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THE CHRISTIAN LEBLANC INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

By Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:

You have great story coming up! It seems it took awhile for this all to come to fruition, wouldn’t you say?

CHRISTIAN:

I have great story, with Lowell being my father. It was yes, no, then yes, no, then yes. When you look at it, it’s kind of interesting how the writers did it

TV SOAP:

So, you are glad that the show picked this point in time to unravel the story?

CHRISTIAN:

I did not want the story to go right away. We had the whole Tom Fisher thing, and a lot of men in Gloria’s life at the time. I liked the timing of this to clear the decks and you then have the right moment. I know they were going to go with it. They kept me busy, and I was lighter in story than I am usually, but I used that to my advantage.


TV SOAP:

There was this recent tease where Michael visited the jail where the “supposed” Lowell was being housed, but it turned out he was an imposter.

CHRISTIAN:

They changed identities, and Lauren, Paul and I have been piecing this together, and it was a red herring moment. I rarely harass the writers, but I called Maria Arena Bell (co-head writer, “Y&R”) and told her that this really pushed me to the edge of my skill level! These were some interesting scenes and the degree of difficulty was high.

TV SOAP:

Like getting an 8.3 from the judges?

CHRISTIAN:

Yeah, and you kill for that kind of thing! But, they are scary and intimating all at the same time. You want to be better, so you find a better tennis player.

TV SOAP:

The caliber of your performances is always top notch. Do you rehearse as much as you would like?

CHRISTIAN:

I actually would like to do many more takes then we are allowed to, because I find new stuff to play. You get used to the system. You have to make a choice and commit to it with very little prep time.

TV SOAP:

To recap for Australian fans, why is Michael so into searching for his real father?

CHRISTIAN:

I think it all started when he had Fen. It keys it off for a lot of fathers. This is a man who went to prison. He went to therapy to change his dark ways. He was a violent man and he claimed he never had a family. Then his family shows up and then you find out why he denied his family for so long. Michael is somebody who denied his brother’s pain, but he feels responsible for it. When you have a child, you are responsible for that child. Michael has Lauren to help him discover these things.

TV SOAP

What does Michael hope to achieve when finding his father?

CHRISTIAN:

I think he wanted to be a whole person and have a point of reference. You have a whole picture, and even if it’s a bad father you get it. It’s thinking this guy will come save us one day. This goes all the way back to when I would write letters to this man thinking Gloria was mailing them, and realizing she never mailed them. She kept them just to keep this fantasy. That’s where the push-pull comes, and as long as you don’t know its fantasy, but it’s very specific things happening. I find it with adopted people. It’s an interesting dynamic. I need to know, genetically. I am a huge genealogy freak in real life. That’s what I love about Michael. He is so complex, and it isn’t any push over to be him. The easy part is just to be myself, and the writers have stayed true to his character. You want to stay true to his dark side and his humanness, and it’s good and evil. You can reform yourself, but you cannot deny your history.


TV SOAPS:

Will the revelation of meeting the real Lowell Baldwin, played by Michael Gross do you think Michael will flip back to his dark side?

CHRISTIAN:

I don’t know if it will be his downfall or not, because Lowell is such an unexpected character, and it certainly pushes all those buttons again….

TV SOAP:

….Will we have sympathy for Lowell? I think so.

CHRISTIAN:

I think so too, and a good actor does that and Michael Gross was wonderful.

TV SOAP:

Do you think they will keep the story going and play this out, and keep Lowell on as part of the Genoa City canvas, after this initial shocker?

CHRISTIAN:

I think so. You don’t get Michael Gross just to toss him out for a day. It’s not worth his time. They will have a lot of work for him, which I am very happy about and he could not have been a nicer man, it’s so easy and that’s his professionalism. It’s a cast of thousands, one take… fast, fast, fast. It can scare anybody, but he was right there with it.

TV SOAP:

Do you think they will keep the story going and keep Lowell on as part of the Genoa City canvas, after this initial shocker?

CHRISTIAN:

I think they will. You don’t get Michael Gross just to toss him out for a day. It’s not worth his time. They will have a lot of work for him, and he could not have been a nicer man.

TV SOAP:

So, is Kevin and Jana’s wedding a huge disaster?

CHRISTIAN:

It is an amazing, amazing. It’s an amazing series of shows.

TV SOAP:

Were you in the audition process when they were casting Michael Gross as your on-screen dad, Lowell?

CHRISTIAN:
No. That poor man just got thrown into the Baldwin’s and this huge cast! We talked a little the first day of taping, but we were thrown into these really intimate scenes, and it kind of worked. He is the consummate professional.

TV SOAP:

Will there be a big showdown between the two characters once they meet?

CHRISTIAN:

Not quite a showdown, just a discovery, and going through the myriad of emotions of when the fantasy dies and the truth stands before you.

TV SOAP:

How does Michael feel then?

CHRISTIAN:

I think he is disappointed. This would be something that was not his expectation. It’s been chipping away at his fantasy, and at the end of the day it’s the worst-case scenario.

TV SOAP:

When is all this going to play out on the air?

CHRISTIAN:

It all happens at Kevin and Jana’s wedding. I think all of Michael’s fears come together in his one meeting on this one amazing day, which is so riveting. Everyone was on that day. It kicks off on Friday, August 15, here in the States.

TV SOAP:

So, does everyone at the wedding see him at the same time Michael does? Isn’t he the priest?

CHRISTIAN:

Just think, everybody sees him at the same time, and I talk to him!

TV SOAP:

Do you think they will keep the story going and keep Lowell on as part of the Genoa City canvas, after this initial shocker?

CHRISTIAN:

I think they will. You don’t get Michael Gross just to toss him out for a day. It’s not worth his time. They will have a lot of work for him, and he could not have been a nicer man.

TV SOAP:

What about working with Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren)?

CHRISTIAN:

We are like an old married couple. There is a physical comfortness, and she makes me look good. Wait till you see her in these scenes!

TV SOAP:

But don’t you think there has got to be some major troubles coming up for Lauren and Michael? I mean, on the soaps wedded bliss can only happen so long.

CHRISTIAN:

I don’t know. I hope we have complications. I want it to be like a real marriage. I mean, we don’t have to be broken up, but certainly, there are things that a married couple disagrees about. I would like to see us have conflict.

TV SOAP:

Do you think Michael might have an affair?

CHRISTIAN:

It’s soaps and in real life, given the right circumstances for my character, anything is possible. Nobody likes ‘happily- ever- after’ forever.


TV SOAP:

How was your night at the recent Daytime Emmys? It was so hot outside! You did not walk away with the prize for Lead Actor, unfortunately. Tony Geary, Luke from “GH” won that night.

CHRISTIAN:

It was so hot! I had a ball, and I was there with Nia Peeples (Karen). It’s always a fun night out. It was so exciting. Tony Geary hugged me before the show and said, “It’s going to be you this time! I got all sorts of compliments. It’s Tony Geary, a legend, saying this! That was such an honor coming from him.

TV SOAP:

Where are your two Emmys?

CHRISTIAN:

I have got two on my piano, to instill the need in me to practice. (He laughs) I am hoping for cross-discipline. I had myself my own Emmy for everything. (He laughs).

TV SOAP:

What’s left to do and accomplish with your acting career?

CHRISTIAN:

I want to do it all. I would like to do a feature. You want to be tested. I think I have something here and I have been given a gift. It’s my job to develop it to its utmost. It has never bored me here at “Y&R”. I just worked scenes with Chris Engen (Victor Jr.) today. When it’s somebody new, I get flop sweat!

TV SOAP:

How is working with Chris?

CHRISTIAN:

He is lovely and amazing, and so is Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe). They keep bringing new ones in! We have a great core group here, and Chris is intelligent. It’s a plumb part and he is just getting up to speed.

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TV SOAP;

Many fans think you ad lib a lot of Michael’s material on screen. Is that true?

CHRISTIAN:

I never ad-lib… never in my life! (He laughs) And that being said, so many of those are written more than people think. I actually think it’s a great compliment. I get a lot of humor and a lot of great lines. They give me the freedom to tweak a line. But I don’t do it as frequently as people think I do. It’s just me and my timing and delivery, or even better, it’s the other actor’s reactions.

TV SOAP:

So, what do you think we can tell the fans to look forward to in the coming months for Michael?

CHRISTIAN:

I have NO idea. With the writer’s building the momentum for this storyline for quite awhile, I can’t see them not taking advantage of this front and center stage. Especially, with Michael Gross being on the show.

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TV SOAP:

There has been such turnaround with the writing teams recently at “Y&R”. Are you noticing any difference in the scripts?

CHRISTIAN:

I think you do see changes slowly, but surely. All the writers have been good to me, and I have a scene to get nominated on every year, and that’s hard to find. I like working and they keep me in the picture. I do see it evolving in the scripts. I see a mixing of all the characters again. I like to see the integration of that. I think being given the amount of time when you are new to the show that’s the hardest thing in the world. It was the late Bill Bell’s gift, and a singular gift (creator and ex-head writer, “Y&R”). He never called me by my character name. He knew who I was. But in the end, he always had these stories and they were intermixing, and there was a spider-web that existed in his head, and that does not happen easily. Not everyone is gifted that way. But still you need to have time to get your people in place. I think we are still recovering from missing Bill Bell; it was never going to be easy. It’s nice to be hopeful, but you had a singular show with a single vision and it will take time. We need people to have patience. We had a lot of passionate people contributing to the process, and its takes a lot of siphoning through till you get the formula that you want.

General Hospital

GH’s Chloe Lanier Talks On Nelle’s Twisted Plots, Her Co-Stars & That Cliffhanger “Ending”

Recently on ABC’s General Hospital, Chloe Lanier’s Nelle Benson created even more havoc for Carly (Laura Wright), Michael (Chad Duell), Julian (William deVry), Brook Lynn (Briana Lane), and of course, her son, Wiley.

However, is Nelle really gone after her ‘fall,’ which has left her MIA and Carly believing she is responsible for her sister’s ‘death’? But as we know with Nelle, she keeps secretly planning her next move and loves to slowly torture those who she believes have wronged her. There is also the ongoing mystery of just who is Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) daughter, especially since Nelle has the other half of the necklace so near and dear to Nina; leaving viewers pondering if it could mean they are mother and child, or is this all a red-herring?

One thing is for sure, Daytime Emmy winner, Chloe Lanier brings it each and every time she returns to GH. She gives always give the storylines a much needed injection of drama, drama and more drama. No one is quite like Lanier in the soaps either; she can play tough, vulnerable, manipulative, and street smart, like nobody’s business.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Chloe to get her answers to some of our burning questions for her and her portrayal of naughty Nelle, and how one of her co-stars helped her through a very difficult time in her life.  Here’s what she had to say about it all.

Courtesy/ABC

What did you think of the courtroom antics of Nelle during the custody hearing for Wiley?

CHLOE:  I mean, showing up in a wedding dress was her first mistake. Then antagonizing everyone in the room was probably her second. But she’s so wounded—so broken from her childhood. She doesn’t have the proper emotional tools to combat her self-destructive behavior.

Which showdown or confrontation between Nelle and Michael stands out to you?

CHLOE:  I particularly loved the scenes where Nelle, nine months pregnant, leaves Michael in the rigged car, hoping it would explode. It’s rare that you’re given comedic material on a soap, so that was particularly exciting for me. Also, Chad’s reactions always make me laugh. He’s great.

Photo: ABC

What is it like working with Chad Duell as feuding exes and parents of Wiley? 

CHLOE:  Chad is so easy to work with. He’s been doing the show for so long and is very technically gifted. The writers graced us with some meaty material that we were able to sink our teeth into.

Photo: JPI

What does Nelle think of Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? She really hates her, huh?

CHLOE: I don’t believe she hates her. She’s envious. Willow is the exact opposite and oftentimes we’re afraid of what we don’t understand. Particularly someone like Nelle, who was raised by a con artist and taught to exploit and manipulate anyone she comes across. So when she sees someone so pure, so innocent, she immediately distrusts her because that behavior is so far outside the lines of how she operates.

What was it like taping the fight scenes between Carly and Nelle, where Nelle “Plummets” to her death?  

CHLOE:  Shout out to Amanda Hall and Heather Bonomo, our amazing stunt doubles for those scenes. They were fantastic.

Courtesy/ABC

When you and Laura Wright get the scripts; where Carly and Nelle are having a huge showdown, are you thrilled about getting the chance to play the emotional beats of those moments? What if it’s a fight scene?

CHLOE:  Those scenes were such a joy, because we got to explore some of the deep roots of Nelle’s trauma, and Carly explicitly said, “I believe you love your son.” That, for me, was important.  Because despite all of her failings, she truly did love her son—in her own warped, off kilter, way.

Photo: Paul Smith

Nelle has really been blackmailing Julian, until he turned the tables on her on the pier?  What has it been like acting opposite Will deVry in those scenes?

CHLOE:  I love Will. He and I actually have the same acting coach, so our prep and how we’re working is from a similar place. What I love about Will is the confidence he has in his stillness. He’s lovely on camera, so connected.

Photo: ABC

Nelle has the other half of the necklace belonging to Nina.  What do you think if it turns out that Nelle is Nina’s daughter?  It is quite possible, tho, that she is not, and it’s all a red herring. How has it been working with Cynthia Watros?

CHLOE:  Cynthia is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met, truly. We haven’t known each other for long, but earlier this year, and not many people know this other than my close friends, I was having glaring mental health issues stemming from unresolved trauma. I was going going going for so long that I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had never dealt with any of it. She saw it and could tell I was silently struggling and reached out. You don’t forget kindness like that. So I’m very grateful for Cynthia—and of course, therapy. I would be flattered if they decided to make Nelle Nina’s daughter.

Photo:ABC

What do you think about how the writers have kept finding ways to have plot points that get all the other characters in trouble and make it look like they did something to Nelle, but she ultimately has her own diabolical plans for them with her actions? She is pretty smart!

CHLOE:  Nelle is the perfect victim, and her love language is sabotage. She’s also a narcissist, so she’s always going to think she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s basically a walking version of Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do. I love that the writers gifted me the opportunity work with almost everyone on the show. Josh (Swickard) and I always had a great time together. And Maurice (Benard)—god he’s hilarious. I would have loved to work with Briana Nicole Henry (Jordan) more though. I love watching her work. She’s going to have an amazing career.

Photo: ABC

Do you think Nelle can ever be redeemed at this point?

CHLOE:  Redemption is a weird one for me, because I don’t believe that people are inherently good or bad. We’re all human. We all have flaws, make mistakes, have regrets, experience shame. We have the ability to grow and we learn from our past. Nelle has done and felt all of those things, to a degree, but continued to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. A character either has to change or they die. So, I’ll say this—if Nelle is alive out there somewhere, I hope she’s going to therapy.

Photo: JPI

What has been the hardest scene for you to play emotionally in the time you have been playing Nelle?

CHLOE:  Probably the scene with the newborn, where Nelle runs into Brad on the side of the road. I had never held a newborn baby before, so I was TERRIFIED. I realized I was the only thing in that moment keeping that baby alive…a very bizarre and life altering feeling, I’ll say.

So, have you enjoyed Chloe’s performances? Do you think Nelle is plotting from afar?  What would you like to see happen in the storylines with  baby Wiley, Nina’s child, and more? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Chandler Massey & Freddie Smith Discuss Their Departure From DAYS, New Beginnings & WilSon’s Journey

This week, Days of our Lives viewers saw the highly-anticipated exit off the canvas, for now,  of Daytime Emmy-winners, Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith as Will and Sonny.

Tuesday marked their final airshow, while the actors found out they were being written-out of the show and had filmed their last six episodes over seven months ago, because at that time and before the pandemic, DAYS was taping far in advance of air.

Now with this leg of their journey complete as the popular Salem duo, Chandler and Freddie are embarking on new chapters of their lives, as Chandler details his move to Atlanta and Freddie in a few weeks to Florida.  But as they discuss in this very special conversation with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, they are not stopping acting either.

During this “farewell for now” interview with Michael, the two actors open up about their final scripts, their last tape day, how both characters helped many individuals come out and come to terms with who they are via watching Will’s coming out story, Will and Sonny’s on-screen relationship and more.

In addition, Freddie discusses what happened when he auditioned for the role of Sonny and what he thinks helped land him the gig; Chandler shares a story about a fan that is very moving, and that his biggest regret was not getting to play the wedding scenes between Will and Sonny (Guy Wilson at that time had stepped into the role of Will).   The duo also reveal their favorite and least favorite storylines they were involved in, and much more.

Watch the full interview below.

So, what do you think about what Freddie and Chandler had to share during our conversation? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Melody Thomas Scott Talks Harrowing Childhood, Growing Up In Hollywood, Nikki’s Storylines

This week, The Young and the Restless’ iconic, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) new memoir, Always Young & Restless: My Life on and Off off America’s #1 Daytime Drama,” from Diversion Books, is available everywhere.

For everyone that follows Melody, this book has been several years in the making with some starts and stops, but in it she does not hold back and reveals some very painful details and moments from her upbringing when she was raised by her unstable grandmother and more.

Courtesy/DiversionBooks

Melody also talks about reuniting with her estranged father when he suddenly awoke from his coma while she was by his side.  Throughout her lengthy career in Hollywood, Melody has worked with some of the greats including: Clint Eastwood, Brian DePalma and Alfred Hitchcock.

Now in a conversation with Michael Fairman on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Melody opens about her decision on the stories she told in the books, her favorite and least favorite storylines as Nikki on Y&R, working with Eric Braeden (Victor) and the entire company of the CBS daytime drama where she has been for over 40 years, and how she hopes her memoir might help others; including those stage moms and children considering life in front of the camera and more.

To watch the full interview with Melody, check it out below.

Then let us know, what have you been most surprised to learn about Melody this past week as her memoir has come out? What is your favorite or least favorite storylines of Nikki’s on Y&R over the years? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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