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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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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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

I love her!

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 🙂

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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?

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

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

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

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

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/Hallmark

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

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

And, are you a good guy in this?

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

Photo: Willdevry

How was it to work with Ben and Cindy?

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

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

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

Courtesy/Willdevry

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

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

Photo: Willdevry

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

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

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

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

Photo: RStaabIG

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

 

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

So, Jack knew what he was doing?

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Photo: JPI

Here you are together years later in this exceptional episode.

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

 

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General Hospital

(INTERVIEW) Adam Huss Talks on His Latest GH Return, Maura West, Nicholas Chavez, and Being a Swiftie

This week, General Hospital fans were in for a surprise appearance when Adam Huss reappeared as Nikolas Cassadine while serving jail time in Pentonville. He also had a very intriguing visitor, his ex, Ava Jerome (Maura West)!

In the key scenes, Ava seemingly tells Nikolas, who can do nothing about the situation, how she is getting closer to Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and within his inner-sanctum, much to Nikolas’ chagrin. For Huss, those scenes were difficult to shoot, because in real-life he has just lost his beloved grandmother, but he soldiered through and delivered an effective performance.

Adam has had quite the adventure as GH’s dark prince of the Cassadine clan. Having first subbed for former Nikolas, Marcus Coloma, a few times and over a few years time, then taking over the role and being instrumental in moving story forward, but yet not always physically on the canvas. Since taking over the role, Huss has put his own spin on Nikolas, while delivering some top-notch performances. Look no further than in scenes with the exited Nicholas Chavez (Spencer), the aforementioned West, GH icon Genie Francis (Laura), or the twins that the play Baby Ace (Joey Clay, who shares the role with twin brother Jay) to name but a few.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adam to get his thoughts on: Nikolas’ emotional state now, where he thinks the storyline may head in the future, his co-stars, reflecting on what the late Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas) brought to the role, and yes, some banter with us about Taylor Swift!  Check out what Adam had to say below.

Courtesy/ABC

Nikolas is kind of the gift that keeps on giving, as you keep popping back up on GH. Just when you think the show literally has written him off, he makes a return. Look no further than on Monday’s April 29th episode when he gets a visit from Ava while in prison.

ADAM: Listen, I’ve really fallen in love with playing the character. I’ve stated that I’m super passionate about it. I really like that the more I delve into his backstory, I learn about the layers of who he is. Watching Tyler Christopher’s (ex-Nikolas) work, because he really originated that character, I become even more enthusiastic about it. I have so much respect for this medium as it is. I’m a fan of TV and film. I am coming in to the story sometimes not knowing where Nikolas may be mentally. So, it’s been nice to be guided once you’re on set. You can’t come in with just your ideas and you have to be open to the collaboration. It’s been a challenge, but a lot of fun.

In the scenes that just aired opposite Maura West, it seemed you could tell that Nikolas still cared for Ava.

ADAM: I thought that was a happy surprise. I am so fond of Maura as a person. I could say that we’ve mutually grown closer each time I come in and play the part. I don’t think Ava knew what she was going to really get when she came to see Nikolas. When he saw her, I think he was just taken with her. It was interesting. There was one moment when she’s talking about Sonny. I felt as if Nikolas didn’t want to hear this, but I was advised by our director, Allison Reames Smith and Frank Valentini (EP, GH), “Remember, Nikolas hasn’t seen her in months and this is really exciting for him to be sitting across from her. ” So that really fed the motivation.

Courtesy/ABC

Nikolas gets an earful from Ava, and he is left with her secret, which is the dose of medication in Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) pills are causing him to act erratic. Ava kind of admitted to Nikolas what was going on and what she was planning.

ADAM: She did, and you’re right. I think she told him because it was safe, and in her mind he’s not going anywhere.

However, Nikolas isn’t always on the up and up, either.

ADAM:  No, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. This is all speculation, but maybe to get her away from Sonny he uses the information she shared. I think Nikolas is thinking that he doesn’t want to see her get hurt, and, “I cannot lose another person right now. I lost my newborn son,” in that, he is not going to raise him. And even bigger, he lost his son Spencer who he believes is gone. So, imagine then losing the love of his life. Their last interactions around New Year’s Eve showed that he still had feelings for her.

Photo: ABC

So, when you first met Maura, what was your reaction to this daytime dynamo?

ADAM: From day one, she was so lovely to me. I tested with her. I got to know her in that moment. She was just so welcoming and wanted me to succeed. Then, when I did fill in for Marcus Coloma, the first time, she and Ken Shriner (Scott) were super lovely. It was like, “You’re my scene partner today. You are Nikolas today. Let’s have fun.” Each time I came in to work, I got the same thing, if not more – more trust, more openness and kindness. Then, as you’re aware, my grandma passed right before these most recent scenes. Maura was so lovely about it. We were running lines, but she just wanted to stop and talk about it for a second. I almost didn’t want to come to work. I just wanted to get home. Maura really got me focused. It was something you wanted to get off your chest with somebody. Then we filmed, and she called me after, and just made sure I was doing alright. I said to Maura, “You are a class act, you know that. Thank you so much.”  I am so glad I didn’t have to miss the funeral and I still got to film at General Hospital, which my grandma loved to watch me on.

Courtesy/AHussIG

Now. did you have any context when you started that your on-screen mother was Genie Francis (Laura)?

ADAM: I did. In the nineties, when I was on Long Island in college and working as a DJ in the summers, I just remember seeing soap opera magazine covers. I’d see that triangle between Nikolas, Lucky and Elizabeth. So, I very much knew of the world that those people were part of. I knew how big the Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura wedding was and all of that. I definitely knew the legacy I was coming into. When I read these sides for the role, I was like, “I think this is Nikolas Cassadine!” Later, when I was on the show, and doing scenes with Genie, where Laura was warning Nikolas about making up with Spencer, she said, “You’re doing wonderful work.” To hear that from her was a big sigh of relief for me. I love connecting with actors in the eyes. I know when things are cooking when you almost feel like magnets in your eyes with another actor, because you’re drawing that emotion through them. The eyes are the windows of the soul, right? I felt that with Genie, Maura and Nicholas Chavez, too. You feel that magnet pull and it’s so beautiful.

Photo: ABC

I’m going over your gut-wrenching scenes in my head. There was obviously when Spencer hands baby Ace  to Nikolas, and then the baby is so taken with you, and the scenes where Spencer tells Nikolas how much he loved him as a young boy and vice-versa.

ADAM: The three scenes you just mentioned are highlights for me in shooting the show thus far. Those moments felt so authentic to me. As soon as Spencer got Ace in my arms, I just would melt, and it made me emotional just to hold him. And then, he really took to me. His mom was like,”I think you kind of remind him of his father,” because there is a similar energy. He’s just a great little actor and a great little empath. The moment with him laying his head on my chest was so emotional. In the one scene with Nicholas Chavez, he’s supposed to not hand me Ace till the end, but as soon as we started the scene, the baby reached out to me with this smile. Nick is like, “OK, here you go.” We sort of had to improv around it a little bit, but it was amazing.

Courtesy/ABC

However, then there is the scene where Spencer cries about how Nikolas meant everything to him, too.

ADAM: I think Nikolas went to Spencer with the intention of like, “I’m taking this baby no matter what. And if I have to get through my son, I’m going, too.” There was so much power in the words that those writers chose especially when Spencer goes, “You were my whole world” as a child. Nikolas was saying how I loved him fiercely as a kid. I was watching a lot of those scenes between Nicolas Bechtel (ex-Spencer) and Tyler Christopher. That kid was such a dynamo, too, and he was so cute. Their bond stuck with me.

Courtesy/ABC

You are one busy actor. I check in on your Instagram and you are either in one town or the other shooting a horror film or other projects.

ADAM: Not just horror films, there’s a mix of Hallmark, too. I’m super excited about an indie film I did called Pieces of Lilo. It’s about an estranged father and son. In it, my father gets sick and I get stuck basically taking care of him. And then he passes and when I’m burying him, all these memories start flooding back. It’s this sort of flashback of basically trauma and how this trauma affected, my character, Jerry, in the present day. I fought for this part and I got it. We just wrapped in March. I’m excited about that. Next week, I am off to Long Island to do a rom-com called The Wedding Bell.

Don’t you also have a role in an upcoming Melrose Place-type streaming soap?

ADAM: Oh yes. I wish it was the Melrose Place reboot! I did work with Daphne Zuniga on a Lifetime movie, though. She was awesome, and we’re friends, so who knows? It’s called The BLVD and I’ve taped it already. There’s supposedly five more episodes they’re going to shoot soon. So, we finished the pilot and I play one of the one of the clients of the PR firm. It’s all about  cutthroat PR in Hollywood.

Photo: JPI

I know the fans really enjoy you in the part of Nikolas. However, the worst thing in soaps, I think, for any actor is having to replace a very well-known actor in a part; whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent. People just don’t like change. As a recast, you have to kind of go through that difficult part of waiting to be accepted by the audience. They often say how they don’t like the actor and then somewhere along the way, they are like “Oh! I love him in the part.” How has it been for you to ride that wave of, you’re not Tyler Christopher, you’re not Marcus Coloma, but now it’s you playing Nikolas?

ADAM: I get it. You want your original person to be the person, and sometimes they just can’t, and in soap operas, it’s more common. I also know it’s always polarizing. There were days in the beginning where I was like, “Oh, my God! Look at all these wonderful comments.”  Then it’s, “Oh, my God.” and as you’re scrolling, you see “I’m a hideous monster” to these people. I think you just have to have a very healthy perspective. Thankfully, I do have tools in my life to secure my foundation of who I am. And sure, on those vulnerable days or those ambiguous days where you don’t know your future at work, it could weigh on you. You could think of every, “Oh, my God! Everybody hates me.” I am so glad and grateful that people have come around. You’re not going to please everybody. It’s just the nature of what we live in now. I will say, the warm embrace and the acceptance, and people who have really come around, has moved me and then they’re feeling the same way about my performances. When I say I’m humbled by it, I’m blown away, it’s true.  I used to get annoyed at Taylor Swift when she would always say that. I’m like, “All right, honey, you’re selling millions of copies. Accept it.” But it is humbling, because you know how critical people can be, and for it to really start to change overtime, helps me every time I hear it.

Photo: DisneyPlus

Speaking of Taylor Swift, are you a Swiftie?

ADAM: I am a Swiftie, sure. I didn’t go to Taylor’s concert. I wanted to. But then, when my friend showed me The Eras Tour on Disney Plus, I was like, “That was amazing. That was like the best time.” I’d have a smile on my face for three and a half hours if I was at her concert. So, yes.

Did you listen to Taylor’s new album, Tortured Poets Department yet?

ADAM: Yes. I’ve been bouncing around in there. There are a lot of songs.

It’s a lot of songs. It took me a little bit to warm up to it. And now, just like in true Taylor Swift fashion, I’m like, “You know what? This track or that track is really good.”

ADAM: Yeah, at first they all sound the same for a minute.

So I wonder, how does Taylor Swift manage to suck us in all the time? 

ADAM: I know. I think it works whenever someone’s just raw and honest. Taylor gets a lot of flak for talking about her exes and stuff in her songs, but that’s her life experience. We feel that and we resonate with that, especially younger girls, or anyone really, can relate to these like breakups and this heartache. I think that’s where she gets you.

Courtesy/ABC

Hopefully soon, it’d be nice to see Nikolas not in prison orange. So, he gets out of jail and where does he go then?

ADAM: I don’t want him on the run because that’s the whole reason he came to prison, you know, to reform himself. So, for me, that was a nice sign of like, “Hey, maybe the reformation comes and you finally get to be free.” Maybe Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) gets her law degree back and then she’ll help him get out. Wyndemere’s gone. It’s out of his hands. I think it’s a good time for him to start a different life and for us to see Nikolas in different stories. Let’s see a different person trying to put his family back together and falling in love again. If it’s Ava, wonderful, would love that. I’d love to see a really great, big epic love story like he had in the past. I try to infuse that when Nikolas is sitting across from Ava. The last thing I want to say is, I wish I was there at GH more, too. However, I really trust in the process and the writers, and the way things unfold. So, I’m hoping that it all leads to a beautiful place.

What did you think about the scenes this week on GH between Ava and Nikolas? Do you hope Adam Huss is back on-screen sooner than later? What are some of your favorite scenes with him thus far? Comment below, but ICYMI, below are the touching scenes between Spencer, Ace and Nikolas that GH fans are still buzzing about.

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