Connect with us

Interviews

The Brad Bell Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Courtesy/CBS

What is the mark of a great executive producer and head writer?  The ability to roll with the punches when the unexpected happens!   And that is exactly what The Bold and the Beautiful’s Brad Bell has been doing after the stunning announcements that series stars, Ronn Moss (Ridge) and Susan Flannery (Stephanie) made decisions to leave the CBS soap after 25 years.

While Moss’ last episode has aired, Flannery will be around till December and as Brad teases below, the series plans an appropriate send-off for Susan and her alter-ego Stephanie.  But what does this mean for the beloved Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke)?  On-Air On-Soaps sat down with the head honcho of all things bold and beautiful in his office, to get this thoughts on future plans for Brooke, how Ronn Moss’ final scenes played out behind-the-scenes during Brooke and Ridge’s latest wedding, how he is dealing with all the upheaval, and a preview into the fall for the other characters on his canvas, and who will be stepping into the forefront!

And if the two big departures of Moss and Flannery weren’t bad enough, Bell prior to that found out he had to put the brakes on the show’s highly anticipated first same-sex storyline featuring fan favorites, Joanna Johnson (Karen) and Crystal Chappell (Dani).  In our conversation, he informs us what the future holds for this important story that he has clearly wanted to tell.

There are some things that can be said of Brad Bell: He is forthright, smart, and incredibly successful in this genre.  Many feel he has the right formula and prescription to keep making the soap genre vital and viable in the changing television landscape, and you will read what he thinks about that, too. Here’s our chat with Brad!

MICHAEL:

There have been a lot of significant changes that you have to deal with … the fallout from the departure of Ronn Moss, and soon, Susan Flannery.  How has this caused you to shuffle the deck story-wise?  Will the departures ultimately alter the course of what you had planned for the fall for viewers of B&B?

BRAD:

Courtesy/CBS

At first, it’s like being in a car and running 50 miles an hour into a brick wall.  Then, you have that moment of crashing, and then you realize you have to pick up the pieces and turn left or turn right, and continue on.  There is that initial impact of: this is all you have known for 25 years, and then it’s gone, and that causes you to look in new directions.  It’s exciting what I am seeing.  I am grateful to Ronn and Susan for so much talent and their dedication, but I am also excited about these new paths and avenues the show will take.

MICHAEL:

As the show’s head writer and executive producer, when all the shocking changes came about what went down?   Did you have an emergency meeting with your writing team?

BRAD:

It was interesting.  I met with Katherine Kelly Lang, and the writers and producers, and we all just threw out ideas. The path seemed pretty clear very quickly, and it’s always about playing to your strengths and recognizing what your strengths are in terms of cast, and story, and how we are going to use some of these key characters.  It also opened up new avenues for characters that had been back-burnered, or on the sidelines, who I have had great respect for, but we have just not had the chance to give them the amount of airtime that they need and deserve.  So in that respect, it’s very exciting.

MICHAEL:

You are speaking for instance of Jacob Young (Rick)?  You have said in previously published interviews that he would come front and center as he vies to take over Ridge’s seat at Forrester Creations, and as well as his manipulations for the love of Caroline.

BRAD:

Yes.  Jacob, Linsey Godfrey (Caroline), Hunter Tylo (Taylor), and basically the rest of the core cast.  We know that Ronn, Katherine, Susan, and John McCook (Eric) have been front and center for 25 years.  We have great actors and actresses here, such as Alley Mills (Pam)!  We have so many people who will be able to step up, plus the younger group, so I am excited to put words in their mouths!

MICHAEL:

Was there a moment when you were concerned that Katherine Kelly Lang would not re-sign with the series?

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

BRAD:

You never know!  Life throws you curveballs.  So before we went on hiatus, I had not heard from a few of the cast members.  I wrote a wedding, and it was written the way it was because I knew anything could happen.  It rarely does, but sometimes it does.  So I was so happy that Katherine and I are continuing on.  She is fantastic!  She is unbelievable, and that we care about her 25 years into the character, and everything she has been through!  How Katherine makes us still love Brooke, and care about her, and makes us want to throw things at her at the same time … is amazing.   I don’t know how Katherine does it.

MICHAEL:

How was the taping of the wedding of Brooke and Ridge?   Ronn and Katherine both told me separately, it was the hardest day they have ever had to get through during the 25 years they have spent together at B&B.   How was it for you?

BRAD:

It was surreal.  It was so unexpected.  But then, we knew it was the last scenes Katherine and Ronn would be doing together … maybe forever, or maybe for quite some time.  But it had a very real feel to it.  When Ridge and Brooke were stating that they love each other, Katherine and Ronn really do love each other.   So, it was incredibly intense, and when the viewers saw it on air, they saw not as much acting, but more reality.

MICHAEL:

Then, they went off on their honeymoon, and Brooke returns sans Ridge.

BRAD:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Yes, and then Brooke comes back and resumes her life.

MICHAEL:

And goes on to another man?  You have teased in recent interviews that there will be a new man in Brooke’s life.  Do you know who that man is?

BRAD:

Yes, there will be a new man in Brooke’s life, and I do know who that man is.

MICHAEL:

Many of us are hoping … it’s Dr Meade!  We think Jon Hensley (Dr. Meade, Ex-Holden, ATWT) and Katherine would be quite sexy together on-screen!

BRAD:

Dr, Meade is cool!  But you know Brooke.  There won’t just be one man! (Laughs)  As far as Jon Hensley, we are excited to have him back.  He will be in more often and he has a storyline that is developing.  I went to Jon and said, “I don’t have much here, but it’s a role of a doctor.  And, we all know doctors and their history on soap operas.”

MICHAEL:

Yes. They sleep with all their patients! (Laughs)

BRAD:

Photo Credit: Art Streiber

That’s right! (Laughs)   But Jon was very trusting in me and now it’s starting to grow.  I can say that with what little Jon has had; he has done so much with it.

MICHAEL:

Do you watch how actors click on-screen to dictate story?  Or, if there is a flick of chemistry … or, if it’s just watching paint dry between them?  I would think it’s key in your position.

BRAD:

That is the really smart way to write a soap.  You can beat your head against a wall writing wonderful scenes, or scenes that could potentially be wonderful.  But, if the chemistry is not there, you are fighting a losing battle.  If there is chemistry there, and you have actors and actresses who know how to define their character, and know how to be provocative, and make something out of nothing, then they are going to make you look good.

MICHAEL:

You’re not too far ahead of yourself in taping vs. storytelling, which is good!  Days of our Lives is three months ahead, and when things aren’t working there, it’s very hard for them to go back.  There is re-editing that would have to be done and scraping of story.  Here at B&B, you have the ability to change something faster, if it’s not resonating with your audience.

BRAD:

Courtesy/CBS

Fortunately, CBS has trusted me, and in order to write a long term story and stick to the long term, it would seem to make sense, but it doesn’t.  The writing denies the writer the writing process.  The writing process isn’t coming up with something and sticking with it. The writing process is about coming up with something and refining and refining it, sometimes up until the scene tapes, or even after it.  That is what screen writers and sitcoms writers do, but in soaps, we don’t have that luxury.  However, it’s essential that the process is allowed to take place, because it usually gets better results.

MICHAEL:

Having steered the ship at B&B for 25 years, how often now do you listen to your viewers and what they want, as opposed to staying on course with what you want to write, or projected story-wise with your team?

BRAD:

I have always enjoyed the viewer’s comments.  They are interesting and great.  My dad, Bill Bell was into Daytime TV Magazine, when they had a poll in it.  He would look at that and have the magazine open on his desk and he would refer to it.  And, why not?  We are foolish not to pay attention to these people who are specialists and analysts.  So I enjoy reading the feedback all the time.  I don’t tell story according to it, but if I say it doesn’t have an impact, that is not true either.  It does.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Fans have been quite critical that the Steffy/Liam/Hope triangle is way overplayed.  Is it overplayed to you?

BRAD:

The fans are saying that this triangle is overplayed right now, and they are absolutely right.  I feel that too when I watch the show right now.  We are just about to take a break from that, as they have been front and center for a long time.  And they have proven themselves and defined themselves as Brooke/Ridge/Taylor were overplayed in the 80’s and the 90’s.  We are going to take a break and see more families in the fall.  I was ready to take a break from them, but then I heard Ronn’s decision to leave and there were so many things up in the air.  So there were a lot of behind-the-scenes shake-ups.  Part of the reason of this extended version of Steffy/Liam/Hope was that I was not sure who I had on the canvas.  I knew I could count on Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy), Scott Clifton (Liam) and Kim Matula (Hope).  They were delivering.  So now we are gearing up for a new chapter, but all three of them were so fantastic.  We are up in the ratings from last year due to them. They have all grown so much as actors.  I could not be more pleased.  They have all been a hit for us.

MICHAEL:

When Susan Flannery announced her departure to you, how were you with that?  Was it emotional for you?  You two have been so paramount to the success of this show.  

BRAD:

Susan had talked about leaving for quite some time.  She basically came into my office and said, “I’m leaving.”  She did not beat around the bush.  And I said, “I can tell you mean it.”  And we hugged, and she said she would be here with me to bring a conclusion to the story and the character.  We have a great mutual respect for one another.  We have enjoyed locking horns once in awhile.  I can be difficult, and she can be difficult, but that is all part of this, and what we really love and how we learn from each other.  I will miss her.  Susan had made her impact on this show, obviously.  She is our matriarch forever.

MICHAEL:

You also have teased that you have a big story for Susan to set up her exit from the series.  Will that be front and center this fall?

BRAD:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

We have not written Susan’s exit yet, but I can say it will be a great send-off and a tribute to a woman and a character that has been so much a part of our lives.  I would really like to do justice to her, and show the highlights of her career on this show.  I think the audience is going to love it.

MICHAEL:

Many executive producers and head writers in daytime use a major star and character’s exit to propel future story.  Do you see that with Stephanie’s exit, or will you try to have closure for the character and satisfy the audience in a dramatic fashion?

BRAD:

Well, both!  We won’t be using Susan’s send-off as a vehicle.  I think she deserves better than that.  So it’s going to be all about Stephanie, and all about Susan.  Hopefully, it will be one of the great tributes on daytime, ever!

MICHAEL:

In regards to Ridge, would you recast the role?

BRAD:

The role of Ridge Forrester is so integral to The Bold and the Beautiful that I don’t like to think of anyone else playing the role other than Ronn Moss.  But, I have gone on record as saying, I will recast if the time comes, and I feel we need the character.  Then, I will bring back the character.  Ronn will always be my first choice.  I hope he does return to the show.  But if he is not up for that, then I will recast it.

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

When Ronn made his decision to leave, did you have any idea it would happen so suddenly?

BRAD:

No.  I think everyone was shocked.  So off he went.   Ronn has been such a great gentlemen and such a great leader, and adored around the world.  Ronn is a great man and a great actor.  He just made the character of Ridge Forrester so singular, that he became iconic around the world.

MICHAEL:

Bill and Katie will be big in the fall, I see!  Does he do some more evil stuff?  And, will that mean more Emmy worthy material for Heather Tom (Katie)?

BRAD:

I hope so!  With Heather, she can basically read the phone book and make it good.  But, we have a great women’s issue storyline coming Heather’s way this fall … like a freight train!  We are so excited about this.  It will give Heather a storyline that she has never had before.  Something that affects so many women around the world, and Heather is going to ace it for sure.  It’s exciting to have powerful material heading in the direction of an incredibly powerful actress.  This is a must-see storyline!

MICHAEL:

In another curve ball, here you just started the first same-sex storyline in the history of B&B, and Joanna Johnson notifies you she has to leave right as you were getting into it.  The question on many people’s minds is: what are you going to do with the super popular Crystal Chappell … anything?

BRAD:

Photo Credits: L Bohm & K. Hutchins

This was another curve-ball! (Laughs)  Of the two, Joanna Johnson has a great history with this show, and so I would like to play them as a couple.  I reached out to Joanna the last few weeks, and she is still unavailable.  Joanna is very busy and a multi-talented woman, and I want her to be on the show.  I want to play Crystal.  I am going to go play Crystal, without Joanna, if Joanna cannot shake loose from her commitment.  But Joanna said she will return.  It’s just that our timing has been off.  I am very committed to telling the story of Caroline and her parents.  I think it may be in a lull right now, and I hope Crystal Chappell will hang in there through this.  We can have some very interesting story, because we just barely scratched the surface of it.  So I am blaming Joanna for this one! (Laughs)  No, but she did warn me, and I have to say this.  She said, “I have this thing coming.”   But you know me, I was like, “Oh, it’s show business.”  And now Joanna has another hit with Emily Owens M.D., in which she is the producer.  She is just that good.

MICHAEL:

Many fans also ask: if now that Ridge is gone, will Thorne get involved in the power struggle at Forrester Creations, which would mean more airtime for Winsor Harmon (Thorne)? 

BRAD:

Thorne will be involved in all this, and Taylor, too.  They have a story that is coming up but is slow in the making.  It’s a little bit difficult, because I love Winsor and he makes a great Thorne, but that generation has fractured a bit.  So we are focusing down a generation to the Thomas and Rick side of the canvas.  Thorne is an island currently, but he will be seen, and Hunter has a great story coming up.

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

Is that a story specifically Taylor?

BRAD:

It is a story for Hunter and Taylor.  We will see her very much as a professional and a doctor, and as someone who is really in the middle of a great dilemma.  I am excited that Hunter will be front and center again, because she is so gifted.

MICHAEL:

Y&R’s 10,000th episode will air next week.  Recently, we were all at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills event honoring the milestone.  Your sister-in-law, Maria Arena Bell, was on the panel saying her goodbyes and well-wishes for her time at Y&R, meaning you are the only Bell left as a current EP and/or head writer.  There truly feels like a shift and changing face of daytime.  How do you feel about it?

BRAD:

My sister, Lauralee Bell (Christine), is still acting and doing amazingly well on Y&R.  She always amazes me when I watch her.  So we are around and a driving force in this industry.  B&B is the number one soap opera in the world, and we are totally focused on being around for some time to come.  Y&R has such an incredible group of actors and writers.   Maria came in during the strike, and had an incredibly successful run.  Y&R and B&B are strong. We are the only back-to-back soaps on a daytime lineup now. I think it’s going to be a challenging time for talk shows now.  There are just so many of them.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of talk shows, do you think Katie will eventually have long term success, after all the fanfare heralding to daytime?

BRAD:

I would expect Katie would have had good ratings, but I think the production on that show needs to be fine-tuned a bit.  It’s a bit slow to me, but they are just getting started.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MICHAEL:

It has been a shock to the system of soap fans and the industry to see Peter Reckell (Bo, DAYS), Steve Burton (Jason, GH) and Ronn Moss (Ridge, B&B) all announce their departures, and all within a relatively short time of one another.  It’s like all the veterans are walking out the front door of the genre.  Being in your position, do you think that now the genre will get more on a steady course after this stream of big name exits?

BRAD:

I feel that we will and are.  People exit, and those are three big names you mention, but there are other people who are eager and hungry, and the writing teams are very committed.  We love this art form.  And, as the bigger names come into talk series, so are the bigger salaries that they demand.  Now we are starting to see comparatively that our costs structure is in the ballpark of some of these talk shows.  So we are trying to streamline, and if we can do that successfully, we are in for a very bright future.

READ MORE
Y&R's Sharon Case On Special Episode Airing Friday: "I Can't Wait For People To See It"
Click to comment
Advertisement

Leave a Reply

avatar
BETTYEJ
BETTYEJ

There is nothing that I can say, except without Ronn and Susan, there is no show Brad Bell.

ashlee
ashlee

I think the show will be better. Ronn, with all due respect to his stardom and international popularity, is a terrible actor. Scenes where he is required to emote dramatically always cause me to snicker…which is opppsite to the intention of the scenes. A recast Ridge…with an actor who can ACT…like say Grant Aleksander…that would be awesome!! Grant could bring fire and passion and life and depth to the character that Ronn never did or could. As for momma Steph…she should die of cancer…and then pop in as a ghost every now and again to torment Brooke or.comfort her children. Presumed deaths have zero emotional impact because they have literally been…pun intended…done to death on soaps. These shows.only have a few years left in them….so be bold…take chances risks…shake things up.

BETTYEJ
BETTYEJ

And you think that KKL can act? Whenever Ronn is with any of the Logan’s he looks good. If Brad Bell want to be Bold, he would stop picking up od scripts from the past and stop using them over and over again.

ashlee
ashlee

Don’t get ahead of yourself. LOL. I never said KKL was any great thespian. Her vocal inflections sound the same whether she is saying “Hi”, or “Stephanie, get that telephone cord off my neck!”. I was just mentioning RM and SF because they are leaving. Come to think of it, Grant Aleksander and Beth Chamberlin would be an AWESOMELY recast Ridge and Brooke! Never happen, just wishful thinking.

Egolf
Egolf

Please Crystal’s character could be used as Momma bear for Rick/Caroline story. Blah Blah Blah, put up or shut Brad as CC. I’ve already stopped watching the Lame show.

Marc
Marc

Great interview! Sad to see Susan Flannery leave the show. Stephanie will always be one of daytime’s greatest divas.

Stephanie
Stephanie

The difference between Brooke/Ridge/Taylor in the 90s is that it was stable and it was balanced by other storylines. Ridge and Taylor had a happy and supportive marriage for a number of YEARS. Years, not weeks. And instead we got to watch Thorne destory his realtionship with Macy for the upteenth time for Brooke (I LOVED Thorne and Macy). I actually cared about Ridge and Taylor making it in the 90s. I don’t care about Liam anymore and any girl he ends up with is unlucky enough to have him.

joyce
joyce

I hope B&B will start showing Danielle more even if Karen is out of town as they said.Have Danielle be there for Caroline she needs to talk to her mother about Thomas issues.

SonnyBgirl
SonnyBgirl

I’m happy to read viewers will get a break from the triangle, but I want more Steffy minus the triangle. Great interview!

anothercc
anothercc

Crystal Chappell brought me to B&B. I am thrilled that Mr. Bell plans to continue “Caroline’s Two Mommies” story. BUT, Chappell fans would REALLY LOVE to see Dani on their screen in the meantime. It’s like Dani has crawled under a rock since Karen is “out of town on business”. Caroline really needs her OTHER MOM to be active in her life.

Thanks Michael for a great interview as always !

Brinard
Brinard

Interesting interview, Michael. It seems like his favorite line is “We have a great storyline for _____ coming up!” But we never actually see these come to fruition in the caliber to which he exclaims. I’ve seen this in previous interviews as well.

And in that last question, pretty much what he was saying is that these big name stars, when they want bigger salaries, and seeing how that could put the show’s budget in jeopardy and when the network looks at it compared to a talk show, they would slash the soap over it all because the show was over-budget because of this big name star wanting a certain salary. So in his opinion it’s better to let that person walk and keep the infrastructure of the show alive on the air.

dionne
dionne

Why don’t they expand B&B to an hour so that more characters can have some attention?

VERA CAMPBELL
VERA CAMPBELL

PLEASE MAKE IT A HOUR BILL BELL I THINK YOU DOING A GOOD JOB ON THE SHOW IF PEOPLE DONT LIKE THE SHOW TELL THEM TO TURN THE CHANNEL I BEEN WATCHING SHOW EVERY SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL SO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

nadia
nadia

End this triangle now and don’t let steffy win that girl needs to be raked over the coals as does Bill why have you let them get away with so much for so long why can’t you give them both what they deserve and that’s to lose everything and be humiliated in the eyes of all. I speak for 99% of your viewers who say enough is enough why haven’t you ever let a couple be happy and last. wow not everything has to be so hard and what you’ve done to Liam and Hope is the cruelest of all I could go on but haven’t got a year to tell you all the rotten things you’ve put those two through why haven’t you made Steffy suffer as much she’s the one that deserves a miserable life not Hope

citygirl
citygirl

Nadia… I could not agree with you more… I am sure the writers/ Bell are fully aware of it… I believe Liam and Hope deserve to know all the ill Steffy , Bill and Rick has done to complicate their relationship…. so they can be happy together .

sherry
sherry

Sorry but you do not speak for 99% of the viewers. I think there are WAY more Steffy fans out here than you realize.

nadia
nadia

I wasn’t referring to how many Steffy fans there are I was stating that this triangle has gone on long enough and that all the shenanigans that Bill and Steffy have pulled should be exposed and some punishment dealt

nadia
nadia

Thanks Citygirl

Veronica
Veronica

Why put everything on Steffy, If you are going to be mad at someone, Then be mad at LIAM, He Started this by KISSING Steffy first, Hope got mad, and left. So that’s on her. It wouldn’t been a Triangle, If Hope would of made up her mind, one day she love him, The next day she don’t. So it’s not Steffy, IT’S HOPELESS…And Bill & Brooke made Love and a baby, Now get mad at Brooke. Bill & Brooke have pulled should be exposed and some punishment dealt. Not Steffy, But since Brooke help write the story line, Taylor & Steffy better watch out, Because it’s the LOGANS SHOW, Not B&B…..

Kristen
Kristen

B & B is my addiction Brad Bell : )

Imane assi
Imane assi

I can’t wait to see more of Taylor.I hope there will be a new man for Steffy,Sick and tired of seeing her wasted on boring Lope,.She deserves better.

cr
cr

I think she belongs with somebody just has sneaky and slutty has she is, and i think thomas belongs with hope, not horn dog liam, he is just as bad as the women.

Imane Assi
Imane Assi

Steffy is not slutty or sneaky.She’s very upfront and hinebst about wahts he wants.Both Lima and Hope know exactly what they’re dealing with when it comes to Steffy.Steffy went after Oliver,Bill and Liam for a purpose:Revenge on the Logans.In the process she developed real feeling for Bill and Liam,Hope is a hypocrite who pretends to be someone she’s not, who makes a show of her sex life.Steffy is smart,sexy,strong…she will be herself again once they stop using her to prop boring Lope.She should be with an equaly smart,strong and sexy MAN.She”s too much of a woman for Liam.Liam is a boy,not a man.He should stick with Hope who’s a spiled little brat.They’re perfect together.

Smartperson
Smartperson

Steffy is a snake. Anyone who sets out to only hurt others because your daddy left your mommy when you were a grown up has some serious mental issues. She needs therapy for her “abandonment” issues. Hope is beautiful and much more “reel” than slutbag Steffy will ever be. Just because Steffy says she is going after unavailable men while she is doing it does not make her behavior acceptable. And she is definitely sneaky. If she is so honest and forthright, why did she lie to her whole family about going to Italy in the first place? If there was nothing wrong with what she was doing, and if she really didn’t think Bill was up to something, why not just tell the truth on that jet? Simple – she KNEW what she was doing was wrong, and she KNEW that Bill was up to something. She covered by LYING. That is perfectly clear. That is sneaky.

Veronica
Veronica

Thomas is Steffy Brother,

Mitchell
Mitchell

I wish there was a little more seperation on the age groups. Let Liam/Hope/Steffy/Thomas/Caroline etc, hang out in the kiddie pool, with their own story lines. And let the adults Bill/Katie/Brooke/Taylor etc. have their own story lines.

Tina
Tina

Liam/Steffy and Hope are backburner and I LOVE IT

Tina
Tina

Brooke’s major SL is coming up.Can’t wait

Deb
Deb

The only reason B&B is gaining viewership this past year is because all the other soaps died and it has Y&R in front of it! It is NOT due to the Liam/Hope/Steffy triangle! I agree with comment above…in the 80s and 90s, the Brooke/Ridge/Taylor triange was a Hell of a lot more interesting, and broken up by other cast memebrs storylines. This BS we have now is just that. No woman watching today would have ANYTHING to do with Liam. And i saw somewhere else BB thinks Liam is the new “Front and center man in daytime…” HA! How stupid he is! Taylor deserves to be front and center for years and Brooke cn move to a back burner for awhile. Now we don’t like her and hate her, we are tired of her! Hope they do right by Susan and give her a great BELEIVABLE exit. Making up with Brooke was ridiculous and insincere….and an insult to the fans!

Damien
Damien

I agree with you 100% Deb

kay/kay
kay/kay

Deb have not watched in 6 months my sister just called she still watches she tells me they have taken Taylor’s home away Bill & katie bought it that just confirms what I know about BB Hunter Tylo will still be used as a prop makes me sick Don Diamont looks like a pimp no professional business man dresses like that. No wonder Susan Flannery wanted to retire.

Larkin
Larkin

AMEN!!!!

Danielle
Danielle

It will be sad to SF go –but as for RM – glad he is gone and hopes he never comes back. Bell previously said he felt “obligated” to keep Bridge together and happy and that really came through on the show. You always knew that Bridge would survive no matter what — there was no reason to watch the story – you already knew how it would end.
I think having to have Bridge happy together was bad for the show (unless you were a bridge fan) – for everyone else — it sucked. It seemed like the whole show catered to this “obligation” of keeping Bridge together and every other character on the show suffered because of it. Now that RM and the obligation is gone, maybe we can go back to the kinds of stories that got us hooked on B&B to begin with.

Hopefully with RM gone, Bridge will be too and now we can move onto to NEW stories with all the characters and not know ending before the story starts to unfold.

Bridge won all the time — that became very boring very quickly.

I hope RM stays gone — I wish him luck with his other endeavors — just don’t want hm back on B&B.

maryanne
maryanne

I, for one, loved Bridge. Ridge and Brooke really meshed well together and as time went on, it was nice to see this couple grow into a mature married couple who still wanted each other both inside and outside the bedroom.

I truly hope that RM changes his mind and decides to re-join the cast and bring Ridge back. I will miss him.

Prunhild
Prunhild

100% agree! Bridge winning all over was the show killer number one! Nr two was the LOganwoman win ever again and again…

Smartperson
Smartperson

B&B is the number one soap in the world!! Obviously, they are doing something right. Brooke and Ridge were a very popular couple, much more so than Tridge could ever be. They were meant to be from the very beginning of the show. Bridge wasn’t a show killer. Bell was catering to what worked world-wide, as he should.

kay/kay
kay/kay

He has been promising Hunter Tylo a story forever and Winsor Harmon Thorne is the true heir. They should be front and center another man for the mattress Brooke I am so thrilled.

Damien
Damien

I agree Kay…but I think thorne’s character needs to be pepped up or something…he just don’t do anything for me especially with Taylor…they’ve always been a mismatch to me…she should be with somebody like Bill…Thorne would be a better fit for Katie or Donna…she’s a core character and needs to be with somebody more powerful…they should’ve kept her with Nick or even Whip.

kay/kay
kay/kay

I know the fact she ran over Darla did not help! Also the baby Jack had to turn out to be Brooke’s another stupid plot and by the way where is RJ not even at the 27th wedding of Brooke & Ridge. Personally I was hoping KKL would leave when Ronn Moss did. Brad Bell tell’s lousy stories when Dad was alive he kept him in check people just disappear with no explanation drives me crazy.

Tina
Tina

I want not a SL for Taylor.She is boring.More Brooke please and kill Taylor off

Anne
Anne

GA

citygirl
citygirl

Tina…. I agree with you comment… except for kill Taylor off…. on Friday’s B&B Taylor conveniently went over to Liam’s office to do what really psyco bable Liam into going back to her daughter (Steffy)…. well is that the new improve professional therapist Bell is talking about ….. Liam could have gone to see a talk show host and get better advise…. Taylor! what you should have told Liam is take some time out to heal …. jump into another relationship… well if it is your daughter then that’s fine ….. but forbit if it is anyone else …. let say Hope… then Liam would be giving another advise… like… lets say take some time out …. and figure out if Hope is really the one you need.. after all the divided feeling…. Oh please what a Joke…. Taylor the therapy is a joke and I mean that nicely!

Min Mucy
Min Mucy

No way, kill off the whore Brooke..Brooke is a total waste and can’t act her way out of a paper bag, she and Ronn should have left at the same time. What a waste of time with those two bores…. At lest Taylor could act and she was beautiful to look at,. Brooke was nothing to look at. Barf.

Sven
Sven

ITA TINA.Can’t stand Taylor..I’M sick of her.Brooke is back with a major SL.I love it..No more Steffy and Taylor please.

nadia
nadia

I,m with you I can’t stand the sight of Taylor she’s just a wasted part of the show.What is she good at besides moping over Ridge.

gloria
gloria

Oh I LOVE Brooke. I cannot believe anyone would want her “killed off” Forget about it. She is gorgeous & I think very sweet & I just have always loved her. Not to mention she is the mother of so many important characters! Could she get back w/Eric when Stephanie leaves? Would we want her to? I don’t know but I hope something great comes her way. Nothing against Taylor but they each need a good storyline that does NOT involve the same DAMN MAN!

Tina
Tina

Taylor is the Logan and Forrester mattress lol

kay/kay
kay/kay

Trust me I did not like the storyline of Taylor involved with Rick hated it. But at least the actor was kyle Lowder in the part sorry I know this is the original Rick back in the part but he is just creepy. and the love fest at the 27th wedding for Brooke and Ridge I tuned in it made me throw up. A tribute to Brooke who took Stephanie’s husband had a baby by her daughters husband carried on at a party with her other daughter’s boyfriend a bit much. But during all this she was thinking of her destiny Ridge. Whew! Keep repeating it is only a soap opera.

kay/kay
kay/kay

Oh I forgot they had Taylor sleep with Stephen Logan when she had became a drunk after drinking too much wine for 2 days.

nadia
nadia

Not just Stephen Logan there are many more to add to the list. This entire stoyline is ridiculous it’s time to move onto more interesting sl’s like Bill getting his just deserts and more Deacon.Enough with the kindergarden stuff we need more drama and fashion on the show.

Derrick
Derrick

Hunter & Windsor needs a storyline BADDDDDDDD!!!!!

cr
cr

Yep they do

Damien
Damien

I’m so glad we will be seeing more of Taylor…it’s about time for her to be front and center again where she belongs…not interested in brooke at all…she is tired and played out…I wish they would kill her off for a change…I’m sad to see Stephanie go though…I will definitely miss her…it should be Eric or Brooke going instead never cared for there characters.

yvonne
yvonne

I’m so happy to hear Taylor/Hunter will be front and center again. But Bell has promised fans that Taylor will have a sl several times before and it never happened so I will be in a wait and see mode. Will not tune back in until I hear or read that Hunter Tylo is front and center. If that happens thank you, thank you Bradley Bell!!

TF101
TF101

Promises, promises! Promises of storylines for Taylor, Thorne, Stephanie…never seem to pan out. Will this time be any different? Time will tell and do so quickly. Recently Hunter Tylo did scenes with Scott Clifton that were some of the best material I have seen on this show all year ! I think TPTB need to find an effective way to use the younger set WITH the veterans in order to support the writing, foster better acting, help them to grow in their craft AND entertain all fan bases. This show can’t afford to disregard any group of fans, whether it be due to age, or character preference. The show needs ALL HANDS ON DECK, IMO.

kim
kim

the reason that the hope liam and steffy triangle is overplayed is because liam is going back and forth every day or other day , in the beginning when hope was with liam it was a great love story then steffy got added and a lot of people think the only reason steffy wants liam is to win over a logan , steffy was hotter when she was with bill when she got with liam it just made her look sad and weak , and now we seem to see the same thing day after day and we all still think the same thing that steffy belongs with bill , and liam by himself as well as hope because if liam cant get himself figured out and listen to his own heart he should not be with anyone , there is a thing between good dram and a overkill of drama and the triangle was a over kill

koji bobis
koji bobis

well good thing bell realize that hoe liam and ssteffy love triangle are overplayed yes but we want the end with hope and liam thats all because we inspired their love story to us. hope character are awesome as a women and dignity but liam character last 2 months was messed up because they want to try pleased steffy character which is not good enough to watch. were hoping hope and liam have happy ending till the end.

Prunhild
Prunhild

NOT O N E word about STILL….. WHY this interviewmakers can not ask the RIGHT questions???? ask about the fans waiting for STEFFY & BILL together again! STILL win POLLs, They are HOT & could rock the show with interesting storylines about power, not only sex….

cr
cr

Steffy and bill are just alike, might be good one another or cut each other throats.

Larkin
Larkin

It is like the mags have a B&B manual Bell gives out before interviews so they know what to ask and what to keep out…One more time robbed with STILL after all the other times with , Tridge Thamber 2004/ Thip/ Naggie all these couples never had a chance.. This show is just beyond ridiculous about the layout!! Like we cannot fell in love with different characters and couples cuz Bell will not approve as only the Logans can get the go ahead.. “eyeroll”

Parker
Parker

I liked the Liam, Steffy, Hope storyline up to a point. (It reminded me of the days of Brooke/Taylor/Ridge storyline.) But it did get to be too much. I like the return of Deacon. I had heard that RM was leaving but didn’t know till now that SF was leaving too. Very sorry to see her go. What is going to happen to Eric’s S/L? I am so glad though that B&B is on along with Y&R…The talk shows are overkill. Although I like the Talk and Ellen and Dr. Phil. They are the only ones I watch these days (when I am in the mood).

sherry
sherry

I hope you mean what you say Mr.Bell and that Taylor/Hunter really does have a storyline coming up. Her fans have missed her terribly. Seeing her only here and there, is not enough for us.
The problem with Hope/Liam/Steffy is that Liam is too indecisive and cannot be taken seriously. Steffy and Hope both need to move on from this loser. And sorry, but Taylor/Ridge/Brooke was millions times better than Steffy/Liam/Hope.

Jd
Jd

I agree with you Sherry I would say that Nadia don’t speak for 99% of the viewers because I in no way want Liam with Hope, The chemistry between Steffy & Liam is so much more exciting to watch. Liam & Hope bore me to death watching them.

nadia
nadia

So you want me to believe that 99% of the viewers are happy about this infernal triangle every comment on all the boards are saying that they want it to end with the exception of Sherry and yourself. As far as the chemistry you say between Steffy and Liam well it comes across as a mother and child Steffy is way to old for Liam and No I don’t want him with Hope either he needs to grow up before he is with anyone.Can you honestly say that you’d be happy for it to continue for the next 25years with the dumbboo going from one to the other didn’t we get subjected enough with BRTall these years

cr
cr

Steffy belongs with nobody, liam needs to grow up, and hope needs to mature more as well and hook up with thomas.

Ms. Pennsylvania 2004 Maria Frisby
Ms. Pennsylvania 2004 Maria Frisby

I met Jeanne Cooper(Mrs. Chancellor) in Arizona. I called her by her screen name. Who do you think will end up with Liam?

LJ
LJ

The show is boring and ridiculous. They should call it The Bold and the Incestual. The old days were much better. Maybe JFP can fix this one too.

cr
cr

You are so right lj. Young players like liam, hope, and steffy are not only characters in the show.

Therese
Therese

“What is the mark of a great executive producer and head writer?” How about the ability to juggle multiple storylines with balance and write characters and stories that viewers want to watch? Whether you liked Brooke or Taylor, both Bridge and Tridge had rooting value among their respective fan bases. Steffy, Liam, and Hope could become sister wives and WE WOULDN’T CARE! That’s the reason why B&B won’t get another contract renewal.

cr
cr

You talk with a lot sense and you right on the spot, when it comes to any soap opera.

cr
cr

Brad bell is good story teller but is not so good when it comes to telling stories for more than 4 characters at a time.

kay/kay
kay/kay

Well i had 30 minutes to kill watched it today and will not do that again ever I felt like i had taken a razor blade to my wrist and I was bleeding out. And know that is not funny it is sad.

cr
cr

I feel your pain and im watch days most of time.

Min Mucy
Min Mucy

Please Bell kill off the town Slut Brooke, I c an’t stand the sight of that ugly witch. What is she good for..Falling on her back with her legs up in the air waiting for her next bang. She will sleep with anyone who is married. BrookeHO is nothing more then the Forrester Mattress.

gloria
gloria

Your comments are unnecessarily ugly. Keep it classy, it is just a tv show.

Min Mucy
Min Mucy

A ugly comment for a ugly Whore Brooke.

cr
cr

Brooke is not ugly and lets not forget it a character your talkin about, you no what how long have you watch bold and beautiful anyway, have watch it for past 8 years and longer that on and off, taylor is been with all men brooke been with.

cr
cr

I agree with gloria, if how see brooke than who must hate steffy, because she is constanly doing that.

Min Mucy
Min Mucy

I don’t see Steffy ever do that. Sex with only two men one she married and the other she was engaged too. Haven’t seen Steffy pop out any illegets to her daughter’s husband the way BrookeHO has. Steffy needs a thousand years to catch up to BrookeHO.

cr
cr

News flash min mucy she slepted with a married man bill spencer jr. , ring a bell and going after liam while he was married.

Min Mucy
Min Mucy

News Flash cr ..Steffy never slept with Bill Spenser, ring a bell And Steffy never slept with Liam TILL YESTERDAY after Hope the Dope left him…second news flash, ring a bell./.. DUH!!! Taylor slept with the men she married unlike the whore Brooke who sleeps with them while the men are married to someone else. Taylor never has a illeget to her daughter’s husband either. Too bad you don’t know the difference.

Smartperson
Smartperson

Newss flash for you Min – Taylor did all sorts of sleeping with Rick, and never married him!! Also, she has been with Thorne, but never married him. Oh, and Stephen Logan, and never married him. Shall I go on?

lindee
lindee

Just hurry and put the talented Crystal Chappell back on my screen…..

gail
gail

I am so disappointed in what Brad Bell did with such a wonderful love story of Liam and Hope. You were giving young woman a chance to know that they didn’t have to have pre-maritial sex to keep the man you love and then you changed everything. Steffy with Liam what a joke. You have put in the mind of young girls if you act like Hope you will lose your love if you act like Steffy he will fall in love with you, this is truly sad and for this reason I have stopped watching your show. Steffy and Liam never not the way you portrayed his love for Hope. I have never been so disappointed in a soap opera, the reason I watched your soap was because of your great story line for young woman. Its too bad you don’t see your mistake because alot of your message boards are rooting for Liam and Hope they have more chemistry and are equally balanced. True love and now Liam and Steffy they may have chemistry but its just sexual is that what you want to portray to the young women who are watching your show. Really? Because if so that is really sad. Please re think your message.

vfocused
vfocused

RON MOSS TWEETED THAT ONE REASON HE HAS NOT RETURNED TO END STEPHANIES STORY IS THAT HE WAS NOT ASKED! This is so disappointing to the fans that have watched for 25 years. If all is needed is for someone to ask him then, I WILL ASK HIM! GET RON MOSS BACK ON THE SHOW AT LEAST FOR STEPHANIE’S LAST DAY PLEASE. You can surprise us if you want, JUST GET RON BACK FOR THE CONCLUSION TO MAKE EVERYTHING RIGHT WITH ALL CHARACTERS AND THE SHOW. Afterwards if Ron wants to continue on with other opportunities then fine, he will be missed but just ask him to bring a conclusion to the storyline. BRAD BELL IF YOU ARE READING THIS , LEAVE YOUR EGOS AT THE DOOR AND BE BIGGER THAN THAT —-GET RON MOSS BACK BY NOVEMBER 26. I am looking for him every single day now and now I NEED CLOSURE. lol seriously please ask him to return for one more time for all of our sakes your too.

Dee Bickford
Dee Bickford

I want Steffy with Liam only because it is what she wants….. But if another, bit more mature man came along and Steffy had a change of heart… Will not hurt my feelings! I feel Hope just not adult enough for serious relationships. She is silly, giggly, like a teeny bopper. They should re-develop her and Oliver! She can grow and mature with him. And he loved her so much, she just tossed him away! They could work around that Brooke/Oliver joke that happened. Leave Steffy with Liam, send Hope off to college to grow up! Give Taylor the new doctor, Jon Hensley. I don’t like Rick or Caroline… They have no heat! Just leave me cold. Rick and Amber worked and now she’s gone. Oh well… Maybe I will write my own story one day. LOL

Michele
Michele

Does he realize that a lot of fans are so disappointed in the Pro Logan Writing as of late, especially this week, after Steffy loosing her child! And is he prepared for the viewership to start to decline? I am just fed up with the fact that in the same week we lost Steffy and Liam’s child we are about to temporarily loose Jacqueline and Hunter, and my reason’s to watch BB are now gone. I hope he realizes just how much those two actresses have given of themselves. Especially Hunter Tylo who in the wake of her own real life tragedy had to play the death of her on screen daughter. that was when I knew that BB was written for Team Logan. Brooke has never had to face any loss of children like Taylor has. And with this Brooke at near 50ish and Steffy being in her 20s to have that young one looser her child just cut my heart into a billion little pieces. And to all the Steffy Haters, remember Steffy has given Liam so many outs and Hope threw him away. SO please stop calling this karma for what she has done, I think she already paid for that when Hope asked her to Italy. But in the end we all know Liam does love Steffy in ways he could never love Hope! xo sm

Larkin
Larkin

Bell is completely delusional “the writers are completely committed” to who??? Since when… Committed to drag this show in the ground and make all B&B fans mad as hell.. Nobody with a minimum sense of objectivity and decency will agree to how this man is running things.

Lisa Garcia
Lisa Garcia

Are you gonna give Liam and Steffy another chance to have a baby but this time be born and grow..you should let hope be with another man dont let the triangle come back we dont need that..Eric should stay with Taylor..but if Taylor goes to Thorn that would be good also..i think the Logan i mean (Brooke,Katie and Donna)should all suffer…Thomas needs a Latina Girl who is not gonna break his Heart..

BETTYEJ
BETTYEJ

This is old crap. Brad Bell still can not write worth a damn and KKL and KM can’t act.. you’re going to get rid of JMW and HT for the show to become Brookie Nookie broke back play pen open only to brothee in-laws and ex-husband/father-in-law and daughters husbands and boyfriends.

General Hospital

GH’s James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin’s Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

After all his bravado, machinations and lies to keep the woman he loves, and believing he was the rightful heir to the Cassadine fortune, suddenly it all came crashing down for Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) on recent episodes of General Hospital.

Payback can be a bitch, but for Valentin; who’s past has been fraught with numerous physical and emotional tribulations since his childhood, he now finds himself at the lowest point in his life; losing Nina (Cynthia Watros) who’s now taken up with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), realizing he is the biological son of the evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), and not Mikkos, and having all his best laid plans and misdeeds backfire.  (Remember, he shot and “killed” Nikolas, and set up the ruse that led Sasha to pretend she was Nina’s bio-daughter.)  Now, enter Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), who could very well hold the ticket, to Valentin’s rise to wealth and power all over again.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with James Patrick Stuart to get the lowdown on: those heavy and emotional scenes opposite Constance Towers, working with Cynthia Watros as his newest Nina, if Valentin might really kill Jax the next time he thinks about it, and what about a potential relationship between Anna (Finola Hughes) and Valentin?

Not many can play bad as good as James in this industry.  He does it so effortlessly and still brings out the humanity in the guy that has t-r-o-u-b-l-e written all over him.  Here’s what James had to share about all of Valentin’s recent dramatic moments, a tease of what’s to come, and much more.

Photo: JPI

Valentin’s world has imploded at the moment.  When did you initially find out that he was going to turn out to not be a true Cassadine heir?

JAMES:  Well, there were some clues dropped by Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) back when we did the gallery auction where Helena’s portrait went up in flames.  Frank looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jack Nicholson it up.  Have some fun!  You’re not going to be feeling pretty good for a while.”  (Laughs)  I’m like, “Oh … what are the plans?”  He pulled me aside and goes, “Yeah, you’re going to lose Nina, but you’re going to try to take over ELQ.  That’s when I started to go, “Wait a minute!  That sounds to me like Valentin’s losing his money.”  (Laughs)  With the character of Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) coming back; it’s pretty great.  I think the writing was on the wall there.  I put it out on twitter the other day.  I said, “Look what they’ve done to my boy.”  Somebody chimed in, “They gave him a storyline!” (Laughs)

Who doesn’t love to see you, James Patrick Stuart, play tortured soul?  They audience loves to see you get the opportunity to go to those depths in your performances.

JAMES:  It’s been really interesting for me.  I’ve had a lifetime of playing bad guys because the line was always shorter. (Laughs)  Everybody wants to be Tom Cruise, but the Alan Rickman’s of it all, to me, were what was so interesting.  Early on, you play one dimensional kind of twisting of the mustache, tying a woman to the train tracks.  After a while, you start to watch the truly great actors.  They start to take you on a ride.  If you’re paying attention, you start to feel what it would be like to be that damaged, and that’s why you do it.  Then you start to see the vulnerability. To me, I thought, “This is a great time in my life because I’m ready to do that.” A lot of people say, “I don’t understand.  I feel like that makes no sense. because why would I root for a person who behaves like this?” and that to me, I feel is the greatest compliment of all.

So much happened recently to Valentin in one fell swoop; he overhears Nina telling Ava (Maura West) she kissed Jax, then he envisions shooting Jax and then he is drinking himself into oblivion and he gets a “visit” from Helena!  But … the scenes between Valentin and Helena really summed up the bitter truth for him, wouldn’t you say?

JAMES:  Yes.  In the “Helena” scenes, it all basically is revealed.  It all comes down in a moment where he “sees” her.  I think he realizes with the DNA test; he’s not the person he thought he was, but he certainly had no idea that he had her blood in his veins.  The truly tragic moment of the evening is when it dawns on him that he has a daughter with Helena’s blood in her veins.  Now, he would kill her a thousand times over in that moment.  He can’t do it.  He’s fighting phantoms.  That’s the bottom below the bottom, and things got worse than he ever thought they would get.

Courtesy/ABC

Does Valentin have any idea then, who his biological father could be?

JAMES:  I don’t think so.  I don’t believe so.  I know I don’t.  I think once he realizes that Helena is in fact the mother, I think he’d rather just go into oblivion.  I think at that point, he’s out of answers.  Enter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) …which is wonderful because I think the world of Nancy, and she saves the day.   Alexis basically talks him out of hurting himself, telling him to count his blessings that he is not a Cassadine, etc, which was a really sweet moment.

I assume, when you have this kind of material to play, it must be exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time?

JAMES:  I think that’s exactly right.  As an actor, I think you want to do this stuff.  Maura West and I compare notes all the time.  I think it can be kind of emotionally draining.  You do feel it, and I felt it when I had spent a lot of time with Nina and Valentin, and when the actresses changed, and we brought Cynthia Watros in.  I worked twice as hard to make sure that Cynthia’s landing was as easy as possible, and I really grew attached to the Nina and Valentin connection.  So, when Jax steps in, Cynthia’s love life means nothing to me, I don’t care about that, but Nina’s love life means a lot to me!  And it bums me out, and I don’t know that I’ll actually be watching any future love scenes between them as much as I love them both!  I have a deep attachment to the Valentin connection to Nina.  So, the lines get burred because we just play these characters so long.

Photo: JPI

What was it like sharing those tough scenes with Constance? No one can play icy, evil villainess like her … and yet in real life, she is such a gracious and kind-hearted woman.

READ MORE
Y&R's Sharon Case On Special Episode Airing Friday: "I Can't Wait For People To See It"

JAMES:  In real life, Constance is such a sweetheart, and she’s so grateful to be there.  She was so ready to work, and rehearse, and play, and find the stuff, and she was great.  I’d been in scenes with her before.  Last time, we didn’t really talk to each other.  I was with the hump.  I was being Valentin pre-surgery.  It was some sort of moment in a graveyard, but this time we actually got to interact with each other.

You look at Valentin, and he’s not had the greatest life.  Do you bring his entire back-story into your performance; such as when he was deformed with the hump and how he had to literally reconstruct his life both in the physical and in emotional ways for many years?

JAMES:  Absolutely.  It’s the brokenness that he’s making choices from.  He was never truly and authentic person to begin with which is why his love fell apart.  He’s always been faking.  He’s always been putting on a show.  That’s not sustainable in matters of the heart.  It was unbelievably easy for Jax to swoop in, because it was inevitable that things were going to fall apart.  Of course, that anger and that brokenness were what lead him to want to kill Jax.  There’s no question.  He was prepared to do that.  If you look in the eyes in the fantasy sequence in the shooting, he just wanted to watch him die.  He wanted to watch the light go out in Jax’s eyes.  He was so furious … and even more tragic is … that was all he could think of, and somehow, he realized in that moment that wouldn’t work, because he’d lose his daughter.

Photo: JPI

Anna and Finn (Michael Easton) just kind of busted up.  Do you think Anna and Valentin will hookup? There is a connection and a history between the two of them whenever they seem to be in proximity of one another.

JAMES:  Personally, I’m waiting for that.  I hope so!  There is a finesse and elegance to that woman, and not only that, there is an effortless to the connection between Valentin and Anna, if one can say that about one’s own coupling.  I love to look at it!  I think we go together like a wink and a smile.  I just find that chemistry really great.  I think that’s mostly Finola, though.  She can probably have chemistry with most anything.

Valentin was going to leave Port Charles with Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), after Nikolas revealed all and the fallout began.  Interestingly enough, it was Anna who came to Valentin’s side and tried to talk him down from fleeing with his daughter and showed such compassion for him!

JAMES:  Wasn’t that great?  She was the one who got him.  She was the one who was able to calm the beast.  There was no one else he would have listened to.  In the moment in the police station, after Charlotte had been kidnapped, and there is that moment where Anna has that bruise, I thought it was such a tender moment.  I just said, “If I kiss my finger and touch your wound?” and she’s like, “Do it.”  It was just this moment where we had been bitter rivals and enemies for so long, but he just adores her so much it’s undeniable that he sees her wounded and wants to make it better.  It’s floating out there waiting to be done.  I know that everybody knows it.  It’s just a matter of what the right away to go about in the writing would be.

Photo: JPI

So, you’ve worked opposite two acting dynamos in the role of Nina – Michelle Stafford and now, Cynthia Watros.  Was the transition difficult for you when Cynthia came to GH?

JAMES:  It wasn’t.  It was scary because Michelle Stafford wasn’t just one in a million, I mean, she is one of a kind.  The last thing in the world that I would ever want to consider doing myself was recast that actress.  So, my deal was (and I’ve said this to Cynthia) I said, “I have no control over this.  All I can do is make the landing as easy as possible for Cynthia.”  We did a lot of photoshoots together, and I had flowers waiting for her, and I did everything possible to make sure that she knew that she had a friend and that she had somebody that was going to make it as easy as possible.  It was rough because a lot of the trolls on social media were just awful to her… just brutal, and she goes, “I have thick skin.  I can take it,” and then a week later, she goes, “I’ve closed all my social media accounts!”  (Laughs)  It’s been fun to watch those guys turn around and go, “You have a really special person.”  That wedding stuff was just incredible!  She came so prepared and she knocked it out of the park.  Cynthia has been wonderful.  I love them both.  I love her the reddest, and I love Michelle the bluest, and together I love them the purplest.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s interesting that all the women in his life such as Anna and Nina, all have a soft-spot for Valentin; even though they don’t necessarily want to be with him.  These ladies are just drawn to this dysfunctional guy.

JAMES:  Don’t you think?  Is it that you want to help him, you want to fix him, you see the potential, you want to help him despite himself?  I think that’s what it is.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Valentin’s still going to try to win Nina back, or is that done? 

JAMES:  I don’t know.  I do know that the Valentin I know will never shake Nina, and when he loves, he loves forever.  He can be simultaneously in love with Anna whenever she’s near.  I don’t believe he ever truly got over Nina hearing his story and his brokenness and still loving him twice as hard.  Years ago, there was a moment where he said to her the stuff that he’s never said, and Michelle beautifully kissed my tears away and said, “You’re beautiful” to me.   I think in that moment his fate was sealed.  I think he knew that this was his woman forever.  So, I just don’t think that that goes away.  I think he will always carry a torch for Nina, for sure.

READ MORE
TONIGHT: B&B's Heather Tom Primetime Directorial Debut On Freeform's 'Good Trouble'

Do you see Valentin becoming darker and darker now that he had found out he is Helena’s offspring?

JAMES:  Well, yes and no.  I remember watching these scenes and we’ve done a lot of this stuff, and you know how easy it is to sort of go, “Let’s go dark, let’s go dark, let’s go more dark,” and after a while, I go, “You know, maybe he does learn something.  Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.”  Of course, more bad stuff will happen to him, and he will do more bad stuff, because that’s just who he is.  A leopard can’t change his spots, and those are his survival instincts, but there are some new colors, and it’s all a direct result of all of just these horrible things that have happened to him… mostly learning that he is part Helena and he can’t undo that.

Photo: JPI

We saw that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) called and then goes to see Valentin, because she wants to sell her shares of ELQ.  So, obviously he has the potential to become really rich here which is what would give him his power back.  How do you think that will go over with the rest of the Quartermaines? (Laughs)

JAMES:  (Laughs) A lot of the Quartermaine actors have been asking me that in the hallways of General Hospital!  Isn’t that interesting how he’ll just sort of switch families? (Laughs)

Of all the people, just as Valentin’s life is in the gutter and he is at his lowest, who should show up with a sort of lifeline, Nelle! How will he go about attempting to gain control of ELQ?

JAMES:  Valentin knows he has to get the majority shares to gain a control of the company, and he has to do it fast before people see that he’s doing it.  So, that’s where Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray) has been.  He’s gallivanting the states rapidly accumulating shares.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s been so fun seeing you and Michael Knight on-screen and on a daytime soap together again, as so many remember you as Tad Martin and Will Cortlandt on All My Children.  How has it been getting the chance to work with Michael?

JAMES:  My God, are you kidding me?  He taught me!  He’s the guy who taught me.  I didn’t know how to do this.  Nobody instinctively knows… this is a very unique art form.  It’s more Jazz than anything else, and he showed me how to do it!  Walt Willey (Ex-Jack, AMC) showed me how to do my hair, and Michael Knight taught me how to break down a script!  And, what’s so funny is he is still doing it.  In a scene on GH, when he threw in that line, “From now on, you pay in advance,” I just about fell on the floor!  I thought, “There he is!  That’s the Michael I’ve always known and loved.”

Photo: JPI

Who would have thought that you guys would get to share scenes like that again on soaps?  You just never know in this life who may be wind up back in your orbit.

JAMES:  It’s incredible.  That’s what we say all of the time… “Who would have thought?”  You could never plan something like this and that we’d still be doing it at this point.

Now with Lulu (Emme Rylan) learning that Valentin is not a Cassadine, and Nina apparently moving on to a relationship with Jax, what do you think it will mean for their relationship in raising their daughter, Charlotte?

JAMES:  I think in the short-term, Valentin’s shelved any ideas of getting her out of Charlotte’s life.  He’s sort of putting out the fires in his own personal life.  Charlotte needs a mother in her life, and he’s quite willing to share custody as they always have been.  She seems to be looking at this as an opportunity to paint him as an unfit father, and she wants full-time custody.  So, we’re back to that again.  It looks to me like Lulu is kicking Valentin while he’s down.

Photo: JPI

It was so nice to see you, and some of your GH co-stars such as: Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) show up for Y&R’s Eric Braeden’s (Victor Newman) 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS.  It was quite the event; speakers galore, and so many from our industry and beyond in attendance.

JAMES:  It was pretty profound.  Eric has always been kind to me.  I only worked with him on one movie, a western, called The Man Who Came Back, and that was probably 12 years ago.  He has been so complimentary of me in interviews and in his book.  So, if he does that with me, I can only imagine how many dear, dear friendships he has.  So, the fact that everybody showed up like that from the president of CBS Entertainment to local councilmen, and that they were willing to do be there for 2 hours was really proof of how much they love him.  Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I don’t even think was working that day, came in for it and spoke at the event. There was so much respect shown for Eric and what he has meant to this medium.

Photo: JPI

Your album The Apple Tree was so well-received, and everyone always loves seeing you get the opportunity to sing on General Hospital as well.  Will you continue to put out more music in 2020?

JAMES:  Yeah, that’s the plan.  I have another one that I’m working on.  I have a bunch of songs.  I’m in no rush to get it out.  Unfortunately, I lost Glen Roven, who wrote the cello part for Book of Love, passed away right after the Nurses’ Ball where I played Book of Love, which is really heartbreaking, and then, Michael Sherwood, who helped me with a number of songs on the record passed away right after The Apple Tree came out.  So, I’m a little gun-shy.  But, I’m planning on having something out by December for Christmas.

In closing, what would you say the fans should look forward to in the weeks ahead from Valentin?

JAMES: Look forward to that moment where Valentin is so low that there’s nowhere to go but up!  The comeback is going to be one for the books.

So, what do you think of how Valentin’s life hit rock bottom?  Do you think he will ever win Nina back? Do you think he will takeover ELQ? Share your thoughts on James’ recent performances and his thoughts contained in this interview via the comment section below.

Continue Reading

Days Of Our Lives

Wally Kurth Talks DAYS Dramatic Twists That Gave Justin a Heartbreaking Story, a New Romance, and Unforgettable Moments

If you have been watching recent episodes of Days of our Lives, soap opera vet, Wally Kurth has been turning out the performances of his daytime career.  In one of the most heartbreaking weeks we can remember, DAYS took us back to ‘Mother’s Day’ one year ago, prior to their time jump, to show us how Justin’s wife, Adrienne (Judi Evans) died following a car crash, it’s aftermath, and assorted other key plots for the characters of Salem.

For decades, Wally Kurth along with Daytime Emmy winner, Judi Evans created the on-screen love story of Justin and Adrienne on DAYS, and while they were off the canvas for quite some time, they remained one of the most popular duos in the history of the show.  Saying goodbye to one daytime love story opened the door for another, and now Kurth has been paired with another Daytine Emmy winner, Mary Beth Evans (Kayla).  The romance of Justin and Kayla is really going to be tested with the recent return of Stephen Nichols who seems to have Steve’s body overtaken by the mind and soul of Stefano DiMera.   What will happen if, and when Steve, Kayla, and Justin enter into a romantic triangle?

But as daytime viewers know, Wally is not only recognizable for his role as DAYS Justin but that of General Hospital’s Ned Quartermaine.  Kurth has the distinction of being on two separate soaps (sometimes even airing on them at the same time), playing two different fan favorite roles.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wally about: being handed the ball in the emotional storyline on DAYS that has had him acting his heart out alongside Chandler Massey (Will) and Freddie Smith (Sonny) that could just land him a Daytime Emmy nomination in just a few months.  Plus, giving us a glimpse of what is was like to tape all of those tear-filled scenes, his reaction to his latest romantic pairing, and having the gift of acting on two soaps at this stage of his career.  Here’s what Wally shared.

Photo: JPI

Let me just say; I’m all cried out watching your performances now.  I can’t cry anymore. (Laughs)  Did you watch everything back from the week-long flashback to Mother’s Day that changed the course of so many lives in Salem, and in particular, with the death of Adrienne?

WALLY:  Oh, yeah.  It was hard to watch.  It was interesting because the show must have been long as there were a couple of scenes that I was actually looking forward to seeing and they didn’t air.  One was on the Thursday episode and the other was on the Friday episode.  I remember seeing something about Matt Ashford (Jack) not having his scene air with Jack and Adrienne, and I wanted to tell him: “Hey, it was all around.”  It was probably just a little too much material to get it all in.

What do you remember doing that didn’t air?  Was Justin in even more tears?  (Laughs)

WALLY:  If you can believe it! (Laughs)  There was one scene with Sonny at her gurney that I really broke down.   There was a scene on Friday after Will leaves.  It’s a scene between Sonny and Justin talking about what Will had done that I thought was pretty intense, but that’s alright.  It’s part of the deal.  Shows run long and they’ve got to make decisions.  It’s all good.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about the day you had to shoot those death scenes with Judi Evans?

WALLY:  It’s interesting.  I made a decision that I’m not going to go about those scenes with the normal method: thinking about something really, truly terrible in my life because first of all, I’ve never lost a woman I’ve been with for 30 years.  So, I decided just to use my imagination and use the words in the script, and just go there.  It was certainly a lot more fun.  I didn’t second-guess myself.  The words were beautifully written, and I just sort of played the scene; rather than try to regurgitate some kind of past memory and/or try to imagine one of my children dying or my wife dying.

You didn’t do “substitution”!

WALLY:  Yeah, I didn’t substitute.  I guess for people who don’t understand this kind of method in acting; you can substitute things in your real life, your personal life to help you feel something called upon to do in a script, and I’ve done that before.  I’ve done that a lot, actually.  I did that when I was first on the show with Judi.  But, on that day when Adrienne died, I didn’t.

Photos: NBC

It was so sad, and when they had the clip of a young Wally as Justin, meeting Adrienne for the first time, it was a sweet moment.  Justin sees her crying and is apparently smitten.  Did you see that flashback?  

WALLY:  It’s a famous one!  We got to talk about it, and the handkerchief in the scenes when she died.  I think in the scene that was cut, there was more about the handkerchief and that I gave her the handkerchief and that I needed a handkerchief now and Sonny gave me his handkerchief.  Years ago, I remember Al Rabin (Ex-director, DAYS) saying, “When you see her, she’s unlike anybody you’ve ever seen before.  That’s it,” and I went, “What?” and he said, “Yeah.  That’s it.”  So, I said, “Okay, she’s the one,” and I went in and just played that.  Like, “I don’t know who this woman is.  She’s crying on the bench.  She looks pretty miserable, but I’ll just try to talk to her” and that was Justin and Adrienne’s love story: coming in like a white knight and rescuing her.

You and Judi had worked together as Justin and Adrienne on and off for decades.  So, is there any sadness in saying goodbye to that on-screen relationship?

WALLY:  Yes, but in between it all we took like a 19-year break.  So, it’s not like John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena (Deidre Hall) who have been on continuously.  We fell back into that very comfortably.  It was 1987 when we were doing that scene at the park where she is crying.  Hello! That was 33 years ago!  And … oh, my God … the leather tie, the hair.  I had serious hair.  I remember that. (Laughs)

You had serious hair.  But … we all did!

WALLY:  It took longer just blowing my hair out than getting on make-up to hit the set.  I remember that little tweed jacket, and the black leather shoes.

Photo: JPI

What were we all thinking back then!? (Laughs)  It must have been hard for Judi on the day while you were grieving over her body?

READ MORE
Bree Williamson and Mishael Morgan In LMN's 'A Killer In My Home' Debuts Friday

WALLY:  I remember Judi told me it was really hard for her, and I can understand it.  She’s such a good actress who really listens, so she’s always really affected.  We can be running lines in the makeup room, and if it’s an emotional scene, she can start crying.  So, she’s obviously really in touch with her emotions.  It was really hard for her to listen to Freddie, and me, and Matt and Mary Beth, and everyone tell her how much they’re going to miss Adrienne.  She was so good and professional.  She just kept her eyes closed all the way through the breaks.  She didn’t sit there and talk to us in between.  Probably, in her mind, she’s just trying to play dead.

She told me in the interview feature that I did for the DOOL app, that she intentionally didn’t want to see you and Freddie before those scenes.  

WALLY:  Yeah, that’s true.  I’m just thinking about that, and it really did help because we could just stay in that place and she never jumped up and went, “Hey!”   That’s just her professionalism.

Photo: JPI

When you originally found out that DAYS was going to kill-off Adrienne, and that they were going to do a time jump which paired Justin and Kayla, romantically, what was your reaction to all of that?  Was it like, “Oh, story for me!?” and/or did it make you feel bad about the character casualty in order to make that happen?

WALLY:  I guess, selfishly, you’re only thinking of yourself – when you’re selfish, and I did think like, “Wow.  That sounds like an amazing story,” and then I’m like, “Oh, well that sucks for Judi, and that’s going to be kind of crazy,” but then I also realized quickly (because I know Judi, and I know how much she loved playing Bonnie) that if they choose to bring her back, they could bring her back as Bonnie.  But yes, I thought about that as well, but mainly, I thought that this is something new.  As an actor and as an artist, you want a new challenge.  For Judi and me, we were just sort of playing the two greatest parents to Sonny.  Pretty much, that was our role.  We were happily married.  We hadn’t really had a story in about a year.  I mean, I’m mister lawyer in town.   At least for me, and it turns out, this has been an amazing story to play.  I have to say; never in a million years did I imagine Justin with Kayla.  So, it wasn’t like I was campaigning for it.

I know in daytime that sometimes actors campaign to be paired with certain actors on their respective soaps,

WALLY:  Yeah, so I think we were both surprised.  I worked with Mary Beth on General Hospital and of course, we are dear friends off set.  We thought that was probably going to be the hardest part, because we’ve been friends for so long, and it’s kind of nice that when you do a love story that you do have to kind of go there, and feel comfortable, and be excited, and it worked out.  I thought we both brought out qualities in our characters that really conveyed that a really good friendship morphed into a true love.  Justin and Kayla helped each other through this difficult, difficult time, and then…

… Then Stevano shows up in Salem!

WALLY:  Yup!   People fall in love.  That’s what happened, and then of course Stephen Nichols comes back, and all hell breaks loose.  I have to say, the audience is in for a really fun 6 months coming up.

Photo: JPI

What have you thought of Stephen Nichols portrayal as Stefano?

WALLY:  He has been amazing!   I told Stephen, and he appreciates it.   I don’t think anyone could do it as well as Stephen’s doing it.  I mean, when he blew up the other day in front of Anna (Leann Hunley), he sounded like Stefano.  He sounded like Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano)!  I think he’s done a really good job of pulling it off.  Only a really gifted actor could pull it off, and I believe it when he plays it.

You made a comment on Twitter to me about “the boys” (Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey), after I named the three of you Power Performance of the Week.  What can you say about Freddie in the scenes where he has to say goodbye to his mother, Adrienne, and then Chandler for his scenes with both Freddie and you in the aftermath, where he tells Sonny and Justin he was the responsible party that caused the crash that took Adrienne’s life?

WALLY:  Freddie went for it, and you have to.  He did, and I was so proud of him.   When Will tells Sonny that he was driving the car and he caused it, they were so in the moment.  They didn’t rush their emotions.  They took their time, and it was just totally believable, and not a false move, and then when I came in, it was just a really nice scene between the three of us, because I was checking in with Sonny, and then I was checking in with Will, and things took turn from there and it felt really solid.  I was very proud of it.

Courtesy/NBC

Then, when Justin tears into Will for the death of his wife, and Will goes, “I wish it would’ve been me.”  It was so intense; everyone was good in that scene.

WALLY:  I wanted to send out a tweet to everybody from that episode who were                       wonderful in it including: Stacy Haiduk (Kristen), Eric Martsolf (Brady), Paul Telfer (Paul), and Casey Moss (JJ)…

Oh, my Gosh, and then Casey was so heartbreaking learning of Haley’s (Thia Megia) death!

WALLY:  Good lord.  Three deaths in one day!

You’ve been on soap operas for a long time.   It was a lot to take in as the viewer, but it made for a riveting and can’t-miss week of episodes.

WALLY:  It was amazing that the show pulled it off.  It could have been really too much.  I thought that the production pulled it out.  It wasn’t too much.  That’s probably why scenes were cut, too.  It might have just been too much; all of that just grieving over dead bodies.

What is the reaction you’re seeing to all of this on social media?  The fans have been very favorable to the performances.  You’re in such an interesting position, because you’re on two soaps (DAYS and GH) and you’re able to have these two distinct and different characters to play. What’s that been like that you’ve been able to bounce back and forth for so long in your career from Salem to Port Charles, and back again?

READ MORE
TONIGHT: B&B's Heather Tom Primetime Directorial Debut On Freeform's 'Good Trouble'

WALLY:  I couldn’t have planned it, obviously.  It just worked out that way; having created both roles, one 33 years ago and one 29 years ago.  I’m sort of integral on General Hospital because I’m sort of the lone patriarchal Quartermaine, and they want to keep that family going. So, that has been really kind of cool that I can keep breathing air into that legacy, and they’re recently brought in Amanda Setton as Ned’s daughter, Brook Lynn, too.  Then of course, with Days of Our Lives, they brought me back on as an attorney in 2009, and that was really out of the blue.  I hadn’t been on the show in 19 years.  So, to get a call to come back and be an attorney in town was just great, and at the time, I needed a job.  I kind of have to say, I owe Ken Corday (executive producer, DAYS) twice in my lifetime. He hired me as an actor when honestly; I could really use a job.  My first job was Days of Our Lives, and I was driving around in a moped then.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of Amanda Setton (Ex-Kimberly, One Life to Live) how do you think she is doing with the part of GH’s Brook Lynn?

WALLY:  She’s great.  She’s experienced, and nowadays you really have to be experienced on soaps.  We go so fast.  Unfortunately, the newbies take some time and have to get on track, but it’s a world of one takes and we go so quickly.  It really helps to have an actor who has done it before and isn’t daunted by the speed.

Speaking of keeping the legacy of the Q’s going, the one and only Jane Elliot recently came back to GH to reprise her role of Tracy Quartermaine. What was it like having her back on set to work with?  

WALLY:  It was great!  I hope she’ll make some future returns.  She had a good time.  The show is really much better with her.  I was just thrilled.

Photo: JPI

You must be grateful that Justin and Ned are still alive and kicking!

WALLY:  I love working on Days, and I love the crew.  I love the cast.  Both casts and crews from both soaps are fantastic.  I feel like the luckiest actor in town.  I don’t complain, and I won’t complain.  It’s interesting, when I was an actor on one show, I would complain, and I hear other actors on shows complaining about one thing or another.  I just don’t have a right to complain.  On my days off, I used to be the guy who would look at my lines the day before.  I probably could still do that, but I don’t want to.  I like spending a heck of a lot of time with my scripts so that when I go in there, I really know it.  I have a lot of different ways to play with it, and I get to be creative with it, and I pick that.  I don’t take that for granted.  So, every day when I get to work, I’m excited to be there, and I put a lot into it.

Photo: JPI

So, do you think we can foreshadow you winning a Daytime Emmy this year, or next year, or both for the performances we have seen and those yet to come?

WALLY:  (Laughs) I feel like I’ve already won an Emmy by having two jobs.  Honestly, I’m having the time of my life.

Do you think the audience will see Justin grieving still for Adrienne? With the time jump, in theory, we missed a year of that part of the mourning process.

WALLY:  You will see it.  But yes, you’re right.  You don’t see Justin the first three months, or the week after, or the weeks after.  However, more comes up for him that I think  will be very satisfying to the audience.  I know it’s been very shocking to the audience to see where Justin is at.  Most of the complaints I get are like, “Really?  It’s been three months, and you’re already making out with Kayla?”  People were kind of offended by that.  By the way, my wife is also offended by that.  (Laughs)  She was like, “You’d better wait longer than three months!

Photo: JPI

Did your wife watch your scenes when Adrienne died?

WALLY:  Yes, she did.   She liked them.   But she would say something like, “It’s hard to see you crying over another woman.”  I know she doesn’t really enjoy me making out with another woman and saying how much I love her.  I don’t usually show her all of the really romantic stuff, but I thought she’d be okay with the death scenes, and she was, but I am sure it was kind of strange for her.  She is a lawyer, not an actor.

Since she’s a lawyer, does she ever give you legalese tips for when you have courtroom scenes on DAYS?

WALLY:  She does, and I’m usually like, “Is there anything I can cut here?” and she usually goes, “Honestly, no.  You’d better say it.  I think it’s honestly pretty well-written.  You’d better say it as written. It’s pretty accurate.”

Courtesy/NBC

The other moment I wanted to bring up to you that was like the “perfect scene” is when Justin visited Will in prison and told Will to not give up on life. I think that was such a beautiful scene and performance.  I hope that is in your Emmy submission.

WALLY:  Thank you.  I was very proud of that.  I appreciate that, Michael.  I know you watch a lot of these, and, it is in my Emmy submissionIt was beautifully written.  I think the writers have really handed me just some wonderful stories to tell, and wonderful dialogue, and I used every word of it, and I feel very blessed.  As actors … you can work your ass off, but you really do also need stories to sometimes shine, you know?  I thought the writers really gave me a lot of great material to work with.

Photo: JPI

If they keep giving you more material like this every week you’ll be named the Power Performance of the Week, and then everyone will think something corrupt is going down! (Laughs) 

WALLY: They’ll think I’m paying you off, Michael! (Laughs)

So, what have you thought of Wally’s performances? Were you surprised at the Justin and Kayla pairing? Were you shocked at Adrienne’s death and what went down? Comment below.

Continue Reading

Eastsiders

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson Talk The Final Season of ‘EastSiders’, Their Journey As Thom and Cal, & The Impact The Series Has Made

It captivated the LGBTQ audience, expanded from there, and was a passion project and labor of love for series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with his husband and co-producer, John Halbach as they tirelessly brought the digital drama EastSiders to life.  Over 4 seasons (and 7 years in and of production) fans of the series were brought: riveting characters, real, witty, and intelligent writing, and beautiful performances that leave you either crying, laughing, or just plain in awe of their depth.

Williamson brought in As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, ATWT), from the beginning of the creation of EastSiders, to play his on-screen other half, Thom, and over four seasons we have seen Cal and Thom’s relationship grow apart, come together, have a very open sexual relationship, deal with addiction issues, and anxiety in the day and age we live in; while giving us a glimpse of a set of characters who all are struggling with something … or trying to love someone, or just trying to love themselves.

In four seasons, EastSiders went from a show on YouTube to now a popular series streaming on Netflix.  And as season four of the series was finally released back in December of last year, fans of the show were clamoring to know if Thom and Cal will have their happily ever after? Well, if you saw the emotional final episode, you kind of know the answer to that, or do we? But just when you thought EastSiders was a fait accompli, Williamson and company released a behind-the-scenes documentary of the season that is also a must-see! (Check it out below).  And this week, EastSiders scored nominations in the Queerties Awards for the Best in LGBTQ media and culture. Van Hansis scored a nod in the Digital Performance category along with EastSiders cast member, Stephen Guarino, and the series is nominated in the Digital Series category. You can vote for the Queerties now through February 21st here.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Van and Kit in a full circle moment for all of us.  We conducted the first interview these two talented gents ever did to publicize the series seven years ago, and we couldn’t let EastSiders go without one last look, one last goodbye, and to talk to the heart and soul of the story itself.  So here, we put a bow on it, and chat it up with Van and Kit in this very special EastSiders wrap-up.

Photo: EastSiders

So, 7 years ago, the three of us met at a coffee shop in West Hollywood, California and you had this little show called Eastsiders, and we do your first interview ever about the show.  Now, 7 years later it’s grown into what it has become.  What did you think of this whole journey from the beginning to the end?  Did you have any idea that EastSiders would take off like this, and did it exceed your hopes and dreams?

KIT:  Personally, I had no idea that the show could have this many lives.  I really just set out to make something cool and to put it on the internet.  At every stage of this, I wondered, “Is this it?” and it’s been wild to see how it’s grown.  As I’m thinking back on it, you are right! It was the very first interview that we did with the show … period.

VAN:  I was thinking the exact same thing.  It was!

Photo: EastSiders

When artists in any field create something, you never know how it’s going to be perceived by the public.  I think your perseverance and how you went about it was so smart that you garnered an audience worldwide.  So, what are your thoughts about how the series wrapped up with season four?  Because I had heard, Kit, that you extended the storylines.  Is that true that the season was longer than what you intended it to be?  

KIT:  So, we ended up having the penultimate episode be an hour long because I just kept writing new scenes for people and discovering things on set, and I think that kind of speaks to all of our desire to not say goodbye to the characters.  It’s a very long goodbye, you know?  Also, I can’t imagine getting to the second to last episode of a series that I was watching, and if I loved it, wanting the episodes to go by quicker.  So, it felt like something that I could tactically do at the end there.  Van, what about you?  I know in the behind-the-scenes documentary that we filmed, stuff like, not even knowing what a web series even was when we first started doing this, came up! (Laughs)

VAN:  Oh, yeah! (Laughs) When we started I was sent the script from an acting teacher.  I loved the script.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it no matter what. I had no idea what it would be.  To see what it’s become is amazing, and to be a part of what it’s become is amazing, and that is literally all mostly Kit.  He has done so much with this, and he’s put so much of himself into it.  I feel fortunate to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that sometimes you don’t get to see as an actor on a show.  We need more Kit Williamson’s in our lives, because it takes someone like that to make this happen and to make it go worldwide from literally YouTube.  So, as far as the ending …  I love where it ends off and where all of the characters sort of end up.

Photo: EastSiders

Kit, are you ready to do an EastSiders reboot?  Are we coming back to visit Thom and Cal 5 years later?

KIT:  I have said that I don’t know that I’m done with these characters yet.  Van and I have had conversations about that.  I think that the show is definitely finished is this format.  Trying to shoot and independently produce, 6 half-hour, ensemble events like this, and to do it right, and to keep growing and scaling it, is just not really sustainable, but it’s been a hell of a ride.  I’m glad that we went on it.  To speak to what Van was just talking about; I really think it’s just alchemy.  It’s a set of perfect circumstances coming together that we all met at the right times in our lives, and Van Hansis, in particular, is the spark that ignites the show.  I don’t think that the show would have had the success that it did if: we hadn’t had the chemistry that we had, and if Van’s fan base hadn’t gotten so excited about the show. To be able to kind of grow and create something that people are excited to see is really empowering.  Knowing that there is somebody out there who wants it, who is waiting for it, is gratifying.

Photo: EastSiders

Van, what did you think about Thom’s journey throughout season four?  The audience is like, “Please ask him already.  Pop the question,” and Thom is holding onto that ring!  Do you think he realized that he had what he wanted all along in Cal?  

VAN:  I think in the end he does, but I also think he doesn’t know where that journey is going to go.  Very much like … he knows that what he has is something golden and precious, but I think that he doesn’t know how to hold onto something like that.  Throughout the series, with Thom and Cal especially, they know that they love each other, but they don’t really know how to love each other in the best way.  I don’t know if that story is fully finished yet, but I think that they’re really very much on their way to figuring out what it means … and what it means especially to them.  I think especially as queer people, you don’t have a set of outliers that are given to you, especially, queer people our age.  I think the whole series has been not just about Thom and Cal, but every character in the show figuring out what is their relationship and to be able to create their own, and not give a care about what society thinks of them, which is really kind of fun.

KIT:  One of the most recurring themes of the show in terms of motif is cartography: drawing the map of the world together as a couple.  We had that Daniel Zaitchik song at the end of season 2, Map of the World, that also reprises this season.  There’s a lot of discussion of directions and destinations that I think is something I really wanted to get at because I think as queer people, we often don’t have the benefit of being able to just go down the road laid out for us by our parents.  We have to chart our own course.

Photo” EastSiders

I was watching all the comments on social media, and do you realize how many people said (including myself) that they were in tears and needed hankies at the ending of EastSiders? They just were a ball of mess at the conclusion of the show; which speaks to the investment we all had with the characters.  Did you see how people were so emotional and how they were reaching back to you? 

READ MORE
Orson Bean, Longtime Husband to B&B's Alley Mills, Struck And Killed By Car

KIT:  It’s been so cool.  I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of messages.

VAN:  Yes!  I also want to go back to Kit.  That’s his writing.  There are so many amazing shows that go out with a whimper.  I have followed so many shows that I absolutely love, and the final episode comes about, and I’m like, “Wait.  That’s it?  That’s what we get?”  Glen Weldon on Pop Culture Happy Hour, which is a podcast I follow, he talked about how well it stuck the landing.  Everybody gets a sense of an ending.  Most of them are happy, or all of them are happy actually, and for these characters, you’ve stuck around with them since we were on YouTube, and the audience deserves to see their favorite character have some sort of hope.

KIT:  Yeah!  I like to say happy with an asterisk.  An Eastsiders happy ending is a little different from a traditional happy ending.   They all have things that they still need to work through, but I didn’t want to leave any character in a sense of uncertainty.  I wanted to make sure that all of the loose ends of the story we’ve been telling the last 7 years were tied up.  I do think that there is definitely more story there, but I do think that’s life.  Everybody’s story continues past what you are allowed to see.

Was your final scene together that you taped the proposal in the club, or was this shot out of order?

KIT:  Van’s last scene was actually the scene with Richard (Bryan Batt) in episode 5, when they’re reflecting on everything.

VAN:  That’s a good last scene to film.  I had to come back last January to film just the material with him and with Traci Lords. So, no, our last scene together was not the proposal, it was the scene at the restaurant together towards the end,

KIT:  Yeah, the restaurant itself.  We did that out of order.  We had to shoot the bathroom scene where our characters have our big come to Jesus moment.

Those scenes were great.  Traci Lords was wonderful, by the way.

VAN:  Oh, she’s so good.  I love her.

KiT:  The scene that really gets me the most this season was Cal and his mother in the bed, and the discussion they had between them.

Photo: Eastsiders

When you watched back the ending with the proposal, what did you think?

VAN:  I thought it was great.  I posted something on Instagram like, “I get to be in a romcom!”

KIT:  It’s your Drew Barrymore moment!

VAN:  It was!  That’s what I wrote!  It’s my Drew Barrymore moment.  I’ve never gotten to do something that joyful.  Kit, I have a question for you.  Was some of that confetti in the final scene CGI or was all of that there?

KIT:  It was all there!

VAN:  Really!?  I don’t remember.  I was just so deep into your eyes that I don’t remember all of that confetti falling on my face.  It looks amazing.

KIT:  It was at the end of the night.   We only got one shot at that scene.  That was one take, and it ended up perfect.

Photo: EastSiders

 

In season four, you really expanded Jeremy’s role.  Matthew McKelligon was wonderful in the story you provided him.

KIT:  Yeah!  I really have tried with all of the characters to subvert expectations.  With Willam Belli (Douglas) and Stephen Guarino’s (Quincy) characters, their introduced as kind of the commedia clowns and then revealed to be the lovers, and with Matt’s character, he’s introduced as the “other woman”.  He’s literally called “Jezebel” all throughout the first season and then starting in season 2.  I think a lot of people were probably surprised that we are still following this character.  Jeremy doesn’t just disappear from the story when he stops sleeping with Cal and Thom.  I think to be able to follow his trajectory as he’s going on a radically different path than I think he even expected was really fun for me … and for Matt.

Photo: EaatSiders

Kit, a moment I recall on your social media posts, was when you said you’d just watched the sex scenes you were in and you were like, “I hope my mother doesn’t see this.”  Were you really embarrassed?

KIT:  Yeah, I did a reaction video when I watched it.   I will be honest.  You disassociate when you’re editing something because you’re looking at it as a frame-to-frame perspective, and then I had a little distance from it and watched it on Netflix for the first time, and that was the first time it really sunk in that I was like, “Oh, that’s a sex montage starring me.”

Van, when you were seeing the story of EastSiders progress through the years, and how Thom and Cal were sleeping around and with multiple partners, did you ever have a moment of, “What’s happening here?” Or, were you like, “Oh … cool!?”

VAN:  That started in the 2nd season, but I wasn’t like scandalized or anything by it.  What I love about the show, and what I love about the 4th season especially is that there are basically 4 narratives of gay male relationships, like queer all encompassing, but specifically looking at gay men.  Each one is different, and I think if you are in this community, I think you’ve seen these types of relationships, and you fall into one, or you don’t, or you fall between them.  So, I wasn’t like, “Oh, my God, you’re having a sex montage in the 2nd season,” no.  I’m not like some Victorian lady who is fainting on a chaise when someone is shirtless.  The thing that’s funny to me is that this isn’t shown more.

Photo: JPI

Van, you know from portraying Luke Snyder on As the World Turns, on a daytime soap, that as a gay character they often tap dance around so much in the writing!

VAN:  Yeah, I do.  I lived that, and that’s what honestly pisses me off.  That this program is afraid to show something.  It’s because they’ve probably done tests of what people are comfortable with, so it’s like, “Okay, we live in this society where people are uncomfortable with X and X and X and X,” and really, why?  People just need to live their lives.

Kit, do you have a favorite scene that you’ve written in this entire 7 years of the creative lifespan of EastSiders?

KIT:  I would say season 3 episode 5, the “What do you see when you look down?” conversation between me and Van as Cal and Thom.  To set the scene a little bit: it’s the culmination of days of talking on the road trip when you run out of frivolous things to say to each other and the real stuff comes out.  My character is asleep, and he wakes up to find that Thom is kind of drinking by himself in the camper, and they have this conversation to really get to the heart of what both of them are most afraid of, not just in their relationships, but in their lives. You sort of get to realize that this fear has been shaping their decisions from the very first season, that they have been leading with fear, and that is something that maybe they can work through as a couple, that they can maybe address together.  I think that moment for me is the moment that I knew that Thom and Cal were meant to be together.

Photo: EastSiders

That was the scene where you both were in tears inside the camper?

VAN:  Yep.  That scene is on my reel.  That is one of my favorite scenes that Kit has written also.  I would say for me, my favorite full-on episode is probably the first episode of season 3.  The bottle episode in Palm Springs.

KIT:  I love that episode, too.

VAN:  I think that what you do so beautifully is that it is just so funny and uplifting, but you do get those undercurrents of the reality in the relationship with Quincy and Douglas. I think that is where we see them go from sort of the clowns into the lovers, and I love the way that you put that.  We see them get a little bit more grounded.  So, that’s my favorite episode, but I love that scene in season 3, but I love so much from the series!  In season four, I love the scene with Jeremy’s foster daughter.  It’s not like a huge deep scene or anything, but the stuff that you brought out of that little girl … she is just incredible.

READ MORE
TONIGHT: B&B's Heather Tom Primetime Directorial Debut On Freeform's 'Good Trouble'

KIT:  Scout was just so brilliant.  If she wants one, that kid has a career ahead of her.  I have every confidence that her family is supporting her in whatever she wants to do because they’re just incredible.

Kit, in EastSiders, you wore so many hats within it.  Would you ultimately want your next projects to just be acting in front of the camera, and not worrying about producing and writing it?  Did you like doing it all?  It’s a lot to take on.

KIT:  Yeah, they’re different itches to scratch.  I would like to have less responsibilities as a producer in terms of the day-to-day responsibilities and nuts and bolts of things.  I would love to never print a set of sides or stock ‘crafty’ ever again.  I would love to have those sorts of things taken off of my plate, but ultimately, my goal is to be a showrunner, and that means that I want the buck to stop with me.  I want to be the person who is ultimately responsible for not just the creative vision, but the execution of that vision from concepts to finished product.  But, I want to do all of it.  I find it really empowering to wear fewer hats.  I think a great career model that’s emerged for me in recent years is Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  I love everything that she does.  I love that she is creating shows that she’s not acting in, she’s acting in shows that she’s writing, she’s punching up the new Bond movie, and she is acting in projects that she has nothing to do with as a writer.

How do you feel the door had been opened for you because of the series?

KIT:  Oh man, I’m getting a lot of opportunities, and I’m really, really grateful for it.

In the LGBTQ community, what do the guys say to you, and how EastSiders has impacted them? Do they ever say, “Thom and Cal showed me this?” or “I’m so glad this was portrayed?” 

VAN:  Yeah.  I got something on Instagram about a week or so ago from a guy who was really freaking out about being in an open relationship, and he was like, “Thank God for this show.”

KIT:  Definitely anytime I’ve been outside of New York or LA and in a gay bar or a gay space, somebody has come up to me, and I definitely love it because the whole point of this is to get people to engage with your work.  That’s the reward; is knowing that people are watching.  I actually have a “gratitude folder” on my computer where I save some messages that people have sent to me.  It’s something I started recently, and I wish I’d been doing it since the beginning, because I always try to write back to everybody that writes to me about the show, and if I missed some, I’m so sorry.  It was an accident.  I can read you a few.  One says, “I live in a very conservative family, in a developing country, El Salvador.  Thanks to EastSiders, I understood that discovering my sexuality wasn’t something to be ashamed of and that all expressions of love are equally worth it.  You guys basically saved my life since I thought about suicide many times.”  In other messages, many people told me that the show gave them the confidence to come out to their friends or family, or that it made them feel less alone in countries where being gay is illegal.  I have a message from someone in Saudi Arabia, someone from Iran, Nigeria, Mississippi, where I’m from.  I get a lot of messages from Mississippi, because I’m so outspoken about how coming from the south shaped me.  It’s just really overwhelmingly satisfying.  As a kid there weren’t any openly gay people around me, so the first gay people I ever met were characters on TV, and it made me feel, like maybe, I could have a life worth putting on a screen someday.

Photo: Eastsiders

Let’s go back in time. Van, what was your first impression of Kit when you met him?

VAN:  I feel like I met him through his writing first, because I had never met him when I got the script.  I remember we met at a coffee shop in Los Feliz in Los Angeles.  Kit was very professional, and I remember there was a question if I was going to play Thom or was I going to play Jeremy? I think I was sort of gravitating towards Jeremy at that point, but you were like, “No, you’re a Thom,” so I was like, “Okay.”  (Laughs) I remember leaving. feeling that it was very much like a business meeting, but that went away really quickly when we just got to know each other.  You came across as a lot more serious than I thought whoever wrote the script would be.

KIT:  Oh.  Cool.  I love that.

Kit, what did you think of Van when you first met him? 

KIT:  Well, I was super nervous, and I definitely wanted to convey that this was something that I took really seriously.

VAN: (Laughs)

KIT:  So, I’m glad he got that.

Photo: JPI

I get that you wanted to come across very professional.

KIT:  Yeah, because it was my first time directing so I wanted to come ready, and the first thing I thought when I met Van was, “That’s Thom.”  Literally a sentence comes out of his mouth, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah.  Absolutely.  This is absolutely correct.  Thank God.  We have our lead.”

VAN:  I love the role of Jeremy, but I’m so glad I played Thom.

KIT:  Honestly, a lot of people were almost a lot of different people in this thing.   At one point, John Halbach, was going to be Thom.  John, at one point, was going to be Jeremy.  We didn’t have a casting director.  I was in grad school.  I had no clue what I was doing, and I keep on coming back to the idea of alchemy.  We accidentally made gold because we did not know what we were doing.

How did you know about Van?

KIT:  Through a mutual acting teacher in Los Angeles, and of course, I was familiar with As the World Turns and all of that, but I didn’t know him, and it never would have occurred to me that I could even reach out to somebody at his career level.  So, it was very, very fortuitous that we were connected.

Photo: Instagram

Kit, you have a gazillion followers on Instagram.  Do you ever have a moment with yourself like, “God, I have to do another post today to keep this going?”  

KIT:  It’s a hustle, and it’s a balance that John and I are both constantly doing our best to navigate, because we started it to bring attention to the show, and now, sometimes people will recognize us from Instagram and not from the series, and that’s not what we are going for. (Laughs)

You’re Instagram stars!

KIT:  It’s a balance that we are trying to navigate.  You know, how many shirtless selfies is too many shirtless selfies?  At what percentage of shirtless-ness will you no longer be taken seriously?  But as Van pointed out, I’m a serious MF with a master’s degree and multiple Emmy nominations. (Laughs)  So, I take myself way too seriously, but I know that you have to play the internet like a video game.  You have to do certain things and get a certain response, and attention begets attention, and a lot of people have told me that they found the show by following me on Instagram.  So, it’s mission accomplished I suppose, but it’s something that we have to be really careful about especially as I’m moving into phase two of my career.

Did you guys submit yourselves for contention in the upcoming Daytime Emmys?

KIT:  Yes.  Absolutely.

Photo: EastSiders

You both gave two of the most memorable performances of the year in Eastsiders and within the digital drama space.  So, we’ll see how it plays out for you when the nominations are revealed.

KIT:  Thank you.  It’s really interesting because historically it seems like the Daytime Emmys have gone with more traditional soap narratives, and ours is definitely the weird kid on the block, but I’m really hopeful that this season we will have a good showing because I really believe in Van’s performance.  I believe in all of the actors.  I believe that they’re all operating at their series best … to put it that way.  I think everybody is just sitting in their power and owning their characters in a way that was really, really cool for me as a writer to see.

It was amazing.  Congratulations.  I guess this is our wrap-up interview for Eastsiders … for now.

KIT:  Who knows… maybe this isn’t the end.  We’ll see.

So, will you miss seeing the journey of Thom and Cal on EastSiders?  If you watched the four seasons. did you have a favorite moment within it?  Share your thoughts on our conversation with Van and Kit via the comment section below.  Then check out the documentary of the “making of” EastSiders.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

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

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Power Performance

Katelyn MacMullen as Willow

General Hospital

Airdate:2-21-2020

Advertisement

Popular