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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

Y&R’s Eileen Davidson Talks on Ashley’s DID Storyline, the Challenges of the Alters, and Working with Trevor St. John

The Young and the Restless two-time Daytime Emmy-winning actress, Eileen Davidson, has recently been given the ball by series executive producer and head writer, Josh Griffith to tell the ltin the latest of Ashley Abbott’s emotional struggles. This time, Ashley has splintered into multiple personalities: Ash, Mrs. Abbott, and Belle.

Given Ashley’s history (which has included several mental breakdowns), Y&R has chosen to revisit her psyche in a brand new twist in 2024 by launching a Dissociative Identify Disorder storyline. When things spiraled downward to her marriage to Tucker (Trevor St. John), and a flashback to a car crash which took her unborn baby in 2003, Ashley began to hear voices in her head and her alters began to emerge.

Speaking live on a virtual appearance on Tuesday on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Davidson shared her thoughts on the storyline, how she crafted Ashley’s various alters and what she thinks of her co-star, Trevor St. John.  Here’s a few key remarks from the chat below.

Photo: JPI

Eileen talked about Ashley’s overall emotional make-up, explaining, “Everybody always talks about her being so strong and so together, and they don’t like seeing her weak. I’m like, ‘Ashley’s never been as strong and together. She’s had issues from the gate out of the gate … years … forever.’  She had amnesia. She had all sorts of issues. I love her fallibility and her vulnerability.”

Taking on the different personalities is a challenge, but Davidson pointed to one, in particular, that she feels is the hardest to play, “Ash has been the most difficult one,” explained the actress. “Because I didn’t want to do anything too broad and too ‘teenagery.’  So it was just trying to be honest about somebody who’s kind of young and sees the world in a certain way and is perhaps defensive and is an angry teen.”

Photo: JPI

However, embodying Ms. Abbott was a lot easier for Davidson. “It wasn’t hard for me to figure her out,” she expressed. “It was the very first time she was introduced on paper. She’s in Tucker’s hotel room. She’s breaks in. I’m like, ‘Okay. she’s sitting in the chair and it, it says kind of like a ‘Sharon Stone-type moment.’  I felt pretty comfortable embodying that in control, kind of toying with a man. She knows how to put on vulnerability and softness to get what she wants, but is always in control. And her ugly side shows more and more as the story has been coming out.”

The newest alter to emerge was Belle. Davidson shared how much she knew of the alter before she began playing her, stating, “They gave me southern, flirtatious, likes tequila, and always looking for a guy’ and I was off to the races. It’s been really, really fun for me. I didn’t want her to sound like she’s from the South completely, because Ashley is not from the South. It’s just a persona of how Ashley thinks a southern person sounds. So, she’s not playing a southern character. She’s playing a personality that thinks she’s southern. It’s very different.”

Photo: JPI

Currently, it looks like Tucker’s life may be on the line as Ashley’s alters want to get rid of him once and for all.  Eileen explained why, revealing, “The most fascinating thing about DID and what I kept trying to inject into the performance is these alters are created to protect somebody. They all believe they’re protecting Ashley. Ms, Abbott thinks the way to protect Ashley is to kill Tucker because Tucker’s caused Ashley so much pain. So I mean, from that aspect, it’s good daytime drama.”

A lot of times in DID storylines, a very traumatic event from the childhood is revealed which caused a person to fracture into a multiple personalties. When Davidson was asked if she thinks something will come to light that the audience never knew happened to Ashley, she responded, “You would think so, right?  I mean, why not? The one thing that’s true about Ashley is that she had a traumatic childhood. Her mother abandoned her when she was very young, and then found out in her early twenties that her father wasn’t her biological father. So, who knows what happened. Whether or not they choose to explore that, I’m not sure. You have to kind of keep reinventing things to keep them interesting. I think like that stands true for characters (on a soap) as well.”

Photo: JPI

Over the years, Eileen has worked with several leading men. When asked how she feels the dynamic is working with Trevor St. John, she enthused, “I love working with Trevor. I just told him you breathe fresh air into the scenes. We work well together. We don’t really know what the other one’s going to do (in a scene), but we play off of each other. There’s a huge trust factor and that has been there from the get-go. When I first started working with Treb, I told him, ‘We got lucky.’ When you meet somebody out of the the blue and you start working together, we just had something and it just worked beautifully. I always know that when I work with Trevor, it’s going to be a terrific experience.”

Photo: JPI

Watch the full conversation with Eileen below.

Now let us know, which of Ashely’s alters do you enjoy seeing the most? Do you think something happened to Ashley as a child that we never knew about that is causing her DID? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

(INTERVIEW) William deVry Talks on His Roles in Hallmark’s ‘A Whitewater Romance’, New Film ‘Pocket of Hope’ and His Time on the Soaps

For soap favorite, William deVry life-after-daytime has been reinvigorating, filled with new projects and new directions. This Saturday, May 11th he can be seen in the latest rom-com from Hallmark, A Whitewater Romance (8pm ET/PT) starring Cindy Busby as Maya and Ben Hollingsworth as Matt who play intense business rivals, and featuring Will as Jim Burdett, set against the backdrop of the outdoors and Canada.

In addition, Wil has been busy prepping other projects in which he is executive producing and starring including: Colt & McQueen and Christmas in Bordeaux, and producing and starring in a very dramatic departure for deVry, as the lead in the new true-life story feature film, Pocket of Hope.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wil to get the lowdown on his latest and upcoming roles, his expanding career aspirations, and to get his reflections on his three main soap roles: Julian Jerome on General Hospital, Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and Michael Cambias on All My Children. Read on for what deVry has been up to of late and his reflections of the past.

Courtesy/Hallmark

In A Whitewater Romance, you play the character of Jim Burdett, tell me about him?

WIL: My character runs this whitewater rafting company and the deal is that there’s a corporate retreat that is organized at my company. Jim is sort of old school. He’s been running the company for quite a lot of years. Jim’s not social media savvy. In the story, Maya and Matt get there, and they end up obviously enjoying themselves at this corporate bonding retreat. They discover that Jim was going to close down the company. He stayed open specifically to accommodate this corporate retreat. And then, of course, Cindy Busby’s character, and Ben Hollingsworth character do this little online thing for Jim and get business booming. Before he knows it, the entire summer is booked with clients and they basically saved his company. It’s a feel-good movie with beautiful, stunning locations.

And, are you a good guy in this?

WIL: It’s almost like, wait!  Will is playing good guy? It’s funny because our director, Jason Bourque knows I’ve been playing bad guys for so long. Even the Christmas movie that I did with Terry Hatcher, Christmas at the Chalet, I went through such an arc. My character was so focused in his business and kind of unhappy because he was living his life for other people, and you don’t really realize that you might be slightly unhappy because you don’t take time to do inventory for yourself. In A Whitewater Romance, Jason had this idea that I was this really kind of ‘happy-go-lucky’ guy. And by the second day of shooting, he goes, “I think maybe Jim is a former military …” We both laughed because it was a subtle joke, because you know, I can be a little bit serious.

Photo: Willdevry

How was it to work with Ben and Cindy?

WIL: Great. Cindy being a lead, they set an example for everybody. Cindy is so low key and very friendly, and basically the trailer door is open if you want to discuss anything. Ben was also a producer on this. He might have had a little more stress on him than just sort of acting. But honestly, you couldn’t tell. Both of them had a good sense of humor. I would work with either one of them in a heartbeat again.

You have some exciting news to share; as you are about to be the lead in a new film?

WIL: Yes, I’m the lead in a new film called Pocket of Hope. It’s based on the true story of Chad Gaines, and I am playing Chad. It’s a beautiful movie. It’s in the present day with Chad talking with his daughter. He’s always been reluctant to share his past with her, and because there was a lot of trauma involved, he didn’t really want to put her through that. She’s no longer a young lady and so he feels now is the time to share that. There are a lot of strong flashbacks in the movie. It goes back between the past and the present, which I think is really engaging. The budget is well over a million dollars. We start filming at the end of May in Los Angeles, and then we will go on location in August to shoot the remaining scenes.

Courtesy/Willdevry

How do you feel about tackling a dramatic role such as this with tough subject matter?

WIL: It’s a heavy-duty role. There’s a lot of responsibility. I’ve prepared my whole life for these kinds of roles. It’s really exciting to play a true life individual, who has a story to tell. I think it’s a great honor for me and for the director/producer David Kohner Zuckerman, as well. David is wanting to do Chad’s story justice. We’ve got a good team for this. Robert Altman Jr’s, Cora Atlman, is playing my daughter. When you find a troupe that you like to work with and you can collaborate with, you stick together. So, we have David, as I mentioned and also Deran Sarafian, who is consulting on the project. Deran and I have been working on my other project together, Colt & McQueen. We are the luckiest people in the business right now to be working with Deran. He has had a lot of successful pilots that he’s done for Fox, ABC, and NBC and also Marvel and Netflix shows. He was also a producer on House for Fox.

Photo: Willdevry

In Colt & McQueen, you play a former LAPD detective, right?

WIL: Correct. He was basically dishonorably discharged for something that he didn’t do. He is going be trying to clear his name of any wrongdoings. However, in order to make a living, he sort of does these unsanctioned assignments for the captain of the LAPD, who is also on his way out. He’s a good guy. Kin Shriner (Scott, GH) is in it and he kind of plays a man of the streets who goes by “The Professor.” Rebecca Staab (Elizabeth, Port Charles, et al) is in it, and she plays the character with the code name “Leather Jacket” within the LAPD system. We go into production on it in July.

You’re doing your own projects now. That must be liberating in some ways and harder in others.

WIL: I just said, “Look, if I’m going to stay in this business, I have to have some control over my career now as opposed to just auditioning blindly.” That can be a frustrating process. I am learning a lot because I’ve never produced before or executive produced, but the effort is there, and the will to do so is there.

Photo: RStaabIG

Speaking of projects, you have another one you are working on, a romantic comedy called Christmas in Bordeaux. What is the theme of that one?

WIL: It’s a tale of family traditions, renewed passions, for love and life and spiritual and cultural awakenings. Finding value in the time we have left. And of course, a happy ending for all involved.

As an actor, when you finally get to the point where you get to act you probably really enjoy that. It’s just the challenges of all the things it takes to get there that can be daunting for a performer.

WIL: As an actor, you have to be so good and so comfortable and embrace the rejection. The rejection has to feed you. It can’t defeat you. However, I kind of do take everything personally. If a casting director doesn’t want to bring me in for something that’s their prerogative. I don’t really get angry about it, but I take it personally because I kind of feel like, they should bring me. I can’t just sit back and accept my fate based on other people’s ideas of what I’m capable of or not capable of. Sometimes my resume is a benefit, and sometimes it’s a detriment. It’s up to me to change the narrative.

Photo: JPI

What would you want to say to the GH fans who had been so supportive of you through the years?

WIL: It blows me away how loyal they are, and their passion. I want them to be of aware that. I’m excited to work for myself, and if that doesn’t work out, I am very comfortable going on to do something else with my life. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) and I had talked about it at one point, and how she absolutely loves the business. I have other things that interest me and move me. I hope every single fan of Julian Jerome comes along on this journey with me.

Photo: JPI

Looking back, do you think your best role on the soaps was Michael Cambias on All My Children?

WIL: I think with Michael Cambias that All My Children destroyed the character. I sat down with the executive producer at the time, Jean Dadario Burke, and she said, “You’ll be here as long as you want. We did a focus group and you’ve got a 96% approval rating. That’s through the roof.” Two days later, I was called back into her office as they had fired the head writer. I was told Megan McTavish was coming back and they were going to make my character irredeemable, which as everybody knows, Michael Cambias went on to do horrible things to Erica Kane’s (Susan Lucci) family and then he was off the show.

Photo: JPI

Then, you went on to portray Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and the heartbreaking suicide storyline which saved Katie’s (Heather Tom) life, but cost Storm his.

WIL: Storm had a lot of potential. When you’re going through such a beautiful, heart-wrenching, horrific story like that, I wanted to give the audience a lot of credit. Soaps have a smart audience. I wanted them to go on the journey with me. I didn’t want to ruin it for them by playing the problem. I didn’t want to create the drama before it was time to pay the price, if you know what I mean. I allowed it to play out on-screen without any foreshadowing. I think that’s why it worked and that’s why it broke everybody’s heart, and I think that’s why it won a Daytime Emmy for Best Drama Series. Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) trusted me with a vehicle that ended up being the Ferrari for that year. I’m eternally grateful to him.

Photo: JPI

Do you ever check out General Hospital nowadays to see how your old castmates are doing and what is happening in Port Charles?

WIL:  I like to check in. I like to see what Kin Shriner (Scott) is up to, and I like to see who’s showing up and who’s going. I like to see Maura West (Ava) who is such a terrific actress and who played my on-screen sister. We had such a good working relationship and I hope she is on the show forever.  I was happy with my eight years on the show. I knew for 18 months it was time for me to leave. I knew in my heart the character was done. Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) was thrilled with how I left the show. Those six and a half years on General Hospital were a lot of fun. I really loved going to work.

So, will you be watching William deVry in ‘A Whitewater Romance’ this weekend on Hallmark? What do you think about his upcoming projects and roles? Miss him on daytime? Comment below.

 

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Interviews

(INTERVIEW) Y&R’s Peter Bergman Deconstructs Jack’s Desperate Move to Sober Up Nikki, the Repercussions Ahead, and the Loss of TV Mom, Marla Adams

This week on The Young and the Restless, the top-rated soap deliver first in its five decades. An episode aired involving only two characters; Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).

At its epicenter was Jack trying to stage his own intervention, of sorts, to get Nikki to stop drinking herself into oblivion as her battle with alcoholism escalated to a whole new level. Alone in a suite at the GCAC, Nikki has bottles of booze everywhere.

Jack, who is Nikki’s sponsor, finds her and for most of an entire episode tries everything he can think of to make her sober up, but she continues to hit rock bottom and doesn’t want to be saved. After she ridicules him in a drunken stupor, about how he failed her as her sponsor, it sends Jack, an addict himself, over the edge. Next thing you know, Jack is drinking with Nikki, and then takes it one step further and orders some pills from his dealer. And from there, things take a deadly turn.

Photo: JPI

Peter Bergman and Melody Thomas Scott have a long history on Y&R together, plus she was instrumental in bringing him to Genoa City in the first place. In story, Jack and Nikki were married from 1990-1994, but things came crashing down between them due to alcohol. Years later, in a case of history almost repeating itself, it once again almost destroyed their bond, but instead, the powerful moments bonded them together for life.

It is without question, that Peter Bergman and Melody Thomas Scott are Michael Fairman TV’s picks for the Power Performance of the Week, and for Bergman, who has already nabbed 24 Daytime Emmy nominations in his storied career with 3 previous wins, this performance surely will land him his 25th next year and maybe even Emmy gold.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Peter shortly after the heartbreaking episodes aired to get his thoughts on: Jack’s motivations throughout the key scenes, what will happen to Jack now, and the passing of his on-screen mother, Marla Adams (ex-Dina), who passed away on April 25th at the age of 85. Here’s what this iconic actor, who is known for the excellence of execution in his craft, had to share in our conversation below.

Photo: JPI

Well, my mouth dropped. I just could not believe how gut-wrenching this episode was. It was like a twist on the classic motion picture, Days of Wine and Roses, but on steroids.

PETER: That was a wild trip, I’ll tell you. As it was presented to me, it was the story of Jack going too far to help Nikki. When I got the script and saw that it was one of those great, ‘the tables turn,’ suddenly you’re on the receiving end. And normally in daytime television, the table doesn’t turn for about four days. And, in one episode, this giant shift happens. It was really rewarding to do that stuff with Melody with whom I have so much history. Some of my first scenes on the show were with Melody. My first couple years I was glued to Melody. So, it was pretty powerful for me. It really was. 

When you saw the script and you saw that Jack put his sobriety in jeopardy for Nikki, you’re left with all these questions, because it’s such a severe turn. I’ve been kind of tracking the response on social media, and some people are like, “Oh, that would never happen.” But we also have to take into account the dramatic license Y&R is taking here. What are your thoughts?

PETER: I think we have to give dramatic license. But I think too, Jack kept appealing to the goodness in her. It was covered by all of this addiction and alcohol. And the best way he could find her kindness, her goodness, was by putting himself in jeopardy and watching her come alive.

So, Jack knew what he was doing?

PETER: Yes. He knew what he was starting, and then it went too far. Jack knew he wanted to shock her into sobriety, shock her into clarity and he went too far and he’s going to pay for it.

Photo: JPI

Peter, this is an Emmy-performance! I’m calling it now.

PETER: Oh, well, it’s very, very, kind of you to say. Maybe I can get my 91st nomination. (Laughs) It was a crazy journey in so many ways. I found out about this episode, strangely enough, when one of the audio guys said to me, “Hey, I heard about your show next week with Melody?” I go. “What show is that?” And the sound guy said to me, “They were talking in the booth yesterday. It’s like an episode with only the two of you in it.” I thought he had to have heard that wrong. We’ve never, ever done that. Turns out, he was right. It was a day later that Josh Griffith (EP and head writer, Y&R) came to me and said, “Well, you ready?” I said, “Ready for what?” And, off we went …

The episode was like watching a two-person play in many ways.

PETER: It was just that, and it kind of came out of nowhere, but certainly didn’t come out of nowhere history-wise with these two characters. Obviously, Jack’s been Nikki’s sponsor here for a while. I think what I’m happiest about is this undercurrent that was there all along – that Jack really wanted to be there for her. Jack and Nikki were married once, and it really fell apart around alcohol. Jack was not the right person to be there for her. Back then, he was an enabler. He could not help her. Everything ended because of that and eventually, Victor (Eric Braeden) stepped in to take over Nikki’s sobriety and everything went. I think Jack has seen this opportunity to redeem himself. It meant the world to him. And suddenly that’s on the line, and it’s “Oh, God. I failed her again.”

That was the gut-wrenching part. You could see that there was a shift in Jack the moment Nikki went in on him and how he failed her as a sponsor.

PETER: I’m very glad to hear you say that. That really was the turning point. That was when Jack came up with this wacky, crazy, dangerous idea.

Photo: JPI

Does Jack believe what he said, when he started to drink, and says, “I’m Mr. Uptight?”

PETER: In fairness, it’s something she called him. They had to cut parts of this thing. Nikki was just tired of laced up, uptight Jack. She said it in those terms, and we ended up kind of keeping it in there as “Mr. Uptight” because it is kind of true. Jack’s gotten awfully straight-laced and buttoned up. And, well, you saw how he loosened up a bit. Wow!

What did you think about the story point that Jack has his drug dealer’s number on his phone?

PETER: That’s what addicts do. They tempt themselves. “You see, I’m stronger than my addiction. There’s a bottle of vodka in this house, and I am beating it.” That was Jack’s bottle of vodka in essence, in his phone.

Courtesy/CBS

So, when he started taking the pills, did he literally lose control of himself by taking them, or, was he just doing it to keep proving a point to Nikki?

PETER: Oh, no. The first one was very strategic and very carefully planned. The problem is once you fail, once you cross that line, you’re tempted to see what else is over here on the dark side. Before he knew it, he’d had three of them and then more, and then another after that and mixed with the alcohol. It pretty much did him in.

Courtesy/CBS

I’ve seen people in that kind of state, and you nailed it. There was the moment that was heartbreaking. His teeth were clenched from the drugs, he was so high on the pills combined with alcohol and he was asking Nikki to dance with him.

PETER: I have, too. I’m sad to say, I too, have been in that position. Going to help a friend out who ended up dying for all his bad choices.

Courtesy/CBS

Later, Jack gets resuscitated by the paramedics and then later Victor shows up. How is Jack feeling after his arch-nemesis walks in on the aftermath of this traumatic scene with his wife and Jack?

PETER: When the paramedics show up, frankly, Jack isn’t sure what they did. They gave him an injection to counteract the drugs in his system. Jack didn’t come around for quite a while. And when he does, Nikki is just shocked sober, trying to get help for Jack, Eventually, Victor shows up. Jack kind of has no leg to stand on, and he eventually makes it home. His son, Kyle (Michael Mealor) is the first person to see him in the house, and there’s clearly something very wrong with Jack. He’s trying to get back on track, but he’s just had a near-death experience.

Courtesy/CBS

And now of course, it’s going to be what will happen when Diane finds out what happened with Jack and Nikki.

PETER: Oh, God. The next thing is Diane walks in, and I mean this poor woman, he never called her. He never called her to say “I’m safe.” She spent a whole night worrying, and then she gets to find out where he actually was. Oh, that’s got to be reassuring – he was in hotel room holed up with Nikki – that should comfort her.

Photo: JPI

Originally, Diane warned Jack that is was a bad idea for him to be Nikki’s sponsor.

PETER: Oh, yeah. That’s the worst part. She saw this coming. Diane literally meets the Jack she never knew and her argument is, “Wait! You’re capable of this? Did you once think of me? Where do I fit into any of this?” It’s a pretty powerful argument. Jack didn’t call her to say, “I’m in a weird situation. I will be home as soon as I can. I am safe. I am fine.” He could have been dead as far as she was concerned. And she comes home and he wants to get back on track. Yeah. It’s bad. He’s like, “I’m sorry about that. And let’s get back to our life.” Is she not ready for that!

With what he just experienced, and taking pills again, do you think Jack is very worried that he won’t be able to help himself and he will go down a path like Nikki just did, where he can’t help himself and fight off his demons?  

PETER: I think Jack has convinced himself this is a one-off. This happened once, and it went way too far, and it’s not going to happen again. And, you know how dangerous that talk is.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Melody’s performance when Nikki hit rock bottom and was stinking drunk in the GCAC suite with Jack?

PETER: It was just stunning. I got to tell you, as an actor, the hardest thing in that sloppiness is you’ve got to keep the scene moving. She was just spectacular.

Courtesy/CBS

I know you don’t often get more than one take on the soaps, but what was the approach to taping this episode?

PETER: No, we don’t get a lot of takes, but for this, it was broken up a little bit such as, “Once we get to this point, we will move the cameras upstage, and we will pick up on that line. We will pick up there.” There was an 11-page scene and I think we did that in one or two takes. It was quite a lot. Incidentally, that week I had three other episodes to tape. Is that incredible? I had so many words in my head. I’m not complaining. They decided to do something that’s never been done before. They decided, “I want do it with Peter Bergman.” Of course, I am honored and flattered and really happy that it went as well as it did. I said to my wife, Mariellen, “What did you think of the episode?” She saw it before I did. She said, “Here’s what I think. I think it was very well- written.” You’ve got a drunk character there. She could say all kinds of stupid things, and she was still kind of sparky and snotty underneath that slurring and everything. She was also acerbic and sarcastic. There was a point at which, as you said, you watched Jack and everything just changed and that’s good writing.

As a viewer, to make this make sense to us, Jack had to do something drastic to stop Nikki from drinking because nothing else was working.

PETER: Yep, and then, he has all of that substance in him and alcohol, and he says, in the most clear terms, “I would do anything for you.” And it’s just, “yikes.” What just happened?

Photo: JPI

Eric Braeden was touting your performances on social media. He said, “Watched scenes between MELODY and PETER , NIKKI and JACK, and they were brilliant! Their scenes in the hotel! Performers of the damn year!!! It was very difficult to keep this up, scene after scene and not hit a bad note! You don’t realize how many pages of dialogue that was!” Did you happen to see that?

PETER: I didn’t know that. That’s very, very generous. I am beyond respectful to what Eric and Melody had built together, so that is giant generosity on his part to do that.

What do you think this means for Jack and Nikki? Do you think they could ever be together again as a couple given all they have been through together?

PETER: It’s hard for me to imagine they could be together. They’ve been through too much. She’s in rehab, and Jack will be answering to everyone’s vitriol about his bad choices. I think, when he sees Nikki again, she will be the only person that understands what they went through. It’s hard to define, this isn’t romantic. This is shared experience, shared trauma. This was such destructive behavior and desperation.

Courtesy/ABC

It was Melody who originally recommend you for the part of Jack Abbott, and here the two of you are decades later tearing up the screen and the scenes.

PETER: Yes, absolutely. Melody did recommend me for the part. As story goes, I was on All My Children. That job had come to an end. Back then, there were 12 or so daytime television magazines. I seemed to be on the cover of all of them, because everybody seemed a little surprised that All My Children decided to let Peter Bergman go. Melody was on a flight with Ed Scott, who was then executive producer of the show. She saw my picture on the cover and she pointed to him. They’d been looking for somebody to replace Terry Lester for months. And she said, “That’s Jack Abbott.” How she got that from what I did as Cliff I’ll never know. So, Ed called the casting people and put that in motion.

Photo: JPI

Here you are together years later in this exceptional episode.

PETER: And here we are! My first day of work at Y&R, I worked with Jess Walton (Jill) and Jerry Douglas (ex-John). My second day, I worked with Melody at the old Newman Set.

Photo: JPI

I wanted to get your thoughts on the passing of your on-screen mother, Marla Adams (ex-Dina).

PETER: The passing of Marla Adams is bittersweet. She was so happy to return to The Young and The Restless. I had a hand in it all happening. Tony Morina (former Co-EP, Y&R) had asked me one day, “Is there anything you haven’t played on this show?” And I said, “You know what? Jack has a mother out there somewhere who did more damage to him. Every woman who’s been with Jack has paid for her crimes. I think it would be interesting if we found his mom.” That kind of set it in motion. Tony asked me to call Marla to see if she was interested, and that’s how it all began. So, Marla showed up and was delighted to be there, and so eager to do great work. She was so ready to tell this powerful story of Alzheimer’s and dementia. And partway into this story, it was clear that she was struggling with some of that herself. So, when people were judging Best Supporting Actress the year that she won, they saw this woman who was clearly just on a different plane than all those characters in that scene. It was stunning. Marla was a sweet, sweet woman who brought me the story that for so long we forgot to tell about Jack.

Photo: JPI

If you were to tease what’s coming up next here with Jack, what would you say?

PETER: I’m really fascinated to see how Jack and Diane survive this. I hope we have established enough of a real relationship between these two that we can dig deep. I love those types of scenes, and that’s what I look forward to. If I can do those digging deep scenes with Susan Walters, I’d be thrilled. In story, Jack has got to keep his eye on Kyle. There’s a growing resentment, a growing discomfort. I’m not sure what it is, but Jack can see it in Kyle and it could spell trouble. He is, in fact, Jack Abbott’s son.

Photo: JPI

Should we be worried about Jack? Perhaps, another slip might be around the corner and he could be headed to rehab?

PETER: No. I think we’ve established pretty strongly that this was a one-time thing. Thank, God! He had to pay such a heavy price for one slip. There is just no one who thinks he made the right move there. So, it pulls him up short at the right time before we’re into a real dangerous territory. I think Jack’s going to be all right. However, the damage he did that night to the trust with his wife, to his relationship with Victor, to his son’s belief in him, he did some real damage. And cumulatively all of these things, Ashley’s (Eileen Davidson) mental issues, then Nikki, and Diane and Kyle, and all these things are weighing really heavily on Jack. I hope he’s strong enough to survive it.

What did you think of Peter Bergman’s performance in the two-person episode where Jack literally put his entire life on the line for Nikki, but went too far? What did you think will happen to Jack’s marriage to Diane? Will he be tempted to pop pills again and suffer a similar fate as his ex-wife, Nikki has with booze?

Share your thoughts via the comment section, but first check out a few of the scenes from Melody Thomas Scott’s and Peter’s work in the back-to-back episodes on this story.

 

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