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The Christian LeBlanc,Tracey E. Bregman & Max Ehrich Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

You better be a damn good actor to hold your own with members of Genoa City’s Baldwin/Fisher Family!  This fictitious clan puts the capitol “D” in dysfunction with their sordid pasts, messed up relationships, and schemes gone awry.  However, the duo of Lauren Fenmore Baldwin and her husband Michael Baldwin, are one of The Young and the Restless most enduring couples, even though they have not been together for decades.  Six years in soap time is an eternity, especially on the number one soap!

Recently, the powers-that-be at Y&R chose to age Lauren and Michael’s tot of a son, Fenmore, to a teenager (another victim of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome) and with that comes new complex problems for the Baldwins, and as it appears “Fen” may be a chip off the old block … sort to speak.  The talented Max Ehrich was cast as the new Fen, and since he has begun to air in the part he has received high marks, not only from his scene partners, but daytime fans, too.

On-Air On-Soaps had the opportunity to sit down with Daytime Emmy winners Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) and Max Ehrich to discuss how Max’s entrance on to the canvas has given this long-loving, long-suffering couple some exciting new dilemmas!  And as for Max’s Fenmore, he is turning out to be a hand full with an obsessive eye on pretty young Summer Newman, and getting into some deep trouble that will have far-reaching consequences for the teen scene and the adults, since Y&R has kicked off its very timely cyberbullying storyline.

One thing is for certain: watching and listening to Christian, Tracey, and Max together, it’s very clear why they click so well on-screen and off!  So here now, to spread a little Christmas cheer, is our conversation with The Baldwins of Genoa City!

MICHAEL:

Christian and Tracey, when you found out that Y&R was going to SORAS your on-screen son, and now make him a teenager, what were your initial reactions?

TRACEY:

Courtesy/IMDB

The funny thing is that it never occurred to me if they aged my son that we would have been married longer.  You know what I mean?  Michael and Lauren were celebrating their sixth anniversary, and I went, “How can we have been married six years and have a fifteen-year-old?” Oops! (Laughs)

CHRISTIAN:

First let me say we love Robbie Tucker, who played little Fen, but there is more that we can do now with Max, and there are a whole lot of levels we can play now, than the two of us waiting, for God sakes, for Fenmore to grow! (Laughs)  Max was good from the get-go.  Having to walk in and being thrown into the insanity is not easy!

TRACEY:

And … Max fit in from the moment he walked in, because he is insane like all of us! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Max, did you know about the quirky Fisher/Baldwin clan before you started on Y&R?  Who was the first in the clan you met?

MAX:

Y&R is my grandpa’s favorite show!  He has been watching it since 1973, but that is beside the point (Laughs).  When I had my final callback for the role of Fen, it was with Christian.  It was this really intense scene that I think they used for some other character.

TRACEY:

Yes, it was a Nick and Noah scene, and I know this because my son actually auditioned for the role of Fen.

CHRISTIAN:

It was really interesting during the casting process.  They had a whole lot of different types coming into to play 15, but they were not going to cast a 15-year-old.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MAX:

I also tested with Summer, which at the time was Lindsay Bushman.  But, coming on to Y&R has been an amazing ride so far.

MICHAEL:

Max, are you able to get Christian and the rest of the gang to simmer down before shooting a scene with you?  That can be a tall order, I hear! (Laughs)

MAX:

(Laughs) I think when we are all on set together we all feed off of our energy.  We all are very emotionally exhilarating, and so it’s always great to do a scene with these two, because I think we all just go to these levels together, and it becomes fun to make TV magic!

MICHAEL:

Were you ever intimated by the fact that you were going to play the son of three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Christian LeBlanc and Daytime Emmy winner, Tracey E. Bregman?

MAX:

I kind of put Hollywood smoke and mirrors away.  Fenmore does not know they are Emmy winners. (Laughs) So to me as Fenmore, they are my parents.  So the answer would be: no, I was not intimated.

MICHAEL:

When you envisioned the teenaged son of Lauren and Michael, were you hoping that he would be just as quirky and messed up as Lauren and Michael had been in their early days?

TRACEY:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I was always hoping that they would show the dark side of our child, because both Lauren and Michael have dark sides.  That is something they both work hard on to suppress, that comes out now and them.  So I was really hoping they would do exactly what is happening right now.   I mean, exactly!

CHRISTIAN:

What was so interesting in the audition process is a lot of these actors came right at you in the scene, and the “older” came through and so it became a very different scene.  And then Max came in to do what I consider a very difficult thing.  I thought about it because I think I was around 26-years-old playing 16 on As The World Turns.  So what Max did is he played a 15-year-old coming at his father.  This was a son coming at you, a young son. Again, I know the difficulty of that, but it was really sweet what Max did with the material in the audition.

MICHAEL:

Max, so it apparently had not been hard for you to play younger than you are. Would you agree?

MAX:

I am only playing a few years younger than myself, but that age is a very vulnerable age, and an age when so much happens.  I still find myself relating to Fen a lot.  He came on the show very innocent and wanting to oblige by the rules.  However, we all have a dark side.  I am so happy that I get to explore some darker territories of the character, and that is fun for me.

MICHAEL:

When the three of you found out that Y&R was going to launch into a ripped-from- the-headlines-of-today storyline about cyberbullying and the effects it has on the kids and the families involved, what were your thoughts?

TRACEY:

I was thrilled, because it is a sore subject and it is very prevalent in the times we live.  I think they are telling the story very well.  The storyline really has legs!  This story is going to go, and go, and go.

CHRISTIAN:

Courtesy/Nickelodeon

And it’s unexpected!  Fenmore is not the “bully-ee”!  This could be set up any number of ways, but I think the writers did a great job of setting up this story so well for this particular family.  I thought it was so interesting that they did not bring a young good looking kid on for a couple on the show as the hero.  All three of our characters are very human characters with all these very human flaws, and capable of doing the right thing for the wrong reason, or doing the wrong thing for the right reason.  The writers have given us gold, and that is something they do not dole out a lot.  You have this family that is not going to be killed-off tomorrow because they are so evil.  You have this family that people can relate to where you go, “Oh, he screwed that up, royally,” but that is very real.  Right now, Max has a very difficult thing to do as Fenmore, and he is doing it beautifully.

MICHAEL:

Fen is really fixated on Summer, so much so that now he is willing to do anything for her!  This is not good and spells big trouble!

MAX:

Everything he does is for his love for Summer.  He has this obsession with her.  Every action he does stems from that.

MICHAEL:

I think what is interesting is both Lauren and Michael have had obsessions of their own in their pasts, too!

TRACEY:

I was the object of an obsession by Fenmore’s Uncle … by the way!

CHRISTIAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Yeah, don’t forget, Kevin (Greg Rikaart)!  Michael is nothing without Lauren, who saved him and saved his brother… and then the focus has been this child by Michael and Lauren.  I will never forget a line we had under Lynn Latham (Ex-EP and head writer, Y&R) where Lauren says after receiving the news that she is pregnant: “We are happy Michael, aren’t we?” And Michael goes, “Are we?”  Initially it was about, “Yeah! We’re pregnant!”, and then it became about, “I don’t know how to be a good parent.”

TRACEY:

You know Lauren’s father died early on, and she had a horrible mother.  We had no role models.

CHRISTIAN:

Right.  And we did not get that standard scene with lines like, “Oh, the baby.”  It was more like, “Oh, now what?”

MAX:

I think that is awesome in a sense, and that is so realistic, especially with younger people such as 16-years-old getting pregnant.  But also at any age to have a child, I mean, I don’t know, but I am sure it’s very overwhelming.  I think what is cool about this is that if you see a family portrait, and you think it looks like perfection and if you tear apart, what is behind it is when you realize we are all human beings.  That is what it comes down to, especially for our on-screen family.

MICHAEL:

What is Fen doing?  Assisting Summer in the cyberbullying of Jamie?

MAX:

Courtesy/IMDB

Well, first I was trying to get her to stop.  Then she continues with it and he becomes the assistant!

MICHAEL:

Bullying is so prevalent among teens today, and has caused so many suicides.  Were you bullied in real-life, Max?

MAX:

Yes.  I personally experienced it.  I went to middle school in New Jersey, and I was always into the arts, and I got bullied.  I experienced it a lot.  So to be on the other end of it, the only thing that has been sort of an awakening is that a lot of these bullies are having their own internal struggle, and that is what I realized.  They may have something going on at home and they don’t know who to take it out on.  Summer is doing it because of her own struggle with her mom.  I don’t think she is a bad girl.  Fen just likes someone who is doing stupid things.

MICHAEL:

So, as the story plays out do you think this will band Lauren and Michael together as mother and father, or do you think it could cause a rift in the relationship due to how they each decide to deal with what Fen has done?

TRACEY:

Lauren sees her son as I see my son … that the sun shines all the time and the angels sing when they walk through the door no matter what they do.  As a mother, you want to see the good side of it.  I think like most mothers, Lauren will protect her son, no matter what.

CHRISTIAN:

Lauren and Michael fell in love as adults acknowledging each other’s dark side, and kind of a little fearful of their dark sides.  It’s interesting. Michael had dealt with Kevin and Terrible Tom and that history.  So Michael was being bullied by Terrible Tom, and then he left.  For Michael, it’s always truly about his ability, or inability, to protect the people he loves.  Kevin will always be that person that Michael owes, and dealing with his obsessive compulsion behavior for good, or for bad.  So how do you treat your own son after Michael let Kevin be tortured and left him?  So now, for Michael, seeing how obsessive his son has become and doing something that he despises, sets off so many red flags for him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MICHAEL:

Where would you like to see this storyline go?  And, how would you like to see it resolved?

TRACEY:

We want to do a musical episode!  I’m serious.

MAX:

We do want, too!

CHRISTIAN:

Max is in a boy band in real life, and he is in a show with Peter Porte (Ex-Ricky) where he sings.  So a musical could be fun.

MAX:

Seriously though, what I want is some resolution, of course.  I want Fenmore to find his heart.  He is not evil, whatsoever, but he has just fallen into a trap.  I think he will find his way out.

MICHAEL:

Jeff Branson (Ex-Ronan) left Y&R again, and from a recent interview it was reported that Jeff was to have more of the burden of this cyberbullying storyline being Jamie’s mentor.  But since his departure, it became more of Michael’s story with Fen.  Is that how this went down, Christian?

CHRISTIAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Ronan was mentoring Jamie.  Now I don’t know, if he was here and Ronan was dating Phyllis, how the bullying would end up?  You never know.  I so want Jeff Branson and Jennifer Landon (Ex-Heather) back on the show.  I do miss those two.  Jeff left because he is a working actor, and I do miss having him in a storyline with me. But this is how daytime is made.  You just never know how long someone might be staying put.  We all know at a certain point that what we are told ahead of time can happen, or can’t happen, because this has to be a very flexible medium, and we live real-time.  We are just so thankful that it ended up this way, and we have this amazing story to tell.

MAX:

When I heard about the storyline I would have with Summer, there is only so much you can do as a teenager on the show… such as, rebel or go drinking, or do something bad.  So when I heard this storyline and where it was going, I was very very excited.  Having Hunter King (Summer) on the show now is great, and Daniel Polo (Jamie).  They are just great actors to work with.  I know there have been a lot of changes on the show in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes since I first came on the show.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of that, how is it for you having new executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and returning head writer, Josh Griffith helming the show now?

TRACEY:

It’s been great, and the transition has been smooth and the writing has been rich and full.

CHRISTIAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Each one of these different producing and writing regimes has given us some terrific material.  Maria Arena Bell (Ex-EP and head writer, Y&R) gave me the chance to see Tracey do bitchy Lauren!  I have never seen her do that!  It was stunning.  We have been given good stuff, and it goes all the way back to Bill Bell (Creator, Y&R).  It’s not easy to capture lightening in a bottle.  I give credit to any person who is willing to step into those shoes, because I cannot imagine the pressure on anyone who tries to do that and write for 30-plus characters.  Now we have Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith as our executive producer and head writer.  The proof is in the pudding, and they are on set and very hands-on.

TRACEY:

They are very hands-on.  When you come on set, they are there.

CHRISTIAN:

And I go, “Why are these people on my set?  I have to focus!” (Laughs)

TRACEY:

Josh Griffith watches us a lot.  I like that.  It’s to see how to write for us, I am sure. Either that, or he is going, “What the hell was I thinking?”  (Laughs)  I really appreciate it, because I remember going, “Wait a minute. Is this when I do…”  And I was able to run over to Josh for clarification, and it was great and extremely helpful to my performance.

MAX:

My favorite thing I ever did on the show was my first scene.  Tracey and I were backstage and I don’t know why it felt like a vaudeville moment, (laughs) but Tracey turned to me and said, “Welcome to the show, kid!”  It was just the way she said it.  I knew it was the beginning of fun and madness.  And outside of work, I have had Thanksgiving at Tracey’s, and at Christmas I will probably spend it with Tracey’s family. All my family is in New Jersey, so I am a Bregman now by osmosis, I guess.  (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

Max, what does your family think of you being on the number one soap, The Young and the Restless?

MAX:

They love it!  As I told you, my grandfather is a huge Y&R fanatic.  He has been predicting things all the time that happen in the storylines!  He will say to me, “You’re mean.  You are doing bad things.”  I have to tell him, “It’s my character, not me.”  My whole family is very thrilled.

MICHAEL:

Tracey, I truly think that Lauren is suffering from chronic PTSD, after everything she has been through with Sheila!  I mean, I would, too!

LAUREN:

Honestly, what was really cool is that I talked about being Fen’s mother.  And, the fact that I had to send him away so much because of Sheila, and it affected me as a mother, and how it continually affected me because of the things I did early on to protect my children.  “Maybe, I was not the kind of mother I thought I should be.”   These were thoughts Lauren constantly has had.

MICHAEL:

So what would each of you say is the best part of being a member one of the most fascinating TV families?

TRACEY:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The fun part is when the whole Baldwin/Fisher family is together.  I remember thinking how we are all pieces of a puzzle that fit perfectly together, but they are not perfect edges.  Some jut out, some go inward, but the pieces imperfectly fit together once they are joined together.  I just love working with the incredible talent of Max and Christian, but also they are really, really good people.  I love to come to work because of these people.

CHRISTIAN:

I always bring up the moment where Lauren and Michael were watching a concert on the show.  We are sitting there and the crew took a break, however, we are still holding hands as Michael and Lauren.  We are just talking away while the crew is on a “five”, and they come up to us and go, “Hey guys, we are on break.”   I have always had a comfort level with Tracey physically right off the bat.  We have been lucky to have this family built around the character of Michael.  When Greg Rikaart walked in, there was an immediate sense of trust, and then came Judith Chapman (Gloria).  When you see, Judith and Greg, and Tracey and I in a scene together, it feels seamless while we are doing it.  There was just a level of trust between us that was never discussed.  We never had to hammer it out.  Sometimes, chemically you really have to work hard with other actors to attain the same level, and that has nothing to do with skill.  It has to do with chemistry.  It has to do with relationships.  Then to see Max walk in, who right away had this skill level, was great. Daytime can be very difficult just because of the speed and the pace of it.  I remember thinking, “Oh, I hope they are not going to cast some freak, who will have such a problem with us?” (Laughs)  It has been such a joy to come to work, even after 20 years now.  I come through those double doors here, and like Tracey, I’ve got to tell you, I am still interested.  Even on my worst days, it’s fun to be here.  I still feel like I am on a playground!

TRACEY:

We laugh! I mean, we did a lot of scenes the other day where we had to stand in the background for the very last scene.  I think we were on set for three and half hours, and while standing there I pulled out my phone because I was done with my dialog, and up came next week’s script.  I went, “Ooh!”  I started reading it thinking, “I can’t wait to do these new scenes!”   Look, we are very blessed.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MAX:

In closing, I have worked on my fair share of projects.  I don’t think I have ever come to work and felt such a sense of family.  We are an on-screen family, but off the stage we are like an artists’ family.  We have fun, and yes, we are dealing with very serious subjects in our stories.  We always check in with each other to see if we each are O.K, and yes, we have to focus on our own intentions, but we also look after each other.  It’s just a level of comfort that allows me to go to emotional places.  It’s been great to be on a show that gives me the opportunity to work with such fun people.  I have to mention that Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith have been really welcoming to me, and it could not be better.

 

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BeaconDoeLindaMary SFrobert Recent comment authors
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MK
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MK

What happened to the story that Fen was coming out Gay, did they chicken out?

robert
Guest
robert

Interesting

Mary SF
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Mary SF

Chemistry between actors is often that intangible ingredient that makes some soap relationships work and others don’t. It is obvious the actors that make up the Baldwin clan work well together and it shows on screen. And now that ME is having more scenes with CL and TB he is growing on me. I only wish he would pick a hair style and stick with it, but other than that- he is holding his own with the role. Lauren and Michael are one of my faves on the show- I am glad they have left them alone to have a… Read more »

Linda
Guest
Linda

It actually has been eight years together for Lauren and Michael as a couple and seven years married. Thanks for the interview. I love that Christian, Tracey and Max are so positive and excited about their story. I love Michael and Lauren as a couple and it is wonderful we are seeing them more on screen and getting heavily involved in family drama. The Baldwin-Fishers actors are all so talented and have been neglected too long. Good to see things changing.

Doe
Guest
Doe

I liked this interview very much, Michael. The three actors seem very comfotable with each other , and when the were talking they nade it seem so easy. I like where their story is going, However, you know Fen i s going to make trouble for Jamie. Chtistian and Lauren will have a big problem with Fen. I hope this byllying story will be better than some of the other soaps that have done the same story,

Beacon
Guest
Beacon

I wish you’d asked Tracey about Kimberlin Brown. Kim’s available to return to the show, she loves the character of Sheila but Victoria Rowell, Kim’s friend, said on twitter that a certain actress is “guarding the gate on that one” preventing Kim’s return. I can’t believe it to be Tracey. I always felt Kimberlin brought out the best in her.

General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright Talks on Mob Boss Carly and Her 30-Year Evolution in Daytime

She’s a fierce, force to be reckoned with, one who delivers raw and emotional performances time and time again, while never forgetting from where she came, and always willing to pass on to her newer co-stars’ the wisdom she gained from the grind of performing in front of the camera in the toughest acting genre there is … daytime drama.

General Hospital’s Laura Wright’s (Carly) real-life soap journey actually has a very humble beginning when in 1991 – fresh off a job at a gas station – she landed in Corinth and the role of Ally Rescott on ABC’s Loving.  Up next, a jaunt to its re-imagined version, The City, until the series ultimate demise in 1997. But that was just an appetizer for soap fans of Wright’s burgeoning talent, when next she ventured to Springfield and CBS’ Guiding Light to take on the role of a stripper with a heart-of-gold who ultimately would be crowned a princess, Cassie Layne. Then, after a popular 8-year-run, she would head to General Hospital, and one of the most coveted roles in soaps, that of Port Charles’ Carly Corinthos following in the footsteps of powerhouse actresses, Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun. In her 20th year in daytime, Laura took home the gold for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series back in 2011, and that brings us to now.  Next week on June 7th, marks Laura’s 30th year in daytime filled with memorable on and off-screen moments that she has cherished.

Meanwhile, currently on GH, Laura is getting to play Carly in a whole new set of circumstances as she enters her three-decade soap anniversary. In story, we find Carly stepping up to run the mob, now that she and everyone else believes her husband, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) is dead, and while her best friend and mob enforcer, Jason (Steve Burton) had to go on the run. And from the looks of it, Carly is adjusting to the mob boss role quite well … but is she really?

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Laura to get the lowdown on Carly’s life without Sonny, which has pushed her front and center into managing crimes and misdemeanors, mafia-style, all to protect the ones she loves, and to reflect on her amazing ride in daytime; which has made her one of the all-time leading ladies of the soaps.  Here’s what Laura shared about it all.

Photo: ABC

When you first found out what the structure of this storyline was going to be, where Sonny was going to “die” along with Julian (William deVry), and then he turns up alive and has amnesia, what was your initial thought?  Did you know how far they were going to take this for Carly, as far as her now running  the mob in Sonny’s place?

LAURA:  I had no idea about the mob part of it until about two months ago. As far as Sonny having amnesia and having another life now, I love those kinds of stories.  It also gives you as an actor something to play, and what else are you going to do with Sonny and Carly?  You can’t really break them up.  You’re talking to the person who is game for almost anything, so I loved it.  What does Carly’s life look like now as everybody believes that Sonny has died? How does she even take care of herself?  For me, it gave me great material to play because of how it all started to crumble.  Ava (Maura West) takes Avery, Cyrus (Jeff Kober) starts taking over the territory and the town, and Carly starts losing all of this security in her life as she knew it in trying to protect her family, and it was scary for her.

Photo: ABC

Of course, viewers could see where this storyline was heading once Carly lit in to Nina (Cynthia Watros), when Nina was in Nixon Falls and saw that Sonny was very much alive! You could see that Nina was going to seek revenge on Carly and not tell her about Sonny, aka “Mike”, all the while getting closer to him.  What do you think Carly would do if she found out that Nina was with Sonny and kept it from her?

LAURA:  You know, Carly before taking over the mob would have been awful, but now… and I was thinking about this the other day …  I’m like, “Carly would go after her with a gun!”

For years, I’ve always loved this idea of, “What if Carly became a mob boss?”

LAURA:  If they did have Carly go after Nina, then Jason and Sonny would be like, “You cannot do this.”  I think there is this blind rage, at least for a moment.  It can’t just be standing there and yelling at her, do you know what I mean?  Carly would probably take action and then Nina would disappear, or it’s like ‘get me away from her because I am going to kill her’ for what this woman did.  So, you have to have at least an episode of that before you come to your senses and realize that you have children and responsibilities, and you’re going to have to do this the right way, but you have to have the moment of losing it.  It’s stealing their life.  It’s great stuff.  My other thoughts are, “Poor Cynthia,” (laughs) because she’s got to be the nicest human being on the planet, and she is so fun to work with, and so great and committed, so we are going to have some interesting times getting through whatever they write.  I have no idea what they’re writing by the way, and I have no idea when it’s going to happen, but I am sure it will be great.

Photo: ABC

With the way GH shoots their taping schedule, I am assuming now you barely see Maurice, because you are basically in two different parts of this interconnecting story?

LAURA:  We shoot by set.  So, if Maurice is working in the morning, and I am scheduled at let’s say at noon, by the time I get there, he’ll be gone.  So, it’s fascinating. It’s kind of running parallel of what is happening on and off screen because I don’t see him at work, either.

Photo: ABC

Carly seems that she is becoming pretty comfortable in this mob role.  There was a scene that recently aired between Diane (Carolyn Hennesy) and Carly, where Carly was discussing her options of what to do with Gladys (Bonnie Burroughs).  Does Carly like the power this brings her?

LAURA:  I think so, but it’s not like she’s sitting around going, “Oh, this is amazing.”  It’s seriously what she has to do.  What she is seeing is that there are so many moving parts that she didn’t realize how difficult it was.  Sonny made it look easy.  There’s not a time to even take a breath.  You’ve got to always be on your toes.  You know, she is doing it in ‘Carly fashion,’ so it’s always entertaining, and trying as a woman to put out all the fires, but there’s 20 fires behind it, because there is just someone constantly trying to take your seat, trying to hurt your family.  There’s just always something to look out for whether it be from the other families or law enforcement.  I think that Carly is surprised that she is good at it and surprised at how making these decisions is becoming easier and easier for her, but I don’t know if she sits back and enjoys it.  At this point, from air to what we are taping, the decisions don’t stop, and the danger doesn’t stop, and more decisions have to be made, and there is no one else to do it.  This is a world that is life or death.  This isn’t like, “Well, if they don’t like me, I’ll just find someone else to do the job.”  There’s nobody else to do that job.  It’s not that world.  You don’t get to walk away, and she is learning that more and more, as she plays in the big world.

Photo: ABC

So, Jason went on the run with Britt (Kelly Thiebaud).  How does Carly feel about that?

LAURA:  Britt saved his life.  She said that on camera.  “She saved your life; she can take you wherever.  I trust her.”  Carly saw how Britt stepped up and helped him.  I don’t think there is anything else that Carly is thinking right now.  Carly doesn’t have the luxury of being old Carly and being snippy, catty, wanting to vet every person in Jason’s life.  It’s just not her reality right now.  That would be a luxury if she could go back and be that person, but that’s not it.  Right now, it’s assessing the situation.  “Is he safe?  Is she taking care of him?  Great.  I don’t care about anything else right now.”  This is the difference between old Carly and mob-boss Carly.  Those days are gone.  She would give anything to go back to those days because she didn’t have to have the world on her shoulders because Jason was safe, and Sonny was alive.  It’s not where she is now.  It’s a different dynamic that she was forced into.

Photo: ABC

When you and Steve Burton are in scenes together, whether it’s just in your eyes, or expressions or emotions, there is so much going on, or at least that’s how it plays to the audience.  Is the relationship between Carly and Jason one of your favorites to play, because it’s so unique and deep rooted into their history? 

LAURA:  Oh, I love the Carly/Jason relationship. It’s the loyalty and that their dedication to each other is unbendable, unbreakable.  It’s so unwavering.  It’s great to play because it’s like being in a really good relationship, even though he’s not her ‘person’, but he kind of is.  It’s being in a great relationship that means that you get to be 100% you and everything that means, and that person loves and accepts you. There’s such incredible love and freedom, and that’s what it’s like to work with Steve because Steve approaches our scenes – and almost every scene when I watch him with other people – that there is no undercutting judgment, only help.  If I’m struggling with a line or I don’t want to do something, he’s either like, “Yeah, I agree. That’s unnecessary; cut it,” or he gives me a really great way of looking at it, where I’m like, “Oh, that is a really interesting thing, thanks!”  So, then you have full freedom to feel and play and do anything, and that’s kind of what you see.  There’s just a confidence, and I think it is also the relationship.  I think it has to be there when I work with Steve because the relationship between Carly and Jason is that way.

Photo: JPI

Carly and Jason accept each other for who they are, all their flaws, and the dangers that come with their lives.  Wouldn’t you say?

LAURA:  She accepts him 100% for who he is.  She wants to manipulate the world around him, so he is safe, and perfect, and always there, but she still accepts him when nobody else does and vice versa.  He knows that Carly is going to destroy things, and mess up, and spiral.  Like, she had that scene where she said, “Even when Jason knows I’m wrong, he supports me.” It’s really that right there that is everything between the two of them, and it’s the hardest thing to find in any relationship, real life, TV, etc.  We always want to change people to make them be who we want them to be so that we feel okay. It’s a great soap opera relationship because it causes conflict in every other relationship that they have, which is great for storytelling in a show because then there is always a challenge, always a hurdle, always a problem built-in if you need drama. It’s because there is so much acceptance and unconditional love and support that they are free to be who they need to be, and I feel that as an actor working Steve as well.  I think that’s what you see when you say there’s ‘a lot going on’.

Carly’s plan for Gladys took quite a turn!

LAURA:  Well, Carly thought the second that Cyrus finds out that Brando (Johnny Wactor) is the father of Sasha’s (Sofia Matteson) baby that Cyrus is going to want to take him out, so she basically said to Gladys, “Look, I’ll set you up.  I’ll give you all the money you want.  Hell, I’ll even buy you a house.  Leave town, but you have to tell everybody that you lied about Jason,” and she doesn’t bite the bait.  So, you then have Carly saying, “Well, we can do this the easy way where I just pay for your life and you go, or we can do it the hard way,” and the hard way is me letting her know that, “You have a grandchild on the way, and your son is going to be murdered if you don’t do this for me,” because it puts Cyrus back in prison because he is on probation, and he has now obstructed justice.  It’s all on Gladys’s testimony.  That was Carly’s plan.  Right now, her biggest threat is Cyrus and obviously as viewers have seen things did not go as planned!

Photo: ABC

June 7th you will be celebrating 30 years on daytime! Do you remember your first day on Loving? What happened?

LAURA:  I do.  Oh, God!  I remember what dress I had on.  I remember how my hair was.

Were you like in “Oz”?

LAURA:  I looked like Oz. (Laughs) I looked like Dorothy… the dress they had me in, the hair, are you kidding?  I didn’t know what a boom was!  I was really loud.  I had one line: “Grandma!” and that was it, and then they had to note that because I kept saying, “Grandmaw,” and they were like, “It’s not ‘Grandmaw.’  It’s ‘Grandma.’”  Then, I did whatever they said at first, but then the longer I was on the show, I was like, “I say ‘Grandmaw.’ I’m not saying ‘Grandmuh.’ I don’t care. (Laughs) Everyone gets their own personalization of how they say what they say.”  That was my big argument, and now I’ve had a thousand arguments over 30 years, but that was my first big pushback because I would be doing, what in my mind was great work.  I got all of the lines out, my God, and that was before we could do pickups, and when we shot the show in order. Those cameras had wheels. So if you were on set, and they shot the scene before us, you had to be ready to go, and they would fly down the studio on those cameras to set up to start shooting the next scene.  If I got through a scene and they had to do it over again because I said, “Grandmaw,” I would be so angry. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

Who helped you the most on Loving?

LAURA:  Nada Rowand, who played my grandmother, Lisa Peluso, who played my aunt on the show, and Eric Woodall was my best friend and he played Matt Ford.  He and I would get together every Sunday night, and here’s a little bit of trivia for you … Eric lived with Billy Porter! They graduated from Carnegie Mellon together.  So, I would go over to his apartment, and on Sunday night, we would go over all of the scripts together for the whole week because Eric graduated from Carnegie Mellon; I worked at a gas station. (Laughs) We had very different talents that we were bringing to the table for this soap opera job.  Eric helped me a great deal, my gosh, and so did Bernie Barrow (Ex-Louis).

Bernie was an amazing actor and the only Daytime Emmy winner, ever from Loving!

LAURA:  I had scenes with Bernie because he played my grandfather on the show. I had no idea about half the notes that they were giving me. Bernie would pull me aside and explain what they meant and teach it to me in a way where I knew how to incorporate it into my scenes and adjust and take the notes.  He was extremely helpful.  Then, there is the famous Noelle Beck (Ex-Trisha) story, where two weeks after starting the show, Eric and I were invited to go to the Daytime Emmy Awards.  I was dying because I grew up watching daytime television, and I grew up watching the Daytime Emmys.  So, when I was allowed to go, I told my mom to ship me my prom dress from my senior year of high school, which was this poufy, emerald green thing, and it looked like something from Dynasty with jewels all over it.  I got it, and I was so excited, and everyone on the show was like, “Oh, my God, someone has got to tell her … she cannot wear that dress.”  I didn’t know you could go to wardrobe and ask to borrow a dress, because I’d only been on the show for two weeks maybe.  The same day, they came to me and said, “So, if Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica, AMC) doesn’t win, you’re going to be interviewed on Good Morning America the next morning about how the gas station girl got a job.”  So, it was a big deal. I’m getting ready for the Emmys, and to put this emerald-green dress on, and there is this knock on my door, and it’s Noelle Beck.  She has this beautiful, black, strapless dress. She’s like, “Your dress is beautiful, but I don’t know, I think this is really simple, and I think you might really look beautiful in it if you want to try it on.”

Photo: JPI

Her dress?

LAURA: Her dress! It was a dress that was in Noelle’s closet on the show because she went to wardrobe and was like, “Laura cannot wear that emerald green prom dress.  She will be laughed at.”  I would have been mortified because I did not know what people wore.  I had never been to a red carpet! Noelle went to wardrobe, and they all came up with this dress, and so she came to me and said, “Your dress is so pretty, but I think this might go better with Eric’s suit,” or however she sold it! I tried it on, and I just felt so sophisticated, and I was like, “It’s okay if I wear this!?” and she’s just like, “Oh, my God, yeah!”  When I think back to that story, I’m like, ‘thank God for Noelle Beck’.  It was one of the funniest stories ever, and her dressing room was right across the hall from me, and she was from Maryland; I was from Maryland.  She was like a sister.  Noelle was always looking out for me, personally.

Photo: ABC

Over the years, you have become one of the great leading ladies of daytime.  Was there a moment, when you were like, “I’ve got this down now … I really know what I’m doing.”

LAURA:   There have been different moments.  I remember the first time where I felt like ‘an actor.’  It was when they shot and killed Casey (Paul Anthony Stewart) on Loving, and he had to die in my arms.  I embodied something and felt it in a way that was different.  I didn’t know what it was at the time because I was playing my emotions of Paul leaving the show. I was really confused because I was like, “Do I really like this guy?” like in real life, because I didn’t know.  I didn’t have any tools of acting to know how to separate.  I was so in love with the characters’ love story, which was also my feelings at the time because I didn’t know the difference.  I didn’t know where Ally stopped, and Laura started.  I was just kind of playing myself.  I remember they called Paul to the set for a goodbye, and they were giving him a big cake and everything, and I could barely hold it together.  I couldn’t believe he was leaving.  I was like, “You’re going to say, ‘I changed my mind,’ right?” and I really believed that.  I really was like, “There’s just no way he’s going.”  Then, we had to shoot his scene, and I was very emotional and upset.  But, it was the next day where I had to go and play the scenes where he is dead and talk about it to the family, and that was when I just lost it.  I just changed as an actor in those scenes.  I remember having an opinion.  When the writers were telling me the story that they were going to tell, I remember saying, “Well, I think the interesting moment is she is not going to believe it,” and they were like, “What do you mean?”  I say, “When she comes home from the hospital, I think she needs to be like, ‘We have to go back.  Casey is at the hospital, and he needs us,’ and they were like, “That’s such a great thing to play.”  That’s what shifted for me.  I just remember there was a moment where Ally couldn’t lie anymore. She couldn’t convince herself, and then she had to tell her son that Casey wasn’t coming back.  I really understood what it was to get lost to a scene; what it was to not be Laura going, “I’m going to act now and play this scene.”  I learned how to become the character and transform in the moment.

It’s was on-the-job training.

LAURA:  Oh, for sure on-the-job training, because I went to one acting class thinking that in New York City I need to know what I’m doing, and I was so terrified to get up and speak in a scene that I literally could not talk.  I couldn’t even function outside of the safety of what I knew on a soap opera set.  I had that happen with my meditation teacher training a few years ago.  I almost left the training because it was terrifying for me to get up and not know what I’m going to do and have the script, no cameras in front of me!  It was very bizarre.

Photo: CBS

And later, Guiding Light came your way!

LAURA: When The City got canceled, I shot a pilot that did not get picked up, and my agents were like, “What do you want to do?” and I was like, “I’m really good at daytime… can we just stick with that?  I don’t really want to do this auditioning thing.” So, then all of the sudden within a week of me saying, “I think I’ll do daytime again,” I had a screen-test for All My Children and Guiding Light at the exact same time.  I was like, “What are the parts?” and I wasn’t going to pit them against each other because my agent was like, “It’s bad taste. We don’t represent that kind of negotiation.” You have to pick because before you go into any screen-test, you already have a pre-negotiated contract, and the deal has been placed.  So, you know going in what your situation will be.  So, it was All My Children, playing a doctor, or a stripper with a heart-of-gold on Guiding Light.  It was the role and that Guiding Light just had a better money offer that pushed me towards that screen-test. Then, I had to go in and meet Paul Rauch (Former EP, GL) before I screen-tested, and then Jim Brown and Barbara Esensten who were now the head writers at GL. They wrote for me on The City.  They were the ones who said, “Let’s get Laura Wright in here and see if she wants to do this.”  It’s interesting, because when they were shooting Annie’s (Cynthia Watros) big trial on Guiding Light, and Kim Zimmer (Reva) had these incredible, long days and tons of dialogue in the courtroom scenes. Then, they throw this screen-test at her with me in the middle of the afternoon! I remember when we were doing the scene. Kim had jumped to another part in it, and of course, I knew the script backwards and forwards because I’ve had it for a week and a half.  Kim had probably looked at it that day because she’s got a thousand other lines that she’s learning for that week of shows.  We were in the middle of the scene, and they’re rolling cameras, it’s very emotional, we’re going at each other, and Kim had jumped to the next page of a line, but I knew exactly where she went, so I went right there. We got back on track and ended the scene, and Kim goes, “She just saved my ass in that screen-test!” and we just started laughing.  It was a great moment.

Photo: LWInstagram

The cast of Guiding Light was so amazing!

LAURA:  So amazing, and that’s where I met my man.

Wes Ramsey (Ex-Sam, GL, now Peter, GH) at the time had a crush on you if I recall the story.

LAURA:  Yes, he had a crush.  I don’t know if he wanted to go out with me because when I first came on, I was pregnant, so that would have been weird! (Laughs) We have a funny story that he told me four years ago when we got together. Wes was going through old photos that he had logged into his computer and was trying to put things in different files, and he’s like, “Oh, my God.”  He had come back a few times on Guiding Light after he’d left, and one of the times was after I’d had my son, and this was when Richard had died, and Cassie had chopped all of her hair off.  So, he was going through these photos and he showed me that he had snuck a picture of me.  (Laughs) Then, he’s like, “See, I told you I had a crush!”  I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so funny!”

Do you and Wes run lines together at home, even though you are in different storylines on GH?

LAURA:  If he needed me too, I would, but Wes has a totally different way of learning his lines than I do.  His prep work is very different than mine.  His is very professional and probably how you should do it. He is a Juilliard graduate.  So, he was taught well, and I’ve just figured it out.  Mine is just pure survival …’the gas station girl’.

Photo: ABC

What was the impact Guiding Light had on the trajectory of your career?

LAURA:  Guiding Light was 100% an actors show. They told a different kind of story, and the actors across the board were serious and wanted you to take it just as seriously. You were either going to sink or swim on that show, and I had to figure out how to swim. I think I spent the first six months in my dressing room crying when I wasn’t on set, trying to figure it out.  I was really taken care of on Loving.  I was 20-years-old when I got that part, 27 when I left. When I went to Guiding Light, it wasn’t like I wasn’t taken care of and protected, but it was a new energy. No one knew me.  No one knew what I was capable of.  I didn’t even know what I was capable of at the time, and you weren’t going to phone it in there.  I started working with Kim Zimmer and Jordan Clarke (Ex-Billy Lewis).  My God, you’re thrown in with people who make you feel things and play things that are uncomfortable, because that’s what we do as actors.  We make it uncomfortable, and we stretch the boundaries, and we play these emotions that are so raw and real.  One day I was freaking out over a scene with the characters of Edmund and Dinah, and I just said I would never do this.  I was just adamant. The director, said, “We have to do this.  So, you have to give me one reason where you could stay in this room.”  I said, “I guess my daughter could walk in the door, and I don’t want to leave her,” and he goes, “Great!  That’s great,” and I go, “Or…” and it just opened this door of there’s a thousand ways I could play a scene.

Photo: CBS

When you came onto General Hospital and embodied Carly, did you feel like this was it now… and that you were in command of your craft?

LAURA:  No, because it took me a long time to get comfortable.  I’m the fourth Carly, so you want to honor what they’re writing, you want to honor the fans and what they love about the character, and there were three women who played her before me and somebody loved something about all of them. So, you want to bring that, as well as make your own mark.  You’re taking over a leading female role of the show with that much passion and dialogue that comes with the character, so it was a lot of pressure at first, but I was excited for it.  I showed up every day ready to kick ass, but as far as feeling like, “Ha ha, it’s mine; I’ve made it!”, I’ve never felt that.

Photo: ABC

I have spoken to many of your co-stars through the years, and they often share how you helped them within a scene, or with something they were struggling with.  That is where experience can be a great asset for a performer in this medium.

LAURA:  As a female lead on the show, I do think it’s important to lift other women up to become their own female leads, and I do mean that.  If I’m working with someone, and I see them get a note that they don’t understand, or it’s a technical note, but gosh, it’s an important scene for them emotionally, anything I can do to help them in that moment, whether it has anything to do with me or not, I am there for.  There was a bathroom scene that I think aired a week or so ago with Carly and Sasha.  In the scene, Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) has all of her makeup in front of her, and the shot they need to get is through the mirror.  Sasha has a full conversation with Carly, who is standing upstage. It’s very difficult to do that when you don’t have rehearsal time to figure it out. They gave her the note that they needed her to say her line into the mirror, or they can’t get her face, right? I’m like, “Hey, do you have any idea how you’re going to do that?” because it’s so hard! I wanted to help. Having 30 years’ experience in something feels great, and it’s shocking because where did those 30 years go? What incredible memories I have, but what it’s gifted me the most is being able to help people through my experience, and through what I have learned along the way.  The whole show shines when we all shine, not just when one person does.

Photo: LWrightInstagram

What do you think your late parents would say about your 30 years in daytime?

LAURA:  Oh, they would be so proud… so happy.  It’s just so crazy that it’s been 30 years, and 2020 being the longest year with what we all experienced with Covid-19.  Looking back on my daytime career, I don’t know why, the shows didn’t let me go. I think it really was work ethic.  I can really say my work ethic is a huge part of me sticking around because I never got lazy.  I was never not going to figure it out.  I was never one to show up not knowing her lines, or being a problem, or not caring. I think that’s what kept me going, and then listening, watching, feeling, and I’m just so grateful.  I’m like, “Wow, what a ride!”

Photo: ABC

… And what can you say about what your time as Carly has meant to you within your now illustrious daytime career?

LAURA:  I love every second of it.  It’s my choice how I show up on that soundstage.  After 30 years, I am not bored.  I have had my moments of trying to find the fun in it and caring about Carly’s storyline at the time. That’s my own choice though, right?  It’s a choice – how I choose to show up every day there – and what I choose to find interesting and challenging, and I do.  No matter what storyline they’ve given me, I can choose for it to be, “Okay, I’m here.  I’ve been doing this for so long, I could do it in my sleep,” or I could choose to show up and go, “Where am I going to kickass today?  Where is the moment?”  Now, I don’t love the amount of time it takes for my hair to get blown out; I’ll be honest (Laughs). I’m an antsy person.  But when I get on set, it’s my choice to find the love and the fun of it, whatever that is for me.  I choose to open up every script I get, the second I get it, and am always excited to see what I’m doing.

Photo: ABC

Finally, what would you say, as a tease of what we should look forward to in the coming weeks involving Carly?

LAURA:  All I can say is there is amazing stuff coming, amazing performances, amazing excitement, amazing heartbreak, amazing surprises.  It’s all coming.

So, are you into Carly running the mob? What do you think will happen when and if Carly finds out Nina has been with Sonny aka Mike for months?  What has been your favorite moment of Laura’s on the soaps throughout her 3 decades in daytime? Share your thoughts and congrats to Laura in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Telma Hopkins and Bryton James Talk on their ‘Family Matters’ Connection, Amanda Sinclair’s Past, and the songs of Tony Orlando and Dawn

This week, kicks-off a very special guest appearance by Telma Hopkins on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.  Hopkins plays Denise Tolliver, a private eye with some very important intel for Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan), about her past, her father, and her biological family drama.

Photo:CBD

Telma’s guest stint on Y&R reunites her with her dear friend and former on-screen son, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) after they appeared together on the late 80’s and 90’s sitcom Family Matters.  Fans of the comedy series remember a very young Bryton as Richie Crawford and Telma as his mother, Rachel.  Year laters, they now have the opportunity to work together in Genoa City.

Photo: CBS

In a new interview out today on the Michael Fairman Channel, Telma and Bryton chat virtually with Michael, and we learn that Telma is a longtime fan of Y&R, a huge fan of Mishael Morgan’s, and just how Denise Tolliver’s arrival in Genoa City will set the stage for fireworks to come.

And while Telma and Bryton reminisce about first their first impressions of each other on the Family Matters set, we also delve into another key part of Hopkins career as part of the iconic singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, whose hit singles included: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole’ Oak Tree”, “Candida”, “She Don’t Love You” and more.

Photo: CBS

So, excited to see Telma and Bryton together again? What were your first impressions of Telma as Denise Tolliver on today’s Y&R? What is your favorite Tony Orlando and Dawn tune? Did you watch “Family Matters” with Telma and Bryton years ago? Share your thoughts in the comment section.  But first check out their full interview below.

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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: Daytime Emmy Nominations Special 2021 Replay

Last night, during the Daytime Emmy Nominations Special Livestream on the Michael Fairman Channel, 15 nominated performers who will be going for gold on the upcoming 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, shared their reactions and their excitement at learning they were in the running in the major Daytime Drama performer categories as chosen by their peers.

Throughout the livestream, the actors also shared what scenes they chose for their reels in the competition that landed them in the top spots in their respective categories.

Photos: ABC, CBS, JPI, NBC

During the broadcast, Michael welcomed: The Bold and the Beautiful’s Darin Brooks and Courtney Hope, General Hospital’s, Maurice Benard, Finola Hughes, Max Gail, Briana Lane and Dominic Zamprogna, The Young and the Restless’ Bryton James, Melissa Claire Egan and Alyvia Alyn Lind, and Days of our Lives nominees: Victoria Konefal, Cady McClain, Wally Kurth, George DelHoyo, and Tamara Braun.

In addition, NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp shared insight into this year’s nomination process, the year in daytime, and teased what to look for on the upcoming Daytime Emmy Telecast on June 25th on CBS, where the award show recently got a two-year pick-up.

In case you missed it, enjoy this kick-off to Emmy season and watch the Daytime Emmy Nominations Replay below.  Then let us know what moments you enjoyed the most during our show, and who you are rooting for to take home Emmy gold in the comment section.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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