch party here in Southern California this weekend….

ANDREA:

This Saturday, September 27th, we are having our launch party in Pasadena, where we are bringing out our, “Soaps for Hope”. The product came out great and you can buy them individually or in a boxed-set, and all the proceeds go to City of Hope Breast Cancer Treatment. So it’s a wonderful cause. I know the fan response has been so good, that they have actually been up on the website before the launch because of the fan demand of the soaps. I am going to be at the, “Lather” store from 2-4PM on Colorado Blvd this coming weekend, and October 1, I will be in the Phoenix store in Scottsdale. If you go to www.andreaevans.com you can also find this great product.

MICHAEL:

You also recently helped launch City of Hope’s very own satellite radio music channel…The Pink Channel.

ANDREA:

Yes. I hosted a week on the Pink Channel and I loved it and had so much fun. It’s a music channel on XM Satellite Radio. I did all the host wrap-arounds and introduced people and did salutes to people. I love doing radio, so that was so much fun. The channel is about cancer awareness and City of Hope. It was a fabulous thing to do. It’s a cause near to my heart and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

MICHAEL:

When you get emails from fans to your website, what are they talking about…Tina?

ANDREA:

I have a Web mistress who helps me with everything. A lot of it is about television obviously, and even when I was on other shows, it was always about Tina.

MICHAEL:

Doesn’t anyone remember you were Patty Williams on “Y&R”?

ANDREA:

That’s the one that gets forgotten for some reason. It was a good girl. I guess I was born to be bad, because the audience response is that they like me much more in the bad girl role, which is fine, or as they call me in my favorite magazine from Australia, “The Super-Bitch”.

MICHAEL:

Do you ever miss the day-to-day of living and working in New York?

ANDREA:

In a way, I have the best of worlds and so I can’t complain. My oldest and dearest girlfriends are in New York. So I get a lot of girlfriend time there which I don’t here in LA. One of my friends is Renata the makeup woman at “OLTL”. She is like the sister I never had. To have time with her like that again is fabulous.

MICHAEL:

How is working with “OLTL” head writer, Ron Carlivati?

OLTL cast.jpgANDREA:

He is wonderful. I just love him. I think he and Frank Valentini have restored a vision to “OLTL” that wasn’t there.

MICHAEL:

It kind of lost its way in the past, but it’s been back on track over the last year or so. Wouldn’t you agree?

ANDREA:

I think so, and that is one of the reasons I wanted to come back. I felt really safe in their hands to do this. It’s really good.

Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmy Preview: Patrika Darbo Talks On Her Nominated Performance in ‘Studio City’

In Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST) former Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, Ex-Shirley, respectively) is one of the notable nominees of the night for her powerhouse performance as Violet in Studio City.

Darbo is always working on projects in Hollywood, and her resume is long … whether it is in sitcoms like Seinfeld, series like Desperate Housewives, daytime dramas, the hottest digital drama, commercials, and more.

Having a complicated history with the Emmys; Patrika has won a Primetime Emmy for her work in Acting Dead, had her previous Daytime Emmy for The Bay rescinded, and now has a shot at another one when the winner is revealed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category in which she is nominated.

Studio City was nominated for 8 Daytime Emmys this year including for Darbo, and series creator and star, Sean Kanan (Ex-GH, B&B, Y&R).  The show tells the tale of the cast of a fictional daytime drama as they navigate through the chaotic world of soap operas and their own very messy personal lives.  In it, Darbo delivers a tour de force monologue which just might have sealed the deal for Emmy voters.  She has already won, along with Studio City castmate, Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), an Indie Series Award for her work, when the two actresses tied in their category.  They are both nominated together again for the Daytime Emmy.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Patrika to talk playing those heavy emotional moments in Studio City, longevity in Hollywood, and Emmy night.  To watch the first season of Studio City via Amazon Prime Video click here, and to watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys click here.  Now here’s what Patrika shared with us.

Photo; JPI

We all knew that your memorable scene in Studio City was so strong.  Your performance is really such a standout that I just thought, “Of course she is going to get nominated for this,” and you did!  How did you feel about this nomination?

PATRIKA:  I have been through the many ways that Sean Kanan has put this show together.  I mean, he has worked on it for a long time.  I read for it with him, as his mom, being a comedy, and now we’ve gone all the way to the dramatic. I think Sean did some pretty good rewrites and gave me some great, meaty material. I so appreciate the fact that he recognized the fact that I am not just a comedic actress, that there is a dramatic part of me.  

Photo: StudioCity

The big moment in Studio City for your character was just so heartbreaking.  Did you deliver that performance in one take?

PATRIKA:  Yes, and then of course I had to do it a couple of times because we had to see it from Sean’s side for his reaction shots to what I was doing.  I come from the school that even though the camera is on my back, it is now on my partner’s front.  So, I tried to give Sean as much to react to when the camera was on him as when it was on me, and I got the same from him, so it was a very nice collaboration.

I watched Sean in that scene.  He was so good in it.  So, whatever you were doing, it triggered such honest reactions from him.

PATRIKA:  I think just as far as actors go; it is not that we always have to remember that it is not about us as an individual.  It is about the end product, and the end product is about who you are working with.  I got from Sean things to work with that made Violet’s emotion’s there, and then I wanted me to be able to take my emotions and give them back to him.

 

Photo: StudioCity

Was it hard to go there for you, to that deep emotional place; that Violent had been traumatized in her not so humble beginnings in Hollywood?

PATRIKA:  You know, I have great admiration for all of these women who have come forward in the whole #MeToo movement.  I have always been a short, round, fat, little character woman, who was never approached in those ways.  So, there were things I couldn’t relate to.  I had to go to my own personal darkness, which is mine to use when I need it, but to try to be sure that I made sure that women who had faced what I was talking about could appreciate that I was showing tribute to them, because that is a horrible thing, and any kind of situation when you are bullied into something that you don’t want to do or taken advantage of, those kind of situations.

For Violet, all of this stemmed from her desire to be in show business; that at an early age she found herself in a horrible situation with a scuzzy show biz type.

PATRIKA:  Yes, she got into town and it was like a dream come true. She got invited to parties, and everything was wonderful, and “Oh, he’s going to put me in the movies,” you know.  I think that’s what happens: Hollywood is so glorious, and kids come in and get off the bus to be a star, and the first thing you have to do is wait tables … and the second thing is sometimes when you are very pretty, and thin, and attractive, and bad things happen, and I’m not just saying it happens just to women.  It happens to young men as well, and it can happen to some older people.  It’s just a thing that we have now identified, and I think people are being made aware of it.

Photo: JPI

It almost seems like you get nominated for all sorts of things in you career: primetime, daytime, stage etc.  Have you ever figured out in your own mind, why you think you get the recognition? 

PATRIKA:  I think because people know me, and I try to give out what I want back.  You know, I treat people the way I want to be treated, which means that if there are a thousand things you’ve got to watch, and you go, “Oh, there’s Patrika, let’s see what she is doing now!  She’s always so nice to me,” they take a look at my work.  Do you know what I am saying?  It’s a numbers game.  We think about how many are in primetime at this moment, and even though there are only four soaps left on the major daytime calendar, there are still the new digital shows that are coming up.  I think I am very fortunate that people know my name, they know me, and they want to take a look and see what I am up to again, and the young actors and actresses that I mentor, and kids who I’ve work with, the most important thing, I always say, is to be nice.  No one should have to tell you that, but sometimes you have to reinforce it and say, “You know what?  The casting assistant today is the casting director tomorrow, the assistant director today is the director tomorrow.  The kid over here is the writer today, and tomorrow he is the show runner.”  I don’t think you should approach your life like “What’s in it for me?”

Photo: wireimage

What did you think of the whole of Studio City?  I think it’s a little gem.  I loved its look and feel, as well.

PATRIKA:  As we go along in this digital world, it is becoming more film-like, more real life looking.  We’ve kind of gotten away from the flat, three-camera take.  It’s bringing more things to life, and people are just enthralled with it. This is the new genre of the hour-long soap.  I think with the attention span of people these days; digital drama they may wind up enjoying more and because it looks more real, they will enjoy it more.

You were in a middle of a firestorm, in 2018, when your Daytime Emmy win for your wok in The Bay was revoked.  Did you at all think about that when you found out you got nominated For Studio City?

PATRIKA:  At first, you kind of go, “Are they giving me this nomination for this reason?” but then you kind of go, “You know what?  It really has nothing to do with NATAS.  It has to do with my peers appreciating my work.  So, I know even though I had some problems in the past, NATAS was so apologetic and they’ve made a lot of changes to try to make sure that things like that don’t happen to anyone else, which I am so appreciative of, but this nomination came from my peers.  So I feel I earned it, and I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened in the past except for the fact that there are changes that are for the good.

Photo: Studio City

Now, you are nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category along with your Studio City co-star, GH’s Carolyn Hennesy.  You both tied in this category at the recent 11th annual Indie Series Awards as well.

PATRIKA:  Carolyn is wonderful in anything that she does.  I wish Sarah Brown had been nominated for her work in Studio City, too.  She is a wonderful actress. You kind of go, “Oh, they didn’t acknowledge her this time,”  but it’s like she is still in the show, the show is going to keep going, so she will have another opportunity for people to recognize her work.  Listen, Carolyn and I could cancel each other out this time, because people know us and like us and appreciate our work.

Photo: JPI

As a working actress in Hollywood, how to you feel about production starting back now for several shows, and concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the show business community with the loss of so many jobs over the last several months?

PATRIKA:  I think there are still going to be concerns.  Listen, my husband has a heart problem.  He’s had a couple of stints, so he is going to be a high-risk.  So, if I am asked to go to work, I want it to be very safe where I am going, so when I come home, I don’t bring something to him, or I don’t get anything.  I think we are all going to be a lot more careful, but I think what people have to realize in general is that it is not just the actors who did not have work.  There are the camera people, there’s the director, there’s props, there are the electricians, there are a lot of people involved to make a show, whether it’s a daytime show or it’s a film.  So, things will be a little different.  There are going to be a lot of changes, but I’m hoping that we will at least get back, and are safe, and that we take care of each other.

On virtual Emmy night this Sunday, will you be participating and watching from home?

PATRIKA:  I’ll be at home, absolutely.  I’ll be trying to figure out how to push the Zoom button or the what button, and trying to figure out the computers. I’m a dinosaur in a digital world, but I’ll be doing my best!

So, will you be rooting for Patrika in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category on tomorrow night’s Digital Drama Emmys? Did you see Studio City and if so, what did you think of it?  Do you hope Patrika comes back to daytime soon? Comment below.

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Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmys Preview: Graham Sibley Talks On His Nominated Performance In ‘Dark/Web’

In one of the hotly contested contests on Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Graham Sibley is going for gold for his riveting and tense performance in the 7-time nominated series, Dark/Web. Sibley’s work had been recognized in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category.

In Dark/Web, Sibley plays Leland, a ride share driver who’s just trying to make it through the night when the app on his phone takes on a frightening intelligence and tells him he has to make the world a better place, even if it means he has to kill to do it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Mr. Sibley to get his thoughts on: playing a ride share driver, being given this tour de force role in such a unique series which landed him an Emmy nod, and much more.

And, don’t miss the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys beginning at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST here, and you can watch the entire Emmy-nominated season of Dark/Web via Amazon Prime Video here.

Now here’s what Graham had to share with us below.

Photo: Dark/Web

In Dark/Web, you were in the first installment of the season, correct?

GRAHAM:  Yep, so it’s an anthology show, and there is a narrative through in that goes through it as well. I’m in the first episode.  It’s called, “Rideshare,” and it sort of explores this ride share driver named Leland Adler.

What can you share about your interpretation of what happens in your Emmy-nominated performance?

GRAHAM:  First, I have to say, Boman Modine, Matthew Modine’s son, is a real talent.  He’s just a really adept storyteller, and he wrote a fantastic script for “Rideshare”.  In Dark/Web, each one of these anthology episodes are written and directed by different people. There is an overarching narrative that goes through that, and there are these individual episodes which are directed by other artists, guest writers, and directors.  So, Boman wrote and directed our episode.  He wrote a really complex character who is a new husband and father, who loses his job and is forced to get into the ride share business, and he is kind of desperate, and he needs to provide for his family, and there is sort of dark web that starts to infiltrate this app.  Leland starts hearing a voice through his earbuds, and you don’t know if he is going crazy … or if he is really hearing these things.  You’re assuming he is really hearing these things.  This character is sort of victimized by this presence.  Over the episode, he starts to give into this because the messages he is getting through his earbuds, through this voice, through the dark web, is information about who these people are who are his passengers, and the terrible things that they have done.  He starts to get messages that he should maybe start to get rid of some of these people, and so he takes the leap and does, and that causes this reaction in him.

Photo: IMDB

Dark/Web in its totality is about a genius programmer whose disappearance leads to these strange stories that are interconnected.  When you speak of the ride share theme and episode, it harkens me back to the character of Travis Bickle played by Robert DeNiro in the classic, Scorsese film,Taxi Driver.

GRAHAM:  Oh yeah, of course.  I think as you go through the journey of “Rideshare,” at the beginning of it, you don’t think Leland is troubled.  He is okay, and then by the end of it, you’re like, “This guy is okay, but something is happening, and now he is on this mission, and now he has done these things that he can’t ever go back on.”  It’s interesting, and it’s interesting that you’re making a parallel with Taxi Driver because Travis was convinced what he was doing was right.  I don’t know if my character at first is.

Photo: Dark/Web

You have not been a ride share driver in real life at some point … or have you?

GRAHAM:  You know… I haven’t.  But, I did sign up when I booked this job.  I went through the process of it just so I would know what it was going to be like.

When you submitted your reel for the Daytime Emmys, did you submit a few scenes, or how did you put your submission together for the competition?

GRAHAM:  I had so much material to choose from.  I was so fortunate to be the lead in this episode, and the episode I think is 25 minutes. It was really hard to pare it down, but I got it down to about 9 or 10 minutes that I felt told the arc of his story.

It’s always important to tell an arc because it does feel like, for the most part, the winning reels are the ones where somebody who doesn’t know the show or your character, could literally follow from point A to point B, if they’re a judge.  You have some solid competition in your category as well! 

GRAHAM:  There are some really amazing performances and some really great actors in the guest performer category, so I’m just honored to be in with their names. Rene Hagler had a couple of different episodes in Dark/Web, so we did not share any scenes together, but he is great.  Lin Shaye and I did a movie together a couple of years ago called Grow House, and then I’ve seen Scott Turner Schofield’s work in Studio City, who is amazing, and Mary Beth Pell, … she’s a legend!

Photo: GSibleyInstagram

Of course, you end up nominated the year that it’s the virtual Emmys. So, what will you wear to the virtual Digital Drama Emmys?

GRAHAM:  I don’t know!  I’ll send you a picture! (Laughs)  If you look on my Instagram, my wife. Marilyn and I staged a picture, because we were like, “Well, we are never going to be able to go to the Emmys,” so we staged a picture with our boys in our backyard with a kiddie pool and us lounging with drinks, and I was in a tuxedo, and she was in this beautiful yellow dress.

What are the names of your boys?

GRAHAM:  They are twins, Lyon and KP, and they just had their first birthday on July 2nd.

Photo: GettyImages

Now, let me ask you this. If they say, “The Emmy goes to Graham Sibley,” what would it mean to you if you were awarded a Daytime Emmy? 

GRAHAM:  I think what it would mean to me is that it would sort of be a pat on the back to say, “You did something that made someone else feel something.”  I hope that’s what we are all aspiring to is to either, be in our own lives trying to make someone feel something, or in cinema or in television or the web.  I’d just be like, “I was honored for being truthful, and that’s cool!”

So, intrigued to see Graham’s performance in Dark/Web?  Who do you think will take home the gold in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series on Sunday night? Comment below.

But first check out this promo for the Dark/Web series featuring Graham which has been nominated in multiple Digital Drama categories for the Daytime Emmys.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Greg Rikaart Talks The Complex Life of Kevin Fisher, His Co-Stars, and COVID-19

This week, fans of The Young and the Restless are getting to go back in time and see some of the memorable moments from the dysfunctional, complicated, yet loveable Baldwin-Fisher clan in encore episodes.

Daytime Emmy-winner, Greg Rikaart has brought his A-game for years as the misunderstood, often misguided, but beautifully redeemable flawed character, Kevin Fisher. From his troubled past to his relationships with his brother, Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and his mother, Gloria (Judith Chapman), Kevin has been one of Y&R’s more intriguing characters always bouncing from the  heavy drama to the comedic, all in the more than capable hands of Rikaart.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Greg to get his thoughts on: looking back at some of these key episodes in Kevin’s past, what it was like working with former on-screen love interest Emily O’Brien (Jana), his current on-screen love Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe), and first meeting his on-screen family.

As many are aware, back in March, Greg came down with the coronavirus and it took quite a toll on him. With what is happening now in our country with the spike in the pandemic, he also shares his perspective on what he went through, and reminds us all that COVID-19 is no joke; it’s real and taking people down with it.  One of the best guys we know … and one of the finest actors we know … here’s what Greg shared.

Photo: JPI

It is Baldwin-Fisher week on Y&R.  What do you remember when you first came to the show?  And what was your recollection of first meeting Christian LeBlanc?

GREG:  When I first came on, it wasn’t to be Michael’s brother.  So, I had been there already, and the first story that I was involved with was the internet predator storyline with Christel Khalil (Lily).  So, I had been there a while, and then I think Christian and I had, of course, crossed paths in the hallways, and we had a mutual friend, so we had even gotten together for lunch, and he kind of gave me the lay of the land a little bit.  It wasn’t until we had a fan event, and Jack Smith’s (Ex-writer and producer, Y&R) daughter, Asia, who had worked on the show for a little while, saw Christian and me sitting next to one another.  She said, “I never noticed that the two of them look like brothers,” and I think that’s where the impulse came from to make us related as brothers, Then after we found out that was happening, that’s when Christian and I got to know each other better and said, “Hey, let’s invest a lot of time and effort into making this relationship real.”  There was so much bad blood and history and a lot of stuff to play.  We really spent a lot of time really working on those early scenes when we were trying to figure out what the dynamic was.  I have really fond memories of all of that.  I think I have a great time working with Christian and developing the relationship, and also, it was so nice becoming a part of a family.  I think having a family on the show made me feel like a more integral part of Y&R.  It was a really great time.

Photo: CBS

What do you recall when Judith Chapman first came on to the show as your mother, Gloria?  

GREG:  Briefly, we had Joan Van Ark playing Gloria, and then, when they had cast Judith, I didn’t read with her.  I think Christian was the one, who had auditioned with Judith, but then I happened to be up in the office one day, and I saw her, and I kind of put two and two together, and I said, “Hey, wait, I think we are going to be working together!”  I also remember the way she jumped right in and filled some pretty big shoes epically … and really made the character her own, and again, added a fantastic layer to what the family dynamic was.  It was really wonderful.

Photo: CBS

I’ll never forget the scene when Kevin says goodbye to Gloria, which was your exit from Y&R.  It was a five-hankie moment.

GREG:  Oh, yeah.  It was so easy to play because I was leaving, and the hardest scenes were the ones where I had to say goodbye to Christian and to Judith because like I mentioned, we had invested so much into the relationships and into the characters, and so there is a lot of love, and I think the boundaries get blurred.  There is love between me, and Christian, and Judith, and love between Kevin, and Michael, and Gloria.  It was hard of all of those different reasons.  So, it was easy to channel it into Kevin having to say goodbye to Gloria.

On today’s encore episode of Y&R, we are going to see the ashram wedding between Jana (Emily O’Brien) and Kevin.  I loved you and Emily together!

GREG:  Me too!

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Emily and the whole Kevin and Jana story because it was crazy! Jana was so quirky and off-kilter and so, at times, is Kevin.

GREG:  I think Emily came on when Lynn Latham was head writing the show, and Lynn, who I think is wonderful, is a bit off-kilter herself, and I mean that in the best possible way.  Lynn always had streaks of wild colors in her hair.  I think in some ways, Jana may have been a manifestation of some part of Lynn.  Every week or two, Jana would say something, and we found out some other absurd thing in her past where she had been a paraglider at one point, for example, and all of these strange things, and you can sort of throw everything into the kitchen sink with that character, and it all sort of worked.  That was sort of happening when Kevin was very early on in his road of rehabilitation; I think it made sense for him to be with someone like that, although I think Jana’s off- kilter was certainly a little more straight and narrow than his. Jana was a good influence on him.  I loved their dynamic; I loved their relationship.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about filming the ashram wedding?

GREG: I remember how beautiful the set was. It took up half of the stage.  Emily looked so great, and I remember not wanting to see her before Kevin would have seen her.  I remember the vows being really nice.  I believe it’s the episode where they first meet, Michael’s dad, who is the minister played by Michael Gross.  It was fun that we had a great centerpiece of a story, but it also propelled story for the rest of the family.

Photo: CBS

Coming up on Friday’s encore episode of Y&R: Kevin defends his relationship with Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) to Gloria when is mother makes a “festive” return.  What was your initial reaction to being paired with Liz, who you were already good friends with?

GREG:  I was excited.  I think Liz is great.  We had wanted to be working together.  For a long time, we had lobbied for it.  I didn’t know what capacity it was going to happen in, but I think linking us romantically was really fun.  I think the world of her, so I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

When you look back at winning your Daytime Emmy, and all of the early storylines, do you wish Kevin were more like how he was then with his dark side, or do you like how the character has evolved? It would be hard to sustain a character being destructive and so dark for years and years on a soap without being shipped off the canvas at some point for crimes. 

GREG:  It’s kind of a mixed bag.  I think, certainly some of the stuff earlier on was more challenging, but I also appreciate and really love some of the more lighthearted stuff that Kevin gets to do.  I think when any combination of the Fisher/Baldwins are called in to be a bit more of the comic relief, I think that provides a fun element too and works nicely on the show.  I am absolutely grateful for the longevity.  It might be hard to sustain a character like Kevin the way he was early on, but it sure is fun to do stuff like blowing up restaurants or burning them down.

Photo: JPI

Have you watched any of the episodes so far this week on Y&R … and watched yourself in your earlier years? If so, what did you think?

GREG:  I watched Monday’s episode.  On one hand, it’s really fun to take a trip down memory lane, and there are moments that I remember, and then there are moments that I don’t.  So, it’s fun to rediscover things that way.  Also, I think I had maybe a false sense of my ability early on and what I was capable of.  Watching some of those earlier shows reminds me of how much I’ve grown, not just with Christian and Judith, but everyone there who I have continued to work with.  I think I feel a lot more confident about my acting ability today than when I look back.

You got the opportunity to come back to Y&R after being let go, how does it feel now?

GREG:  I was thrilled to come back.  I think Josh Griffith (head writer, and co-executive producer, Y&R)  really took some big swings to right the ship by bringing back Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and Mishael Morgan (Amanda), and me, and Liz. I was grateful to be included in all of that and just thrilled to come home.  I’m glad that the last chapter wasn’t the last chapter for me.

Photo: RikaartG

You came down with the coronavirus and publicly let people know what happened to you and how you were feeling along the way.  As someone who has gone through getting very sick; how frustrated are you right now with what you see going on in California and Los Angeles, and the rest of the country as this pandemic has spiked, and there are new daily all-time highs in deaths and cases?

GREG:  I’m pretty frustrated.   It’s not over.  I’m negative now for the virus.  I am well on my road to recovery, but this is not a two-week recovery, and then you’re in the free-and-clear.  I’ve had some substantial post-viral issues that I was dealing with for a while.  It is insanely frustrating to see people not taking this seriously, and I continue to take it as seriously as I did in the beginning because there is no guarantee that antibodies really protect you from anything.  I feel just as vulnerable as the next person to get sick.  It’s mind-bogging to me that something as simple as wearing a mask over your face became politicized. I think we should all look to New York to follow their model for how to get back on track because they did it right.  California is different in the sense that New York had one epicenter for the entire state.  It was New York City where the battle was happening, whereas in California, we are a larger state geographically and population wise, and there are different heavily populated areas like Orange County versus Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and every place in between.  It is hard to shepherd 50+ million people through it as opposed to maybe a more tightly packed group of 10 million New Yorkers, but I still think Governor Cuomo of New York deserves all of the credit he is getting for handling this.  He is really the only one, the only politician who is kind of getting his people through it… at least in America.

Photo: RikaartIG

As a father, how do you feel about what you see happening with opening schools vs. not opening schools, and this debate?  Safety should come first, but you see how this is being politicized as well. Parents need to get back to work, and want their children safely in schools, but how can that be when the pandemic is raging?

GREG:  There is no decision that anyone can make in today’s world where there is not some level of risk that you take on; whether it is going to the grocery store, going back to work, or sending your kid to school.  I understand that there are parents who need to work and don’t have the luxury of childcare, and they need their kids to be in school.  I know there is a lot of evidence suggesting that kids are not specific transmitters of coronavirus, and even if they are, even if they do come down with it, they tend to fare quite well.  So, of course, no judgement on any parent who makes different decisions if they are well thought out, educated decisions and you’re using science to arrive at your conclusion. But for us and my family, I think we have a very intimate understanding of how serious this is.  You know, Monte is only in preschool, but his preschool went back last week, and we are just going to keep him home until we feel like we are ready to send him back.  At his age, I’m not concerned about there being things that he’s not learning.  I’m concerned about him socially, and developmentally with what he is missing out on, but we are finding ways to do things socially-distanced with friends and to socialize him that way, and we are fortunate in that we have childcare.  So, we have two extra hands on deck, 40 hours a week, which is super helpful, as there are no easy choices these days.

Photo: JPI

Y&R is going back into production this week.  Knowing what you went through with COVID-19, any trepidation on your part?

GREG:  I think going back to work would for sure do me some good emotionally, but like I was saying earlier, there is no decision that you can make these days where you are not taking on some level of risk.  So, I am excited.  I am also a little anxious.  We will see how it goes.

I was so concerned for you, as so many of your colleagues and friends were too, when we saw how you were kicked by this virus.

GREG:  It was awful, truly awful, and I hate to complain about it when I have a lot of gratitude for how much better I fared than so many other people.  I am out of the woods for sure, but if I exert myself a little too hard for a few days in a row, I have a day where it can be hard to get out of bed.  I have some friends who are dealing with even more substantial post-viral fatigue.  One friend of mine, he hasn’t gotten his taste or smell back for over three months, and doctors are skeptical that he ever will now.  So, fortunately, I’m not dealing with any of that, but you know, it’s hard to not wish that it just never happened, and that I was physically who I was a few months ago.

Photo: JPI

Closing out our conversation on Kevin Fisher, if you had to explain to another human being who doesn’t watch Y&R, who Kevin is, what would you say?

GREG:  I would say that he is the lovable ne’er do well.  Someone who messes up often, but I think he has earned a place in people’s hearts where they are forgiving of him when he does mess up, or they’re rooting for him to make better choices. When he does make good choices, they are into his choices.  I think that’s a good handle on who he is.

So, what is your favorite moment or story in the history of Kevin Fisher? Are you enjoying this week’s encore episodes on The Young and the Restless?  What do you think about the views shared by Greg, as someone who has gone through battling the coronavirus? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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

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