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The Crystal Chappell, Jessica Leccia, and Nadia Bjorlin Interview – Venice

Courtesy/Venice

Courtesy/Venice

On August 7th, the wait is over for legions of fans when Crystal Chappell’s Venice, returns to the web with season four of the hit series, and all new episodes!  Venice and Chappell have been groundbreaking.  If you look at all the many web soap series and concepts that sprung from the success of Venice, Chappell had foreshadowed where the industry was going, and found a place where series creators can show their visions and their stories without having the constraints of network television and its censors.

Venice season four will continue to center the story on three women, two of whom are vying for the same girl!  Will Gina finally reunite with Ani?  Will Lara and Ani say their “I do’s?”  Will secrets, lies, Lara’s drinking, Gina’s past, or perhaps Ani’s brother come to tear everyone’s chance for happiness apart in different ways?  Chappell promises much drama with many characters on the canvas in season four, while providing answers to the season three cliffhangers! And, if you watched the just released promo for season four, there is a shocker at the end of it, when it looks like Gina is hit by a car!  Who’s driving? How will it all come about?

On-Air On-Soaps visited the set of Venice during its final week of production on season four, and sat down with its three leading ladies: Crystal Chappell (Gina), Jessica Leccia (Ani) and Nadia Bjorlin (Lara) who have sent hearts-a-flutter to many of their female viewers, and we are sure many men, too!  Venice fans have loyally supported this same-sex love story interwoven with complex relationships and family ties … and to think it all started from the love of Guiding Light supercouple, Otalia!

As you would expect when chatting with Crystal, Jessica, and Nadia, there was plenty of laughs and witty sarcasm, but what we came away with was speaking to three women who have great understanding of the human condition.  And that my friends, is one of the reasons we have fallen in love with their performances and Venice.  Here now, with a look into what is to come in season four, are Crystal, Jessica and Nadia!

MICHAEL:

Crystal, how was it working with these ladies again for season four of Venice?

NADIA:

Courtesy/Venice

She is ready to stab her eyes out!  (Laughs)

CRYSTAL:

They are extremely difficult women, because they are pretty. (Laughs) They are in my head year round, and it’s true.  I love them both as friends, and this is such a fun journey this show has taken, and it’s largely based on having Nadia and Jessica.  It works.  So it’s fun to sit down and see where story can go, and then watch them do their work, and then it becomes fantastic!

MICHAEL:

How much ahead did you gals get your scripts from Crystal so you knew what is going on this season, and what you had to play?

JESSICA:

She gives us some time to peruse and look through it.

NADIA:

Well, if you’re Shawn Christian (Brandon, Venice, Daniel, DAYS), he looks at it and goes, “Am I in that scene?”  And I go, “Did you not read the script?”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What did you think about this year’s scripts?

Courtesy/Venice

JESSICA:

Not only is the show about the three of us, but we branch out with these other characters. I feel like the stories are a lot more interwoven, and the stories come together more.  I get more of a background, and an insight as to why Ani is the way she is, and her insecurities.  There is a lot of story.

MICHAEL:

Nadia, originally and some still may feel, Lara is positioned as the interloper.  But, do you think now there are people rooting for Lara and Ani to be together?

NADIA:

I think it’s an intriguing and interesting balance.  It’s so well written that you are going to see both sides of the coin.  Some people are going to root for Lara and Ani, and some are going to root for Ani and Gini to get together.  I think people are into both sides.  And, whether you read that on Twitter or the Internet, there are a lot people shouting, “Lara is the bad guy!”  But, what is interesting in this storytelling is there is not necessarily a bad guy in all of this.  These are just people who are trying to figure out their lives.

CRYSTAL:

They are all good people.  Ani would be lucky to have either one of them!

JESSICA:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

If she doesn’t get her act together she is not going to have either of them! (Laughs)

NADIA:

There is no one that is a clear villain, which is not the intention.  You don’t have this villain who is trying to poison somebody.  Here you have people all dealing with their own issues and problems, and their own path in life and wanting to find love.  And, in this situation it might be that two people on this planet have found love in the same place.

CRYSTAL:

I like Ani and Lara together, and I like Gina and Ani together.  I think timing is everything, and what is right for you today may not be right for you tomorrow.  You just have to be ready for something.  Lara and Ani have a very sweet connection, and Gina and Ani have a history and a connection, as well.  That is what makes it interesting.  There is no right or wrong.  Connection is connection.  It’s about timing, and how you react to it.

MICHAEL:

Are you still shocked that after almost five years since Guiding Light’s Otalia, and what you have done with Venice, that Jessica and Crystal on-screen are still one of the main “It” couples of soaps no matter what the platform, TV or the web?

JESSICA:

Well, the way I used to look at soap structure is: you can’t have this thing go on for too long … this has to happen … and this formula has to happen.  I think Venice has been going on long enough that we don’t need those formulas, or to use the soap scenarios such as … that person who breaks up the couple.  I don’t feel we are stuck with that.   I think that is what keeps the fans coming to watch it!  It never got stale for us.  I hope it never got stale for the viewers.

Courtesy/Venice

CRYSTAL:

We are seasonal.  We don’t have to produce five days a week.  I think that gives us more time, and people time to anticipate and want, and then we are on for three months a year, and then we can take our time telling the story, too.  We started the script well over a year ago.  There will be 12 episodes.  I think on average the episodes will run longer than usual.  Last year they ran anywhere from 10 minutes to 26 minutes.

NADIA:

There was emotionally so much content this year when we shot it.  I thought, “Wow! These episodes are going to be long!”

CRYSTAL:

They are about 20 minutes each.  They are more balanced with the time and length.  It’s just packed with a lot!  There are so many twists and turns, and so much happens that you won’t expect.  I will say this season is very heart-wrenching and touching.

NADIA:

I do agree it is touching, and just when you think one thing is happening something else drives a wedge into that.

MICHAEL:

Was there a particular moment in the shooting of the script for season four that was the most memorable, or surprised you the most?  I know we are top secret on story details! 

CRYSTAL:

Courtesy/Venice

This season has been better than I expected.  I had Susan Flannery (Ex-Stephanie B&B, who is a director on Venice) say, “Well, that didn’t work,” or “That connection is not there anymore.”   But this has been satisfying all the way through with everybody.   I think we are all more comfortable with each other.  I think we have a very solid crew.  The actors have been amazing and brought their A-game.  Every character has something to lose and something to gain.  It just makes the stakes higher, and makes the show more interesting.

JESSICA:

I will say I have trouble answering the question as I don’t want to blow anything, but I will say, the way Crystal produces it, and the locations she picks are gorgeous!  The show looks so pretty, and I didn’t expect it to be as grand as it is.  I get excited about that when I come to the set.  Now as far as story, what I will say is: I was surprised when I read things.  I was more surprised watching them play out, whether it be in my story or other people’s story, with whom I don’t get to work with as often.

MICHAEL:

Is Y&R’s Christian LeBlanc in Venice a lot this season, as Ani’s brother Jake?

CRYSTAL:

Well, I didn’t write for him, but he showed up! (Laughs)

NADIA:

Courtesy/Venice

Basically, he kept showing up and was just there! (Laughs) So, we were like, “Oh, alright.”   And Crystal is like, “Well, I gotta give him something to say.”   He is just standing in the scenes and “bogarting”!  She is like, “We didn’t even ask him to be on the show, but we’ve got to give him something.” (Laughs)  Now, I have never met anybody who won’t stop talking.  (Laughs)  It’s pretty amazing, and it would be interesting to do a science experiment on Christian.  But yeah, I get to work with him quite a bit, which has been so fun, which is why I am joking about it.

CRYSTAL:

Christian LeBlanc has taken creepy to a new art…  (Laughs)

NADIA:

…Without realizing it! (Laughs) Christian is like the least creepy person in the world, which is so funny.  He is such a close personal friend, that it has been fun to work with him, and been fun to watch him do stuff, because it’s interesting to see someone who is a really good friend of yours do something that is completely surprising.  And then I went, “Oh, yeah.  That’s why you have all of those Emmys!” (Laughs)

CRYSTAL:

Well, there is a reason for that.  You can give Christian anything, and he can put a spin on it that you don’t expect, and it’s fun.  We were laughing doing some scenes in this stairway …

NADIA:

Courtesy/Venice

… There is a scene that was very integral to the story, but weird in the location we had to work with.  I did not get it.  I did not know how it would work here.  And I thought, “This is not going to work without it feeling cheesy or weird.”  And all of a sudden, I am literally witness to this, because I am above the other characters in a stairwell.  I am watching this scene happen, and I go, “Holy Shit! These people have just made this really work!”  I was so convinced.  The scenes were so sincere and beautiful, that it’s hard not to root for Gina!  (Laughs) There was something that Christian did in the scene, when he came into it, and I was kind of blown away.  Sometimes you see something on the page, and you don’t know how it’s going to work when you put it into real life context.

CRYSTAL:

This is the first season that I feel most confident that everything that is written, works.  It is largely due to the actors.  There is something very cohesive about the group.  There is not a wasted shot in this show, no one tries to slide through anything … they all care. Most people wouldn’t survive this group, quite frankly! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So, what would you define as ultimately what things will be building and building to this season?

CRYSTAL:

Courtesy/Venice

It comes down to a choice.

MICHAEL:

Ani can be so wishy-washy, sometimes.   I mean, how many women would like to be in the position you are Jessica, with these two beautiful women fighting over you?

JESSICA:

Yes, I do know how many women, children, babies and animals, would love to be in my position.  I get it.  I totally get it. (Laughs)

NADIA:

She can do no wrong in this triangle.   Everybody is gushing over Jessica … and Jessica as Ani!

JESSICA:

She had done some things wrong!

MICHAEL:

Like what, binge on chocolate? (Laughs)

JESSICA:

Courtesy/VeniceTumblr

Yes, binge on chocolate (laughs).  No, she does make a lot of mistakes, and then has to figure it out.  It comes from a place of being in-love, insecurity, and that love can cloud your judgment.  That is just how it is.

CRYSTAL:

Ani is the eternal optimist.  She is always trying to see the best in people.  I really feel she is trying to make the best decision for herself based on past experience, and she is really trying.  She is working at something this season.  Ani is not being passive about what feels right to her.

MICHAEL:

Is Gina more in touch with her own feelings this season?

CRYSTAL:

Oh, yeah.  She comes out of something, and then falls right back into it, that is her consistency.  She gets hit with a lot, and has to make some choices that send her in Ani’s direction, but Ani has gone off and is making it work with Lara, and made some very strong choices for herself.  It’s all about the timing.

MICHAEL:

Does Lara have a drinking problem this season?

Courtesy/VenicetheSeries

CRYSTAL:

No, drinking is never a problem. (Laughs)

NADIA:

On a serious note, I think one of Lara’s main struggles is being so afraid to ask for help, because she is so afraid she will lose this love of her life, eventually.  I think Ani to her is her anchor, and the one person she has ever seen in her life as her stability.  Lara is so afraid of being abandoned by her.  She is afraid to admit she is fallible, and does not want to ask for help.  She wants to sweep everything under the rug and go, “OK.  I am going to prove to you that I am perfect,” because I think that is also her story growing up in that she was always having to prove she was perfect.  She was then a best-selling author, and she is always doing well, and there is no kink in the armor.  Then, we start to see her degrade again after we see her pretending it is so easy.  I think a lot of people can relate to that in some aspects, whatever that may be.  It may not be a drinking problem, but it could be anything else. It is feeling like you have to be perfect, or you are not good enough.  I think that is very sad, and I think that is a very human problem.  I think you start to see in season four how Lara deals with that, and how she deals with her thinking that she can handle everything on her own.

MICHAEL:

Crystal, what do you want everyone to know as a preview to season four, without telling anybody anything?  (Laughs)

CRYSTAL:

Courtesy/Venice

For people who are invested in these three women, you are going to see an amazing journey and the rest of the characters have so much they are going through.  Season four is about family, and love, and life, and loss, and moving on, and living.  It’s how time changes things, and how things can change in a blink of an eye, and that is what this season of Venice is really about.  You have to watch, or you are going to miss something.

MICHAEL:

Do the three of you believe in soul mates?   I think Ani and Gina are soul mates.

CRYSTAL:

I think it all comes down again to timing.  Your soul mate could be somebody who is giving you something so pure, and lovely, and wonderful, but what if something happens and somebody else comes along?  How does anybody measure up to that?  It seems so absolute.  I think you have many soul mates in a lifetime.  You’re lucky if it’s not a romantic relationship, that it is a connection and what a blessing that is.  Yes, I think these two women are soul mates, but again it’s life and timing, and will it let them find their way to each other?

JESSICA:

Also, I don’t know if soul mates are forever.  You may get a window of time with a soul mate, or it could last a lifetime!

MICHAEL:

Life is so complicated!

CRYSTAL:

Courtesy/Venice

We are getting so heady for you. (Laughs)

JESSICA:

I am not sure how other people see a soul mate, but that is how I see it.  Some people will think Gina and Ani are soul mates, and other people might think Lara and Ani might be.

CRYSTAL:

But honestly, I can say this season Ani and Gina have some very truthful talks.  I think people want to see that, and I think they are going talk some very important things out!

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Michael, thank you for an awesome interview as always. I cannot wait for Venice Season 4 !!! Is it August 7th yet ??? #TeamGiAni

I was so beaten down by the end of Season 3 that I wasn’t sure if I would be returning for V4. After the promo and this interview, I’m leaning towards giving it another try but I’m just not sure. So much momentum was lost and so little focus was placed on what should have been the core characters and stories. Ani and Gina have barely spent any real time onscreen together. It sounds like that might have changed. I like the triangle in theory but so much time has been spent (in interviews, not onscreen) trying to sell me on the fact that Lara is only human and not a bad person. Unfortunately, I lost the ability to root for her the minute she took hold of Ani’s head and slammed it into a wall. Intentional or not, it was unacceptable and I think the show is now backpedalling and sugar coating the abuse because they want a viable triangle and Lara & Ani are pretty. Lara has been nothing but a lying, manipulative, and arguably abusive partner. It’s getting harder and harder to watch Venice ignore the elephant in the room and continue to push this coupling because they are not ready for a Giani reunion. I think I will take a wait and see approach to V4.

Lara is not abusive, the whole incident with ani was unfortunate, but accidental. She has never been portrayed as abusive before or after the incident, so I think you’re just seeing what you want. Thankfully cc and rest of cast of show see it differently than you about the character of Lara.
You may want Gianni but myself and others love ani/lara and are invested in their love story too. If you don’t like the direction of the show then stop watching, no one owes you anything especially not cc and the rest of cast/crew of this show.

Which part was an accident? The one where she got wasted.. The part where she grabbed her head with both hands and shoved her away? Or the part where the wall was there to break her fall? In season 2, CC and Company started to tell an interesting and complex story about a dysfunctional and like I said, arguably abusive relationship and in Season 3 and subsequent interviews have tried to sweep that under the rug. I am not telling you what to like. If you like toxic, pretty couples, so be it. I think Venice wasted an opportunity to tell a good story in an effort to please everyone. I don’t have to like every character and would probably like Venice better if they didn’t keep trying to tell me that someone who drinks excessively, makes a mess of her career, bruises her girlfriend, lies, burns letters, manipulates, pretends to be getting sober, drinks with another woman, etc is a viable love interest for anyone.

I have to agree, Lara was abusive and didn’t she hook up with that other chick? I don’t know why I’m supposed to be invested in Ani/Lara at all. I do happen to believe the Ani/Gina tease has gone on way too long. Because as mentioned above, they didn’t even share scenes last year! We were promised some forward motion with them last year and got nothing and here we are again hearing the same thing. I already bought my sub to the next season – so obviously I’m watching, but overall I’ve been a bit disappointed. Especially when reading this interview where we get nothing at all about Lara pushing Ani’s head into a wall (accident or not), drinking and cheating. But hey she pretty and wants to marry Ani, so you know that makes it all good. Whatever.

I hate to disagree with Jessica but yeah the audience is getting tired of it, has grown tired and some fans may never come back. 4 seasons to wait for Giani is way too many. And Crystal is still being wishy washy about it. You can’t have it both ways.

I agree with the poster, Lara is an abusive lying partner and Venice has all but forgotten the fact that Ani has been abused. Great message to send out to the audience. FYI, domestic abuse does occur between 2 women and it’s not ok just because the woman is pretty.

Giani didn’t even talk last season and felt like a completely stagnant storyline. You know what people want to see? Giani reunite, not talk, not grow closer, etc. It’s time for action.

I feel like CC has tried to play both sides of the fence. I would say about 25% of the fans are Lani fans and don’t seem to be as invested in the show as a whole as they are in Lani. It feels like CC knows they would walk if she ended Lani outright and she knows Giani fans can and will hang on regardless hoping for a Giani endgame. The problem is, Venice has gone on for years and there has been no forward movement in Giani and no reason for some to switch loyalties to Lani, so many of the fans CC thought were a lock have long since left Venice. She is driving away the larger fanbase in an effort to appease the other one. She can’t please everyone.

I just started watching the show this summer and have really enjoyed it. I think that what CC and the other writers are trying to do in entertain and give us a story of what does happen in a relationship. It does not matter if you are male or female. Yes that main story is about 3 women, however we also need to look a the story line of Owen, Van and Sammi and how that turned out. I see the focus to be about family, love and life, how these things intertwine together. Family is the most important thing, whether it be a sibling or someone you have a connection with. Love is Love not matter what. I don’t see this show as a soap, but a series that I would love to continue to watch for a long time. Keep up the good work CC, cast and crew.

Awesome interview, this season is gonna be the bomb.

Thanks MF for posting this interview. It’s great to have some press for VTS. We go so long between seasons it’s hard for most to keep engaged. Your continued support and access to Crystal help with keeping fans around.
Appreciate it.

Loved the Interview, Love where this story is going and the way Crystal is writing it, I am looking forward to continuing the journey in season 4.!

I am looking forward to some good story!!!

Guess some of you forgot its about the journey in soaps. I for one can’t wait for the new season of Venice. Is it August 7th.

Thanks for the interview. Looking forward to the show. You can please some of the people some of the time, but some people are never happy unless they’re complaining. Good for them. Hope that works out for you.

I, for one, am looking forward to some good angsty story. It’ s a frickin show for god’s sake, not the moral compass for the entire universe.

That’s entertainment.

Thanks again Michael, Crystal, Jessica and Nadia.

Venice has gotten a bit cold. Drawn to it in the beginning because of how screwed up the way Otalia was handled. Even though Venice will be new characters for CC & JL, I was looking forward to seeing them work together again to keep that spark of Otalia alive. I think alot of the fans wanted that and were looking for it. I didn’t even like GL but I loved that storyline. That’s why I gave money and purchased items. I was hoping to see that wonderful love story in a new format, one where same sex relationships isn’t something to be ashamed of, but celebrated. Season 1 of Venice had promise. Season 2 kinda started to slide and season 3 even more. It became convoluted with way too many additional storylines. With episodes only going between 10 and 30 minutes there is just too many storylines. That the original draw to show is lost. Maybe it is the fact that most of the folks involved are from daytime dramas. Where multiple storylines is the norm. But those shows ran daily. Not cut to 12 episodes a season. Less is more. Venice has some wonderful writers, a fantastic cast..just need to reign it in. Season 1 was an Emmy award winner..remember that.

I too was drawn to Venice because of GL. I was intrigued by the Otalia storyline because it was so different from the usual storylines of a soap. Although I knew the characters and story would not be those of GL, I must say I was expecting to be drawn in by the story (probably because of the actors) but sadly that does not seem to be the case. I am a sponsor and have bought merchandise in support of the show but I am well over the seemingly never ending triangle. I am not new to soaps and know triangles, angst, and heartbreak are all par for the course but I just don’t feel like there has been any movement, just more of the same. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised with S4.

I will say however, I thoroughly enjoyed Crystal’s “Grove the Series” and hope for more of that series as it seems more captivating to me than Venice.

Hmmm not sure what to make of this interview. I think I’m going to have to wait before subscribing for Season 4 to hear what the reviews are. I really didn’t enjoy Seasons 2 or 3 and have been greatly disappointed by the storylines. Hopefully Season 4 lives up to the hype otherwise I’m afraid they will have lost this viewer forever.

So great to see the new season. And so glad that it’s still going, kudos to CC and the gang there!

Great interview Michael. I for one can’t wait for season 4 to begin. The promo added to the anticipation. This is soap and like Crystal said ” it’s about time and how you react to it”… I just hope that certain issues from last season get resolved like the infamous “letter”.

Venice technically isn’t a soap. It is a weekly serial drama with long hiatuses between seasons. Therefore, they don’t have the luxury of viewer patience and can’t waste any scenes, storylines, or characters on filler. If they don’t grab viewers, they lose viewers. Season 3 felt like a waste of time and did nothing to move stories forward. Now, over one year later, here we go again with another season and hopefully this one is more compelling and more tightly woven but we’ll see. This interview didn’t do much to assure me that CC gets it but maybe I will be suprised.

Lara y Ani ♥

Awesome interview i cant wait for season 4. Last season i was rooting for a giani reunion and for ani to see the letter, now i’m not so sure. Gina and ani do seem like soulmates but i don’t trust gina has completely changed and will not push ani away again, esp after seein the trailer and logan is sniffing around. Ani despite her insecurities is the perfect type of girlfriend and doesn’t deserve for her heart to be broken by gina again. She seems to have strong feelings for lara too and despite lara not being perfect, is only human and if she sorts her drinking out, could be perfect for ani. So im kinda rooting for lani now and lara to overcome her drink problem and give ani the perfect relationship she deserves. Lara is not perfect but she is only human and victim to a very common addiction.

I am waiting patiently for Gina and Ani to end together.
But, it’s really tough and my heart sometimes bleeds.
Anyway, congrats to all the staff! And respect from France.

Anyone who took the time to comment here is certainly going to continue to watch. CC and her team have done what good storytelling does, they’ve crafted a story that illicits a strong reaction. For some, that reaction is so strong that they want to protest the show in order to get what they want from the characters. But I am just a spectator. I am not invested, one way or the other, in Ani’s love choices. But I am invested in the skillful way the characters are connected and how this family lives, loves, and works together. I found Otalia this summer and then Venice by extension. I am working on myself and trying to determine my own sexuality. Though I may struggle with that for quite some time, I have found solace in watching Venice show lesbian characters who are not struggling with their sexuality. As great as it was to see Otalia, I needed to see normalcy – to feel that gay or not, human is human. I’ve known that for years and I’ve even rallied and protested with the best of them, but I realized that it was easier to stand up for the community when I didn’t feel I had to. So I applaud the show helping me to feel. I have pre-ordered season 4.

This was a nice comment LW :). I agree completely.

To Whom it May Concern
Dear Crystal,Jessica,Nadia and the rest of the Actor’s/Actress’s
I sharonda price just wanna say to you all that I wish you well on your Acting Career’s and May God bless you all with everything that your Heart Desire and Desired for in life and I also wanna say to you all that I’ve enjoyed watching you all on T.V. and on the website’s as well as watching your show and I Admit that I had a Blast of this whole darn thang and I hope that You 3 lovely Lady”s(Laddies-Ladies)Will keep up the good job/work and keep coming up with good Ideals for us Fans to stay intune with U 3 SEXY Lady’s because your show’s rock out the house! And now that Guiding Light is gone and all of the other soaps is gone Except for atleast 3 or 4 that is still on the t.v. air.
as much as I would love to meet nadia,crystal,jessica in person and join your fan clubs and have signautograph photos from u 3 lady’s etc.And write to you 3 and chat with also to make most of my dreams come true etc.etc.
What I see when I watch the show:I see that Ani is a lovely person and her beautie is Capture by two beautiful lady’s who would love to live their life with Ani for ever!but ani got to choose also who do she wanna be with for the rest of her life!! to me i feel that Ani should be with Gina and spend the rest of their lives together for ever but also keep Lara as a good true friend..but Im gonna say this to you 3 lady’s just do what you gotta do but be happy with what ever choice you make in ur life as well with ur life because with me I’m still gonna love you no matter what!!

Yours truely Ms.sharonda price(k.a. shay-shay etc.)
Thank you Crystal Chappell and Michael and Jessica Leccia,Nadia Bojorlin plus others who help this to come to be what it is Awesome work Guy’s! I Slute to U all

Thank you.To be honest the only reason Im watchingb it is Lara.Her journey is the only interesting thing for me.She’s not abusive.She just pushed Ani ,who was trying to force herself on her ,away.She pushed her too hard because of her driking issue,but she never beated Ani before or After.It was an incident.What I wish for is Lara to end it with Ani and find someone who actually love her and care about her.Not someone who’s just using her until she finds her way back to her ex.I hope that Lara will find someone who will help her accept that she has a drinking issue and deal with it.Someone who loves her and only her

I agree. Otalia fans have to stop thinking venice is otalia re cap. Lara and Ani

I so agree! I don’t think Gina wants Ani, I think that Gina just doesn’t want anyone else to have her. Ani is beuatiful and soft, and she doesn;t have enough backbone. Lara deserves someone better, that will actually emobrace her and help her with her addiction by truly loving her, and not thinking about her lost lover. Seems the writers have Gina tied to every storyline here. It all revolves around, and comes back to Gina.

Thank you Michael for the interview, but I really didn’t learn anything new about what is going to happen on V4. I pretty much got the same with the promo and other interviews. Sorry. I also love the triangle — there really is no bad combination, really! The decision has always been for Ani to make…whether, it is right or wrong, it’s for her and her alone. As for soul mates…I’m not quite sure about that. I believe there are soul mates and there is a place and time for them to meet; however, I also believe there are people you were meant to meet. There is a reason why you meet them, it’s not always known at first, but there is definitely a reason why they come into your life. Are these one in the same? Soul mates? Don’t know… Anyhow, V4 sounds like it is going to be a ride. Thank you Crystal for thinking outside the box (TV), Jessica, Nadia, and the others for wanting to playing along with Crystal.

I’ve watched all of “Otalia”, all of Venice to date, and The Grove pilot (awesome!)… I will probably keep watching these no matter what the direction of the storyline (barring our 3 leads going straight! 🙂 I love it all! And– the promo looks great- sexy and heart-wrenching…

Most of the videos on YouTube featuring Lani (Lara and ani) are the most viewed then giani ( Gina and ani) so you tell me what the Venice audience wants?

Oviously Team lani !

True 😉

Turn up the heat on those make out scenes! Push the envelope even more. The first scene of the first episode on S1 was H-O-T! Besides the shower scene w/ Lara and Ani, nothing has really followed suit. Give us more ‘throw caution to the wind’ impromptu heavy make out scenes, PLEASE!! Use the online medium to turn it up a lot more.

– sincerely, married lesbian from Ca

Thank you, Michael, for this interview. It is a pleasure to watch Nadia Bjorlin stretch her acting wings on Venice and I look forward to that each season. I enjoy the high production values on the show and the beautiful cinematography. For me, the show is a visual treat and the entertainment value of the stories is high. I am looking forward to V4.

I would like to read an interview with Susan Flannery on her directing work with Venice. That would be a fascinating interview!

I’m wondering since they mentioned Ani’s insecurities that might explain why she stays with Lara. Lara is beautiful and Ani can’t believe that someone like Lara would fall in love with her. You know, the “this amazingly hot person is into me?” syndrome. However, it’s also showing that even the beautiful people such as Lara deal with insecurities as well. Lara’s insecurities regarding perfection manifest through her alcoholism. Gina did a number on Ani and that led her into another toxic relationship with Lara. I believe Crystal is trying to convey that we can love more than one person and that many times depends upon where we are in life. Gina loves Ani deeply but doesn’t feel she deserves Ani. Lara is possessive and doesn’t believe she deserves Ani either. The Lani storyline is what some people believe love is, the drama, toxicity and chaos. The depth, in my opinion, is with Gina and Ani. . I agree that this season has to bring something. They could’ve explored the abuse and allowed Ani to lean on Gina for a change. Overall, the 9.99 is worth it just to watch CC looking at Jessica. It’s actually really beautiful. And all three actresses are beautiful in unique and different ways. Just my two cents.

I kind of feel sorry for Lara Character. There are so many women in this world that don’t want to be alone because of bad relationships that made them feel a certain way or just struggles that they are having and they felt alone their whole life because they had expectations growing up and it was just rough for them.
I would like to see Lara and Ani together. Have Ani see that Lara loves her and really needs her, let their relationship be like Bo and Hope from days of our lives. “huge fan” but with a twist of complications with Crystal character trying to win her back. This is a Soap Opera anything can happen, so make it crazy and fun. But my point is, I want Lara to be happy especially if her character loves, really loves Ani and that it’s just not a lust thing because she is lonely. If her Character really loves Ani, there should be a somewhat stable relationship in this show, but again with complications. This is just something I would like to see, but we’ll see

I was not watching until I heard Christian LeBlanc had joined the cast and Bam I didnt waste any time starting to watch Venice. He is such a great actor and great person I just cannot get enough of watching him. He brought a special something to Venice and I love watching Jake (CLB) He is naughty. I love him on Y&R my favorite of all time. He is who got me hooked on Y&R and now knowing he is an integral part of Venice Yo bet I am gonna watch. Paid to see him Season 4 Venice would do it again 3 emmys means 3 times better then the othes.

Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives Star Blake Berris Chats On the Everett Lynch/Bobby Stein Mystery, Working with His New Co-Stars, and the Last Christmas Episode with Bill Hayes

On Days of our Lives, the return of Blake Berris is making for some very intriguing drama, with the audience guessing just which way the story will go.

When Berris arrived back on Days of our Lives, after previously playing Nick Fallon, he was taking on the new role of Everett Lynch, who has a past with Stephanie Johnson (Abigail Klein) and Jada Hunter (Elia Cantu). Only, as it has been revealed, the past he had with Jada was under the name “Bobby Stein,” who from what we can tell was far from a nice guy.

Blake visited the Michael Fairman Channel for a livestream interview this week, where fans in the live chat were weighing-on what could be the truth about the guy – is he a split personality suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder? Did the accident that cost him a year of his life in a coma, never happen? Recently, someone set fire to the beloved Horton house. Fans are suspecting it would have been “Bobby” who is working for Clyde Weston (James Read). Others believe that Everett/Bobby could actually be Clyde’s son. With upcoming therapy sessions with Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) about to start, things are about to get more juicy in Salem.

Photo: JPI

Here are just a few excerpts from our conversation with Blake on a myriad of Everett/Bobby subjects. Make sure to check out the full interview for more.

Did you know that they were going to make Everett Lynch a Jewish character? This is only the second time in the history of the show that they have even had a Jewish character on the canvas. Didn’t they reveal this at the Horton family Christmas episode?

BLAKE: No, they never asked me. I am half-Jewish on my dad’s side. There was never like, ‘You’re Jewish, right? We can call you Jewish on the show?’ At the Horton Christmas, “They made a real point of it, yeah.”

And now the new ‘character’ is “Bobby Stein” …

BLAKE: “Right, and that suggests more Jewish, and then Lynch must be coming from somewhere else, maybe the mother. I was so curious because I think the show has been historically, I’m gonna say, Catholic more than like Wasps. With the Bradys there’s this sort of Irish influence, and then the DiMeras, that’s Italian. So, we’ve got Catholics sort of on both sides that are dominant. Now I, “represent”.

Photo: JPI

What has it been like working with Abigail Klein?

BLAKE: I think she is extraordinary. We start off sort of frosty, or she’s frosty with me, like she doesn’t want to let me in. And then, for a while things are going really well. I just could not adore Abigail more. She’s such a good actor. I could always rely on her to bring me back into a scene and be there in this emotionally, supportive way.

Photo: JPI

Everett and Chad seemed to be becoming friend-ish, when all went awry when at the PCPD interrogation room, Everett let him know about Elia and Bobby Stein, and Chad let him have it for worming his way back in to Stephanie’s life.

BLAKE: Billy would call us the ‘disgusting brothers’ and that’s a reference from Succession, because all of a sudden they’re just so chummy with each other. It’s like all of a sudden we just had this like ‘Bernstein and Woodward’, sort of dynamic duo. I think that Everett really started to think of Chad as a friend and feels sort of disappointed, and he feels, “Oh, it’s that easy? I just needed to have some other identity and now you’re a fair-weather friend?”‘

Photo: JPI

In recent scenes, Jada sees Bobby Stein for the first time, and we see you and Elia Cantu share scenes with each other for the first time. What is it like working with Elia?

BLAKE: She’s fire, man. She comes in hot and she tells you the way it’s going to be. I think early on, we were trying to suss each other out and the more we worked together, the more comfortable you get with somebody. I think actors do this sometimes with each other; if there’s spice on screen, you like to keep some of what you have on-screen in your (real-life) interactions because it helps … it helps the work.  Eventually, we just sort of wore each other down and we’re like, ‘I actually totally get you, and you’re great.'”

Did you know that they were going to make Everett Lynch a Jewish character? This is only the second time in the history of the show that they have even had a Jewish character and didn’t they reveal this at the Horton family Christmas episode?

BLAKE: No, they never asked me. I am half-Jewish on my dad’s side. There was never like, ‘You’re Jewish, right? We can call you Jewish on the show?’ At the Horton Christmas, “They made a real point of it, yeah.”

And now the new ‘character’ is “Bobby Stein” …

BLAKE: “Right, and that suggests more Jewish, and then Lynch must be coming from somewhere else, maybe the mother. I was so curious because I think the show has been historically, I’m gonna say, Catholic more than like Wasps. With the Bradys there’s this sort of Irish influence, and then the DiMeras, that’s Italian. So we’ve got Catholics sort of on both sides that are dominant. Now I, “represent”.

Photo: JPI

You were on set and in the annual Horton Christmas episode which sadly marked the last for Days of our Lives legendary Bill Hayes, who passed away in January of this year.  What do you recall of that tape day?

BLAKE: It was the Christmas episode when we were watching Susan (Julie) and Bill, say ‘Merry Christmas.’  And there was something about it that just felt like it could be the last time. I mean, it wrecked us all on set. Bill gets so choked up and there was something really profound about the moment. They kiss each other as they have so many times before on the show. It was just beautiful. It felt beautiful to be there for that last Christmas. He’s just such an icon. Every time I’d see him, he was so with it … he knew my name, he knew his lines. What an incredible, incredible man.

Photo: JPI

Fans will get to see Everett in therapy sessions with Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall)? Would you say she is helping the guy?

BLAKE: Deidre’s always making jokes about Marlena, ‘She’s the worst therapist in the world’ (Laughs) I remember in the first therapy session, we almost couldn’t get through the scenes because it’s just so clear that Everett has a litany of very profound psychological issues that he is going to have to work through. He’ll keep coming back. This guy’s gonna pay the bills!

Photo: JPI

Viewers are waiting to see how they mystery of Everett Lynch/Bobby Stein plays out. What can you say as a tease for what’s to come?

BLAKE: As far as a tease, I would say, you have all these characters sort of, trying to wake up the ‘sleeping giant’ in a way. I think it’s safe to say that like if you poke a bear, the bear might wake up.

Watch the livestream chat with Blake in full below.

Now let us know, what do you think is going with Everett/Bobby? What has happened to him in his past? Share your theories in the comment section below, and make sure to catch Days of our Lives next week on Peacock for more to his story.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Melody Thomas Scott Talks on 45 Years as Nikki Newman, the Keys to Playing Drunk, And Those Genoa City Relationships

February is ‘Nikki Newman Month’ in soapland as the The Young and the Restless iconic Melody Thomas Scott celebrates her 45th anniversary in her leading role.

My how time flies! Nikki has had numerous marriages, and some to the same man, battled her addiction to alcohol too many times to count (and we loved it all), and faced so much heartache in the process.

Currently, on all-new episodes of the top-rated CBS daytime drama series, Nikki can’t quite get a grip as Jordan (Colleen Zenk) is out there and in the middle of her next master plot to make Nikki suffer, all the while Nikki is drinking again. Thanks to the heinous plot concocted by Jordan and Claire (Hayley Erin) that revealed itself last November.

Photo: JPI

In a special conversation for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Melody shared her thoughts on a myriad of subjects including: her current story, those long tape days at Victor and Nikki’s weddings, why she plays drunk better than anyone on television, plus we take a mini-deep dive into Nikki’s past.

Y&R fans were stunned when the powers-that-be had Nikki kidnapped and then hooked her up to an IV of booze. Just how much did Melody know of the story going in? She elaborated, “I knew Nikki would be terrorized. That’s all that I knew. I thought that sounded like great fun. I didn’t know for a little bit that she was going to fall off the wagon in the process of it. And then when I heard how it would happen, I was thrilled to bits. I did kind of want to have a little leader (or crawl) down at the bottom of the screen saying, ‘Hey, people don’t put an IV with vodka in your arm because that will kill you.’ But, poetic license, I suppose.”

Photo: JPI

Melody also weighed-in on if she thinks Nikki will stop drinking anytime soon, expressing, “She just can’t get out of this. Then of course, Jordan’s not letting her out very easily. Just when Nikki thinks she is mentally strong enough to never take another drink, well, of course she does, because something else happens. I think it’s also a learning point for people who are watching the show who may have an addiction problem. Now, I could be wrong, but I think it’d be highly unusual for somebody to be just mentally strong to be able to stop.”

If you wondered if Melody enjoys playing a drunk Nikki, look no more, “I do. That’s simply for selfish reasons,” she shared. “That’s for my enjoyment. I take great pleasure in it. It’s fun for me, and just the process of pretending to be drunk. I love the end result. I try not to do too much because there’s nothing worse when an actor is overplaying drunk. So you have to kind of keep it a little bit underneath (the surface). However, sometimes because of Jordan, Nikki does get much sloppier than I normally would play it.”

Photo: JPI

In recent episodes, it seems that Jack (Peter Bergman) and Nikki are gravitating more to each other, as both are drawn together through their shared experiences with addiction. Victor (Eric Braeden) is not happy that his arch-nemesis is helping Nikki try to stay sober. Could Melody see Jack and Nikki becoming romantic again? “I love Peter. I mean, Peter was my second favorite husband on Y&R. It would be wonderful, but I don’t know if the fans would go for that,” she explained. “They’re so invested in Niktor that I think they would really be upset about that unless Victor did something really crummy, then I could buy that.”

Photo: JPI

One of the more ‘out there’ stories during Melody’s 45-year run, was when Nikki was paired with Crazy Edward, and he took her home to meet his mother … who was in an urn! You would think maybe Melody didn’t like the story .. but think again! “Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) was writing the show in those days, and Bill kept that information pretty tight. I don’t remember us knowing even a week in advance. Maybe, we would get our scripts, three or four days in advance and that was it. You knew nothing about future story, but I loved the story,” she raved. “It was almost Hitchcockian, shall we say. The actor who played Crazy Edward, Paul Tulley was so magnificent and such a sweetheart. We loved working with each other so much, but man, when that red light came on the camera, he scared the you-know-what out of me. He was absolutely terrifying. But then, the minute the scene was over, we’re fooling around and laughing and everything. He was so good. So good!”

Photo: JPI

According to Melody, the pairing of Victor and Nikki was not something she, nor Eric Braeden, initially thought would made sense: “I was a little terrified when I heard that he and I would be doing scenes. I thought, ‘What, what?’ He also wondered, ‘What am I going to be doing working with that young kid, that snotty kid?’ We had no idea what Bill Bell saw. He had a vision with us and somehow knew that we would have chemistry. It didn’t take Bill long to show us in the scripts why he put us together. Then, we started to see it. Although, it was hard to imagine at first, certainly we knew it worked by the time Nikki had baby number one during the ‘Who’s the father?’ storyline. Nikki and Victor weren’t even married yet. So, we did figure it out pretty early on.”

Photo: JPI

From her early years as Nikki Reed, Melody reflected back on some major story points in her character’s history, relating, “I actually did like her in the very beginning when she was just a little brat living with her sister and her father, who of course ended up trying to rape her…  and she had hit him over the head with a lamp … and he died. I did not care for the stripping storyline at all. Only because I knew that I didn’t have the natural dancing ability. I wasn’t fluid enough to really look good up there stripping. I know they hired wonderful choreographers and everything for me, but I just didn’t feel worthy of being up there … I guess is what it was. Of course, now I look back on it and I think, ‘Oh, I guess it wasn’t too bad.’ Later, there was a strip she did in the Colonnade Room. At the time, she was married to Jack. Victor’s sitting there with some other woman and she’s drunk. I saw that scene recently, and I thought it was great. I didn’t at the time, but looking back, I thought, ‘Wow, that was good.'”

Photo: CBS

Watch the full 45th anniversary conversation with Melody below.

Now let us know, are you enjoying Nikki being back on the bottle? Would you want to see Jack and Nikki try their relationship one more time? What has been your favorite storyline of Melody’s over the last 45 years on Y&R.  Let us know in the comment section.

 

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Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives Legendary Susan Seaforth Hayes Talks on the Horton House Fire Storyline, Mourning the Loss of Husband Bill Hayes & His Near-to-Final Performances

It has been an emotional time for longtime fans of Days of our Lives and beloved veteran, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams). On-screen, the iconic Horton home was burned to the ground in what appears to be a storyline-dictated decision that shocked many. In real life, Susan is mourning the loss of her husband and DAYS enduring favorite, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams), who passed away at 98 in January. Over the weekend, during the 2024 SAG Awards In Memoriam tribute, Hayes was remembered along with other motion pictures and television stars whom we lost over the past year.

Since the Peacock streaming soap opera tapes months ahead of air, the Horton home fire and its aftermath are currently playing out in all-new episodes with more on this story featuring Susan to come. Bill Hayes also appeared in several of these episodes making it all the more touching and heartfelt.

When Julie came back to the Horton home to see what remained of it after the fire, Days of our Lives fans were treated to a heart-tugging episode that streamed last Wednesday, February 21st. In it, newly-taped scenes of a young Tom (Zach Chyz) and Alice (Sydney Kathrann Smith) Horton telling the story of how they came to live in the house to raise their children, juxtaposed with Julie and Doug (and members of their family and friends), surveying what’s left of the beloved house, brought many a tear.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Susan Seaforth Hayes for this very candid and heartfelt conversation to get her feelings on the Horton house fire, and being given the opportunity to have a storyline at this point in her storied career. In addition, Susan provides some insight on what it was like for her ailing late husband to tape scenes at DAYS shortly before his death, what the series plans to do about writing off the character of Doug while honoring the legacy of Bill Hayes, and how she knew she had the greatest love affair that anyone could hope for in their lifetime, which in turn, has inspired all of us.

Photo: JPI

I was shocked when they decided to burn down the Horton house. Were you at first devastated … and did you know that there would be a big story surrounding it?

SUSAN: I did not know how big a story was with it. I knew that many years ago, another regime had planned on trashing the set and getting rid of the set because nobody cared about the Hortons anymore. It was stopped by one person, and I was eternally grateful for that. This time I thought, “Oh, my goodness! I guess I’ll be meeting people for a cup of coffee at the Horton Square. No home, no roots, no reason to be called in,” and thinking that’s the end of Julie. That’s the end of Doug and Julie. Then, when they began to structure a story around it, I think all of this came up during the writer’s strike. So of course, I was curious to see how this was going to turn out. I enjoyed the aftermath, because in the aftermath, and a little bit before the fire, if you saw the show, I get to talk a bit about the history of the household and the people in it.

Photo: JPI

In the special episode that aired last Wednesday, Julie gave Leo (Greg Rikaart) the family tree history of the Hortons for his story in the Spectactor.

SUSAN:  I’ve had a couple of good long soliloquies about the past. I’m fated to be the character that does that because I’m the one still standing. I must say, I do enjoy doing them. Emotionally, all I have to do is rerun some of the actors and my own family in my mind and the emotion starts to come, you know, the emotion starts to flow.

Julie talks to Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) immediately after the fire. She is upset that the Horton family Christmas ornaments are gone. Fans were not happy that they could possibly have burned up. Thank God! There was a happy ending when they were located and unscathed, or there would have been hell to pay! 

SUSAN: I knew that they were in the prop room and that they still existed. But how much they were going to put a story around their loss, I did not know. We don’t get to ponder the plot. We just get to show up and start doing it. I think on this particular matter, something as important as a structure of the original set of the show, there’s been quite a bit of interest. So, I can appreciate that.

Photo: JPI

I was thinking, ‘Did they decide to burn the house down, because they were finally retiring the old Horton home set?’ What was the purpose of it?

SUSAN: They’ve done everything to make quicker set changes, which is remarkable and very efficient right now. The set designer said, “I’ll be interested in your input,” which was nice. The one thing that I loved that had been done, didn’t work. You couldn’t shoot into it. It was a federal mirror over the mantle. I loved it. The size was perfect. I was just delighted. And then, we tried to shoot it, and because of the roundness of the mirror, you got a perfect view of camera one and camera three. So, it came down.

This is Julie’s project to renovate the home. She’s determined to bring back all the memories and redo it?

SUSAN: Absolutely, which is another nice note to play for my character. She’s determined to make the house something that her grandparents would recognize and still feel comfortable in.

Photo: JPI

What did you think of the episode that just aired where the show incorporated flashbacks of a young Tom and Alice Horton?

SUSAN: Well, I set it up. They had their own their own lovely scenes. I read them, and I’m sure the audience was charmed.

What do you remember when you first came to DAYS, and you were in that house, in that set?

SUSAN: What did I notice about the set? I noticed that it was a strange shade of green. (Laughs) It was explained to me that that dull color meant that your face would pop on color TV. I understood that. I loved the little window up the staircase. I’ve always loved that. And at one time, there was a model of the house that sat on the set on its own little pedestal, a little playhouse of the exterior of the house. Whenever the house was on (and remember this is when we were a half-hour and practically live, but not live, because there was no editing), there would also be the sound of a barking dog whenever we reached the Horton house neighborhood. We never saw the dog, but I’m sure his name was “Spot”, and I’m sure he belonged to someone.

PhotoL JPI

You shared so many scenes with Frances Reid (Alice) and MacDonald Carey (Tom) in the Horton living room set and up till they passed. Did they get along well with Bill? Looking back, how was your relationship with them?

SUSAN: They loved him. Well, Mac and Billy had worked together before in theater. Mac was very kind to me at the beginning and helpful. Frances was as well. As Frances got older, she got a bit testy. When someone says, “You’re not going to read the line like that … are you?” It catches your attention. (Laughs). I got peeved at Frances from time to time, but her intent was always to make everything as good as it possibly could be. I saw her come back from her stroke. learn to talk again, learn to do it all again. Not do it easily, but to do it at all was wonderful, and the same with Mac. In his last shows, he was very frail, but we’re actors. We liked being there.

Photo: JPI

During the taping of the episodes surrounding the Horton house fire, Bill was mostly in them with you. How was Bill doing at the time you taped these scenes?

SUSAN: He was okay. He was up for it. He had difficulty moving at that point. So, they restricted his movement a lot. Bill always enjoyed coming to work a lot, and it was extremely difficult for him because he was blind, and didn’t move very well. And now, to do a scene with people who may or may not, have rehearsed with you, who may or may not, give you the exact cue, and when they are attempting to have you look each other in the eye, you can’t see who’s eyes they are, that was the hard part. The easy part was working with him, which was lovely and was a gift. It was a gift from Corday Productions that he was able to work within three weeks of his death, which I thought was super and extraordinary.

Photo: JPI

That is amazing. Did Bill understand everything that was going on at the time of the tapings?

SUSAN: Absolutely. He understood what was going on. He just couldn’t see it or touch it.

The timing couldn’t have been easy for you with Bill’s declining health, and that the show was going to burn down the Horton home where you shared so many scenes and memories.

SUSAN: Well, it hasn’t been my greatest stretch. But I knew that life would be like this. I’ve had five decades of an absolutely wonderful, blessed marriage and a chance to work and a chance to live in my own home and travel, all good. And now, we’re going to have the epilogue. And the epilogue is the hard part, seeing rapid change around you and losing the people that were the center of your life. I’ve just been very fortunate to have cultivated some wonderful friendships, and to have a wonderful large family of Hayeses.

Photo: JPI

You do realize that you and Bill were the gold-standard of what we all should be lucky enough to have in our lives. What an incredible, beautiful, passionate, loving marriage that the two of you had. You don’t see marriages like that anymore. We were all just in awe of the two of you. To us, it was the greatest love affair. You got to have that which is so extraordinary.

SUSAN: I know, and it was all Bill. I mean, any idiot could have been married to Bill Hayes and been deliriously happy. The guy was so perfect in every way that you really would have to pick something and blow it out of proportion to ever complain about any of his traits of character. He was just all good character, goodwill, and good humor. I just followed along and tried to live my life for him, with him, and follow his style, which I hope to carry on. I hope to be as good to people as he was to people, and, not be selfish.

Photo: JPI

I always remembered how the two of you would come to the studio with your suitcases, ready to work no matter what material, large or small, they gave you. You showed up. You just had such great work ethic and you don’t see that as much anymore.

SUSAN: At the moment, it’s hard to find it everywhere. I think it’s probably generational. You cannot get too angry at people that are still holding up their phones in the one rehearsal that we have. I think it’s more convenient to receive your work electronically, but somehow it doesn’t seem quite as real. You don’t have a script in your hand anymore unless you print one up yourself.  Sometimes you haven’t met the person you’re working with. Well, that’s not unusual, but no rehearsal at all, that’s kind of marvelously new.

Photo: JPI

Does Julie lean on anybody for emotional support as she tries to rebuild the Horton home. Who’s there for her?

SUSAN: As far as I can tell, nobody. I’m supposed to be the wise woman, and Marlena (Deidre Hall) is supposed to be the other wise woman. I haven’t had any scenes with Marlena for help. I would think Marlena would be the person I would be going to for grief counseling, for friendship, for all of that. I haven’t seen it in the scripts, yet. I’m still deeply entwined with Chad’s (Billy Flynn) storyline.

How is Billy Flynn to work with?

SUSAN: A pleasure. Billy Flynn has grown a lot as a human being and as an actor since I’ve known him. I’m really enjoying his company and really enjoying doing scenes with him. We rehearse and then we get on other subjects and laugh and talk and inform each other. We’re interested in a lot of the same things. He’s a new parent. He’s really devoting himself to that, to that experience in the best possible way. So, I’m lucky.

Do Julie and Chad try to figure out who set the fire?

SUSAN: Oh yeah.

Photo: JPI

I kept thinking about how Julie got burned in the kitchen fire years ago and her face was scarred, At the time, your mother Elizabeth Harrower was writing DAYS and wrote that for Julie. Did you hate that story?

SUSAN: Well, I know where the story came from. It came up from something in mother’s own life. I knew the people involved, and I wasn’t crazy in love with the idea. Then, when it was supposed to go for six weeks and went on for months and months, I was concerned. Mainly, I was concerned that my face was going to be affected because of the appliance, the scars, that I was wearing. I was told by a dermatologist, “You’re going to have a little beard after this. Ripping your face every single day to get this off is going to be hard on you.” But, I seem to have survived.

Has the show even addressed with you how they plan to handle writing-off the character of Doug Williams, and how they want to honor Bill?

SUSAN: Only in the smallest way. I had a conference call with the producers and our head writer last Friday. I was informed about the immediate, immediate future. I’ve also been promised that they’re going to keep me busy. It’s a cast of over 40 people. I’ll be happy to show up and to be included.

Photo: JPI

I was just hoping that whatever they decide to do with the character of Doug that they were going to run it by you, first.

SUSAN: They have, and they have been very sweet about it.  I’ve got to tell you, this regime, they have a sign up on the wall now, that says, Things we expect on this stage.”  The first one at the top of the list is “kindness.”

Have you watched your work back all these years? I know some actor’s never like to watch the scenes they taped.

SUSAN: I think you learn by watching yourself, if you have an open mind, and if you are not hypercritical, or dismissive. I cannot be dismissive of a character that has given me such a wonderful life. I’m still interested in Julie, perhaps I wouldn’t have been if I’d been on the show for three years and never returned to it. But I’m quite interested in her now, and what she has to offer as a member of this ensemble.

Photo: JPI

Julie’s ties to the whole history of Days of our Lives from this point on are very important. How do you feel about that?

SUSAN:  There are those that don’t care about the history of the show. I know that. I know there are those that only care about continuing with something snappy to keep eyes on the screen through action, adventure, drama, death, kidnapping, missed opportunities, all that, which I suppose that’s what the audience craves. But, that’s not just what the show can do. What the show can do so well is character. There’s a lot of people over 70 who are still on the show now. I’m the oldest one, but I’m not the only one. We’re coming up on the 60th anniversary. I don’t think the show is worn out. And if it is, it’s had a remarkably successful six decades.

Lamon Archey (Eli) is back on DAYS for a stint. What has it been like to work with Lamon as his on-screen grandmother?

SUSAN: I think he’s terrific and visually he is so beautiful, so appealing. I think both Eli and Lani (Sal Stowers) are very appealing as characters. I’m delighted to be connected to Eli as a family member. That was a lucky break for me.

Photo: JPI

Do you think DAYS fans are going to continue to be emotional in the aftermath of this fire and all the story that comes out of it? Do you think we’ll be touched by what Julie goes through to get the remains all cleaned up for a new house?

SUSAN: I think anybody in America who’s gone through a disaster, and have unfortunately had the disruption of their home, will be sympathetic and interested in how it all turns out. It’s a nice note to play. We haven’t had to do that very often. We just go from one lovely apartment to another without much discussion. I think this is the one set that meant a lot to people. I was very sorry to lose “Julie’s Place,” as it turned into kind of a sandwich shop. I still loved having a business, a tangible place to be, and an alternate place for people to meet.

Photo: NBC

Upon reflection, what was your favorite scene with Bill? Was it when Julie and Doug got married on-screen, or was it something else that was much more intimate?

SUSAN: I think our last scene is going to be more important, emotionally. I think the first wedding was beautiful, but the material around the time of our second wedding, when Brenda Benet (ex-Lee) came back on the show and Doug stood up to her and says, “I’m not going to be manipulated anymore,” was also strong. There has been a lot of very important times – when Doug was killed-off by James Reilly, and we met in the tunnel of light. That was a day. That was a difficult day, which I certainly can’t revisit right now emotionally. When Julie found out Doug had run off and married her mother, Addie, that was a day. It was a day because, I went to the producer at the time, Jack Herzberg, and said, “Is this it? Am I not going to work with him anymore?”And he said, “Right! That’s it. You’re not working with Bill Hayes anymore.” We were not married at the time, and I thought I was going to go through the floor! That wasn’t a happy day.

Photo: JPI

In terms of Bill’s final day on the set with you, did you know that it was his last, and what would turn out to be his last scene?

SUSAN: Well, they didn’t know. But I knew. I had been allowed to rewrite it. So, I can’t tell you Bill’s last line now, of course, but I will in time.

What do you think about the sentiments shared by Susan on her late husband, and this storyline? How do hope the show properly honors Bill and Doug Williams when the series writes-off the character? Are you enjoying the Horton house fire story arc or does it upset you too much? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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