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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.

General Hospital

GH’s James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin’s Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

After all his bravado, machinations and lies to keep the woman he loves, and believing he was the rightful heir to the Cassadine fortune, suddenly it all came crashing down for Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) on recent episodes of General Hospital.

Payback can be a bitch, but for Valentin; who’s past has been fraught with numerous physical and emotional tribulations since his childhood, he now finds himself at the lowest point in his life; losing Nina (Cynthia Watros) who’s now taken up with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), realizing he is the biological son of the evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), and not Mikkos, and having all his best laid plans and misdeeds backfire.  (Remember, he shot and “killed” Nikolas, and set up the ruse that led Sasha to pretend she was Nina’s bio-daughter.)  Now, enter Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), who could very well hold the ticket, to Valentin’s rise to wealth and power all over again.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with James Patrick Stuart to get the lowdown on: those heavy and emotional scenes opposite Constance Towers, working with Cynthia Watros as his newest Nina, if Valentin might really kill Jax the next time he thinks about it, and what about a potential relationship between Anna (Finola Hughes) and Valentin?

Not many can play bad as good as James in this industry.  He does it so effortlessly and still brings out the humanity in the guy that has t-r-o-u-b-l-e written all over him.  Here’s what James had to share about all of Valentin’s recent dramatic moments, a tease of what’s to come, and much more.

Photo: JPI

Valentin’s world has imploded at the moment.  When did you initially find out that he was going to turn out to not be a true Cassadine heir?

JAMES:  Well, there were some clues dropped by Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) back when we did the gallery auction where Helena’s portrait went up in flames.  Frank looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jack Nicholson it up.  Have some fun!  You’re not going to be feeling pretty good for a while.”  (Laughs)  I’m like, “Oh … what are the plans?”  He pulled me aside and goes, “Yeah, you’re going to lose Nina, but you’re going to try to take over ELQ.  That’s when I started to go, “Wait a minute!  That sounds to me like Valentin’s losing his money.”  (Laughs)  With the character of Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) coming back; it’s pretty great.  I think the writing was on the wall there.  I put it out on twitter the other day.  I said, “Look what they’ve done to my boy.”  Somebody chimed in, “They gave him a storyline!” (Laughs)

Who doesn’t love to see you, James Patrick Stuart, play tortured soul?  They audience loves to see you get the opportunity to go to those depths in your performances.

JAMES:  It’s been really interesting for me.  I’ve had a lifetime of playing bad guys because the line was always shorter. (Laughs)  Everybody wants to be Tom Cruise, but the Alan Rickman’s of it all, to me, were what was so interesting.  Early on, you play one dimensional kind of twisting of the mustache, tying a woman to the train tracks.  After a while, you start to watch the truly great actors.  They start to take you on a ride.  If you’re paying attention, you start to feel what it would be like to be that damaged, and that’s why you do it.  Then you start to see the vulnerability. To me, I thought, “This is a great time in my life because I’m ready to do that.” A lot of people say, “I don’t understand.  I feel like that makes no sense. because why would I root for a person who behaves like this?” and that to me, I feel is the greatest compliment of all.

So much happened recently to Valentin in one fell swoop; he overhears Nina telling Ava (Maura West) she kissed Jax, then he envisions shooting Jax and then he is drinking himself into oblivion and he gets a “visit” from Helena!  But … the scenes between Valentin and Helena really summed up the bitter truth for him, wouldn’t you say?

JAMES:  Yes.  In the “Helena” scenes, it all basically is revealed.  It all comes down in a moment where he “sees” her.  I think he realizes with the DNA test; he’s not the person he thought he was, but he certainly had no idea that he had her blood in his veins.  The truly tragic moment of the evening is when it dawns on him that he has a daughter with Helena’s blood in her veins.  Now, he would kill her a thousand times over in that moment.  He can’t do it.  He’s fighting phantoms.  That’s the bottom below the bottom, and things got worse than he ever thought they would get.

Courtesy/ABC

Does Valentin have any idea then, who his biological father could be?

JAMES:  I don’t think so.  I don’t believe so.  I know I don’t.  I think once he realizes that Helena is in fact the mother, I think he’d rather just go into oblivion.  I think at that point, he’s out of answers.  Enter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) …which is wonderful because I think the world of Nancy, and she saves the day.   Alexis basically talks him out of hurting himself, telling him to count his blessings that he is not a Cassadine, etc, which was a really sweet moment.

I assume, when you have this kind of material to play, it must be exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time?

JAMES:  I think that’s exactly right.  As an actor, I think you want to do this stuff.  Maura West and I compare notes all the time.  I think it can be kind of emotionally draining.  You do feel it, and I felt it when I had spent a lot of time with Nina and Valentin, and when the actresses changed, and we brought Cynthia Watros in.  I worked twice as hard to make sure that Cynthia’s landing was as easy as possible, and I really grew attached to the Nina and Valentin connection.  So, when Jax steps in, Cynthia’s love life means nothing to me, I don’t care about that, but Nina’s love life means a lot to me!  And it bums me out, and I don’t know that I’ll actually be watching any future love scenes between them as much as I love them both!  I have a deep attachment to the Valentin connection to Nina.  So, the lines get burred because we just play these characters so long.

Photo: JPI

What was it like sharing those tough scenes with Constance? No one can play icy, evil villainess like her … and yet in real life, she is such a gracious and kind-hearted woman.

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JAMES:  In real life, Constance is such a sweetheart, and she’s so grateful to be there.  She was so ready to work, and rehearse, and play, and find the stuff, and she was great.  I’d been in scenes with her before.  Last time, we didn’t really talk to each other.  I was with the hump.  I was being Valentin pre-surgery.  It was some sort of moment in a graveyard, but this time we actually got to interact with each other.

You look at Valentin, and he’s not had the greatest life.  Do you bring his entire back-story into your performance; such as when he was deformed with the hump and how he had to literally reconstruct his life both in the physical and in emotional ways for many years?

JAMES:  Absolutely.  It’s the brokenness that he’s making choices from.  He was never truly and authentic person to begin with which is why his love fell apart.  He’s always been faking.  He’s always been putting on a show.  That’s not sustainable in matters of the heart.  It was unbelievably easy for Jax to swoop in, because it was inevitable that things were going to fall apart.  Of course, that anger and that brokenness were what lead him to want to kill Jax.  There’s no question.  He was prepared to do that.  If you look in the eyes in the fantasy sequence in the shooting, he just wanted to watch him die.  He wanted to watch the light go out in Jax’s eyes.  He was so furious … and even more tragic is … that was all he could think of, and somehow, he realized in that moment that wouldn’t work, because he’d lose his daughter.

Photo: JPI

Anna and Finn (Michael Easton) just kind of busted up.  Do you think Anna and Valentin will hookup? There is a connection and a history between the two of them whenever they seem to be in proximity of one another.

JAMES:  Personally, I’m waiting for that.  I hope so!  There is a finesse and elegance to that woman, and not only that, there is an effortless to the connection between Valentin and Anna, if one can say that about one’s own coupling.  I love to look at it!  I think we go together like a wink and a smile.  I just find that chemistry really great.  I think that’s mostly Finola, though.  She can probably have chemistry with most anything.

Valentin was going to leave Port Charles with Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), after Nikolas revealed all and the fallout began.  Interestingly enough, it was Anna who came to Valentin’s side and tried to talk him down from fleeing with his daughter and showed such compassion for him!

JAMES:  Wasn’t that great?  She was the one who got him.  She was the one who was able to calm the beast.  There was no one else he would have listened to.  In the moment in the police station, after Charlotte had been kidnapped, and there is that moment where Anna has that bruise, I thought it was such a tender moment.  I just said, “If I kiss my finger and touch your wound?” and she’s like, “Do it.”  It was just this moment where we had been bitter rivals and enemies for so long, but he just adores her so much it’s undeniable that he sees her wounded and wants to make it better.  It’s floating out there waiting to be done.  I know that everybody knows it.  It’s just a matter of what the right away to go about in the writing would be.

Photo: JPI

So, you’ve worked opposite two acting dynamos in the role of Nina – Michelle Stafford and now, Cynthia Watros.  Was the transition difficult for you when Cynthia came to GH?

JAMES:  It wasn’t.  It was scary because Michelle Stafford wasn’t just one in a million, I mean, she is one of a kind.  The last thing in the world that I would ever want to consider doing myself was recast that actress.  So, my deal was (and I’ve said this to Cynthia) I said, “I have no control over this.  All I can do is make the landing as easy as possible for Cynthia.”  We did a lot of photoshoots together, and I had flowers waiting for her, and I did everything possible to make sure that she knew that she had a friend and that she had somebody that was going to make it as easy as possible.  It was rough because a lot of the trolls on social media were just awful to her… just brutal, and she goes, “I have thick skin.  I can take it,” and then a week later, she goes, “I’ve closed all my social media accounts!”  (Laughs)  It’s been fun to watch those guys turn around and go, “You have a really special person.”  That wedding stuff was just incredible!  She came so prepared and she knocked it out of the park.  Cynthia has been wonderful.  I love them both.  I love her the reddest, and I love Michelle the bluest, and together I love them the purplest.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s interesting that all the women in his life such as Anna and Nina, all have a soft-spot for Valentin; even though they don’t necessarily want to be with him.  These ladies are just drawn to this dysfunctional guy.

JAMES:  Don’t you think?  Is it that you want to help him, you want to fix him, you see the potential, you want to help him despite himself?  I think that’s what it is.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Valentin’s still going to try to win Nina back, or is that done? 

JAMES:  I don’t know.  I do know that the Valentin I know will never shake Nina, and when he loves, he loves forever.  He can be simultaneously in love with Anna whenever she’s near.  I don’t believe he ever truly got over Nina hearing his story and his brokenness and still loving him twice as hard.  Years ago, there was a moment where he said to her the stuff that he’s never said, and Michelle beautifully kissed my tears away and said, “You’re beautiful” to me.   I think in that moment his fate was sealed.  I think he knew that this was his woman forever.  So, I just don’t think that that goes away.  I think he will always carry a torch for Nina, for sure.

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Do you see Valentin becoming darker and darker now that he had found out he is Helena’s offspring?

JAMES:  Well, yes and no.  I remember watching these scenes and we’ve done a lot of this stuff, and you know how easy it is to sort of go, “Let’s go dark, let’s go dark, let’s go more dark,” and after a while, I go, “You know, maybe he does learn something.  Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.”  Of course, more bad stuff will happen to him, and he will do more bad stuff, because that’s just who he is.  A leopard can’t change his spots, and those are his survival instincts, but there are some new colors, and it’s all a direct result of all of just these horrible things that have happened to him… mostly learning that he is part Helena and he can’t undo that.

Photo: JPI

We saw that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) called and then goes to see Valentin, because she wants to sell her shares of ELQ.  So, obviously he has the potential to become really rich here which is what would give him his power back.  How do you think that will go over with the rest of the Quartermaines? (Laughs)

JAMES:  (Laughs) A lot of the Quartermaine actors have been asking me that in the hallways of General Hospital!  Isn’t that interesting how he’ll just sort of switch families? (Laughs)

Of all the people, just as Valentin’s life is in the gutter and he is at his lowest, who should show up with a sort of lifeline, Nelle! How will he go about attempting to gain control of ELQ?

JAMES:  Valentin knows he has to get the majority shares to gain a control of the company, and he has to do it fast before people see that he’s doing it.  So, that’s where Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray) has been.  He’s gallivanting the states rapidly accumulating shares.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s been so fun seeing you and Michael Knight on-screen and on a daytime soap together again, as so many remember you as Tad Martin and Will Cortlandt on All My Children.  How has it been getting the chance to work with Michael?

JAMES:  My God, are you kidding me?  He taught me!  He’s the guy who taught me.  I didn’t know how to do this.  Nobody instinctively knows… this is a very unique art form.  It’s more Jazz than anything else, and he showed me how to do it!  Walt Willey (Ex-Jack, AMC) showed me how to do my hair, and Michael Knight taught me how to break down a script!  And, what’s so funny is he is still doing it.  In a scene on GH, when he threw in that line, “From now on, you pay in advance,” I just about fell on the floor!  I thought, “There he is!  That’s the Michael I’ve always known and loved.”

Photo: JPI

Who would have thought that you guys would get to share scenes like that again on soaps?  You just never know in this life who may be wind up back in your orbit.

JAMES:  It’s incredible.  That’s what we say all of the time… “Who would have thought?”  You could never plan something like this and that we’d still be doing it at this point.

Now with Lulu (Emme Rylan) learning that Valentin is not a Cassadine, and Nina apparently moving on to a relationship with Jax, what do you think it will mean for their relationship in raising their daughter, Charlotte?

JAMES:  I think in the short-term, Valentin’s shelved any ideas of getting her out of Charlotte’s life.  He’s sort of putting out the fires in his own personal life.  Charlotte needs a mother in her life, and he’s quite willing to share custody as they always have been.  She seems to be looking at this as an opportunity to paint him as an unfit father, and she wants full-time custody.  So, we’re back to that again.  It looks to me like Lulu is kicking Valentin while he’s down.

Photo: JPI

It was so nice to see you, and some of your GH co-stars such as: Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) show up for Y&R’s Eric Braeden’s (Victor Newman) 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS.  It was quite the event; speakers galore, and so many from our industry and beyond in attendance.

JAMES:  It was pretty profound.  Eric has always been kind to me.  I only worked with him on one movie, a western, called The Man Who Came Back, and that was probably 12 years ago.  He has been so complimentary of me in interviews and in his book.  So, if he does that with me, I can only imagine how many dear, dear friendships he has.  So, the fact that everybody showed up like that from the president of CBS Entertainment to local councilmen, and that they were willing to do be there for 2 hours was really proof of how much they love him.  Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I don’t even think was working that day, came in for it and spoke at the event. There was so much respect shown for Eric and what he has meant to this medium.

Photo: JPI

Your album The Apple Tree was so well-received, and everyone always loves seeing you get the opportunity to sing on General Hospital as well.  Will you continue to put out more music in 2020?

JAMES:  Yeah, that’s the plan.  I have another one that I’m working on.  I have a bunch of songs.  I’m in no rush to get it out.  Unfortunately, I lost Glen Roven, who wrote the cello part for Book of Love, passed away right after the Nurses’ Ball where I played Book of Love, which is really heartbreaking, and then, Michael Sherwood, who helped me with a number of songs on the record passed away right after The Apple Tree came out.  So, I’m a little gun-shy.  But, I’m planning on having something out by December for Christmas.

In closing, what would you say the fans should look forward to in the weeks ahead from Valentin?

JAMES: Look forward to that moment where Valentin is so low that there’s nowhere to go but up!  The comeback is going to be one for the books.

So, what do you think of how Valentin’s life hit rock bottom?  Do you think he will ever win Nina back? Do you think he will takeover ELQ? Share your thoughts on James’ recent performances and his thoughts contained in this interview via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Wally Kurth Talks DAYS Dramatic Twists That Gave Justin a Heartbreaking Story, a New Romance, and Unforgettable Moments

If you have been watching recent episodes of Days of our Lives, soap opera vet, Wally Kurth has been turning out the performances of his daytime career.  In one of the most heartbreaking weeks we can remember, DAYS took us back to ‘Mother’s Day’ one year ago, prior to their time jump, to show us how Justin’s wife, Adrienne (Judi Evans) died following a car crash, it’s aftermath, and assorted other key plots for the characters of Salem.

For decades, Wally Kurth along with Daytime Emmy winner, Judi Evans created the on-screen love story of Justin and Adrienne on DAYS, and while they were off the canvas for quite some time, they remained one of the most popular duos in the history of the show.  Saying goodbye to one daytime love story opened the door for another, and now Kurth has been paired with another Daytine Emmy winner, Mary Beth Evans (Kayla).  The romance of Justin and Kayla is really going to be tested with the recent return of Stephen Nichols who seems to have Steve’s body overtaken by the mind and soul of Stefano DiMera.   What will happen if, and when Steve, Kayla, and Justin enter into a romantic triangle?

But as daytime viewers know, Wally is not only recognizable for his role as DAYS Justin but that of General Hospital’s Ned Quartermaine.  Kurth has the distinction of being on two separate soaps (sometimes even airing on them at the same time), playing two different fan favorite roles.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wally about: being handed the ball in the emotional storyline on DAYS that has had him acting his heart out alongside Chandler Massey (Will) and Freddie Smith (Sonny) that could just land him a Daytime Emmy nomination in just a few months.  Plus, giving us a glimpse of what is was like to tape all of those tear-filled scenes, his reaction to his latest romantic pairing, and having the gift of acting on two soaps at this stage of his career.  Here’s what Wally shared.

Photo: JPI

Let me just say; I’m all cried out watching your performances now.  I can’t cry anymore. (Laughs)  Did you watch everything back from the week-long flashback to Mother’s Day that changed the course of so many lives in Salem, and in particular, with the death of Adrienne?

WALLY:  Oh, yeah.  It was hard to watch.  It was interesting because the show must have been long as there were a couple of scenes that I was actually looking forward to seeing and they didn’t air.  One was on the Thursday episode and the other was on the Friday episode.  I remember seeing something about Matt Ashford (Jack) not having his scene air with Jack and Adrienne, and I wanted to tell him: “Hey, it was all around.”  It was probably just a little too much material to get it all in.

What do you remember doing that didn’t air?  Was Justin in even more tears?  (Laughs)

WALLY:  If you can believe it! (Laughs)  There was one scene with Sonny at her gurney that I really broke down.   There was a scene on Friday after Will leaves.  It’s a scene between Sonny and Justin talking about what Will had done that I thought was pretty intense, but that’s alright.  It’s part of the deal.  Shows run long and they’ve got to make decisions.  It’s all good.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about the day you had to shoot those death scenes with Judi Evans?

WALLY:  It’s interesting.  I made a decision that I’m not going to go about those scenes with the normal method: thinking about something really, truly terrible in my life because first of all, I’ve never lost a woman I’ve been with for 30 years.  So, I decided just to use my imagination and use the words in the script, and just go there.  It was certainly a lot more fun.  I didn’t second-guess myself.  The words were beautifully written, and I just sort of played the scene; rather than try to regurgitate some kind of past memory and/or try to imagine one of my children dying or my wife dying.

You didn’t do “substitution”!

WALLY:  Yeah, I didn’t substitute.  I guess for people who don’t understand this kind of method in acting; you can substitute things in your real life, your personal life to help you feel something called upon to do in a script, and I’ve done that before.  I’ve done that a lot, actually.  I did that when I was first on the show with Judi.  But, on that day when Adrienne died, I didn’t.

Photos: NBC

It was so sad, and when they had the clip of a young Wally as Justin, meeting Adrienne for the first time, it was a sweet moment.  Justin sees her crying and is apparently smitten.  Did you see that flashback?  

WALLY:  It’s a famous one!  We got to talk about it, and the handkerchief in the scenes when she died.  I think in the scene that was cut, there was more about the handkerchief and that I gave her the handkerchief and that I needed a handkerchief now and Sonny gave me his handkerchief.  Years ago, I remember Al Rabin (Ex-director, DAYS) saying, “When you see her, she’s unlike anybody you’ve ever seen before.  That’s it,” and I went, “What?” and he said, “Yeah.  That’s it.”  So, I said, “Okay, she’s the one,” and I went in and just played that.  Like, “I don’t know who this woman is.  She’s crying on the bench.  She looks pretty miserable, but I’ll just try to talk to her” and that was Justin and Adrienne’s love story: coming in like a white knight and rescuing her.

You and Judi had worked together as Justin and Adrienne on and off for decades.  So, is there any sadness in saying goodbye to that on-screen relationship?

WALLY:  Yes, but in between it all we took like a 19-year break.  So, it’s not like John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena (Deidre Hall) who have been on continuously.  We fell back into that very comfortably.  It was 1987 when we were doing that scene at the park where she is crying.  Hello! That was 33 years ago!  And … oh, my God … the leather tie, the hair.  I had serious hair.  I remember that. (Laughs)

You had serious hair.  But … we all did!

WALLY:  It took longer just blowing my hair out than getting on make-up to hit the set.  I remember that little tweed jacket, and the black leather shoes.

Photo: JPI

What were we all thinking back then!? (Laughs)  It must have been hard for Judi on the day while you were grieving over her body?

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WALLY:  I remember Judi told me it was really hard for her, and I can understand it.  She’s such a good actress who really listens, so she’s always really affected.  We can be running lines in the makeup room, and if it’s an emotional scene, she can start crying.  So, she’s obviously really in touch with her emotions.  It was really hard for her to listen to Freddie, and me, and Matt and Mary Beth, and everyone tell her how much they’re going to miss Adrienne.  She was so good and professional.  She just kept her eyes closed all the way through the breaks.  She didn’t sit there and talk to us in between.  Probably, in her mind, she’s just trying to play dead.

She told me in the interview feature that I did for the DOOL app, that she intentionally didn’t want to see you and Freddie before those scenes.  

WALLY:  Yeah, that’s true.  I’m just thinking about that, and it really did help because we could just stay in that place and she never jumped up and went, “Hey!”   That’s just her professionalism.

Photo: JPI

When you originally found out that DAYS was going to kill-off Adrienne, and that they were going to do a time jump which paired Justin and Kayla, romantically, what was your reaction to all of that?  Was it like, “Oh, story for me!?” and/or did it make you feel bad about the character casualty in order to make that happen?

WALLY:  I guess, selfishly, you’re only thinking of yourself – when you’re selfish, and I did think like, “Wow.  That sounds like an amazing story,” and then I’m like, “Oh, well that sucks for Judi, and that’s going to be kind of crazy,” but then I also realized quickly (because I know Judi, and I know how much she loved playing Bonnie) that if they choose to bring her back, they could bring her back as Bonnie.  But yes, I thought about that as well, but mainly, I thought that this is something new.  As an actor and as an artist, you want a new challenge.  For Judi and me, we were just sort of playing the two greatest parents to Sonny.  Pretty much, that was our role.  We were happily married.  We hadn’t really had a story in about a year.  I mean, I’m mister lawyer in town.   At least for me, and it turns out, this has been an amazing story to play.  I have to say; never in a million years did I imagine Justin with Kayla.  So, it wasn’t like I was campaigning for it.

I know in daytime that sometimes actors campaign to be paired with certain actors on their respective soaps,

WALLY:  Yeah, so I think we were both surprised.  I worked with Mary Beth on General Hospital and of course, we are dear friends off set.  We thought that was probably going to be the hardest part, because we’ve been friends for so long, and it’s kind of nice that when you do a love story that you do have to kind of go there, and feel comfortable, and be excited, and it worked out.  I thought we both brought out qualities in our characters that really conveyed that a really good friendship morphed into a true love.  Justin and Kayla helped each other through this difficult, difficult time, and then…

… Then Stevano shows up in Salem!

WALLY:  Yup!   People fall in love.  That’s what happened, and then of course Stephen Nichols comes back, and all hell breaks loose.  I have to say, the audience is in for a really fun 6 months coming up.

Photo: JPI

What have you thought of Stephen Nichols portrayal as Stefano?

WALLY:  He has been amazing!   I told Stephen, and he appreciates it.   I don’t think anyone could do it as well as Stephen’s doing it.  I mean, when he blew up the other day in front of Anna (Leann Hunley), he sounded like Stefano.  He sounded like Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano)!  I think he’s done a really good job of pulling it off.  Only a really gifted actor could pull it off, and I believe it when he plays it.

You made a comment on Twitter to me about “the boys” (Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey), after I named the three of you Power Performance of the Week.  What can you say about Freddie in the scenes where he has to say goodbye to his mother, Adrienne, and then Chandler for his scenes with both Freddie and you in the aftermath, where he tells Sonny and Justin he was the responsible party that caused the crash that took Adrienne’s life?

WALLY:  Freddie went for it, and you have to.  He did, and I was so proud of him.   When Will tells Sonny that he was driving the car and he caused it, they were so in the moment.  They didn’t rush their emotions.  They took their time, and it was just totally believable, and not a false move, and then when I came in, it was just a really nice scene between the three of us, because I was checking in with Sonny, and then I was checking in with Will, and things took turn from there and it felt really solid.  I was very proud of it.

Courtesy/NBC

Then, when Justin tears into Will for the death of his wife, and Will goes, “I wish it would’ve been me.”  It was so intense; everyone was good in that scene.

WALLY:  I wanted to send out a tweet to everybody from that episode who were                       wonderful in it including: Stacy Haiduk (Kristen), Eric Martsolf (Brady), Paul Telfer (Paul), and Casey Moss (JJ)…

Oh, my Gosh, and then Casey was so heartbreaking learning of Haley’s (Thia Megia) death!

WALLY:  Good lord.  Three deaths in one day!

You’ve been on soap operas for a long time.   It was a lot to take in as the viewer, but it made for a riveting and can’t-miss week of episodes.

WALLY:  It was amazing that the show pulled it off.  It could have been really too much.  I thought that the production pulled it out.  It wasn’t too much.  That’s probably why scenes were cut, too.  It might have just been too much; all of that just grieving over dead bodies.

What is the reaction you’re seeing to all of this on social media?  The fans have been very favorable to the performances.  You’re in such an interesting position, because you’re on two soaps (DAYS and GH) and you’re able to have these two distinct and different characters to play. What’s that been like that you’ve been able to bounce back and forth for so long in your career from Salem to Port Charles, and back again?

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WALLY:  I couldn’t have planned it, obviously.  It just worked out that way; having created both roles, one 33 years ago and one 29 years ago.  I’m sort of integral on General Hospital because I’m sort of the lone patriarchal Quartermaine, and they want to keep that family going. So, that has been really kind of cool that I can keep breathing air into that legacy, and they’re recently brought in Amanda Setton as Ned’s daughter, Brook Lynn, too.  Then of course, with Days of Our Lives, they brought me back on as an attorney in 2009, and that was really out of the blue.  I hadn’t been on the show in 19 years.  So, to get a call to come back and be an attorney in town was just great, and at the time, I needed a job.  I kind of have to say, I owe Ken Corday (executive producer, DAYS) twice in my lifetime. He hired me as an actor when honestly; I could really use a job.  My first job was Days of Our Lives, and I was driving around in a moped then.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of Amanda Setton (Ex-Kimberly, One Life to Live) how do you think she is doing with the part of GH’s Brook Lynn?

WALLY:  She’s great.  She’s experienced, and nowadays you really have to be experienced on soaps.  We go so fast.  Unfortunately, the newbies take some time and have to get on track, but it’s a world of one takes and we go so quickly.  It really helps to have an actor who has done it before and isn’t daunted by the speed.

Speaking of keeping the legacy of the Q’s going, the one and only Jane Elliot recently came back to GH to reprise her role of Tracy Quartermaine. What was it like having her back on set to work with?  

WALLY:  It was great!  I hope she’ll make some future returns.  She had a good time.  The show is really much better with her.  I was just thrilled.

Photo: JPI

You must be grateful that Justin and Ned are still alive and kicking!

WALLY:  I love working on Days, and I love the crew.  I love the cast.  Both casts and crews from both soaps are fantastic.  I feel like the luckiest actor in town.  I don’t complain, and I won’t complain.  It’s interesting, when I was an actor on one show, I would complain, and I hear other actors on shows complaining about one thing or another.  I just don’t have a right to complain.  On my days off, I used to be the guy who would look at my lines the day before.  I probably could still do that, but I don’t want to.  I like spending a heck of a lot of time with my scripts so that when I go in there, I really know it.  I have a lot of different ways to play with it, and I get to be creative with it, and I pick that.  I don’t take that for granted.  So, every day when I get to work, I’m excited to be there, and I put a lot into it.

Photo: JPI

So, do you think we can foreshadow you winning a Daytime Emmy this year, or next year, or both for the performances we have seen and those yet to come?

WALLY:  (Laughs) I feel like I’ve already won an Emmy by having two jobs.  Honestly, I’m having the time of my life.

Do you think the audience will see Justin grieving still for Adrienne? With the time jump, in theory, we missed a year of that part of the mourning process.

WALLY:  You will see it.  But yes, you’re right.  You don’t see Justin the first three months, or the week after, or the weeks after.  However, more comes up for him that I think  will be very satisfying to the audience.  I know it’s been very shocking to the audience to see where Justin is at.  Most of the complaints I get are like, “Really?  It’s been three months, and you’re already making out with Kayla?”  People were kind of offended by that.  By the way, my wife is also offended by that.  (Laughs)  She was like, “You’d better wait longer than three months!

Photo: JPI

Did your wife watch your scenes when Adrienne died?

WALLY:  Yes, she did.   She liked them.   But she would say something like, “It’s hard to see you crying over another woman.”  I know she doesn’t really enjoy me making out with another woman and saying how much I love her.  I don’t usually show her all of the really romantic stuff, but I thought she’d be okay with the death scenes, and she was, but I am sure it was kind of strange for her.  She is a lawyer, not an actor.

Since she’s a lawyer, does she ever give you legalese tips for when you have courtroom scenes on DAYS?

WALLY:  She does, and I’m usually like, “Is there anything I can cut here?” and she usually goes, “Honestly, no.  You’d better say it.  I think it’s honestly pretty well-written.  You’d better say it as written. It’s pretty accurate.”

Courtesy/NBC

The other moment I wanted to bring up to you that was like the “perfect scene” is when Justin visited Will in prison and told Will to not give up on life. I think that was such a beautiful scene and performance.  I hope that is in your Emmy submission.

WALLY:  Thank you.  I was very proud of that.  I appreciate that, Michael.  I know you watch a lot of these, and, it is in my Emmy submissionIt was beautifully written.  I think the writers have really handed me just some wonderful stories to tell, and wonderful dialogue, and I used every word of it, and I feel very blessed.  As actors … you can work your ass off, but you really do also need stories to sometimes shine, you know?  I thought the writers really gave me a lot of great material to work with.

Photo: JPI

If they keep giving you more material like this every week you’ll be named the Power Performance of the Week, and then everyone will think something corrupt is going down! (Laughs) 

WALLY: They’ll think I’m paying you off, Michael! (Laughs)

So, what have you thought of Wally’s performances? Were you surprised at the Justin and Kayla pairing? Were you shocked at Adrienne’s death and what went down? Comment below.

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Eastsiders

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson Talk The Final Season of ‘EastSiders’, Their Journey As Thom and Cal, & The Impact The Series Has Made

It captivated the LGBTQ audience, expanded from there, and was a passion project and labor of love for series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with his husband and co-producer, John Halbach as they tirelessly brought the digital drama EastSiders to life.  Over 4 seasons (and 7 years in and of production) fans of the series were brought: riveting characters, real, witty, and intelligent writing, and beautiful performances that leave you either crying, laughing, or just plain in awe of their depth.

Williamson brought in As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, ATWT), from the beginning of the creation of EastSiders, to play his on-screen other half, Thom, and over four seasons we have seen Cal and Thom’s relationship grow apart, come together, have a very open sexual relationship, deal with addiction issues, and anxiety in the day and age we live in; while giving us a glimpse of a set of characters who all are struggling with something … or trying to love someone, or just trying to love themselves.

In four seasons, EastSiders went from a show on YouTube to now a popular series streaming on Netflix.  And as season four of the series was finally released back in December of last year, fans of the show were clamoring to know if Thom and Cal will have their happily ever after? Well, if you saw the emotional final episode, you kind of know the answer to that, or do we? But just when you thought EastSiders was a fait accompli, Williamson and company released a behind-the-scenes documentary of the season that is also a must-see! (Check it out below).  And this week, EastSiders scored nominations in the Queerties Awards for the Best in LGBTQ media and culture. Van Hansis scored a nod in the Digital Performance category along with EastSiders cast member, Stephen Guarino, and the series is nominated in the Digital Series category. You can vote for the Queerties now through February 21st here.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Van and Kit in a full circle moment for all of us.  We conducted the first interview these two talented gents ever did to publicize the series seven years ago, and we couldn’t let EastSiders go without one last look, one last goodbye, and to talk to the heart and soul of the story itself.  So here, we put a bow on it, and chat it up with Van and Kit in this very special EastSiders wrap-up.

Photo: EastSiders

So, 7 years ago, the three of us met at a coffee shop in West Hollywood, California and you had this little show called Eastsiders, and we do your first interview ever about the show.  Now, 7 years later it’s grown into what it has become.  What did you think of this whole journey from the beginning to the end?  Did you have any idea that EastSiders would take off like this, and did it exceed your hopes and dreams?

KIT:  Personally, I had no idea that the show could have this many lives.  I really just set out to make something cool and to put it on the internet.  At every stage of this, I wondered, “Is this it?” and it’s been wild to see how it’s grown.  As I’m thinking back on it, you are right! It was the very first interview that we did with the show … period.

VAN:  I was thinking the exact same thing.  It was!

Photo: EastSiders

When artists in any field create something, you never know how it’s going to be perceived by the public.  I think your perseverance and how you went about it was so smart that you garnered an audience worldwide.  So, what are your thoughts about how the series wrapped up with season four?  Because I had heard, Kit, that you extended the storylines.  Is that true that the season was longer than what you intended it to be?  

KIT:  So, we ended up having the penultimate episode be an hour long because I just kept writing new scenes for people and discovering things on set, and I think that kind of speaks to all of our desire to not say goodbye to the characters.  It’s a very long goodbye, you know?  Also, I can’t imagine getting to the second to last episode of a series that I was watching, and if I loved it, wanting the episodes to go by quicker.  So, it felt like something that I could tactically do at the end there.  Van, what about you?  I know in the behind-the-scenes documentary that we filmed, stuff like, not even knowing what a web series even was when we first started doing this, came up! (Laughs)

VAN:  Oh, yeah! (Laughs) When we started I was sent the script from an acting teacher.  I loved the script.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it no matter what. I had no idea what it would be.  To see what it’s become is amazing, and to be a part of what it’s become is amazing, and that is literally all mostly Kit.  He has done so much with this, and he’s put so much of himself into it.  I feel fortunate to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that sometimes you don’t get to see as an actor on a show.  We need more Kit Williamson’s in our lives, because it takes someone like that to make this happen and to make it go worldwide from literally YouTube.  So, as far as the ending …  I love where it ends off and where all of the characters sort of end up.

Photo: EastSiders

Kit, are you ready to do an EastSiders reboot?  Are we coming back to visit Thom and Cal 5 years later?

KIT:  I have said that I don’t know that I’m done with these characters yet.  Van and I have had conversations about that.  I think that the show is definitely finished is this format.  Trying to shoot and independently produce, 6 half-hour, ensemble events like this, and to do it right, and to keep growing and scaling it, is just not really sustainable, but it’s been a hell of a ride.  I’m glad that we went on it.  To speak to what Van was just talking about; I really think it’s just alchemy.  It’s a set of perfect circumstances coming together that we all met at the right times in our lives, and Van Hansis, in particular, is the spark that ignites the show.  I don’t think that the show would have had the success that it did if: we hadn’t had the chemistry that we had, and if Van’s fan base hadn’t gotten so excited about the show. To be able to kind of grow and create something that people are excited to see is really empowering.  Knowing that there is somebody out there who wants it, who is waiting for it, is gratifying.

Photo: EastSiders

Van, what did you think about Thom’s journey throughout season four?  The audience is like, “Please ask him already.  Pop the question,” and Thom is holding onto that ring!  Do you think he realized that he had what he wanted all along in Cal?  

VAN:  I think in the end he does, but I also think he doesn’t know where that journey is going to go.  Very much like … he knows that what he has is something golden and precious, but I think that he doesn’t know how to hold onto something like that.  Throughout the series, with Thom and Cal especially, they know that they love each other, but they don’t really know how to love each other in the best way.  I don’t know if that story is fully finished yet, but I think that they’re really very much on their way to figuring out what it means … and what it means especially to them.  I think especially as queer people, you don’t have a set of outliers that are given to you, especially, queer people our age.  I think the whole series has been not just about Thom and Cal, but every character in the show figuring out what is their relationship and to be able to create their own, and not give a care about what society thinks of them, which is really kind of fun.

KIT:  One of the most recurring themes of the show in terms of motif is cartography: drawing the map of the world together as a couple.  We had that Daniel Zaitchik song at the end of season 2, Map of the World, that also reprises this season.  There’s a lot of discussion of directions and destinations that I think is something I really wanted to get at because I think as queer people, we often don’t have the benefit of being able to just go down the road laid out for us by our parents.  We have to chart our own course.

Photo” EastSiders

I was watching all the comments on social media, and do you realize how many people said (including myself) that they were in tears and needed hankies at the ending of EastSiders? They just were a ball of mess at the conclusion of the show; which speaks to the investment we all had with the characters.  Did you see how people were so emotional and how they were reaching back to you? 

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KIT:  It’s been so cool.  I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of messages.

VAN:  Yes!  I also want to go back to Kit.  That’s his writing.  There are so many amazing shows that go out with a whimper.  I have followed so many shows that I absolutely love, and the final episode comes about, and I’m like, “Wait.  That’s it?  That’s what we get?”  Glen Weldon on Pop Culture Happy Hour, which is a podcast I follow, he talked about how well it stuck the landing.  Everybody gets a sense of an ending.  Most of them are happy, or all of them are happy actually, and for these characters, you’ve stuck around with them since we were on YouTube, and the audience deserves to see their favorite character have some sort of hope.

KIT:  Yeah!  I like to say happy with an asterisk.  An Eastsiders happy ending is a little different from a traditional happy ending.   They all have things that they still need to work through, but I didn’t want to leave any character in a sense of uncertainty.  I wanted to make sure that all of the loose ends of the story we’ve been telling the last 7 years were tied up.  I do think that there is definitely more story there, but I do think that’s life.  Everybody’s story continues past what you are allowed to see.

Was your final scene together that you taped the proposal in the club, or was this shot out of order?

KIT:  Van’s last scene was actually the scene with Richard (Bryan Batt) in episode 5, when they’re reflecting on everything.

VAN:  That’s a good last scene to film.  I had to come back last January to film just the material with him and with Traci Lords. So, no, our last scene together was not the proposal, it was the scene at the restaurant together towards the end,

KIT:  Yeah, the restaurant itself.  We did that out of order.  We had to shoot the bathroom scene where our characters have our big come to Jesus moment.

Those scenes were great.  Traci Lords was wonderful, by the way.

VAN:  Oh, she’s so good.  I love her.

KiT:  The scene that really gets me the most this season was Cal and his mother in the bed, and the discussion they had between them.

Photo: Eastsiders

When you watched back the ending with the proposal, what did you think?

VAN:  I thought it was great.  I posted something on Instagram like, “I get to be in a romcom!”

KIT:  It’s your Drew Barrymore moment!

VAN:  It was!  That’s what I wrote!  It’s my Drew Barrymore moment.  I’ve never gotten to do something that joyful.  Kit, I have a question for you.  Was some of that confetti in the final scene CGI or was all of that there?

KIT:  It was all there!

VAN:  Really!?  I don’t remember.  I was just so deep into your eyes that I don’t remember all of that confetti falling on my face.  It looks amazing.

KIT:  It was at the end of the night.   We only got one shot at that scene.  That was one take, and it ended up perfect.

Photo: EastSiders

 

In season four, you really expanded Jeremy’s role.  Matthew McKelligon was wonderful in the story you provided him.

KIT:  Yeah!  I really have tried with all of the characters to subvert expectations.  With Willam Belli (Douglas) and Stephen Guarino’s (Quincy) characters, their introduced as kind of the commedia clowns and then revealed to be the lovers, and with Matt’s character, he’s introduced as the “other woman”.  He’s literally called “Jezebel” all throughout the first season and then starting in season 2.  I think a lot of people were probably surprised that we are still following this character.  Jeremy doesn’t just disappear from the story when he stops sleeping with Cal and Thom.  I think to be able to follow his trajectory as he’s going on a radically different path than I think he even expected was really fun for me … and for Matt.

Photo: EaatSiders

Kit, a moment I recall on your social media posts, was when you said you’d just watched the sex scenes you were in and you were like, “I hope my mother doesn’t see this.”  Were you really embarrassed?

KIT:  Yeah, I did a reaction video when I watched it.   I will be honest.  You disassociate when you’re editing something because you’re looking at it as a frame-to-frame perspective, and then I had a little distance from it and watched it on Netflix for the first time, and that was the first time it really sunk in that I was like, “Oh, that’s a sex montage starring me.”

Van, when you were seeing the story of EastSiders progress through the years, and how Thom and Cal were sleeping around and with multiple partners, did you ever have a moment of, “What’s happening here?” Or, were you like, “Oh … cool!?”

VAN:  That started in the 2nd season, but I wasn’t like scandalized or anything by it.  What I love about the show, and what I love about the 4th season especially is that there are basically 4 narratives of gay male relationships, like queer all encompassing, but specifically looking at gay men.  Each one is different, and I think if you are in this community, I think you’ve seen these types of relationships, and you fall into one, or you don’t, or you fall between them.  So, I wasn’t like, “Oh, my God, you’re having a sex montage in the 2nd season,” no.  I’m not like some Victorian lady who is fainting on a chaise when someone is shirtless.  The thing that’s funny to me is that this isn’t shown more.

Photo: JPI

Van, you know from portraying Luke Snyder on As the World Turns, on a daytime soap, that as a gay character they often tap dance around so much in the writing!

VAN:  Yeah, I do.  I lived that, and that’s what honestly pisses me off.  That this program is afraid to show something.  It’s because they’ve probably done tests of what people are comfortable with, so it’s like, “Okay, we live in this society where people are uncomfortable with X and X and X and X,” and really, why?  People just need to live their lives.

Kit, do you have a favorite scene that you’ve written in this entire 7 years of the creative lifespan of EastSiders?

KIT:  I would say season 3 episode 5, the “What do you see when you look down?” conversation between me and Van as Cal and Thom.  To set the scene a little bit: it’s the culmination of days of talking on the road trip when you run out of frivolous things to say to each other and the real stuff comes out.  My character is asleep, and he wakes up to find that Thom is kind of drinking by himself in the camper, and they have this conversation to really get to the heart of what both of them are most afraid of, not just in their relationships, but in their lives. You sort of get to realize that this fear has been shaping their decisions from the very first season, that they have been leading with fear, and that is something that maybe they can work through as a couple, that they can maybe address together.  I think that moment for me is the moment that I knew that Thom and Cal were meant to be together.

Photo: EastSiders

That was the scene where you both were in tears inside the camper?

VAN:  Yep.  That scene is on my reel.  That is one of my favorite scenes that Kit has written also.  I would say for me, my favorite full-on episode is probably the first episode of season 3.  The bottle episode in Palm Springs.

KIT:  I love that episode, too.

VAN:  I think that what you do so beautifully is that it is just so funny and uplifting, but you do get those undercurrents of the reality in the relationship with Quincy and Douglas. I think that is where we see them go from sort of the clowns into the lovers, and I love the way that you put that.  We see them get a little bit more grounded.  So, that’s my favorite episode, but I love that scene in season 3, but I love so much from the series!  In season four, I love the scene with Jeremy’s foster daughter.  It’s not like a huge deep scene or anything, but the stuff that you brought out of that little girl … she is just incredible.

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KIT:  Scout was just so brilliant.  If she wants one, that kid has a career ahead of her.  I have every confidence that her family is supporting her in whatever she wants to do because they’re just incredible.

Kit, in EastSiders, you wore so many hats within it.  Would you ultimately want your next projects to just be acting in front of the camera, and not worrying about producing and writing it?  Did you like doing it all?  It’s a lot to take on.

KIT:  Yeah, they’re different itches to scratch.  I would like to have less responsibilities as a producer in terms of the day-to-day responsibilities and nuts and bolts of things.  I would love to never print a set of sides or stock ‘crafty’ ever again.  I would love to have those sorts of things taken off of my plate, but ultimately, my goal is to be a showrunner, and that means that I want the buck to stop with me.  I want to be the person who is ultimately responsible for not just the creative vision, but the execution of that vision from concepts to finished product.  But, I want to do all of it.  I find it really empowering to wear fewer hats.  I think a great career model that’s emerged for me in recent years is Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  I love everything that she does.  I love that she is creating shows that she’s not acting in, she’s acting in shows that she’s writing, she’s punching up the new Bond movie, and she is acting in projects that she has nothing to do with as a writer.

How do you feel the door had been opened for you because of the series?

KIT:  Oh man, I’m getting a lot of opportunities, and I’m really, really grateful for it.

In the LGBTQ community, what do the guys say to you, and how EastSiders has impacted them? Do they ever say, “Thom and Cal showed me this?” or “I’m so glad this was portrayed?” 

VAN:  Yeah.  I got something on Instagram about a week or so ago from a guy who was really freaking out about being in an open relationship, and he was like, “Thank God for this show.”

KIT:  Definitely anytime I’ve been outside of New York or LA and in a gay bar or a gay space, somebody has come up to me, and I definitely love it because the whole point of this is to get people to engage with your work.  That’s the reward; is knowing that people are watching.  I actually have a “gratitude folder” on my computer where I save some messages that people have sent to me.  It’s something I started recently, and I wish I’d been doing it since the beginning, because I always try to write back to everybody that writes to me about the show, and if I missed some, I’m so sorry.  It was an accident.  I can read you a few.  One says, “I live in a very conservative family, in a developing country, El Salvador.  Thanks to EastSiders, I understood that discovering my sexuality wasn’t something to be ashamed of and that all expressions of love are equally worth it.  You guys basically saved my life since I thought about suicide many times.”  In other messages, many people told me that the show gave them the confidence to come out to their friends or family, or that it made them feel less alone in countries where being gay is illegal.  I have a message from someone in Saudi Arabia, someone from Iran, Nigeria, Mississippi, where I’m from.  I get a lot of messages from Mississippi, because I’m so outspoken about how coming from the south shaped me.  It’s just really overwhelmingly satisfying.  As a kid there weren’t any openly gay people around me, so the first gay people I ever met were characters on TV, and it made me feel, like maybe, I could have a life worth putting on a screen someday.

Photo: Eastsiders

Let’s go back in time. Van, what was your first impression of Kit when you met him?

VAN:  I feel like I met him through his writing first, because I had never met him when I got the script.  I remember we met at a coffee shop in Los Feliz in Los Angeles.  Kit was very professional, and I remember there was a question if I was going to play Thom or was I going to play Jeremy? I think I was sort of gravitating towards Jeremy at that point, but you were like, “No, you’re a Thom,” so I was like, “Okay.”  (Laughs) I remember leaving. feeling that it was very much like a business meeting, but that went away really quickly when we just got to know each other.  You came across as a lot more serious than I thought whoever wrote the script would be.

KIT:  Oh.  Cool.  I love that.

Kit, what did you think of Van when you first met him? 

KIT:  Well, I was super nervous, and I definitely wanted to convey that this was something that I took really seriously.

VAN: (Laughs)

KIT:  So, I’m glad he got that.

Photo: JPI

I get that you wanted to come across very professional.

KIT:  Yeah, because it was my first time directing so I wanted to come ready, and the first thing I thought when I met Van was, “That’s Thom.”  Literally a sentence comes out of his mouth, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah.  Absolutely.  This is absolutely correct.  Thank God.  We have our lead.”

VAN:  I love the role of Jeremy, but I’m so glad I played Thom.

KIT:  Honestly, a lot of people were almost a lot of different people in this thing.   At one point, John Halbach, was going to be Thom.  John, at one point, was going to be Jeremy.  We didn’t have a casting director.  I was in grad school.  I had no clue what I was doing, and I keep on coming back to the idea of alchemy.  We accidentally made gold because we did not know what we were doing.

How did you know about Van?

KIT:  Through a mutual acting teacher in Los Angeles, and of course, I was familiar with As the World Turns and all of that, but I didn’t know him, and it never would have occurred to me that I could even reach out to somebody at his career level.  So, it was very, very fortuitous that we were connected.

Photo: Instagram

Kit, you have a gazillion followers on Instagram.  Do you ever have a moment with yourself like, “God, I have to do another post today to keep this going?”  

KIT:  It’s a hustle, and it’s a balance that John and I are both constantly doing our best to navigate, because we started it to bring attention to the show, and now, sometimes people will recognize us from Instagram and not from the series, and that’s not what we are going for. (Laughs)

You’re Instagram stars!

KIT:  It’s a balance that we are trying to navigate.  You know, how many shirtless selfies is too many shirtless selfies?  At what percentage of shirtless-ness will you no longer be taken seriously?  But as Van pointed out, I’m a serious MF with a master’s degree and multiple Emmy nominations. (Laughs)  So, I take myself way too seriously, but I know that you have to play the internet like a video game.  You have to do certain things and get a certain response, and attention begets attention, and a lot of people have told me that they found the show by following me on Instagram.  So, it’s mission accomplished I suppose, but it’s something that we have to be really careful about especially as I’m moving into phase two of my career.

Did you guys submit yourselves for contention in the upcoming Daytime Emmys?

KIT:  Yes.  Absolutely.

Photo: EastSiders

You both gave two of the most memorable performances of the year in Eastsiders and within the digital drama space.  So, we’ll see how it plays out for you when the nominations are revealed.

KIT:  Thank you.  It’s really interesting because historically it seems like the Daytime Emmys have gone with more traditional soap narratives, and ours is definitely the weird kid on the block, but I’m really hopeful that this season we will have a good showing because I really believe in Van’s performance.  I believe in all of the actors.  I believe that they’re all operating at their series best … to put it that way.  I think everybody is just sitting in their power and owning their characters in a way that was really, really cool for me as a writer to see.

It was amazing.  Congratulations.  I guess this is our wrap-up interview for Eastsiders … for now.

KIT:  Who knows… maybe this isn’t the end.  We’ll see.

So, will you miss seeing the journey of Thom and Cal on EastSiders?  If you watched the four seasons. did you have a favorite moment within it?  Share your thoughts on our conversation with Van and Kit via the comment section below.  Then check out the documentary of the “making of” EastSiders.

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