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THE BREE WILLIAMSON INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

breemain.jpgIf you have had the chance over the last five months to watch Bree Williamson navigate between Jessica and her two alters, Tess and Bess, you have been watching heavy dramatic story almost day in and day out, played by one singular actress.

In this “On-Air On-Soaps” feature interview, we go back in time over the harrowing and compelling plot points that all One Life to Live fans have been witness to. From Tess locking her sister Natalie and beau Jared in a basement room with a bomb ready to explode, to her losing her baby after giving birth alone in a cabin. Then, Bess popping out and switching Jessica’s baby for Starr’s and being admitted to St. Ann’s for some deep psychological evaluation and attempts at integration. Coming home and seeing the new animosity between her and her sister Natalie, and the reveal that Jessica did want Natalie dead. Then, connecting with a new man also in deep emotional trouble and learning to love again after the death of her husband, Nash. You could say it’s been quite an emotional roller coaster!

I chatted with Bree and we discuss the complexities, joy, and sadness of playing this intricate storyline.

MICHAEL:

It has been so amazing to watch your performances playing three personalities, Jess, Tess and Bess. Has there ever been a time during the storyline that it was confusing for you?

jess_chloe.jpgBREE:

No. The writers write them really well. The way that each one is written, you don’t have to put the name on each line because you kind of know who said what. That makes them a lot easier for me, and they are all three different. Posture helps a lot, and just changing the way your body is for each character helps me a lot.

MICHAEL:

Those amazing scenes awhile back where she is jailed in her own mind… Is it difficult to play the different parts in that scenario?

BREE:

There was one episode where we did all of them in one day. It was just me at the studio, which was kind of lonely, but it was a lot of work. Even memorizing the scenes where I say all the lines was difficult. You just have to get through it and do the best you can. The writing is great, and it’s exciting story.

MICHAEL:

Agnes Nixon created the multiple personality disorder storyline originally for Viki. It has played magnificently by six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak, over the years. Now you are the second generation taking over that storyline, which is fascinating. When you were handed this and knew what was going to happen, did you think, “Great” or were you fearful at all?

breenash.jpgBREE:

When I first found out I was so scared. It was very intimating. The first time I got to play Tess was when the whole Nash storyline happened. Even before Nash, I was having such a great time. I don’t even remember what my life was like on the show before I had these alters. It was so exciting to create Tess, because someone else played Jessica before I got there. Erin Torpey played her. So, I had strict guidelines in which I had to play Jessica. But with Tess, I got to do whatever I wanted with her, because she was so much fun, and free, and awesome. Recently with Bess, it’s been a great acting exercise and I learn so much when I go to work now. It’s so challenging, and I am very lucky.

MICHAEL:

We learned awhile back, the awful truth that Jessica did want harm to come to her sister Natalie, and that was not just Tess wanting that. Did you know that it was going to be written that way? Jessica just stood back and let all of the awful torture that Tess did to Natalie and Jared happen!

BREE:

I knew that was coming, and it’s only half the story. It’s awful! I love what they are doing with the sisters, with them fighting and having this whole sibling rivalry. Down deep it’s convoluted and confusing with different personalities. On the surface, it’s very normal, with both of them wanting the love and affection of their mother. I saw a recent air show where Natalie was asking her mother to take her side, and I think that’s true to life with siblings. Usually, they are always trying to vie for their parent’s attention. It’s great to play and a great story.

jessnataliefight.jpgMICHAEL:

The big secret, of course, is the “Baby Switch”. Chloe is really Starr’s baby. This all took place last November with brilliant writing from Ron Carlivati, with all the stories intersecting. It was so riveting for the audience to witness. Probably one of the best all time sweeps story delivered by “One Life to Live”, and they have had some of the best!

BREE:

It’s still continuing. Some stories have this great inter-connection and they fizzle out. But this one keeps going and the stamina it has is amazing. There’s going to be story forever and ever, and ever. That’s what soaps are all about!

MICHAEL:

Jessica is not going to know what Tess and Bess did for quite awhile. Is that safe to say? Although she has been having more memories of things here and there.

BREE:

You are right. I have not read the script on that yet, so it could go on for a while. And Kristen Alderson as Starr is just the sweetest. It’s so great to work with her, and I am really excited for when those scenes come out and I get to play with Kristen.

MICHAEL:

I loved when there were scenes between Todd and Tess! It was like Evil and Evilene. How did you like working with Trevor St. John?

BREE:

It was so much fun! I loved going to work everyday to work with Trevor. I loved going to work every day and being his partner in crime.

MICHAEL:

Did Erika Slezak give you pointers, tips or advice regarding the Disssociative Identify Disorder storyline and playing the beats of it?

bree_erika.jpgBREE:

Erika is really great with that. She has this quiet guidance that she gives. I kind of ask for it. I will get stuck and she will just gently guide me a little bit. I never asked her for help, but she quietly guides me and I think it’s so nice. I think that’s the kind of mentor you would want to have, and that she is. She is the best-case scenario. She is an amazing mentor, and the woman to look up to of the cast.

MICHAEL:

How do you like working with your new “hot” love interest, Mark Lawson as Brody Lovett?

BREE:

I am such in a good place at One Life to Live. I mean, look at the people I get to work with! Mark is the sweetest and the best guy, and I adore him. When I heard they were putting us together, I was so happy.

MICHAEL:

I hear Mark is a dedicated actor.

bree_mark.jpgBREE:

He is very committed and has an excellent work ethic. He takes it all very seriously. Jessica and Brody have built this terrific friendship, and there is a kiss coming up. It’s complex. But their relationship will stay complex and heartbreaking for a while.

MICHAEL:

Do you ever watch the air shows or look at your work after it is completed?

BREE:

I do watch it. I think it’s important to have an interest in yourself and your show. So, not only do I watch myself, but I watch most of the shows when I can. It’s a really good show right now! We put on really good TV!

MICHAEL:

Did you do a lot of research in preparing for your multiple personalities on “DID”?

BREE:

I did. I was a psychology major in school. I did some research, and of course, you rent “Sybil”. In order to write “DID” in the way it’s been medically documented is not good for story telling. They try to remain as accurate as they can and keep the momentum going, but it’s not as medically accurate. For instance, there are some cases with people who have really distinct personalities, and most of the time it’s more of a fluid thing between the different people. It just makes it more interesting to tell the story that way, having them so distinctive.

bree_dress.jpgMICHAEL:

And what did you think of Sally Field as “Sybil” when you did your research?

BREE:

She is amazing, and she was incredible in it. I took a lot away from that performance.

MICHAEL:

One of the most gut-wrenching scenes I have ever seen was when Tess was giving birth in the cottage, with the bloody graphics and the way it was shot. It was so intense and well told. And Erika was playing Niki Smith, who helped Tess!

BREE:

It was so sad. I loved working with Erika that day. It was really interesting to see Niki in such a different way. She was so
hard, and then she repented for what she
had done to Jessica, and she was kind!
They were really smart scenes.

MICHAEL:

And then Tess realizes something went terribly wrong!

BREE:

That I didn’t like. She was saying, “Why aren’t you crying?” It was awful and so sad. I hated going to work that day. It was too sad for me.

MICHAEL:

You are one of the best crier’s on daytime right now. Is it easy for you to have the tears flow? I mean, the emotional stakes are always so high if you are performing a scene as any one of the three gals you play.

bree_glamourshot.jpgBREE:

I mean, yeah. I cry easily. It’s sad. It’s sad material, and as long as you allow yourself to feel it and to understand it, and go along with the journey, the tears are the easiest part. That’s how I do it. You have to be available, and Ron (Carlivati) will write you a good story. He has already written it for me, and it’s sad and I just have to feel it.

MICHAEL:

From a character perspective, of all the people on the Llanview canvas, who would you like to have more scenes with?

BREE:

There are tons of people. I would love to work with Tika Sumpter (Layla) more, and I would like a friend on the show. I’m a big jerk, and I lock people in rooms, so who wants to be friends with me?
(She laughs)

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey Interview – Day of Days 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Video du Jour

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

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Wally Kurth and Chandler Massey as Justin and Will

Days of our Lives

Airdate: 12-12-2019 –

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