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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
Guest
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

WATCH: The Cast of ‘Studio City’ Talk On the Latest Five Episodes & The Making of the Critically-Acclaimed Digital Drama

It’s one of the most talked about digital dramas out there, with a look and feel all its own, containing smart, witty, and dramatic plots and dialogue, and stellar performances abound.

In Amazon Prime’s Studio City, the story about life on a soap in front of the camera juxtaposed with the often harsh reality of life behind the scenes, will have any fan of the genre getting a kick out of some of the very familiar soap tropes contained within balanced with the five-hankie moments throughout  And now, Studio City has dropped their latest five episodes picking the story back up from where it left off.

Michael Fairman chatted with the cast of Studio City in his latest interview for The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube. Those taking part in this virtual conversation included: Sean Kanan (Sam), Sarah Joy Brown (Laurie), Tristan Rogers (Doc), Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria), Scott Turner Schofield (Max), Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene), and Justin Torkildesn (Jacob).  Ronn Moss, who also appears in the series playing a version of himself, was filming a movie during the scheduling of this chat, but his presence is felt when some hilarious moments featuring him and Sean Kanan were discussed.

Soap fans know these actors very well.  Kanan, Brown, Hennesy and Rogers have all, or are presently appearing, on General Hospital.  B&B fans recognize Torkilden, Horsford, Moss, and Schofield along with Kanan from their work on the CBS Daytime drama.

Getting a show up and running and then taped during the Covid-19 pandemic is no easy task as Kanan shared in the group interview.  As well, Anna Maria Horsford and Sarah Joy Brown share how they came to their parts and the rapid-fire pace in which their scenes were shot.  Tristan Rogers, who won a Daytime Emmy last year for his performance as Doc, gives another heartbreaking turn, and reveals his thoughts on the work he did, plus shares his remembrances of his late friend and GH co-star, John Reilly.

Scott Turner Schofield talks about how Sean and his wife Michele Kanan, two of the creators of the show, have given him and the transgender community a space with Max’s storyline in Studio City.  GH favorite, Carolyn Hennesy shares how she crafted her role of Gloria, the executive producer, after Jill Farren Phelps, and Daytime Emmy winner Justin Torkildsen shares how he wound up with a part in the digital drama and the scenes he shares with Hennesy.

You can check out the full Studio City cast interview below.  Then let us know, have you checked out the series? What have been your favorite moments and performances in it? Let us know in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Mishael Morgan Talks Amanda’s Gut-Wrenching Scenes With Her Mother, Romance with Devon & Vice-President Kamala Harris’ Historic Moment

Since Mishael Morgan returned to The Young and the Restless as Hilary’s twin, Amanda Sinclair, it’s been a slow burn for the character.  However, recent revelations of Amanda’s childhood past have exposed the emotional wounds and the inner fight of this legal eagle, who is now poised for a romance with her late sister’s husband, Devon Hamilton (Bryton James)!

And who better to take on the challenge of trying to make Amanda and Devon a couple to root for then the talented Morgan.  In recent scenes, viewers watched as Amanda learned the harsh reality from her biological mother, Naya (Ptosha Storey), that she gave her and her sister up at birth and never really regretted it! Mishael played those scenes as you would expect for all they were worth and then some.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the Trinidadian-Canadian Morgan, as the United States marked Martin Luther King Day on Monday – a holiday that holds a special place for her – and then the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice-President of the United States on Wednesday and its historical significance.

 

While Mishael shares her thoughts on these moments of our time, we also do a deep-dive into how she created a second life in Genoa City and the challenges of playing a twin and making her unique and different, plus what fans should look forward to in the months ahead, which to us looks like it could be a love triangle between Elena (Brytni Sarpy), Devon, and Amanda.  And, as the second anniversary of the death of Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) is fast approaching, Morgan opens up about the impact her former co-star had on her daytime career.  Here’s what Mishael had to say about it all below.

Photo: AP

Yesterday was such a historic day watching the swearing in ceremony of Kamala Harris, as Vice-President of the United States.  She is the first woman, first Black woman, first Indian woman, so many firsts to hold this office.  I just wanted to get your thoughts from watching it.  What was it like for you?

MISHAEL:  For me it was such a beautiful moment, and such a defining moment because now there is no person in America who can feel like they can’t do it all, that they can’t make it to the highest level of office, or at least one of the highest levels of office.  I think that is going to transform this country and the world in many ways because the rest of the world really does pay attention to American politics, and to what goes on in America.  I think it will really have a ripple effect throughout the entire world.  For me, it was so exciting to see this moment actually come to fruition because I think that the impact is even greater than we all could imagine.  You never know who you’re inspiring.

Photo: Hustory.com

It was really amazing, and this was also right after Martin Luther King Day and I know you produced your “I Have a Dream” Project.  How was the holiday for you?

MISHAEL:  It was funny because even though I did the MLK project, I didn’t really think that it was something I could really explain to my son.  Then, yesterday my son really wanted to know: “What was Martin Luther King Day about?  Why was it a holiday?”  It was so interesting because I had to come up with a way to explain it to a five-year-old, and what I came up with was so basic but so true.  I just said, “This was a day when Martin Luther King, a very famous man, who was famous because he stood up for everybody’s rights, and he marched to make sure that everybody can do the same things in this country as everyone else no matter how they look,” and that’s what he was.  He wasn’t just a champion for just Black lives.  I think he is a champion for equality, and he is a champion for making sure that we always remember to see each other the same.

Is that what inspired you originally to do your project?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  100%.  I remember being inspired by Martin Luther King as a child when I was learning about him for Black History Month and stuff like that, and then when all of the social unrest happened, I just remembered him again, and it was something that I wanted to explore.  When I started reading about him again, I just became so inspired by him all over again that I wanted to do something, and that’s what really inspired me to do the “I Have a Dream” Project.

Photo: Getty

I just hope that we will make strides in our country in stomping out systemic racism – it’s such a deeply-entrenched issue in our society.  A lot of people talk, but we need action to bring change to the system.

MISHAEL:  That’s the thing, I think that this moment, you can’t stop – like the moment when Kamala Harris got sworn in as our Vice-President – you can’t stop the train now because strides will be made that the next generation will look at as normal, and of what it means to be a Black woman or a woman in this country is going to change forever.  It’s the next generation that is really going to continue to move it forward.  So, I think that at the end of the day.  This will always be something that’s remembered.

Courtesy/CBS

Now on to Y&R, I wanted to tell you that these performances that you gave that recently aired were just great.  I always love it when they give you the ball.  How did you feel about the scenes and the storyline, where we learn the deep pain and hurt of Amanda’s childhood and the truth from her mother?

MISHAEL:  I was so excited to play it because for me, I really love telling human stories.  I love diving into that part of myself, and I really know that a huge part of why I am an actor is because I just have this outpouring level of empathy for every life that’s lived.  When I talk to people, and they tell me their stories, I want to take it on because I want to show that beautiful side of humanity.  So being given this story, I wanted to be very careful with it, because I knew that this is a reality for a lot of people.  I also thought about the fact that twin stories have always been done before, paternity stories have been done before, but I have to make sure that it comes from a truly honest place inside of me and a truly empathetic place.  I was excited to take on the challenge to be true to myself, and be true to my artist, and just find the beauty and the honesty in this real human story.

Courtesy/CBS

Ptosha Storey, who played your on-screen mother, Naya, was amazing in the scenes with you.  What was it like working with her and the gravity of it, where this woman is basically unapologetic that she didn’t want her children and she gave them up, and she did not sugar-coat it.

MISHAEL:  Ptosha was amazing.  I loved working with her.  We really got to kind of know each other a little bit.  She has such an interesting story about coming to LA to pursue acting, taking a break from it, (and I don’t want to speak for her), but then really going full-throttle right now when Black, female characters are being played, and she’s getting an opportunity to get back out there and do what she loves to do.  Just listening to her story was so inspiring to me. We had a true respect for each other when we got on the stage, and I think we made some art.

Photo: JPI

It was almost like watching a two-person play in those scenes.  What did Amanda feel at this point?  Was she hoping that her mother would say, “I loved you.  I wanted you?”  Was she hoping for a different outcome in her head?

MISHAEL:  I think anybody who goes into a search for their parents is hoping for a positive outcome.  I think for her, it was heartbreaking to hear that if Naya could go back and do it all over again, she would have made the same choices, and also knowing that those choices really impacted Amanda’s life in an incredible way.  I don’t think that all of it has come out yet.  I think a lot of the pain and hurt that she had to go through as a child, and the loneliness that she had to go through as a child, and hearing from a mother that she would put you back in that situation because it was more comfortable for her, and the level of selfishness is hard to take. Then there is the anger and everything that would come out of hearing that from your biological mother.  It’s funny because the way that those scenes were scripted, there was no stage direction, which to me, I love, because a lot times it will say like, “in this moment she is going to get a little angry,” or, “in that moment she is going to be sad,” but for those scenes, for some reason (and they were really juicy scenes) they really didn’t give much direction. I appreciated that because then it really allowed me to really just make the scene what I thought it was and just really live in the moment.  I know this was a roundabout way to answer the question, but yes, it was very heartbreaking because nobody expects that somebody would say that to them.

Photo: JPI

It was just so heartbreaking.  I kept thinking, “Maybe she’ll…” but no, Naya just stood her ground on it even though Amanda grew up in a foster home.  She wasn’t the “chosen” twin either!

MIHAEL:  No, and she was never chosen, and I think that’s an interesting thing that you said because she was never chosen, and I then even to this day, as a grown woman, she still isn’t chosen, and that I think is heartbreaking.  It’s an interesting thing because I do happen to have a bit of a personal experience with this.  My father wasn’t in the foster system, but he was raised… kind of farmed out to two aunts as a young child and didn’t really get to have a relationship with his parents until he was older, and with his mother, until he was in his 20s.  So, it was so fascinating watching my father.  I just remember always looking up to him and thinking he was so strong, and so powerful, and never cared about what anybody thought, and because of his upbringing, it made him a very driven person, very much like Amanda, but there was a weird sense of wanting to be good enough when his father was around, or when people talked about his father.  It was very fascinating for me to watch that.  It was like I would see my father almost turn into a child again, just wanting that love.  I think it’s because that is so organic to who we are as human beings that it just never goes away, that need to know that your parents love you, that there are two people in this world who no matter what will be there for you, and they will love you.  That’s a hard reality to come to when you realize that’s not true.  I think that’s something that’s really hard for the human spirit to let go of.

Photo: MMorganIG

Yes, and I think what you are saying is also true that you realize as an adult that we are so deeply affected by our childhood and how it plays into our choices, or how we perceive things that happen in our lives.  So, when you think of that, and because you’re a mom, doesn’t it make you feel even more that you want to do right by your kids? That you don’t want to do anything to screw them up in their later years?

MISHAEL:  Yes, it’s true.  It does make you want to be the best person for them and the best example, especially the best example for love.  You want them to feel accepted, and appreciated, and proud, and you want them to know that you’re proud of them.  You want to do everything you can because you think of every single person you may have met who felt like their parents didn’t love them enough, and you want to do every single thing to make sure that your child doesn’t feel that way.  I talked to one of my friends, and they’re like, “My parents never told me that they were proud of me,” and I’m like, “Alright!  Well, Niam, I am so proud of you!” Every day, “I am proud of you!  I am proud!”  It’s like every day I better make sure to tell my kids that I am proud of them, and that I love them.  I was talking to Bryton James about this because I had a disciplinary moment with my son, and you wonder if they are going to take it the way that you take it, but at the end of the day, that might get burned into his memory as “the worst thing that my mom ever did to me,” and meanwhile I thought it was a life lesson that I think he learned.  You kind of have to get rid of that fear that you are going to screw them up because I think it doesn’t matter.  You’re either going to love them too much, or you’re not going to love them enough, and you just have to do the best that you can, and you just hope that it’s good enough.

Photo:JPI

Now, you were brilliant as Hilary on Y&R and had this amazing story send-off, and then you came back to the show as Amanda, a new character.  How has it been to try to define Amanda as her own character without the ‘Hilary-isms’, or does it not matter anymore?  Do you feel you have made the distinction for yourself that they are two very different characters?

MISHAEL:  I feel like now they just are different.  It was active choices that I was making in the beginning, and it was important for me in the beginning.  That’s why, for me, when I was bringing Amanda in, I was trying to stay very steady in my tone and how I spoke because Hilary was very, very up and down, and everything was all over the place.  So, for me, that was my beginning moment, just really focusing on how Amanda spoke and how she conducted herself. I can’t change the way that I look, but I feel that the way that I speak and the way that I carry myself will naturally start to define the character.  After a while, when that becomes more second nature, I feel like more of the character comes through … more of how she is and how she takes things in.  That’s just sort of explaining a bit of my process. It’s just the weirdest situation that I never thought I would ever be in, but I definitely feel like a different character for sure!  I do feel like I know who Amanda is now.  In the beginning, when I read the script, all I heard was Hilary.  I really had to think about how I was going to say things because I didn’t want it to sound like Hilary, and now when I read the script, I see Amanda.  I don’t hear Hilary anymore.  It’s become easier for me now to lean more into the role and get more comfortable with it.

Photo:JPI

Amanda had said to her mother that she was also robbed of her sister.  How does that play into her whole psyche?  She does know that Devon was deeply in love with her sister, and now she has feelings for him too.  Did she want to meet her sister?  Does she feel robbed of that?

MISHAEL:  She feels very much robbed of that.  For me, it was very important that the time when she discovered that Hilary was her sister and that Hilary was gone, that I’m playing that loss properly.  It was important for me because if you couldn’t believe that Amanda’s heart is truly breaking for her sister, then you can’t believe anything else that’s coming afterwards.  This is a really defining moment for me as an actor playing two characters on the show.  It was really important, leaning into the fact that I had a twin, and I’ll have a connection to a person who doesn’t exist anymore, and really letting that break my heart, and break Amanda’s heart.  Once the audience believes that, then they can really believe that Amanda is a different character.  Then, our amazing fans will start to just buy into it, and they will figure it out, and they will work it out, and they will wrap their heads around it, but for me, it was that they had to believe that Amanda’s heart is truly broken for Hilary, otherwise we can’t hook them.  Amanda and Hilary have to become two separate characters in people’s minds.

Right.  So, after the confrontation with her mother, she runs to Devon, and she is torn up, and he consoles her.  This week he asked her out on a date.  She likes this guy, right? 

MISHAEL:  Yeah, I think she does!  He’s the first person that she met when she came to town, and I think she’s always been impressed by how he treated her even when he hated her, and the more that she learned of him, the more she became impressed by who Devon was, and his patience with all of this. In seeing his vulnerability with Hilary, and everything that he went through, and then seeing his heart being broken because of Elena and Nate, I think all of it together is starting to give these two characters reasons to be okay with exploring something that may seem strange to other people, but you can’t control who you love sometimes.

Photo: JPI

Hilary and Devon were such a hugely popular couple.  Do you feel pressure to hit lighting in a bottle, twice?

MISHAEL:  It’s really hilarious because we’re the same people!  Yeah, there is a little bit of pressure because you do wonder if you’re going to be able to create the same magic, especially because Bryton and I have known each other for so long, and we know each other so well now.  Looking back at some of the Hilary and Devon scenes, there is something that is so interesting about it and fun about it because I think Bryton and I were just getting to know each other at the same time.  So, wondering if we are going to be able to recreate that and just make it feel fun and fresh, I think is the worry or the challenge.  I think we will figure it out.  Bryton and I were talking, and the one thing that is missing, or the one thing that we have to get to in terms of the underbelly of Amanda and Devon’s attraction is that Amanda is more like Devon than Hilary ever was.  It’s almost like Devon realizing that the whole journey with Hilary was meant to happen just so that he could meet Amanda.

Isn’t Amanda going to be kind of worried that he was so in love with Hilary and the way that she looked…

MISHAEL:  Well, she doesn’t need to worry because Hilary is dead anyway.  It’s not like she’s coming back!  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Since the last time you played an on-screen relationship, Bryton is with Brytni Sarpy in real-life, and Brytni is on the show now, and there is all of that.  What has that been like working with Brytni?

MISHAEL:  Oh, I’m so Canadian!  As soon as I got back to the show, I was like, “I’m so sorry,” and she was like, “Why are you sorry?”  I said, “I just feel very sorry that I’m here.  You guys have your real-life love thing going on, and your on-screen love… I feel weird.  I’m happy to be back on the show, but I’m like breaking up the party!”  She’s like, “No!  It’s fun!  It’s fine!  Maybe we’ll be rivals!”  I’m like, “Yeah, okay it’ll be fun!”

I can see a classic soap bitch-fight on the horizon on Y&R!

MISHAEL:  Brytni has been awesome about it.  That’s been great.  We don’t know where it’s going to go, but it’s going to be fun.  They’re also playing with Devon’s love for Elena still.  They still have a pull.  Devon is still looking at Elena.  So, I think it’s going to be interesting either way.

Photo: JPI

We are going to have the fan wars again for the couples!

MISHAEL:  That’s even more fun!  I always said I’d rather people be fighting for me to be with this person and that person as opposed to just always with one person because then to me, I kind of wonder, “Is it just this one actor who makes me better?”  I want to be an actor who makes everyone better!  That I can work off of anybody and get that chemistry or that thing that audiences are looking for, that’s what I really challenge myself to do.

Photo: JPI

On February 3rd, it’ll be the second anniversary of Kristoff  St. John’s death, which is hard to believe that it will have been 2 years already.  I keep remembering when I first met you.  Kristoff and you were on The Price is Right, but it was also a crossover for your characters, and you were the new girl on Y&R.  Do you still feel his presence at Y&R?

MISHAEL:  A few days ago, I had asked Bryton, who is s actually in Kristoff’s old dressing room, “Do you ever feel Kristoff in there?  In your dressing room?” and he’s like, “No, not really.  Definitely not in my dressing room, but on set sometimes.”  Even though he’s not here, it’s like he’s still with us because you still see him in pictures and sometimes that happens while you are on set doing a scene.  One time, I was on set doing a scene with Christel Khalil (Lily), and I saw a picture of Kristoff in the background, and it’s just kind of a reminder that I think he is always going to be here in terms of his impact on me and my time on the show.  He means a lot to me because I think I am the artist I am largely because of his influence, and how he really took me under his wing and made me feel so comfortable.  He was such a light, and he made acting so fun, but he always had your back as an acting partner and as friend, and I miss him a lot.

Me too.  He was just a wonderful actor too, when you look back on some of the work.

MISHAEL:  Oh my gosh, yes.

Photo:JPI

What does Amanda think of Naya’s other daughter, Imani (Leigh Ann Rose)?

MISHAEL:  She’s just irritated by Imani because she basically got to live the life that Amanda should have had essentially. To watch her be up on her high horse to Amanda, it’s laughable because the amount of hoops and obstacles that Amanda has had to go through to get to where she is standing today, somebody like Imani is just a complete joke to her! In Amanda’s mind, she is who she is just because of the opportunities that she was given and because of the family that she was born into.  It was complete luck, and it had nothing to do with hard work.  In Amanda’s eyes, everything that she is and every ounce of who she is, is because of her determination, and the choices that she made, and the obstacles that she overcame.  So, the way that Amanda looks at Imani is like she is just a person who she doesn’t even think could fathom how insignificant Amanda thinks that she is.  There is a deep-rooted resentment for Imani because I just think that Amanda has been through so much.

Would you like to have more scenes between Amanda and Naya and Imani?

MISHAEL:  Yes.I want more scenes with both of them!  Both of them are so amazing.  So, I’d love to work with both Imani/Leigh-Ann and Naya/Ptosha again.

Photo:JPI

What can you say to the fans to look forward to?

MISHAEL:  I think I would say that Amanda coming to Genoa City was a really big surprise, and I think that those surprises will continue … ff we want to be as vague as possible! I think there are a lot of things to look forward to because this relationship with Devon is definitely going, and I think it will be interesting to watch how Bryton and I figure that out, which will be fun!

Photo: JPI

Big surprises? Hmm.  Are you going to tell me that there are four of you? That Naya really gave birth to quadruplets … and you are about to take on two more roles?

MISHAEL:  Well, you never know!  That’s all I’ll say!

So, what did you think of Mishael’s recent performances where Amanda met her birth mother? Are you rooting for Amanda and Devon to wind up together, or Devon and Elena? What have you thought of Amanda Sinclair vs. Hilary Curtis Hamilton?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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