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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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anothercc
anothercc

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

BS
BS

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.

ann
ann

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.

BS
BS

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.

molsongrrrl
molsongrrrl

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.

Jesslover
Jesslover

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.

BS
BS

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.

Amy
Amy

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.

Perla
Perla

Awesome interview, this season is gonna be the bomb.

Rdblaz
Rdblaz

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.

PalmGirl73
PalmGirl73

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.!

Denise
Denise

I am looking forward to some good story!!!

Egolf
Egolf

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.

Ed
Ed

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.

PB
PB

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.

npa
npa

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.

Jacinta
Jacinta

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.

Blake
Blake

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

sushe12
sushe12

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”.

bookchick
bookchick

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.

VB
VB

Lara y Ani ♥

LA
LA

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.

jocelyne
jocelyne

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.

LW
LW

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.

ann
ann

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

Sharonda Price(blueruby r pinkribbon price)
Sharonda Price(blueruby r pinkribbon price)

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

imane assi
imane assi

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

raquel
raquel

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

Maureen
Maureen

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.

Lisa
Lisa

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.

whirl
whirl

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…

livelifestrong
livelifestrong

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 !

raquel
raquel

True 😉

CnK
CnK

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

kelltwomyn
kelltwomyn

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!

Alex
Alex

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.

Anita
Anita

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

Dee
Dee

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.

Interviews

Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

So, just how did The Young and the Restless lure back one of the series most powerhouse actresses to take on a brand-new role? Mishael Morgan, who earlier this year was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her gut-wrenching final performances as Hilary Curtis, reveals in a new interview with Michael Fairman TV, what went down to bring her back to the CBS Daytime drama.

As fans know thus far, after appearing as ‘Ghost Hilary” through the late spring and summer, Y&R’s creatives worked behind the scenes to get Morgan back on screen without tainting Hilary’s ultimate demise.  That is when they came up with the role of the sexy yet tough lawyer, Amanda Sinclair.

So, enter Mishael in a new wig and style that defines Amanda as her own character.  Question is, since Amanda is a dead-ringer for the late Hilary, are they related? And, what will ultimately be proven to be in her DNA?  In story, Amanda entered the scene as the often-mentioned Chance Chancellor’s attorney.  She shows up in Genoa City to contest the legitimacy of the late great Katherine Chancellor’s will and the fortune she left to Devon (Bryton James).  With Devon directly in Amanda’s line of fire it sets the stage for potential fireworks down the line.

We sat down with Mishael backstage at Y&R for this informative and entertaining chat as we officially welcome back this truly kick-ass performer.  Here’s what Mishael shared below.

Photo: JPI

What transpired behind the scenes to make it possible for you to come back to Y&R?

MISHAEL:  Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) kind of gave me a little bit of a heads up.  They called me back to come in and do the ghost episodes as Hilary, and it happened really quickly.  It was like, “Hey, Mishael, do you think you can do this?  Yeah?  Okay.  We’ll work it out with your team.  Alright.  We’ll see you tomorrow.” (Laughs) It was really, really fast.  I was hesitant for a second about the whole Hilary ‘ghost thing’, because I felt good about how we wrapped up Hilary’s storyline.  I’d only left for a couple of months, and I still felt funny about it, but I was like, “I’ll do it.  She’s a ghost … so she hasn’t returned from the dead.  So, it’s fine.”

Originally, I was concerned that they were going to have you as Hilary keep popping up as a ghost to Devon for an indefinite amount of time; when the show has already done that with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and his father, John (Jerry Douglas).  Because of your previous performances, and Emmy-nominated performance for the final arc of Hilary’s story, I thought, in the end, it might detract from that.

MISHAEL:  Yes, and I think that’s how I felt too, but I agreed to do it because they said that it was going to be a max of seven episodes.  So, while I was doing that, Tony was on set watching the scenes.  Next, he just called me up and said, “Well, how do you feel about coming back?”  I was like, “Coming back?  Hilary is dead.  Like, Hilary is dead-dead.  Is this going to be an alternate universe?” (Laughs) He said, “Well, no.  You’d be coming back as a different character.”  That was really intriguing to me, because one of the reasons why I left was because I felt like creatively I’d played a character from beginning to end, and it felt like it would just be nice to go off and play somebody new.  I never in a million years thought that I could come back to Y&R and actually play someone new!  That was weird to wrap my head around when they said, “You’d play a new character,” but then when they said she was going to me a lawyer, my ears really perked up! I’ve always wanted to play a lawyer, because I have the background where I wanted to be a lawyer in real life.  So, then I’m like, “OK. Now I get to play a lawyer on TV.”  They really got their hooks in to me with that … and just hooked me in from there.  Then, I got open to the idea and the story that Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) wanted to tell.

Photo: JPI

Once you learned the idea of the story from Josh, it seemed that things happened very quickly!  We all found out about your return via a social media post where you got to tell the fans yourself that you were coming back … but as a new character.

MISHAEL:  It happened relatively quickly in terms of me tentatively coming back, but then they still had to write the story.  So, everything wasn’t really confirmed until a couple of weeks before I started taping again.  We were in talks for about two months, and we worked it all out.  I said, “I’d do it,” and then it was 100% confirmed around August of this year, and I was airing in September.  It was kept was very, very quiet.

Are you still figuring out what Amanda’s back-story is?

MISHAEL:  I am.  I feel like every writer is a little different, and I feel like Josh likes to keep things very close and tight to his chest so that you kind of don’t know what’s happening.  Josh gives you enough information to play a little bit of something that is coming down the pike, but he doesn’t really disclose everything.   I’ve gotten little hints, and I kind of know where we are going, but I still don’t know the whole back-story of Amanda.  I’m still trying to figure her out.  If she’d been the polar opposite of Hilary, I think it might have been easier, but if you read her description, she’s very much like Hilary: A-type, strong, driven, all of those things.  Hilary had this very malicious, unscrupulous side to her, but I don’t know if Amanda has that.  In terms of the general description of the character, they’re very similar, which I was happy about just because I like playing strong women on TV.  If they had said, “We’re bringing on this character, and she is homeless” … or somebody who was super quiet… that would pose a different set of things for me as an actress.  I think seeing strong women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes is so important right now on TV, and it is very relevant.  I am happy to be a part of that.

Photo: JPI

What was it like playing all of these entrance scenes as Amanda where your former and current scene partners had to suspend belief? There’s Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Jess Walton, and you, and Amanda walks in like, “Hey there!” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  We just laughed about it.  It’s one of those things that is so funny, and it can only happen in the world of soaps.  A lot of the fans said, “This is weird,” in the beginning, but the fans love the show, and they accept it, and they do suspend their disbelief, and then it becomes normal.   We just had fun with it.

You’re like, “Hi, do you like my new hair?” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  That was the thing too.  (Laughs) I don’t even think Christel even saw my hair until she came to set, and she was like, “Oh wow! I like your new hair.”

Photo: JPI

What happened when you and Christel taped the scenes where Lily sees Amanda for the first time, after the former contentious relationship of Lily and Hilary that ultimately changed the course of both their lives?

MISHAEL:  For me, it was super fun and easy because I don’t know any of the Hilary/Lily back-story.  I just play very oblivious like,“Hi, I’m just here.” (Laughs)  So, it’s very easy for me, but I almost envy a lot of the other characters who have to play all of these layers because Lily does have that back-story because she was charged for Hilary’s death, and the guilt associated with doing something like that, and also the hate that she had for Hilary.  Then overcoming that hate, and then going on that entire beautiful journey that they had together as women.  But now having that as a layer, and adding on top of it this woman who looks exactly like Hilary, but is a completely different person, is really interesting. Even for Bryton, I feel like he has a golden opportunity as well, because to have that love of your life, and then a new love of your life there in Elena, and then see a woman who looks just like your ex-wife is, I’m sure, really difficult.  Your mind would just be exploding!

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How did Bryton find out that you were coming back, and what was his reaction to the news?

MISHAEL:   Well, I came in for the ghost episodes, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I told him before we finalized this new deal.  He’s a friend of mine.  I wanted to get his opinion, and he was like, “You should do it!”  I was like, “Really?  It feels so weird because I just left a year ago, and I was so happy and content with leaving, so it feels weird to come back.”  He was like, “No, it will be fine.”  He’s like, “The fans will love you either way.  They’ll want you back.”   I was worried about how the fans would feel because it is such a quick return.

Photo: JPI

What is the feedback you’re getting from the fans thus far on your transformation from Hilary to now Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like it’s pretty positive for the most part.  There are always going to be a couple of fans who are skeptical … or who don’t like the storyline … and even if they don’t like it they say, “This is kind of weird to bring her back as a different character.  We miss Hilary, but we love that Mishael Morgan is back, so, that kind of makes it all OK.”

The story that brings Amanda to Genoa City revolves around the legitimacy of Katherine Chancellor’s (the late Jeanne Cooper) will, and she comes in and says there was a counterfeit will etc.  She’s the messenger at this point and her client is Chance, correct?

MISHAEL:  Yes, Amanda’s client is Chance.

Isn’t she starting to question the legitimacy of her client?

MISHAEL:  Yes, but I think she still believes that it was Chance.  She’s kind of wondering now … because she even accuses Jill (Jess Walton).  She’s like, “It’s your grandson.  He’s all out to lunch.  He’s not getting back to anybody.”  Jill is very much in the headspace where she is like, “Well, this is probably not my grandson.”  Amanda is like, “I’m pretty sure it is.”  So, I think Amanda still thinks that it is Chance, even if he is a criminal, and even if he is doing something tricky.

Photo: JPI

How did Amanda get contacted by Chance in the first place to take this case?

MISHAEL:  It was an email, and then Amanda spoke to him on the phone …  or at least to who she believed was Chance.  He signed the papers, he scanned them over, and he forwarded Amanda the retainer. She had no reason not to believe that it was him.

So, when Amanda came to see Devon and company, she had no idea that there was this lookalike of her that was intertwined with this family?

MISHAEL:  No, but then after Devon tells Amanda about all of this, she sees pictures of Hilary online, but this is all done off-camera.

Does Amanda now suspect that she could be a twin? 

MISHAEL:  I think so.  I’m kind of playing that or keeping that there.  I’m kind of playing that as part of the reason why I want to stay in town because Amanda is intrigued by this other person who looks like her.  This could possibly be family.  I think it adds an extra layer as to why she wants to stay on Genoa City.  It is not just because she likes this person, or that person.  I think it is because she wants to figure out her connection to this person who looks just like her.

Photo JPI

We’ve seen Amanda be a little shifty.

MISHAEL:  Maybe a little bit. (Laughs)

What do you think we, as the audience, should be feeling at this point about Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I think we just have to wait and see.  Hilary had a lot going on before I left, and this is a new character who is slowly building.

I think that one of the things that daytime shows often have done wrong is that when they bring in a new character, they shove them down the audience’s throats too fast that they get sick of them.  I don’t know if that’s the tactic for the emergence of Amanda, more of a slow burn?

MISHAEL:  I feel like they are definitely doing a good job of building her character slowly and adding layers.  It’s not all coming out right away.  I feel like people should be feeling excited to try and figure out who this woman is because that is what it is eventually going to be leading to.  Right now, we are all just together in trying to figure out who she is.  I feel like everybody is really excited (and I am too) to get going, but even when Hilary came to Genoa City, it took about a year for her to catch her stride.  I think it’s going to take a while to really understand the meat of this character and how she fits into everyone’s lives.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Amanda feels badly about what is going on with Cane and Devon with the will, and how it would change both their lives forever?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  I definitely think that she feels badly about that.  In the beginning, it was very much her job.  I think when Devon is contemplating giving over his fortune, it makes Amanda see him in a different light, and her empathy for him starts to increase because she sees that he is a good guy, and that there wasn’t anything that he did that was malicious.

I think there is an attraction brewing here between Devon and Amanda.

MISHAEL:  Possibly.  I mean … Devon was attracted to someone who looked like Amanda.

Photo: JPI

Will she like him if he has no money, though?

MISHAEL:  I don’t know… I mean, Hilary definitely wouldn’t. (Laughs)

What do you think about working with Brytni Sarpy (Elena)? I see a triangle or quadrangle brewing and I see catfights in your future!

MISHAEL:  I love Brytni.  I definitely see that because Elena is definitely in the state of mind where she can’t stand this Amanda character.  The second she walked through the door, she couldn’t stand her.  I’m sure there are going to be some catfights coming.  I’m sure that it is going to be very entertaining for everybody! We’ll see.

Because you were considering being a lawyer … wait until you get into the courtroom set for some scenes!

MISHAEL:  I know, I’m excited for that!

Christian LeBlanc (Michael) always loves the courtroom monologues because he says it’s like doing a stage play.  Will you be up for that?

MISHAEL:  I think it’ll be ready for it.  I had a little one already to kind of warm up.  I won’t tell you what it was about.  I was like, “I can do this,” and I think it would have been even more fulfilling if there were an actual jury there where it feels like you’re performing.

Photo: JPI

What kind of lawyer is Amanda?  Does anyone know? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  Well, right now she specializes in estates and trusts, but the one thing that I do know about attorneys is that technically with your license you can kind of do anything.  It is just that your experience will be in a specific area.  So, certain people may not want you to defend them, because you’ve never defended people in these cases.  I feel like it is not the same as a surgeon.  A surgeon specializes in the heart, and they don’t really do anything else, but as an attorney, you can kind of do anything.  You can defend anyone if the price is right and you feel confident.

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When you were thinking of being a lawyer, did you think of the kind of lawyer you wanted to be?

MISHAEL:  Well, when I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be an international human rights lawyer.  So, something very different.  I wanted to save the world.

You know what they should do?  Maybe Amanda could have a courtroom show.  Instead of Judge Judy, it could be called Judge “Mandy”!

MISHAEL:  Put people in their places.

That’s if Amanda doesn’t get a talk show gig on the side, like Hilary did with GC Buzz! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  With the courtroom cases, and the talk show, that would be a lot.

Photo: JPI

We talked about Hilary and taking her through everything she had gone through, and it really was the perfect ending when she passed.   Do you look back on that time and that work which we all loved so much?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I do.  I still look back on it, and I feel so blessed to have gone through that journey with her and to have created such a great character.  There are times when I’m like, “Yeah, coming back as Hilary would have been a lot of fun,” because I read the lines, and I know how Hilary would say everything, and now I have to figure out how Amanda says it – and it never feels the same, because I got so used to this being Hilary’s home.  I feel like Amanda is a little more like me, so there is a little less playfulness happening.

You want more of that which is reminiscent of Hilary, or not as much with Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like naturally there is not as much now with Amanda, but I do want more of the playfulness to happen. It’s fun to play that on camera.  I feel that’s the fun of acting and pretending in that you get to be less of yourself, and more like a character.  Hilary was so different from me that it was just so fun to play her.  I feel like I’ve got to find those things in Amanda that make her unique and different that I can indulge in.

Photo: MMorganInstagram

In real-life you’re now a mom of two.  When you leave your kids to come to work, is it hard for you?

MISHAEL:  It is, but it’s okay because my husband stays at home with them.  We bounce back and forth.  He doesn’t work when I am working, and the days when I am not working, I am at home, and I get to enjoy time with them.  Then, when I am working, he stays home, and he gets to enjoy time with them.  It sucks to leave them, but at the same time it’s great to know that they are getting to spend time with their father, and I’m getting some ‘me time’.  I think that is necessary, because being a stay at home mom was a lot harder than I thought.  It is exhausting, and you are always on call.  You feel like you’re a surgeon.  It is just too much at times.

You always have the best Instagram photos with your kids and their outfits.  Are you going to have them dressed for Halloween?

MISHAEL:  Oh, yes.  They are going to dress up.   My son is going to be a firefighter, and I am going to be the fire, and my husband is going to be the fire hydrant, and my daughter is going to be the fire dog, the little Dalmatian!

Were you thrilled that you had a daughter this time, after previously having a son?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  At the time, I was okay with whatever the gender turned out to be.  I know everybody says it, but as long as they’re healthy, that is the most important thing.  I even thought about if I did have another boy, there would be that brother bond.  I grew up with sisters so to give him a brother would have been great, too.  Everybody always wants to have one of each because you want to be able to see what a boy would look like, and what a girl would look like, and their temperaments and all of that.  So, it’s nice that we got one of each.  We are happy.  We are good.  No more kids in my future.  (Laughs)  I shouldn’t say that too much because what if I do get pregnant, and my kid is like, “I was definitely an accident, Mom?” (Laughs)

We don’t know who Amanda has ties to at this point, but would you like to see her in another romantic relationship with some guy who is not Devon?

MISHAEL:  I would like to see that just because it would be something that kind of defines her as her own kind of person with her own journey and her own likes and her own dislikes.  I even feel that if she just ends up with Devon, it would be kind of weird.  We don’t know if Hilary and Amanda are related, but if they are related somehow, you would not have the same experiences, you would not have the same connections as this person.  As far as who I would want to work with, I don’t know.  I don’t know how to judge.  Well, Sean Dominic (Nate) has been awesome.  It would be kind of cool to be with Sean character-wise, because if Amanda ends up with Nate, that’s a relative of Devon, so Devon would have to see that all of the time … so that’s interesting.

Photo JPI

How is working with Sean?

MISHAEL:  Lots of fun.  He actually has the same birthday as my dad.  He’s a really cool guy, and we get along great.  That is half the battle because every now and again (and you rarely hear about it) you can’t stand the person you’re working with, and every time you get into scene work with another character, you’re always wondering, “Am I going to get along with this person?”  I love Bryton because we definitely have a special connection when we are on camera and when we are working together.  We’ve known each other for so long, and we’ve done so many amazing scenes together, and I think there is a lot of trust there.  It’s easy to just work with him.  That being said, the challenge of working with another character would be great as well.  We’ll just see where the chips fall.  Either way; I’m going to have a blast.

So, Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and you obviously have this great relationship together on-screen.  Mariah was Hilary’s dear friend.  Did you ever see her performance after Hilary died and her heartbreaking monologue on the set of GC Buzz?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I did.  It was amazing.  She’s an amazing actress.  She’s an amazing person.  I was so happy to work with her, and I am so happy to be back, because we are such good friends.  My first day back on set when I walked in, Camryn was the first person I saw.

Photo: JPI

Did Camryn know you were coming back to the show as Amanda?

MISHAEL:  Yes, she knew I was coming back.  We had a big hug and everything like that, and we were laughing about the fact that she’d come back to Y&R too as a whole different character.  So, I was like, “What pointers can you give me?” I would really love to figure out how Amanda and Mariah can work together.

The big question … I wonder if Amanda will have friends in Genoa City? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  I think she would.  I mean, I know she is a little uptight, but I think she’ll have friends.  I hope so.  I don’t know who though. Guess everyone will have to stay tuned to see.

So, are you happy to see Mishael back at The Young and the Restless? What do you think of the character of Amanda Sinclair thus far? Do you want to see her with Nate, Devon, or someone else on the canvas romantically?  Do you think it will turn out that Hilary and Amanda were twins? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Talks On Thomas’ Vendetta With Brooke & Playing The Manipulative Bad Boy Of The Forrester Clan

Since coming to The Bold and the Beautiful earlier this year, Matthew Atkinson is making his mark in the role of Taylor (Hunter Tylo) and Ridge’s (Thorsten Kaye) son, Thomas Forrester.  But while Matthew was a recast for his predecessor Pierson Fodé, his Thomas is quite different.  The new Thomas is a bad boy capable of horrific manipulations to get what he wants, and a young man who has caused so much suffering already for the Logans, Spencers, and the Forresters  But is there a heart underneath that often volatile exterior?

After all, Thomas went to great lengths to keep Hope (Annika Noelle) in a relationship with him and for her to be a “mother” to his son, following the death of Caroline.  So, what did he do? He covered-up and blackmailed many people to keep their mouths shut to the truth – that his sister Steffy’s (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) little girl, Phoebe, was actually baby Beth, the child Hope and Liam (Scott Clifton) believed had died at birth!

Following the big reveal, and getting a bit of comeuppance, Thomas landed in the hospital with a questionable push from Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) after a fall.  After promising to change his ways, looks like Thomas is back to scheming and conniving – this time to make sure Brooke gets payback and that her marriage to his father blows up to smithereens.  Meanwhile, Thomas needs to be a better father to his little boy, Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri), but will the Logans and the Spencers come between father and son?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Matthew Atkinson to get his take on: the emotional make-up of his incarnation of Thomas Forrester, what his ultimate takedown of Brooke would be, and how he thinks Thomas can find a way back into the family good graces, and more.  Here’s what Matthew had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

Thomas really has a vendetta with Brooke.  The scene where Brooke slaps him illustrated just how deep-rooted his issues apparently are with her. What did you think about what Thomas said to Brooke that came to a boiling point with the slap, and what was it like performing the material with Katherine Kelly Lang?

MATTHEW:  Katherine rocks every chance I get to be around her.  She is such a sweet human being and so fun to work with and takes her job seriously and puts a lot of work in, and I think it shows.  As far as the scene goes, every chance that I get to work with her is fun.  She’s just a great actress.  Brooke basically had this vendetta against Thomas for a while now, and she was the one who unjustifiably went a little crazy about Thomas before anybody knew Thomas was off the rails.  So, it’s kind of this interesting culmination of having that where she has built herself up to hating Thomas at this point, and she is just scared of him and what he could possibly do.  Then you have Thomas, who has hated Brooke ever since she came in and destroyed his family.  There is so much emotion there and so many levels to it.  It’s just so much fun to play around with, and in those scenes especially, it is kind of like neither one of them really has a filter.  They are both just going at each other.

He is punctuating his plan by telling Brooke that she may, “Have his father tied around her slutty little finger, but her reign of terror ends with him!”  I was just like, “Uh-oh.” (Laughs)

MATTHEW:  Yeah, and that’s how Thomas sees Brooke.  He sees her as this slutty woman who came in and kind of giggles her way into his dad’s life and flirted with him and destroyed his entire family.  Thomas sees her and all of her sisters as these air-headed women who are kind of just family-destroying kind of people.  They come in, they do whatever they can to get what they want, and he doesn’t care about them at all.  I think he has kind of gotten to this point, especially with Brooke … considering what happened with Hope and that he has this genuine love for Hope.  Brooke won’t even accept that, or think about that as a possibility with how she views him.   It’s that crazy dynamic and those scenes were definitely an emotional peak for both of them.

Photo: JPI

Thomas seems to become obsessed, and laser-focused on people like Hope, and now Brooke.  What has happened to him?  How are you playing this behavior pattern of his that we are seeing established?

MATTHEW:  Some of the most successful people in the world are people who obsess over things.  I think Thomas is like that, but I think that since Caroline’s death, his obsessive nature has been so focused on things other than fashion.  They aren’t his job and what his talents are, which is where he should focus all of that energy, but instead it’s been on his son needing a mother.  So, getting Hope in his life was key to him, and with Brooke, it’s a woman who has destroyed his entire family.  He wants his dad to be better off.  He wants his entire family to be better off.  He honestly feels that they would be better off without Brooke in their lives, and so that is what he is focused on.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad attribute to have when it is focused in the right direction, but for Thomas, since the death of Caroline, his focus has been on things that are a little abstract and are not necessarily objectively sound decisions.

Photo: JPI

What was interesting was that I did not know how they were going to be able to save the character of Thomas on the B&B canvas after all that he has perpetrated.  But then, there were scenes in the hospital where he is recovering from his “fall”, and Thomas is having big emotional scenes with Ridge and Steffy.  In those moments as the viewer, you say to yourself: “Oh, they’re going to redeem him,” but then they don’t.  He goes right back to a new vendetta.  What did you think of those plot twists?

MATTHEW:  The interesting thing about this character is that I don’t think this guy is a bad guy.  I think he is a guy who is doing a lot of bad things, but I think a lot of people can relate to him and the struggles that he is dealing with: being a single father and having a rough childhood with his family being broken up.  This is a guy who wants his father to approve of him and respect him and he has never really felt that way.  I think a lot of people out there know what it’s like to have a parent who they just want approval from but can’t get it … couple that with the fact that he let his sister down.  Everybody knows what it is like to think that they are making the right decision and end up making the wrong decision and possibly hurting someone in the process … and the kind of shame that you feel from doing something like that.  I think this makes Thomas an interesting character where viewers could say, “Well, he is doing bad things, and I don’t agree with anything that he is doing, but I can relate to him, and I want him to be better, and I want him to get better and become the good person we all know he can be.”  Yet, Thomas just keeps making all of the wrong decisions.

Photo: JPI

I predict that in short order, Thomas will be in cahoots with Shauna (Denise Richards)!

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MATTHEW:  Okay, we shall see.  (Laughs)  They have aligned interests; especially at the moment, when it comes to removing Brooke from that situation.  I think with Shauna, it’s fun that Denise Richards has come into this role and what she has done with this character.

Denise Richards is doing a great job in the role.

MATTHEW:  She’s amazing, but I think that behind the thought process she has is this woman, Shauna, who is not so dissimilar from Thomas, and is willing to blur the lines of what is acceptable and morally sound to make sure that she gets what she wants.

Photo: JPI

When you were taping those emotional hospital scenes where Thomas admits he has lost his way, and reaching out to his dad to try to find forgiveness, how were playing those scenes with Thorsten Kaye?

MATTHEW:  I respect Thorsten a lot as an actor.  I just love having scenes with him because I feel like we play off of each together so well.  When we enter a scene together, we are both in it.  When you are both in it, something real happens from that, and those real moments are kind of magical in a way, and it makes you feel great about the work that you do.  Thorsten shows up, and he’s prepared, he knows what he is doing, and at the same time, there is this connection between father and son.   I think Thorsten and I have definitely done that as father and son, and Jacqui and I have done that as brother and sister.

Since the show usually has you shirtless or sneering in scenes (laughs), I was so happy that they finally let you have some crying scenes.  It was at the point that the audience was able to see you bring another emotional level and dimension to the character.

MATTHEW:  I think he is not a guy who breaks down and cries very often.  It takes something very serious (especially for him) to get to that point.  For Thomas, the most important thing in the world is family, and he has kind of destroyed his relationship with his own family with what he has done, and I think that from the inside out is what breaks him.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of shirtless scenes; in a short amount of time you have been with the show, I think you may have set a record there.

MATTHEW:  (Laughs) Yep.  It’s all the time because the wardrobe sends me mostly pants – no shirts (Laughs).

Obviously, there is the issue of Thomas’s son, Douglas … and will he lose him because Hope and Liam want to gain custody of him. Brooke wants Thomas out of Douglas’ life for good.   This poses a major obstacle for Thomas moving forward. Agree?

MATTHEW:  Sure.  However, Brooke has no legal right to stand on.  You can’t just take a guy’s son.  There’s no legal way to do that, but they can try their hardest to either sign adoption papers or sign over custody, or something like that, but there’s not a legal way they can go and just take his son.  There are a lot of people who I understandably think Douglas would be better off with being raised by Hope and Liam, but I think Thomas has a point of view too, and just because he is going through a bad part of his life at this time, doesn’t mean that he is unfit to be a father.  I think Thomas will prove that he is fit to be father and all the while, a great force to be reckoned with,

Photo JPI

But, Thomas hasn’t been so great to Douglas, either.  Hasn’t he yelled at his son, manipulated him for his own gain, etc?

MATTHEW: Right, this was kind of right before the truth about Beth came out, and Thomas was on this massive downward swirl where he wasn’t thinking clearly; he wasn’t himself. I  think in reality, you have a person who went off the rails, he wasn’t being himself, he found the person he wasn’t, and I think that the “accident” of Brooke pushing him off a cliff, the slip, kind of clarified his intention in life to be a good, standup person from here on out.  So, I think his priorities are straight now, and I think he is thinking clearly.  I don’t think he is in the same mental state that he was before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be manipulative and that he won’t get what he wants, because he will.  There was a time that he went through a headspace when nothing was really clear for a minute, and he didn’t really have any moral backbone, but I don’t think that moving forward you’re going to see a Thomas Forrester that would hurt his son.  You’re going to see a Thomas Forrester who will stop at nothing to protect his son.

How does Thomas feel about Hope now, especially since Hope wants to raise Douglas? 

MATTHEW:  Well, here is what I will say; I think that Thomas has always had a love for Hope. I think he respects her as a person, I think he has seen her be a mother to his child, and that is undeniable … how much of a connection that she has to Douglas, and she is incredibly important to him.  Thomas can basically discard any Logan except Hope.  Hope is kind of his kryptonite.  So, going forward, I think you’ll maybe see a guy who wants to discard Hope as a person who he cares for (her and the rest of the Logans), but he may not be able to do that, because she has got a place in his heart that he can’t compartmentalize and leave behind.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Annika Noelle, because you as Thomas had been terrorizing Hope for many months?

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MATTHEW:  Well, she’s a sweetheart, but also, secondly, she is a badass.  She could kick my butt any day of the week.  So, I just had to make sure that in between takes I said, “You understand that I wouldn’t do this to you.”  She’s so sweet, and she was actually one of the first people to talk to me about taking over a role on the show, because she had been one of the most recent people to take over a role, and that was something that was really hard for me.  Coming into a character that has already been there for 30 years, you have a lot to live up to.  She was amazing from the beginning just helping me through that process.

On that note, what did you think of the epic fight scene on the rooftop opposite Scott Clifton; right before all the truth came out to Hope that Beth is alive and Thomas was lying to Hope and up to no good?

MATTHEW:  So much fun.  The shots they got were incredible.  Shooting those fight scenes was so much fun and I love Scott to death.  So, every time we get to work together it’s fun, but just getting outside and literally pretending to beat the crap out of each other is a blast.  We got to go out to Malibu, and I got to fall over a cliff.  What else can you say about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

There is another interesting relationship Thomas has on B&B, and that is with his friend, Vinny.  How has it been creating the on-screen dynamic with Joe LoCicero (Vinny) as these two scheming dudes?

MATTHEW:  I like it, and I love Joe.  This dynamic between these two guys is really funny because you have this shrewd, alpha male, Thomas Forrester, who is extremely driven, and insanely smart, but also very manipulative and he has got a thousand things going on.  On the flipside, you’ve got Vinny, who is just this guy who he has been friends with for a really, really long time, who just kind of lives life.  He is living in his apartment in Venice, he sells some not so legal substances just to his friends, and he’s a decent guy.  It’s just fun when we have these scenes together, because essentially you’ve got him looking at me like I’m an alien creature, and thinking, “I don’t understand this guy.  I don’t know why he is acting this way, but who cares; I’m going to eat my Chinese food.”  (Laughs) I think it kind of grounds some of those scenes especially when you see Thomas going off that rails, and his friend doesn’t even seem to notice. (Laughs)

I know! (Laughs) Thomas has got his own sidekick.

MATTHEW: I think Vinny wants to give sound advice, but he gives all the worst advice.  He’s like, “Well, the way you described it Thomas, it sounds like a good idea, so yeah, go ahead with that,” but maybe doing a little behavioral cognitive therapy and questioning would be good for Vinny.  He just kind of goes, “okay,” (laughs) but I think that’s what makes those scenes so much fun.

Photo: JPI

Having appeared on The Young and the Restless previously you know how soaps go.  There is always this fear of: “Will they kill me off if my character has gone too far?” Did at any point in Thomas’ storyline, and as you got the scripts and read all the terrible things Thomas was doing, that the character might get murdered, kicking off a murder mystery, and you’d have to make an exit?

MATTHEW:  I’d had discussions with Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) and I kind of knew where the character was going, so I kind of knew that he was going down a rabbit hole, but that Thomas wasn’t a lost cause.  I knew that he would at least be present for the upcoming short future that I know of, that Thomas wasn’t going to find his demise, which was very nice of Brad to give me that insight into the character to not only know what was coming up, but also know where his head is at by this point.  It helps me with the character work that I do for each scene and prep for each day; because I know where Thomas’ head is going to be at two weeks from now.

Photo: JPI

Have you had any interactions with fans, or are you checking out on social media what the viewers are saying about Thomas?  Do they love him?  Hate him?  Is there a great debate going on?  What is your take on where Thomas sits with the audience?

MATTHEW:  Oh, yeah.  I definitely pay attention.  The fans are the reason I have the job that I have.  All the feedback that I have seen is positive, and by positive, I mean that it is emotionally effective.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are happy with Thomas because most people are not happy with Thomas.  They don’t like what he is doing, and that obviously gets them angry or sad or whatever, but that is kind of the point of the show.  If you’re watching a bunch of characters who are all great people and who all do nice things, then it wouldn’t be that much fun to watch.  You’d be watching 40 Liam’s talk to each other, and it would be like, “Yeah, it’s just another day in Happy World.”  (Laughs)  I think that Thomas especially has been such a driving force in the last couple of months and caused a lot of drama.  I think there are a lot of storylines that people have connected to in the past that are really making people enjoy the drama happening now. You have the people who hated Ridge getting together with Brooke in the beginning that are happy with what Thomas is doing now.  You have the people who are pro – Liam and Steffy.  Thomas has been a big advocate of that since the beginning.  There are some people who just can’t stand Thomas and don’t like him, and he makes them mad, but the reality of it is that there is a thin line between love and hate.  So, as long as they love me or hate me, I’m happy.

So, have you been enjoying Matthew’s portrayal of Thomas? Do you think he will rip Brooke and Ridge apart for good and succeed in his plans? Do you think he should somehow pay for his manipulations? Share your thoughts on the current B&B storyline involving Thomas via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Eileen Davidson & Vincent Van Patten Talk ‘7 Days to Vegas’, Their Relationship and Y&R, DAYS & RHOBH

Today’s the day for the highly-anticipated film, 7 Days to Vegas which bows in selected theaters. The motion picture which stars Vincent Van Patten and his real-life wife, two-time Daytime Emmy winning actress Eileen Davidson (Y&R’s Ashley and former Kristen/Susan Banks, Days) is a comedic gambling romp, centering around the character of Duke (Van Patten), an out-of-work actor turned poker player who makes a prop bet that he walk from the San Fernando Valley in California to Sin City, Las Vegas in 7 days.

There are some catches to this bet that make it even more challenging  … Duke has to wear a suit the entire time in scorching heat.  The events in the movie are loosely based on Van Patten’s Hollywood Poker game nights.  7 Days to Vegas features a fictional gang of betting entertainment industry bigwigs, who are hardcore gamblers and of course, jealousy strikes.  Davidson plays Duke’s wife, KC.

Michael Fairman sat down with Eileen and Vincent at their home, and at their famed poker table for the Michael Fairman Channel, to chat about the making of the movie, their relationship and some intriguing tidbits for fans of Eileen’s work on The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives and her time on Bravo’s hit reality franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In 7 Days to Vegas, Eileen says that Vincent fashioned her role of KC after their real-life relationship adding, “They are in it together. This is a lifestyle that they both enjoy.  That is what somebody does when there is a home game; you call people up, and make sure who is going to be there.  Van Patten said, “There is a host of the game, and that is her role in the movie.”

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As to the scenes where Duke is walking to Vegas, Van Patten shared, “We shot the film in Santa Clarita, California in the hills and the mountains and all of that, and then we out five days after with a second unit shoot and shot with drones in the desert.  So, I must have walked 10 miles a day, shooting, sweating, but you don’t feel it, because when it’s your baby, it’s a labor of love.”

When asked if she would go back to daytime, Eileen shared she would be back for more Ashley on Y&R: “I am supposed to go back to Y&R in a couple of more weeks. So I am popping in and out at this point.”  Davidson also shared she wishes nothing but the best to Stacy Haiduk who inherited her roles on Days of our Lives as Kristen DiMera and Susan Banks. Eileen said she does not watch the episodes of the show anymore, because it makes her feel sad.  The roles of Kristen and Susan were so close to Davidson’s heart.

In speaking of her time on RHOBH, Van Patten shared, “I think she (Eileen) did a great job. It went by real quick. I think she did like three years on it.  I was in the background carrying her purse, going, ‘Yes, yes, here I come.”  (Laughs)  Davidson expressed: “Listen, reality TV … it’s a crazy, wild, Wild West.”  When Michael asked about the time a drink was thrown in her face, Eileen explained:  “I think Brandi (Granville) felt she needed to be relevant to be on the show, and her role was to be a troublemaker. I understand more of it now.  At the time, I was a deer in the headlights for the first couple of years.”  Vincent shared, “People always ask if this stuff is scripted, and it’s actually not, but you can spice it up”   As to if ‘Housewives’ makes up the drama, Davidson elaborated, “Before the season starts they will ask, ‘What is going on in your life?’, and maybe there is some of that behind-the-scenes stuff.  It didn’t happen with me.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it is a reality show, but it is also entertainment, and if all we did was sit around, how fun would that be?”

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Watch the full interview below with Eileen and Vincent and make sure to “subscribe” to The Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interview features.

Now let us know, will you be checking out 7 Days to Vegas, which will also be available on iTunes and VOD come September 24th? Do you hope there will be more Ashley on Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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