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The Cady McClain Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

Over the last few months, Daytime Emmy winner Cady McClain has taken over the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless from Daytime Emmy winner Cynthia Watros, and released her very personal memoir Murdering My Youth.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the talents of this hard working actress, who is also an author and a filmmaker that always immerses herself in creative projects and different ways of self-expression.

McClain, who has been a prominent name in daytime soaps for decades, first with All My Children as Dixie, and then on As the World Turns as Rosanna, joined the cast of the CBS soap opera in 2014 and was immediately paired romantically on-screen with her former Pine Valley friend, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott).  As the two characters draw closer … what will happen when Phyllis (the incoming Gina Tognoni) comes back to Genoa City and finds these two are intertwined?  And just what is Kelly’s relationship with Ben, err, Stitch (Sean Carrigan)?  In this interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Cady in her own inimitable style – with grace, humor, and intelligence – weighs-in on what might happen next to her latest on-screen incarnation … Kelly!

But before we get to what’s going down in Genoa City, we took the opportunity after being riveted and heartbroken reading Cady’s memoir, to talk to her about the tumultuous events that shaped her early life including; the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of her father, growing up in an alcoholic environment, her mother’s emotional and damaging outbursts, and how as a young child actress and even later into her early years on All My Children, she was footing the bill for the family and being used, for all intent and purposes, as their meal ticket!  The story is haunting, but true.  And at the conclusion of our chat, we came away with how Cady triumphed over her own tragedy.  Here’s what she shared …

MICHAEL:

When did you actually come to the decision to write the book, Murdering My Youth?   Was there any hesitation to bare your soul to the world in this way?

CADY:

Courtesy/Cady McClain

It was about five years ago that I started to write the story, and I originally started writing it as a fictional tale.  I wrote the entire book in the perspective of a third person, and then in the last year people kept pushing me to make it my story.  That was really terrifying.  I kept feeling like I had to warn everybody in the first few pages.  I would be saying, “Don’t worry if this upsets you!”  I put all these codicils in the front of the book to sort of make it OK for everyone, and that was a real process.  Probably the last year of writing the book was the hardest.  I wrote it because I had to, because I lived with this story inside me for so long, and for some reason writing it was not just cathartic in the way it released it, because I have been dealing with it and releasing it for my entire life.  For me it was about putting the personal into an artistic form, especially when putting it into words.  It becomes a story that no longer belongs to me; it belongs to the world.

MICHAEL:

You talk about the horrors and difficulties you suffered at the hands of your parents.  As a child actress, and throughout your early career, your mother would live off the money you made.  Did you feel at some point you were carrying mother around as a baggage, since you were in essence financially supporting her?  Were you still able to still find inside your heart love for your mother?

CADY:

Well, I absolutely loved her, and I felt she was my responsibility.  She was like a crazy child, and sweet and adorable in a lot of ways.  I remember doing a drawing when I was a little girl of a giant elephant on the back of a young girl, and that’s how it felt.  The elephant was just terrified.  I felt incredibly grateful that I could be strong and take care of her, but at the same time the things she did that were wounding were very hard to understand.  Also, the reason I wrote the book was to come to some compassion for her since she was wounded very deeply as a little girl.  I wanted to think of her as a person, and not as a mother who had to be fully responsible to a child … that was me.  By doing that, I felt more powerful, and more at peace.  I had to do the same thing with my dad. They were adults … but they were children.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

The sexual abuse early on in your life from your father you carried with you into your professional soap career, because you would have to play, as any leading actress would, love scenes!   How did you conquer the fear that would come with that given the traumatic event in your life?

CADY:

My very first love scene on TV was with Michael Knight (Tad, AMC).  I was stiff as a board and I was terrified, and this is one of the reasons I will be so grateful to Michael ‘till the day I die.  He was always incredibly intuitive and sensitive to me as a young girl.   He was incredibly kind.  He understood, and that helped me a great deal.  What was harder was when the production couldn’t make any adjustments for me!  Even when my mom died, I was working five days a week, and kicking holes in the wall from the stress and the difficulties of everything.  They wrote scenes where men would grab me and drag me across the room, and they had a stunt coordinator, and thank God for him!  He got me, and he saw me freaking out!  The funny thing is being here at Y&R and starting to have some love scenes again … I have to admit I was nervous.  I hadn’t done love scenes in a while.  I had just gotten married, and so thank God for Peter Bergman (Jack)!  Peter is a total gentleman, and we had these conversations.  And this is the thing … I sought out the help of good men.  Good men will help you get through this crap.  So thank God for the good men here, and at home, who allowed me to have my fear and work through my fear.  The whole point is… you’ve got to get to the other side!  I don’t want to stay stuck in hell.  I like sex!  I don’t want to live as a victim of one experience.

MICHAEL:

… And in the book you detail that while at AMC was when you were having the hardest time emotionally.

CADY:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Yes.  It was prior to my mother’s death, and leading up to that.  I was cutting my hair all the time!  I don’t know if anyone remembers the “Many Looks of Dixie”. (Laughs)  I almost had my hair shaved off!   It’s a funny thing.  A woman’s hair is her mane … her sense of power.  You can always tell how a woman is doing by her hair! (Laughs) Like, “Oh! She’s a bit Cruella de Vil today!”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It’s interesting that in your book, and when you read other performers stories, they always seem to get the acting, or performing bug, early on when they are children; when they receive an instant form of gratification when they perhaps sing, dance, or impersonate someone in front of the family, and see that they can entertain.

CADY:

There is a sentence in the book: “This is how performers are made. It’s when you can affect the happiness of another person by your entertaining.”  It’s how I became an actor.  I would tap dance and people would be happy.  It was like, “Hey, I will dance and sing.  I am making money.  Are you happy now?  Here, take the money!”  I always think, though, that I have been a creative person my whole life in terms of the outlets of writing, filmmaking, and songwriting…

MICHAEL:

 … And Suzie F*cking Homemaker!

CADY:

Courtesy/TOLN

(Laughs) And Suzie!  And even my short film Flip Fantasia was inspired by me walking through Central Park going, “I have so much baggage!”  I was thinking that I am literally dragging a dead body, my mother, around!  And that is where the idea for the film came from.  I thought I will turn this into a comedy, because it’s so bad that if I don’t laugh, what am I going to do?   I am going to jump off the Brooklyn bridge.  And that’s not cool; we don’t want to do that!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What has been the reaction you have received from people that have read Murdering My Youth?  Have others shared their personal stories with you?

CADY:

People with mothers who beat them, or people that were raped as children, all kinds of people have written me very, very personal stories; and how they have lived with this sense of fear as adults, and feeling alone, and unconnected to other people.  I think for me, one of the greatest gifts of this book was my way to not have anybody feel as alone as I did.  What makes us happy is to feel connected to one another and understood, and that sense of connection and understanding that makes life worth living.  You can move forward from things.  For me, to have that response from others was great.

MICHAEL:

Your sister is mentioned throughout this book, and in your story.  It seemed at times you were the one to take the brunt of the abuse from your parents.

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

My sister gave me permission to write this book, but she was by no means unscathed from the horrors.  I just did not tell her story; this is my story to tell.  My sister deserves her privacy.  She is not a public person, and she is not on television, but we did go through this very much together.

MICHAEL:

You mention well-known former Hollywood children’s agent, the late Iris Burton. What a potty mouth on her!

CADY:

She was a children’s agent and my first agent for close to six years.  I remember she would say crazy things like, “Let me see your feet, honey!” or “Never wear that T-shirt again.”  She kind of was the beginnings of Suzy Homemaker! (Laughs)  Iris was kind of a monster.

MICHAEL:

Has your husband Jon Lindstrom (Kevin, GH) read Murdering My Youth?  Was he aware of much of your personal stories before you revealed them publicly?

CADY:

He knew some of it.  Most of the times he would want to hold me for a long time.  He is a great guy and a great hugger, too.  The love of a good person can really make things alright, and maybe that’s why in soap operas we tell stories about love.  We are all looking for that!

MICHAEL:

Everyone knows from your past work that you often have very high stakes and emotional scenes!  Do you think your work on the soaps has been, in a way, cathartic for you?

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

It is not therapeutic; it’s an art form.  I love when a scene is well-structured and  well written, and I have a good scene partner and a good director.  It’s like a dance.  It’s dancing and everyone knows their steps.  It’s like Dancing with the Stars!  There are steps you must follow, and if you screw it up, you can screw up the whole dance.  There are times it can drain you.  I remember there was a time on As the World Turns where I was crying every day for five weeks straight about this baby.  I was ready to throw the baby out the window!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

In a recent interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Y&R head writers Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman discussed your work as Rosanna on As the World Turns as one of the reasons they knew you could play the part of Kelly Andrews.   Rosanna had an edge.  Does knowing that Jean, who was at one time the head writer of As the World Turns is writing for your character, give you hope that Kelly will be written to your strengths?

CADY:

Kelly is very different than Rosanna, or Dixie.  She is a fully adult woman with a really screwed up childhood … surprise! (Laughs)  Kelly has a lot of secrets.  I don’t see her as necessarily manipulative, but she is genuine.  She give her “male friend” Stitch a really hard time.  I was able to see in Kelly a strength inside all of that brokenness.  Depending on what they write, and Jean knows that I can do, which is awesome, this character can be terrific!  It’s nice to have people writing the show who know what I can do.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Were you surprised you got cast in the part of Kelly?

CADY:

Shocked!  Cynthia Watros (Ex-Kelly) is a powerhouse.  She was a real presence in this role, and she has a real strength about her.  So when they called me and said, “You’re in the running for the part,” I was like “Oooh!”  Then I thought: “How can I convince them that I would be right for this role?”  So, I put together this reel.  I had to prove what I can do, and I had to have people go to bat for me.  Then I had to prove myself once I got the job.  To get the opportunity is fantastic, but to keep the opportunity is very nerve-wracking! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Coming to Y&R can be nerve-wracking because there are some heavy hitters in the cast!  Did you want to make sure it did not become the “Cady McClain Show”? Sometimes it’s important in soaps, when people take over from another actress or are added into the canvas, that they are not shoved down the audiences’ throat too quickly.

CADY:

I think one of the most important things to me was to make sure that everyone here knew I respected them, and was happy to be a part of the show, and that I am not here to step on anyone’s toes, but to be an ensemble player.  This is not about me… it’s about being a member of the ensemble.  That’s how I am happiest, and that’s how I work best.  It also shows consideration for all the people who are working here for so many years.  I think everyone knows by now that I feel grateful to be here, and that I care about the show.  I want to do the work, and get out on time, and go home, and be with my husband and my dogs, and have a life.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

What is going on between Stich and Kelly?  Do you know what their “true” relationship is to one another?

CADY:

Kelly knows who Stitch is to her.  Their relationship is incredibly complex!   When their relationship is revealed, and you find out more of their history, it’s a devastating revelation for all involved.  I love working with Sean Carrigan (Stitch).  He is hilarious and really fun, and works really hard on all of his scenes.  We even text each other about how to develop our relationship more as actors working on characters.  He’s super cool.

MICHAEL:

So here you come to Y&R, and lo and behold, you are paired with your former AMC cast mate, Peter Bergman (Jack)!  What did you think about that, initially?

CADY:

The most beautiful thing is just looking at him in the glory days of All My Children, and the soaps, and being in New York when AMC was the top-rated show, and the world was young and we were all innocent.  The Internet did not exist, and we did not have cell phones!  We might as well be braiding our hair and singing love songs like hippies!  (Laughs) It was sort of post-70’s magic.  It was a magical time. When we moved down the street to the new studios, suddenly we became a corporate entity, and the show lost some of its sparkle.

MICHAEL:

How is Peter Bergman to act with?  Is he any good?  (Laughs)

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

(Laughs) The most amazing thing about Peter is he has been here for 25 years, and you would think he just got the job yesterday.  He treats every scene with a passion and conviction, and he loves what he does.  Peter was so excited to work with me, which was so heartwarming.  We have had the same tales working with former AMC director Henry Kaplan, who was in my book.  Henry would say, “Do you love her?  Well show me!”  We would say those silly sayings to each other before a love scene to break the ice with one another.

MICHAEL:

So Kelly is truly, truly into Jack?

CADY:

She really likes him.  He is a nice guy, and sexy, and a turn-on for her.  I don’t think she knows why.  She is just drawn to him.  He is smart, and sophisticated.  Kelly is well-read and fought her way out of a tough upbringing to make herself into somebody, and to her Jack has become all of those wonderful things – confident in himself – and he has a rich history!  Apparently, Jack has been a bit of a playboy! (Laughs) Girls tend to find that very appealing … men who have experience.  It just means they know what they are doing when they get under the sheets, and that is good to know.  I prefer a little expertise, if you know what I mean! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And Kelly had now slept with Jack!  How was that? (Laughs)

CADY:

Peter and I sat around the dressing room and I said to him, and I love doing stuff like this. I said, “What do you think Kelly and Jack’s sex life is like?”  And we go, “Multiple Orgasms!” (Laughs)  Peter Bergman said that!  Why do you think Jack has had so many women!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Phyllis is coming back in the form of two-time Daytime Emmy Winner Gina Tognoni!  What do you think of Gina being cast in the pivotal role?

CADY:

I am thrilled that Gina has been cast.  I am a fan of her work, and am in awe of her talent. I can’t wait!

MICHAEL:

You know when Phyllis wakes up out of her coma she is going to come back for Jack!  And who should have her claws into her man?  Kelly!  I see fireworks!

CADY:

That seems like it’s ripe for that!  I do love a good catfight!  I remember I did one with Maura West on As the World Turns, where it was so much fun.  So we shall see what happens when Phyllis returns.

MICHAEL:

Where is Kelly at with her relationship with Billy Abbott?

CADY:

Billy has moved on, and they have made it very clear to each other that it was one time, and he made a mistake.  There is still a connection.  When you sleep with somebody you kind of know them a little bit better, and you have been intimate.  I think it’s odd now that she is with his brother, but everybody seems to have done that on Y&R! (Laughs)  These things do happen in real life, and we are trying to be adult about it.  But these stories are great because they turn into really tangled vines.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/IMDB

When you joined Y&R, David Tom was playing the role of Billy Abbott, and soon Burgess Jenkins will be taking it over.  What are your thoughts on the acting switch?  Have you met Burgess yet? 

CADY:

I met Burgess yesterday and he was lovely.  As a recast myself, I know how overwhelming the whole new world of Y&R can be!   I am looking forward to working with him and exploring more of the dynamic between these characters!  I hope I get to have a lot more with “Billy” soon!

MICHAEL:

Who in the cast made you feel the most comfortable from the minute you landed at Y&R?

CADY:

I am so grateful that Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) is who she is.  She does set the tone. She is just the loveliest star of the show.  We did a scene where she said, “I was just so mean to you, I have to hug you now!”  When I first got here she screamed to me: “Welcome to the loony bin” while wearing her slippers with her script in hand!  I just adore her.

MICHAEL:

Some fans online at first seemed to want to reject the notion of you as Kelly, and then they seemed to come around.  You are very active on social media, so what is your take on the fan’s reaction?

CADY:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

The fans online have been so supportive.  I love when people have watched All My Children, or As the World Turns, and say, “Well now I am going to watch Y&R because we love those characters, etc!”  And I am very interactive and accessible on Twitter, and Facebook, and stuff.  So I definitely read everything.  Even people at the beginning were like: “I don’t know if Cady is going to work as Kelly!”  However, they seem to be coming around, and I am so grateful for that.   I am doing a different take on the character and I am happy that they are supporting me, and their verbalization, if you will, of that support.  But I will say; message boards are not for the weak of heart.  It’s tough though, sometimes comments do hurt.  I want to say, “Please don’t hashtag me if you want to say something mean!” (Laughs)  Enjoy your meanness, but please don’t hashtag me … or my boss!

MICHAEL:

Recently, one of my favorite things you wrote on your website blog at CadyMcClain.com was the piece on your nose!  What prompted you to do that?

CADY:

So one day I was looking up most popular searches for my website blog.  So I put in “Most Popular Searches”.  It said, “Cady McClain” and then “Cady McClain’s nose”!  I thought that was so bizarre. (Laughs)  I guess it’s not a secret anymore that I have a prominent nose.  So, I thought I would address it, laugh at it, and so I wrote a blog about it.  The nose is out of the bag! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So here you are the number one rated soap, The Young and the Restless.  Who else would you love to get the chance to work with that you haven’t had the opportunity to have scenes with yet?

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

CADY:

I have not had the chance to work with Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Greg Rikaart (Kevin). I think those guys are amazing, and Steve Burton (Dylan) is amazing!  I have not worked with him either.  There are so many good actors and actresses on this show.  It’s great to work with people who have been in the business as long as I have.  You can sort of talk to each other in short-hand, if you know I mean.  It’s like being a professional tennis player. You want to play against the best, and hit the ball back to you, and let me tell you, some of the best are right here in Genoa City.

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Harry
Harry

I had no idea Cady had such a hellacious childhood. The book sounds compelling and I will read it. And yes, I do remember she (Dixie) went through a period of changing her hair almost every month it seemed. Love, love, love reading about her experience with two of my favorite actors from daytime–Michael Knight and Peter Bergman–it always came through that both actors are very gracious and lovely.
I hope the writers can write decent stories for Kelly–she deserves it.
Thank you for the very interesting interview, Mr. Fairman.

A Baptiste
A Baptiste

Love and respect for this true star who keeps daytime alive with other greats. She had much responsibility while so young on AMC and delivered and still delivers. She is a strong, positive team player. And her book, it is brave and it has helped me, as a survivor of very similar abuse…and I am a man, these things do happen to men, too. I am so glad she is happy and I do think Cady may be part of daytime’s resurgance “in new ways” after all, bless her.

Ginger Willett
Ginger Willett

I love you and Jack together and I am thrilled you are on Y&R…hope we find out the Stitch connection soon!!!

Kim Huck
Kim Huck

This was a mistake to recast. i liked the other kelly. I really hope Phyllis never comes back

Harry
Harry

We have got to give our actors time to settle into their characters (for example–David Tom really deserved a fair chance). Cady is finding her stride and I really enjoy her scenes with Peter Bergman.

Megan
Megan

Well sorry Phyllis is coming back. So you better get ready.

Carole
Carole

I love her!

mollie
mollie

Love Cady, too! I was thrilled she was cast as Kelly. She works well with Peter/Jack, too.

My hope is that the audience gives her a minute to settle into the Kelly character and make it her own. Please, dear God, give Cady good script !

PS Susie F*cking Homemaker is a riot. Hope Cady does more 🙂

Conny
Conny

Thank you Mr. Fairman for this interview with Cady McClain. It is always nice to be ever so enlightened as to what make actors tick they way they do. You covered some sensitive material with Cady. But , also delivered it in a way that allowed to be professionally presented. Some of the the tools of Cady ‘ s personal life that was afore mentioned., I did not know. Through your interview, I’ve learned how much of an overcome Cady is and where she draws her strength from. I used to watch her as Dixie on AMC. Kelly seems like a much different character than Dixie.
I look forward to seeing how Cady will pull off the layers of Kelly and expose her us viewer in full character. I think her placement in Genoa City is a great asset to the show. So thanks again for bringing this interview to devoted fans like me.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Cady is a class act, always has and always will be. I knew she would be perfect for the role of Kelly Andrews when they announced their decision to recast, and I was right! I paired her and Peter in my own webseries in 2012, and it’s almost as if I saw this coming from a mile away!

She is a strong woman to share her back story, and I applaud her through everything for doing it. It takes a strong and confident person to admit the things she’s admitted, while still holding strong in her own life. I applaud her for that!

Suzy F*cking Homemaker is hysterical; I love the comedic side that Cady has, and hope that Y&R will be able to play off of that in the future. Cady’s connection with the Y&R is strong and sustainable, and I cannot wait to see her inter-mingle with the rest of the heavy-hitters. She was the absolute perfect choice for Kelly Andrews, and I hope we have decades worth of material from her! Cady and Maura’s catfights on As the World Turns were always strong and fierce, and it makes me wish Maura was still Diane. But she’s doing fabulous work over at General Hospital as Ava Jerome.

I look forward to seeing Kelly interact with more of Genoa City’s elite cast; I hope she does get those scenes with Christian, Greg and Steve like she would like. Would love a friendship between Nikki and Kelly, too. I feel like Nikki could use a real girlfriend now that Katherine is gone.

Carole
Carole

Stranger things have happened like Nikki and Ashley being cordial, and Lauren and Christine having lunch together!

Izabel
Izabel

Loved reading this. Never really read too much on actors but its good to know a little about where they came from and how they translate that into roles.. Having said tthat, its hard not to judge character since all we see is their tv role. I liked cynthia watros’ version of kelly but now I tthink cady has a good chance to make the character more her own. Cozy for her and jack! Always liked her friendship with Lilly! And can’t wait to see the connection with stitch, hope its intense.

Mary SF
Mary SF

Admire her as a person and respect her as an actress, but sorry I don’t like her interpretation of Kelly. CW’s Kelly was dark, and you could tell the character was beaten down by life, but Cady’s Kelly is too light and almost bubbly that the transition is hard to adjust to.

I get the character is moving on, and has a new outlook, but I just feel something of the character’s personality was lost in the recast and I think it would have been more interesting to see CW take on Kelly learning to be vulnerable as Jack worked to bring down her walls.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Cady is doing what she can coming in at such important time in the character’s development— and perhaps it is was the writing that changed Kelly more than Cady did– yet IMHO I believe Kelly was more interesting complex character when CW played her– now I could take her or leave her.

Sherie
Sherie

Sorry, I don’t like her very much. I never liked the character of Kelly so it is hard to appreciate any one in that role. But I did prefer the original lady.

Megan
Megan

Cady is truly an inspiration to me and many others. Her book is a fantastic read that I encourage everyone to read. She’s one of a kind.

Timmm
Timmm

Cady is a huge upgrade from Cynthia. I can now believe that this Kelly and Jack would actually be together and I see Cady and Gina blowing their scenes out of the water! Cady, great job on Y&R and a greater job of overcoming your horrific childhood.

jaybird369
jaybird369

AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!!! And, as an actress, Cady McClain TRULY ROCKS!!!!!

Nikki
Nikki

Wow… Heartbreaking. Thank you for the very interesting questions.
I am not a fan of the recastt. The character has taken a very sharp turn which I don’t think is bad. The old Kelly was always angry. I think there is such a drastic change in character that you forget how Kelly first came to be. My problem is that I feel Cady is wY over the top n every scene. Not a fan f the acting.

Rapids
Rapids

How do we know if her story of abuse is true? It is easy to say bad things about the deceased.

Nita
Nita

Not so easy to think someone would make up such a horrific lie stemming from the unfortunate acts of the adults that were responsible for the care and well-being of a child. Not to speak ill of the dead, but what were the parents thinking? Just goes to show how God takes care of children and how strong it made her. I was a victim in some of the same ways, so it is not so hard to believe. What happened in your life that made you so cynical?

Rapids
Rapids

What happened in your life that you automatically believe every accusation made is true? I don’t know these people and either do you.

Lindy
Lindy

One does not normally question something like this without a good reason. What makes you think her story of abuse is not true?

Patrick
Patrick

this is my most favorite response of Ms McLain :

The most beautiful thing is just looking at him in the glory days of All My Children, and the soaps, and being in New York when AMC was the top-rated show, and the world was young and we were all innocent. The Internet did not exist, and we did not have cell phones! We might as well be braiding our hair and singing love songs like hippies! (Laughs) It was sort of post-70’s magic. It was a magical time. When we moved down the street to the new studios, suddenly we became a corporate entity, and the show lost some of its sparkle.

I love knowing and sharing with people… that I grew up in the 60s, 70s, & 80s…. before internet… before cable… before cell phones…

every thing went to heck and handbasket there after.

I cherish the memories that folks like… can recall and dream… we had the best of times.. and magical instilled

imagination, festive, endorphin, electrolytes, testosterone… whatever makes us trigger

is ours

Ms. Cady McClain : congrats on your new position @Y&R
Ms. Cady McClain : congrats on your nuptials with Jon Lindstrom
Ms. Cady McClain : you are not alone in your childhood trauma

Ms. Cady McClain : Thank you

Ms. Cady McClain : you are an invaluable presence in our genre

my best to you always

sincerely

Tracey
Tracey

Ms. McClain has always been a class act. <3 her.

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GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stacy Haiduk and Eric Martsolf Talk Kristen & Brady’s Twisted Relationship : The Mask, The Deception, The Sex

Last week on Days of our Lives, Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) was able to get the man she craves in between the sheets.  So, just how did that happen when Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) had no idea she was alive?  Well … he still doesn’t, really.  You see, Kristen returned to Salem disguised as another ex flame of Brady’s, Nicole Walker (who everyone believed died in the warehouse explosion).  And Kristen has been parading around town donning an incredible likeness of Nicole’s face – via a prosthetic mask – and some other tricks to sound and look just like her!

Kristen’s goal is to infiltrate Salem, remind Brady of the love and passion they shared, take over DiMera Enterprises, and who knows what else!  And everyone who stands in her way, better watch out as we have seen! We are speaking to you (the late) Ted, and (once kidnapped) Kate, et al.

Fans of the NBC daytime drama series have followed the tortured relationship between Kristen and Brady for years and through many plots; Kristen was first played and brought to life by Eileen Davidson, and for well over a year now by Stacy Haiduk.  Not only has Haiduk reprised the role of a frustrated, vengeful Kristen, she is also playing at times multiple roles: the wacky and often misunderstood, Susan Banks, Kristen playing Susan, or Kristen pretending to be Sister Mary Moira.

As for Daytime Emmy winner, Eric Martsolf, this latest story arc puts him front and center as viewers watch to see if what Brady senses, and the clues, and the feelings he is having, bring him to the conclusion that he has been duped by Kristen, and that her horrendous scheme – pretending to be Nicole (Arianne Zucker), and dumping Nicole’s longtime love Eric (Greg Vaughan) to be with him have a result that is unexpected or catastrophic!

Michael Fairman TV sat down with Stacy and Eric for this conversation about: all the plot twists, and playing the drama and the humor of the situations they find themselves in as actors in a wild story that only head writer Ron Carlivati could pen and keep the audience on the edge of their seats in the process. Check out this oh-so-fun, direct, and enlightening chat with two of DAYS most shining stars.

Photo: JPI

Eric, what has it been like working in this part of your storyline; where there’s the character of Kristen in its many forms: Arianne Zucker playing “Nicole” (but it’s really Kristen), Kristen as Susan, and the real Kristen, etc?

ERIC:  It’s been a nightmare Michael.  (Laughs)  I don’t know who I’m sleeping with anymore.  I’m at the point where I go home at night, and I just tug on my wife’s cheek just to make sure that she is not my ex-girlfriend from high school.

When you first heard of this storyline, and that it was going to facilitate how Arianne was going to come back to the show… and that it was supposed to be Kristen in a Nicole Walker prosthetic mask with a voice alternator, what went through your mind?

ERIC:  I think in the back of Ron’s Carlivati’s (head writer, DAYS) mind, he was thinking to himself, “This dude started his soap career on Passions, he’s okay with this kind of thing,” and honestly, nothing surprises me anymore.  When you’re thrown into that supernatural, crazy reality, doesn’t-live-here sort of atmosphere for you first soap gig, you don’t sweat a mask and a voice modulator.  That’s just par for the course.  My biggest problem was the body thing … that Brady is not able to distinguish one body from the other, because I would as Eric.  My God, I know every inch of my wife’s body.  So, it’s difficult to get my head around that, but at the same time, I’m going with the whole “love is blind” thing here. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

(Laughs) I was going just going to say that Brady would absolutely know Kristen’s body from how passionate their relationship has been in the past, as well, he would Nicole’s body from his relationship with her.

ERIC:  Since Kristen did finally just succeed – let’s use the word in “seducing” him, and using her wonderful feminine wiles as only Kristen has to get Brady in to bed, there was also another twist.  What plays after that is that he notices the tattoo that’s been removed, and she plays it off as scarring from the fire.  What’s going through his mind as he is making love to Nicole is a “Kristen train”.  He can’t get Kristen out of his mind, and the guilt that he feels about that is horrendous.

Right! Brady is thinking: “Why am I feeling this when I am supposed to be with Nicole!?”

ERIC:  Right!  Brady has been waiting for a relationship for God knows how many years now – at least a successful one.  He is so eager to have this work, even though he has been concerned about how Eric (Greg Vaughan) would feel about this.  In Brady’s mind, Eric is done with Nicole.  He’s good.  He loves Sarah (Linsey Godfrey).  This is fair game.  Brady and Nicole have always been close … they’ve been close before … so, for him, it’s, why not give it a fair try?   However, he finds himself now thinking about another woman the whole time.  That’s rough.

Courtesy/NBC

Do you think in the back of his mind, that this whole time, he possibly knew that “Nicole” was Kristen?

ERIC:  Well, you just have to wait.  There will be a reveal eventually, obviously, but until then, let the games play on.

So, once Brady and “Nicole” have sex, he keeps thinking about Kristen?

ERIC:  Constantly!  She just plagues his mind.  I think he’s realizing that his affection for Kristen is anything but dead and is very alive, and I think this is Kristen’s master plan from the very beginning.  She knows that she pervades his soul, and once she does reveal herself, I would guess he would probably be surprised, maybe a little angry, but in the end … you can’t deny what your heart and your body wants, right?

One of my favorite recent scenes had Brady half-naked and Kristen as Susan getting into his room, because she was looking for the MIA Nicole mask she so desperately needed.  She finds herself gawking and lusting after Brady under her disguise, and he tries to remove himself from the situation and says, “Susan, I’m going to get in the shower…”

ERIC:  Yeah! And, “It’s not going to happen, baby.”

What was that like doing that scene?

STACY:  I loved it!  I thought Eric was brilliant in it.  I watched it, and I thought, “Oh, my God!”  (Laughs) It is one of my all-time favorite scenes.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  Kristen is a tiger.

STACY:  She is a tiger.  She’s got a goal, and she is going to go after that.  She has obstacles that are going to come in-between her goal, but she will go after whatever she wants.

When Stacy comes in to Brady’s room as Susan, were you not laughing?

ERIC: No!  I thought she was hot. (Laughs)

STACY:  He did … he loved it.  You liked me, didn’t you baby? (Laughs)

ERIC:  I don’t think anybody can deny that Stacy Haiduk’s portrayal of Susan Banks is ridiculously good.  Everything from her delivery … to her facial expressions.  I think it is amazing.  I mean, it is corny, and it is fun, and soaps need characters like that once in a while to lighten the load of the heavy dialogue and the drama.  It’s a welcomed addition.  So, I love playing scenes with Susan.

Photo: JPI

Eric, you always have been able play the straight-man so well in comedic scenes with impeccable timing,

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GH's Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

STACY:  You’re brilliant, Eric.

ERIC:  You guys are being very nice to me.

STACY:  You are.  I remember on the day how much fun we had, but then, seeing it back and the crap that I was giving you, and just the stuff you were giving back was so beautiful, and innocent, and so alive.  It was so funny.

Does Kristen think that now that she finally got Brady into bed that she won … that she got what she wanted … even if she had to don a “Nicole” mask to do it?

STACY:  Well, no, because she still can’t be really Kristen.  I think she is grateful that she gets to be with him.  That’s one of her biggest goals: to be with Brady and she wants to have him fall back in love with her again.  But for her, now it’s all about, “How do I reveal myself so that he doesn’t get scared away?”  That’s the toughest part for her.  Kristen’s love is so deep that it goes beyond this mask.  So, how is it going to be when he sees her?   Is he going to freak out?  What’s going to happen?

ERIC:  Did you think Kristen would be a little pissed off and think, “Oh my God.  He did go for Nicole?”

STACY:  Yes!  I do, because she’s like, “Finally, I got him!  But wait a minute … did I get him because I was Nicole … or because I was Kristen?”  As Kristen, she always believes there is something deeper between them and a deep connection.  That remains a driving force to her.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  That’s why I love these characters so much, because of you and the history of Kristen with Brady.  She’s always wanted him as much as he has wanted her.  She’s always wanted to be loved.

STACY:  Yes … and very much so.

ERIC:  Kristen had always wanted to be a part of the DiMera Empire, just as Brady has always wanted to be a part of the Kiriakis Empire, and they’ve always wanted love.  They’ve never had it.  They believe in the back of their minds that anything is attainable.  So, I can see why Kristen would just forgo the Nicole disguise and just go, “He wants me.”

STACY:  Kristen wants to believe that Brady knows it.  She says to herself, “He knows it’s me inside and behind the mask.  When he finds out, he will fall back in love with me.”

Now that she actually had sex with Brady, wouldn’t that make Kristen even more insatiable to be with him? Like, “I’ve got to have him!?”

STACY:  The fear is still .. what happens she takes this mask off?  She always says, “I’ll reveal myself, but I have to do it slowly when it is the right time.”  I think there is that built up frustration now for her, absolutely!

Photo: JPI Studios

Arianne Zucker really has Stacy’s mannerisms down as Kristen.  It really comes into in scenes where “Nicole” goes off on someone or loses her temper.  Eric, you have worked with Arianne for years on this show.  What do you think about her performances in this storyline?

ERIC:  I have worked with Ari over the years, and I have enjoyed it a lot.  Ari did do her homework.  She did study Stacy’s tape, and she watched her mannerisms, and she took it very seriously.  I know that because she is a hard worker, as much as a goofball as she is, she does work hard, and she wanted it to be good.  I think my favorite parts were the Kristen meltdowns.  You have to understand though; Stacy and Ari get along very well!  They’re kind of two peas in a pod.  So, it wasn’t a big stretch for her to take on how Stacy would play those types of scenes.  They’re both animated, they’re both wild people by nature, and so, it was a good fit.  It was a smart idea from the writers.

STACY:  It was a good fit!

ERIC:  I’ve been out with the two of them, and it’s hard to tell the two of them apart. (Laughs)

STACY:  We are just like two cuddly bunnies.

ERIC:  They’re like flirting with each other, and hugging each other.  You find yourself thinking, “Are they going to start ordering the same food at the same time?  This is getting weird. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

In the recent scene that aired; where Kristen as “Nicole” turns off the light while having sex with Brady, is she worried her plan will now go awry?

STACY:  Yes.  I think she is worried about her body because it is burned.  You know, how they take a tattoo off, and it’s as painful as can be.  Not that I’ve had that done personally.  I like my tats, but I hear it is painful.  So, in the storyline, the burn is that pain that she has and the tattoo. There’s a part of her that thinks,  she has to cover it up, and turn the lights down low.

ERIC:  “Nicole” is sleeping, and Brady is rubbing his hands over her shoulder and touching her body, and as he goes over the burn marks.  He sees a flash of the tattoo!  That is a pivotal moment when he starts to put some pieces together.   He thinks, “Woah! That’s exactly where that tattoo was.”  It’s a slow little rollercoaster ride.

Courtesy/NBC

In the past, Kristen then played by Eileen Davidson, drugged and raped Father Eric.  Stacy, did you ever see that story arc?  Literally the sex scene is playing on the screen at Kristen’s wedding to Brady and then all hell breaks loose.  This to say Kristen is notorious for the ways and the lengths she goes to get her men into bed.

STACY:  Yes! I saw her Eileen do those scenes.

ERIC:  You also saw how close Kristen and Brady were to their dream, to their happiness, their goal, which was they were going to marry each other.  Brady is looking upon his loved ones in this town and thinking, “I know what you all think of her, but I’m going to show you our love on this screen, and once you see the connection that we have here as a couple, you all are going to be convinced that we belong together as well.  This is the happiest day of my life,” and the screen comes up and it’s his brother banging Kristen instead.

Marlena (Deidre Hall) played the wrong DVD!

STACY:  It was so good.  See, I try to find as much info as I can on the character’s past, because all of the time I’m trying to find where these characters have been in their dark and twisted past.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  You’re putting your own stamp on Kristen.  You got a direct call from DAYS casting department, didn’t you … when they were recasting the role?

STACY:  Yes.  You have to understand, I had two really separate characters to play when I was on Y&R.  One was a doctor, and one was this crazy passionate, wild, little minx.

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GH's Rebecca Herbst Chats On 'Friz', Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

ERIC:  I will say to find the wild and the beauty in one package is not easy in any town, yet alone Los Angeles.  I’m glad they called you, because you have that.  You have that villainous nature, but you also are able to show a vulnerable side to Kristen that is going to be a lot of fun and interesting to see.

Stacy is one of those people that will leap off of the screen at you and you will remember her.  She is one actress that will have fans talking about their work, like when you played crazy Patty Williams on Y&R.  The audience was on the edge of their seats going, “Oh, my God!  What is Patty going to do next?”

STACY:  I never knew what she was going to do!

Photo: JPI

Eric, has Stacy come to you at any point where she been overwhelmed by the task at hand; playing Susan while playing Kristen, etc, and the two of you have a moment where you work through some of the challenges of complex scenes  … and ones where she is playing multiple characters?

ERIC:  We’ve had many moments  to speak of.

STACY:  I always come into Eric’s room, and am like, “I’m scared!”

ERIC:  It’s funny you mention it.  We have had some very emotional scenes, and Stacy – who cares so damn much about this job and portraying this character correctly – that she gets a little overwhelmed, and the material that they give her is overwhelming for any anybody on any level.  I have looked at her in the eyes, and said, “You’ve got this gig.  You are this character.  You are knocking it out of the park.  Just do it.  Just be you.”   I can’t wait for people to see some of the stuff we have shot recently and have been doing.

Photo: JPI

Stacy, do you think Kristen can be redeemed? Many characters on daytime … and on DAYS … have done horrible things and later turned over a new leaf.

STACY:  The thing is that villains are bad and all that other crap, but they’ve got a lot of stuff going on inside and insecurities, and they’ve got a heart.  I’m sorry, the villain with a heart of gold, can be very  true.  I never see villains (and I play them a lot) as bad.  You have to find where it comes from … how far does this go … where did that little seed change … and what made them go into the dark, but also, where is the good?  You want to bring the good to it, too.

ERIC:  Let’s face it!  Star Wars is all about Darth Vader and how he became that because it’s intriguing.

Because of the pace in which DAYS tapes its episodes; do the two of you find time to run lines together before you go hit the set?

ERIC:  We are running out of time to run lines.  It’s pretty wild.  Funnily enough, I was recently filming a movie and I was so underwhelmed at the pace of everything.  I’ve gotten so accustomed to moving at this militant style, that as hard as it is, it is preferable to me now.  I almost like it because you don’t have time to overthink what you are going to do, and you end up getting more visceral and natural reactions to the material.  You can overthink a scene, and you can come to a wrong performance that way.  When you burn your fingers on a hot stove, that’s the most natural reaction you are going to get.  You can’t have ten minutes to think about how you are going to scream about that pain.

Photo: JPI

But, would you like the pace of shooting the show to be a bit slower?

STACY:  I would like to, but I do think sometimes just jumping in, and going and seeing what happens is great.  I love that.  I do appreciate that.

ERIC:  It’s scary.

STACY:  It is scary.  I would love if we would get to do a rehearsal and then two takes just to see, and then they can mix  together what happens.  Sometimes I am hard on myself as an actress.  I’ve always been.  It’s that jumping in when you only get to do one take.  You have to just give it everything you’ve got.

ERIC:  You can have a second take.  Want me to give you a little secret?  All you have to do is screw up your last line.

STACY:  I can’t do that.   I don’t even need it to be perfect because nothing is perfect.  It doesn’t matter what I’ve done if I sometimes don’t feel it.  I need to feel it when I’m on that set.  I need to feel something because when I shut down, I close myself off.  It’s like an athlete who has just got to  train as hard as they can to reach their goal.

ERIC:  You’re an Olympic swimmer!

STACY:  You’ve got to do it as hard as you can.  You practice, and you practice, and you practice, and you practice, so that when you come to that day, you do the best you can, but sometimes you are disappointed because you didn’t get that one last thing you had hoped for.

Courtesy/NBC

How do you view what happened to Eric with Kristen, who disguised as Nicole, tricked Brady into bed with her?  Some fans commented that that they thought it was akin to a rape.

ERIC:  No, I would disagree with that theory.  I believe there is a high degree of deception in this, but there is a willingness on behalf of Brady.  He’s not drugged.  He’s not being forced to do anything.  Deception, yes.  Rape, no.

Stacy, what do you think?

STACY:  Total deception.  There is no rape.  There is absolutely no rape.  These are willing participants; he just doesn’t know exactly who he is dealing with.

ERIC:  I appreciate the context of how somebody could construe that, and the seriousness of the matter.  I don’t think it really has a place in this particular storyline.

Do you guys think that Brady and Kristen are each other’s star-crossed lovers in a weird, twisted, bizarre way?

ERIC:  I don’t know.  I think they’re magnetism can’t be denied.  I think the hurdles that they’ve jumped through are astronomical.  Will they end up together in the end?  Who knows!  Will there ever be an end?  Who knows!  It’s definitely been one of, if not the most, in-depth relationships Brady has ever had.

Photo: JPI

And intense!

ERIC:  Yeah.  They’ve just gone through so much to be together, and when you do that, anybody who is married knows that, that’s where the good stuff is; the wars that you win together and the battles that you go through.  When you come out of the war, and you’re still together, that’s the bond.  That’s what lasts.

What would Kristen do if she couldn’t have Brady in the end?  Would she find a new obsession?  What if she could not nab her man?

STACY:  Wow!  Hmmm. (Laughs)  She’s going to get her man.  She wants her man.  She wouldn’t settle.  She’d keep fighting.  I would say to her, “Kristen, keep fighting the good fight.”

So, do you think Kristen will reveal herself to Brady sooner than later? Will Brady figure out what Kristen has been doing to get to him?  Will Brady turn Kristen away if he knew she was alive and back in action  … or would he fall back into her arms? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Rebecca Herbst Chats On ‘Friz’, Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

Last week, Rebecca Herbst celebrated her 22nd year playing fan favorite Elizabeth Webber (now Baldwin) on General Hospital.  She made her on-screen debut on August 1, 1997.  And in those two decades plus in Port Charles, Liz has gone through many a rocky relationship, plenty of drama, and carried out some misdeeds of her own.  But one thing is for sure, Becky is loved by the fans of the long-running ABC daytime drama series who always want the best for her, and for Nurse Elizabeth.

Recently, ‘Friz’ fans got a moment they had long been waiting for when Franco (Roger Howarth) and Liz, and their friends and family (and some enemies) shared in their wedding reception.  But can their happiness last?  According to two psychics, Sibley Gamble (Veronica Cartwright) and Chelsea Lambas (Jen Ray) that Franco has run into in recent weeks, he better be careful.  That has made Franco concerned, while Liz is trying to get her family all on the same page, and it looks like her boys are coming around to loving and accepting Franco, too, despite what Liz’s ex Jason (Steve Burton) may have to say about it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Rebecca  at the GH Fan Club Weekend, where she made a welcome appearance, to talk about: how she sees Elizabeth’s relationship with Franco, her talented on-screen sons, and how Liz has grown-up since she started on the series, and more.  Here’s what Becky shared with us below.

What did you think of the long-awaited wedding reception of Franco and Liz?  The show finally gave them this joyous moment; after their jailhouse nuptials. Did you feel like the way the wedding actually went down it felt like it cheated the relationship, or did you like it?

REBECCA:  I felt the jailhouse wedding was a bit of a cheat, because they had tried two different times to have a really glorious wedding, so to do it in a jail cell was not the most desirable place. (Laughs)  However, the fact that the characters did actually get married and nothing came in between was a plus, and so, hey, they’ll take that.  Later, when I read in the scripts that there was going to be the reception, I was shocked, because I really didn’t think it was ever going to happen.

Photo: ABC

Do you think the fans were getting to the point where they thought this was never going to happen, also?

REBECCA:  For sure.  We all thought they Franco and Liz were never going to have their moment, or their honeymoon or any of that. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that not only did they write it, but it was beautiful!  It was also visually beautiful.  They put a lot of effort and thought into the show itself, and nobody died, and nobody fell through the roof.  Well, it was kind of funny that Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) got pushed off the ‘Haunted Star’, but according to Elizabeth, that’s just fine that Obrecht got pushed off the boat. (Laughs)  She didn’t die, so everything is good, but all in all, it was a really wonderful party.

What did you think when they had all of Elizabeth’s sons performing a song for the happy couple.  It was so cute, and touching.

REBECCA:  Oh, my goodness.  Those were real tears I shed.  That was so sweet.  So very, very sweet of them.

Photo: ABC

The show is growing the boys, so now you, as Elizabeth, have some young actors to play off of in your scenes.  How do you feel about that?

REBECCA:  Oh, I love it!  For so long, Elizabeth would only talk about her kids, “My boys, my boys, my boys, my boys in the attic.” (Laughs) Now, she has relationships, and very different relationships with each one of them.

I think that echoes real-life too.  A mother has distinct relationships with each of her children.  That’s what I like about Liz with her sons.  And as a mom in real-life as well, I am sure you can relate to this.

REBECCA:  Yes, my relationship with all of my kids is completely different, and I really love that it’s true for Elizabeth’s kids.  I attribute a lot of that to the writers, because they definitely write our relationships differently.  Aiden (Jason David) is still this baby who Elizabeth coddles and protects.  Cameron (William Lipton) is expected to be the man of the house and take care of things, and sometimes Elizabeth feels like she puts too much responsibility on him, but he is going to protect his mom no matter what.  Hudson (Jake) is so wonderful, too.  The fact that I have been blessed with three beautifully smart little actors is just a win for me.

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about Aiden, who had been bullied at school by the other kids.  Do you think that story will be fleshed out?  It seems it may have been put on pause, because it would be an important story to tell for parents with LGBTQ children, if that is how GH ultimately chose to tell the story.

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GH's Rebecca Herbst Chats On 'Friz', Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

REBECCA:  It is an important story.  I would love to tell the story.  There is a great message.  I don’t think we touched on it enough.   I think, for now, the best way to put a button on it is to send the message that we should accept our children with all of their wonderful attributes and personalities and whatever their interests, and let’s not label children, and listen to them and support them.   We should just all be kind.   I was sad when I would read some of the tweets about the story.  It saddened me to read people’s harsh opinions towards Elizabeth’s acceptance of her child.  Some people said that we should not be doing a story like this, and then there was the other half who said, “Just because he is a baker, doesn’t make him gay,” which is 100% true.

True!  TV viewers have certainly seen a lot of straight chefs on foodie or cooking shows, for example.

REBECCA:  Absolutely!  All three of my children in real-life love to cook.  There is nothing wrong with that.   I think we need to just continue to love Aiden no matter what, and he is not different than any of the other kids.

Photo: ABC

William Lipton has been amazing as Cameron, right?

REBECCA:  Amazing.  I know!  He is not only a great little actor, singer, and performer, but he has this beautiful little face, and he is such a grounded young man.  He’s a really sweet person.  You can tell he’s been raised in a really great house, and he has an amazing mom.

Because you are such a “mom’s-mom” in real life, do you think that helps you in how Elizabeth reacts to her children?

REBECCA:  I think so.  I always ask permission from my on-camera kids before a scene: “Is it okay if I kiss your little head?  Is it okay if I put you on my lap here?  Is it okay if I put my hands on your face?”  I’m not their mother, but when I think about what I would do with my real-life kids,  they’re always getting kissed and hugged and held by me, so I want to make it look as real as possible.  I have to think, “What would I do if this were Emerson?”  He’d be on my lap, and I’d be kissing his little neck.  So, then I have to ask Jason, who plays Aiden, “Is it okay that I kiss your neck, and if I kind of just like snuggle you?”  All three of my on-screen kids are so great, because they’re like, “Yeah, sure.  We don’t care!” and not all stage kids are like that.  They all are receptive of my love, and they just let me do it.  I think that is what is so sweet.

Photo: ABC

What do you think of this whole pairing of Elizabeth and Franco, and that you were paired with Roger Howarth?  Elizabeth has had many relationships on the show, so where does her relationship with Franco fit into her list of romances/relationships?  Do you think Franco is one of her great loves?  Over her life, Liz has had a lot of ups and downs, and at times, has not made the best choices for herself, or the choices she made just haven’t worked out in her favor.  I think we all can relate to somebody whose choices don’t work out the way they envision them to be.

REBECCA:  For sure.  I think each of Elizabeth’s relationships have been so different. Just to talk about a timeline: she was a little girl when she was with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson), and as she’s matured, so have her relationships.  However, I think the relationship she has with Franco is her first real adult relationship; in that she not only does respect him, but she respects herself.  She is not afraid to stand up to anybody for the sake of herself, or her children.  I think that is the difference.  In the past, she has been a little so head-over-heels in love that she would do anything, and now, she knows who number one is, and that’s her children, and she puts herself first now, too.  Before, Elizabeth did not matter to herself.

Photo: ABC

I thought Elizabeth treated herself badly.  Is there a self-loathing?  Did you ever that figure out as an actress where that comes from?  Do you think it was from when she was raped years ago?

READ MORE
Daytime Emmys To Merge Younger Actor & Actress Category Into One As Gender-Inclusive Categories Are On The Rise

REBECCA:  I think it went deeper than that.  I think it was because her parents left her at such a young age, and although they were doing great work for whatever they were doing, she was left as a child.

So, she felt something was wrong with her if they left her behind?

REBECCA:  Yes.  I think that’s where her lack of self-esteem came from.  She just didn’t have that support at home when she needed it the most, especially when she was a teenager.  You need your parents around you to tell you that things are awkward and weird, and you’re changing, but you’re going to be okay.  She didn’t have that, and so, she kind of had to figure it out on her own.  She did it through her relationships with men, and she didn’t have men in her life who were telling her, “You’re going to be okay,” except for Lucky, but that was a younger relationship in her life.  Now, as more of an adult with Franco, he tells her she is going to be okay.  Franco believes in her as much as she does now.

Photo: ABC

What’s the best part about working with Roger … and what’s the most challenging part?  Is it some curve balls that might come from when you are going live-to-tape?

REBECCA:  For me, I know I can totally work around whatever comes out of his mouth. (Laughs)  I’m good with that. (Laughs)  The most challenging thing about working with him is that he is constantly losing his glasses, so he can’t see his scripts.  It’s always at the end of the scene.  It’s like, “Where are the glasses?” (Laughs)  So, if losing his glasses might be the most challenging thing, then I’m a pretty lucky girl!

Where does Jason (Steve Burton) fit into Liz’s life at this point? 

REBECCA:  We’ve not really established that.

Courtesy/ABC

Since Jason has been back on the canvas, not much has been played between them.

REBECCA: They had a relationship, they have a relationship, and they have a friendship.  It should be played.

What would you love to see happen to Elizabeth story-wise, that perhaps you have not gotten the opportunity to play?

REBECCA:  I would love to see Elizabeth be happy with Franco and just explore whatever that means for her in a long-term, adult sense (because she doesn’t really know how that is yet), an adult happiness, while trying to navigate the kids’ lives, but also having a friendship with Jason.  I think that would be interesting, because she has always held a torch for Jason.

Photo: ABC

Viewers are currently alarmed that Franco has been receiving warnings from two psychics.  On last Friday’s episode, Franco is clearly afraid to take a drive and in Cameron’s new car (the one Oscar gave him) due to the psychic, (Chelsea) telling him: “Don’t take that drive!” Does Elizabeth have something to be worried about? 

REBECCA:  Yes, but she’s going to hang on to Franco, and make sure nothing happens to him … until he doesn’t come home (laughs) …  and then she’ll be calling Jason! (Laughs)

So, what did you think of the sentiments shared by Rebecca?  What did you think of the Friz wedding reception, and Liz and Franco’s relationship?  What do you think of Liz’s relationship with her children?   What are your hopes for Liz moving forward? Comment below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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