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The Crystal Chappell & Kim Turrisi Interview – Venice

© JPI Studios

© Lesley Bohm / © Vicki McFadden

One year ago at this time, as Guiding Light fans and its cast and crew were handed down the news of its cancellation – right in the middle of the telling of the super-duper popular same-sex love story of Otalia – its loyal fan base and its actors were devastated. Crystal Chappell determined to continue to cultivate the LGBT audience that has had little depiction of their life stories seen on daytime television decided to take matters into her own hands, and take what started out as a love story on network TV and transfer parts of it into a new and uncharted territory for soap operas… web soaps. Partnering with her long-time friend Kim Turrisi, the dynamic duo created Venice, which gave legions of fans worldwide an opportunity for them to see the magic re-created once again by Crystal and her on-screen partner, Jessica Leccia, but with a new twist!

Crystal and Kim chatted with On-Air On-Soaps for this exclusive, in-depth, and heartfelt interview as a thank you letter to all the fans, and those who helped Venice along the way, and were instrumental in making it a global phenomenon. And while season one did not go off without some major and minor glitches, the gals open up and discuss the perils, agony, and ecstasy of pulling off something so rare, and of such magnitude, to satisfy a rabid and adoring fan base. And through it all, how they remained true to the characters and the stories they set out to tell. There are some major announcements contained below, some behind-the-scenes snippets never before revealed, and so much more. Congratulations to all on Venice. We were happy to be part of the ride of season one, and look forward to an even more exciting second season. So, read on!

MICHAEL:

The two of you have gone through the process of season one, and those in the know were aware that there were some things that were easier to accomplish than others.  What was the easy part and what were the moments that you were, for a lack of a better word, in shock over?

CRYSTAL:

Let me timeline it first.  It started a year ago on April 1st and with Big Purple Dreams and Destini.  She did some amazing pod casts for that site with Otalia, and she encouraged me to get on Twitter.

MICHAEL:

So, Destini is actually to blame for your addiction to Twitter?

CRYSTAL:

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Yes, and it’s her fault, really. (Laughs)  And I am glad I took her advice, because it gave people a place to go.  And for the Otalia fans, at that point, we conceived the web story of Venice and laid out these characters from all walks of life.  So it was a great way to talk about Venice and take Otalia and give them a new home.  Then, I convinced Kimmy to Twitter and that is my fault, I will take that one! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What was the point when you knew in your heart you needed to keep the Otalia characters going in some fashion?

CRYSTAL:

We got the notice of Guiding Light’s cancellation on April 1st, and someone mentioned we would stop shooting mid-August, and that is when we ended.  Knowing it was coming to an end, I called P&G and I suggested to them, either take us to As the World Turns or create a web series.  I had wanted to do something on the web for a long time and this seemed to be a perfect opportunity to do that, and give the Otalia fans a new home.

MICHAEL:

Once you were looking for a new home, it wasn’t easy!

CRYSTAL:

I felt like the only place to go was the web, and it’s the only place where we could take a show like Venice and have the creative freedom to tell story like we want to tell it.  But it was obvious to me that social networking was the way to get the message out there, and guide people in the way we’d hope they would go.  That was a year ago last week, and they jumped and they were so happy.  Personally, I know I felt, “Ok, this is the right thing to do.”

KIM:

And through Twitter, I started this Twitter banter with a person, who is a Florida Gator, and I am a Florida State Seminole.  We started this back and forth sort of thing.  And then she emailed me.  She is a genius when it comes to social networking and the web, and she reached out to me.  Her nickname was “Stu” and she said, “I am actually going to be in California.  I have an idea for you, if you want to meet me.”  And so I met her for a drink, and she was so smart and she talked about Facebook, and she said she wanted to do a Facebook page for me and Crystal.  She told me she was going to do this with another person nicknamed “Junk”, and they created our Facebook. They told us they were going to go live.  Crystal and I were watching this going, “Oh, my gosh,” and it gave them another place to take this Otalia storyline.  And with Venice, it mushroomed and exploded, and that was through a Twitter connection.  They are part of our team to this day and are amazing.

Courtesy/Venice

MICHAEL:

When was Kimmy on board for writing season one of Venice?

CRYSTAL:

I spoke to her a week after Guiding Light was canceled, which would be a year go this week.

MICHAEL:

What was your take away from the end of Otalia, and portraying the love of these two women, Olivia and Natalia?

CRYSTAL:

It’s really magical when two women in the most loving respectful way can play something this meaningful.  Jessica Leccia and I are both, ‘girl’s girl’, and there was never any ….alright I just came out.   I love kissing her, too (Laughs)

KIM:

I loved watching it!  As soon as Crystal came on the show, she is my best friend, so whatever show she is on I watch.  I watched her on Days of our Lives when she was on, and when she went over to Guiding Light. I fell madly in love with that storyline.  I could not believe it.   I remember when she called and said, “You are not going to believe my new storyline.”  And it was shocking!  I was so proud of the way it was played out, and it was so believable. Crystal shared some of the letters she had gotten, and some of the letters we get on a daily basis with Venice, and it all goes back to the core. And the core is the Otalia fans.  They are the ones, who with all the little glitches that continued to go wrong, said, “We were on this adventure”. And they are the ones who stuck with us through thick and thin, even though Jessica and Crystal were not going to be the ones that were together in Venice. They invested in these two women and that was amazing!

MICHAEL:

Kim, as a writer, weren’t there some things you would have liked to have seen written differently in the Otalia storyline, or where you went, “I can write this better?”

KIM:

Courtesy/Venice

I will admit I thought there were some moments that were missed opportunities. What I said was, “God, I would love to have these two women and write for them somewhere else where somebody doesn’t say, “Whoops, you can’t do that.”  Oh, for sure.   Their chemistry is what it is.  I don’t care, straight or gay, you can’t watch those two on-screen be together; it could be having sex, kissing or just talking, and they have that kind of chemistry.  As a writer, you just dream to have that happen. Yeah, I watched a couple of moments and went, “Jesus, I want them.”

MICHAEL:

So what was the next hurdle in the Venice journey?

CRYSTAL:

Sometime during the summer, Hope Royaltey got in touch with me.  She had heard about Venice and knew we were creating a series for the web, and called to be part of the team as more of a technical person and also a co-director. I did not know anything about creating a website.  I knew how to surf the web and shop!  I did not know about bandwidth and what not.  Then that led us into pre-production, and production in October.  But here is where it gets to be really amazing.  I want people to understand that this group of people worked tirelessly for nothing.  I know the fans appreciate everything, and I feel I need to mention certain people’s name who helped us along the way.  There is a lovely associate producer, Kim Di Tomasso, who has a very big day job, and she has been on board from the beginning, not only a kind person, but smart.  We would call her in a panic and say, “I need a Venice logo on some panties.”  And she would be running out the door, so we could get the Venice logo on some panties!

KIM:

She literally was at a political fundraiser and Crystal and I were like, “Oh, My God.  Well, we want to post this picture and can you get a logo for it?”  Here she was at this fundraiser and she did it.  She was so excited to do it.

CRYSTAL:

She thinks about the show and the fans as well.  That goes for Leslie Penny as well.  She worked so tirelessly on this.  Well, between Kimmy, Leslie and Kim, we wanted to make it the fan’s show.  I have told you that from the beginning and they have all answered emails directly. We are here… someone is going to get back to you.

KIM:

I don’t think people realize the honest to God’s truth that the month of December when we had some issues with our store that did not go right our fan club president and other women got involved with it. Crystal and I were at a college gymnasium with the girl’s volleyball team who volunteered to help us…

© Adam Bouska

CRYSTAL:

We would like to thank them, too… (Laughs)

KIM:

We were literally packing panties and T-shirts for twelve hours.  I would be calling people going, “Hi, this is Kimmy from Venice and I have your order here.  Crystal just needs to know, did you get your boxers?”  And they were like, “What?”  My living room during the Christmas holidays had tables of all the merchandise, and while everyone was Christmas shopping, Michelle Carter and Crystal and I, were in my living room packing things up and taking them to the post office.  Not really glamorous!

CRYSTAL:

We got to know a lot of people on Twitter doing that, and they understood. We would say, “We are telling you right now…we are packing your panties”.   I want to mention Maria Macina and Jay Bungay, and Lane Crouse, these are all my Guiding Light friends.  I called Maria, who was one of the GL producers, a week before Christmas, and she comes from a very close Italian family, and Christmas is a big Italian family day.  I did not know about this, but I am trying to get myself invited next year! (Laughs)  She has got to cook for twenty- some people.  I call her the week before in a panic and I say, “Maria, what if I flew you out here the week before Christmas, and what if you edit episodes 3 to 12.  How would that be?”  We were not going to make our deadline, and she said, “I heard the panic in your voice, and of course, I would do it.”  And so she left her family with her parent’s blessings, and stayed in my home with me.  I watched her edit episode 3 to 12 in five days with no sleep.  And then Maria suggested Jay and Lane.  Jay is a miraculous finishing editor who does amazing things with audio, and Lane is amazing as a color correcting artist.

MICHAEL:

They did it for free?

CRYSTAL:

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No. I actually paid Maria, Jay and Laney.  I gave them some money because I didn’t feel I could just pull them in on Christmas and not pay them.  I will say, Jay wanted to be part of this from the beginning, and Maria is my friend and would have done it for nothing. But I felt like I should compensate them for that.  The point is, this show got out on time because of those three people.  And we got a great new company and redesigned our entire website.  We have a lot of good stuff happening in the next two to three weeks.  It’s very functional.  It’s beautiful and its with a company called Purple Crayons out of Colorado, and they have been very helpful.  The bottom line is, it’s been the fans who have been understanding, forgiving, and patient, and that is not lost on us.  So, I want to put that out there, and let them know about these other people who really wanted it to work for them, too.

KIM:

Actually, when Maria was out here I proposed, I did.  I walked in and said, “You need to marry me.”  And I think she thought I was crazy.  It was the first time I met her and I proposed to her.  That is the kind of tight schedule we were on.  I really did propose to her when I saw the work she was doing.  I literally sat in front of the computer and wept.  Crystal and I were so tired, but we kept saying, “We can’t let the fans down.”  And they were and are so loyal, and it’s almost unbelievable!

MICHAEL:

Never have I seen in 20 years of covering daytime, what you have managed to do with Venice. You truly deserve so much credit to cultivate the audience, and do an online show.  It was almost like a labor of love between the fans, the press, and the both of you. This project had such far reaching effects going on with it, and everybody wanted the same end goal; that this show would be up there, successful, and to do the story you wanted to tell.

KIM:

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Overall, I am proud of what we accomplished with what we had, and all the bumps that hit us that we weren’t expecting.  For me, to watch the actor’s work, and when I tweet out, ‘they are a writer’s dream’, I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  When you write something it is close to your heart, and Crystal and I spent so much time together with it.  When you have someone like Jordan Clarke…and this is one of my favorite moments, ever.  My phone rings and its Jordan.  He goes, “Hey Kimmy, its Jordan.  I think I am going to buzz cut my hair and grow a moustache.  Don’t tell Crystal.  I want to surprise her.  Don’t you think that would be great for the Colonel?”  Well, it took my breath away.  The actors invested so much and it was certainly not lost on us.  And when Nadia Bjorlin came in an hour before shooting, her response was, “I read the script and I liked her.  I will be there an hour.”  This was an episode Crystal was directing and it was she in make-up talking to her about Lara.  I was concerned.  I said, “What about all the dialog?”  And Crystal said, “Don’t worry about the dialog, she works in daytime.”  Then I watched Crystal direct Nadia and Jessica, and let me tell you, they have the hottest love scene in season two!

CRYSTAL:

Kim will be icing the nipples in her own unique way for that one.

KIM:

…With my assistant, Brandon Beemer.  He is my new boy toy.  I want to say my girlfriend is completely supportive of it!  She likes him, too.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Of all the things that people were questioning one was what went on with the server issues?

CRYSTAL:

We got hard fast education on streaming and servers and bandwidth, and it was a crash course in web design.

KIM:

Crystal and I were on the phone together, if we are not in the same room every night, while all this was happening with trying to fix it and reaching out to people we know.  Look, we know we went to Amazon and went with Cloud Servers and we went with ten of them to prevent crashing.  But there was no way for us to know we needed ten Cloud Servers until Purple Crayon told us.  And when you are thinking, “OK,” and when you go to streaming servers, I don’t think that anybody could handle these amounts of fans, and so it was a great problem to have and we have worked it out.  Literally, there were moments where we were like, “Holy Shit!  Is this really happening?”

MICHAEL:

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I remember so vividly the first night the site launched, when so many people tried to view the first episode of Venice and could not get on to see it!

KIM:

It was happening, and we did not know it, because we were in Las Vegas hanging out with 200 Guiding Light/Otalia die hard fans.  We had DVD’s for them of Venice. So we are sitting there going, “Well, I hope everyone is enjoying the show,” while we were watching our phones as they were ringing off the hook.

CRYSTAL:

…and I am thinking, “It’s probably our families telling us how good we are.” (Laughs)

KIM:

And we get this call, “Half the friggin country can’t get on!”

MICHAEL:

What did you do when you heard that?

KIM:

You know while we were there trying to show the love, it was an amazing gathering and behind the scenes it was wild.  We spent two and half-hours with the fans, and then we went upstairs and had every single phone in use.  I had one of our other good friends there, and my girlfriend was with us and all four phones were dialing, Leslie, Kim, and everybody going, “What the hell is going on?  How can we fix this?”  And that was what we did for three hours.  Then I was like, “Crystal, we have to go downstairs and gamble.” The next morning at 5AM my phone went off and it was Crystal.  She says, “OK, I ordered coffee and here is what we are going to do!”  And that was our December.

CRYSTAL:

Courtesy/Venice

And that is when the education began for me, and that is when I knew I needed to understand thoroughly what it takes to do a web show.  It’s one thing to come up with a marketing plan, but it became about how do we technically pull this off?  In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened, because we now know what we are talking about when we talk.

MICHAEL:

You received pushback from many online soap competitors and critics for charging a subscription rate of $9.99 for fans to see the webisodes.  Looking back, do you still think this was a good idea?

CRYSTAL:

I was on Twitter and I asked, “What would you pay?  Would you pay $9.99?”  I don’t regret our decision.  It helped fund season two.

KIM:

It’s extremely costly to stream video.

CRYSTAL:

And I don’t think people realize that.  We offered a streaming subscription for $9.99; we extended it an additional two months. That is a lot of money for those extra two months, but we wanted to give people that.

KIM:

It’s expensive to dedicate ten servers, and even if we don’t use all ten. Crystal and I decided, “Look we don’t want crashing, and what’s it going to take for us on a Friday night to know that we can have a drink?”  And so the magic number was ten servers.  We pay for them, and when people are watching the episodes over and over and over 50 times, those cost us money, and you have to be able to do something to be able to get them the show that they want.

CRYSTAL:

The other thing is this: I literally had people sending me checks for thousands of dollars with my name on them.  I had one woman offer me $10,000 because she wanted to support the show.  I sent the checks back, except for one where I may have gone shopping. (Laughs)   The idea was if they are so supportive of this, I said, “Take your check and we are going to open a store, and if you want to support the show then go buy a T-shirt.”   So no, it seemed to me like $ 9.99 was a good price point.

MICHAEL:

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So how did it work out for you in season one?  Were you able to make a profit for Venice?

KIM:

I think we are one of the only web series operating in the black, and to make a big strong point by being in the black, we are rolling that into season two.  We have not seen one dime.  Crystal acted the whole time and directed.  I wrote the first season and the second season with no money.  Every dime that we have made is going back into the show.

CRYSTAL:

And the crew and the actors last season did it all for free.  Going into season two, the hope is, to be able to pay the actors and keep them under contract for season two and three, and hopefully, to be able to get sponsorship.  And we are putting the media kit together now.  We will see where it goes.  My hope and my goal is to give season two away for free to everybody.  Honestly, it’s the loyalty to the fans.  I said if we can do the subscription for season one, we might be able to pull off-season two for free.  They trusted me and it’s looking like that is what’s going to happen. 

MICHAEL:

Many fans were curious and asked me if this was the script you wrote Kimmy that we saw on-screen in season one, or did the actors influence or change the script?

CRYSTAL:

It’s very interesting.  I learned from soaps that the actors are not allowed to talk to the writers, and that is just how it goes.  That is not what we would do.  Just like the Twitter community that has come together for this, we are very open and very available, and what ever you have to offer, we want to hear it.  I improvise all the time.  I am the worst person, and I did not say everything that was in Kimmy’s script.  We added stuff.

KIM:

And it all worked, and I come from a different viewpoint.  I love actors and I love collaborating with them, and I worked with every single actor before the final script went to them.  Then on set, somebody was feeling something.  Crystal and I said, “Change it up.”  I am not an egomaniac.  I am not married to anything.  There is nothing that anybody did that switched the scope of where we were going in a scene.  If you don’t say the exact words, I don’t care.  For the actors, they were so respectful.

CRYSTAL:

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There was a scene with Gina Tognoni and Galen Gering and Galen said, “Fuck” and Gina on set went, “Are we allowed to say that?” And we went, “Yup. You sure can.”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Are you thinking of longer webisodes for season two?

CRYSTAL:

Yes, I am thinking 12 minutes webisodes for season two.

MICHAEL:

Kimmy, it would then seem fans would get a bonus, in that you would have to write more story to accommodate the longer webisodes?

KIM:

This season’s script is longer and it’s been a joy.  And the hardest part is, it’s very hard to develop a character in six minutes.  Crystal and I know the big picture and translating it on screen is another thing.  It really helped having seasoned professionals, being the actors, and what they added with their own pizzazz.  In writing season two, you know what you can write to, which is their strength.  I know what they can deliver.  My dream would be to have Venice be a thirty-minute series, if I could have this cast.  You are dealing with what you are dealing with… the constraints of the web.  Season two will be written a bit differently, but when you get those extra couple of minutes to flesh out some more, it enhances the experience.

MICHAEL:

As head writer, what would you say were the defining on-screen moments of season one for you?

KIM:

Courtesy/Venice

For me, there were several, but my favorite line in the entire show is when Gina stands up to the Colonel.  I was watching the monitor and I was speechless.  It was a great moment and I cried.  It was shot in my home which doubles as the Colonel’s house, and first of all the delivery was ridiculous.  I think it resonated with so many people.  The letters we got after that took my breath away, and the other moments for me personally, that were great I have said it before.  It was the moment Crystal was directing Jessica and Nadia.  I stepped into friend mode.  I know she has wanted to do this for so long, and for her to be so good and organized was something to see. I watched the way she treated those two and I thought: “My God, what a great moment and for me to watch her do that.”  There is a moment when you think, “Oh God, she has been Jessica’s girl for all this time.”  How are you going to say, “Now this is what I want you to do, so that now you guys have this amazing moment?”  And she did so, without any regard to where she was with Jessica.  I also loved the moments with Ani and Gina on the beach together where they were talking, and it was so painful and real, and I loved the dates.  I loved Galen and Hillary and Crystal’s chemistry, and the love scene with Crystal and Jessica.

CRYSTAL:

I was thinking about it today, and I can’t wait to backlight the love scene in season two. It’s going to be beautiful; it’s Nadia Bjorlin, and it’s a lot of pretty.

KIM:

And there is a whole lot of ‘pretty’ coming on the show.  There is a lot to look at in season two.

CRYSTAL:

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In regards to season two, we are going to see that Gina is going to start her healing process, and a lot of stuff is going to happen between she and the Colonel.  We are going to discover some not so attractive things about Lara, and Ani is going to figure a few things out.  There is a beautiful story being played by Galen and Gina, and then Van is coming back to town, who is Guya’s son.  And…. he is a nasty sexy bastard!

KIM:

Season two is going to turn Venice upside down a bit.  It’s been really fun for me and Crystal to break out story together.

MICHAEL:

How many new characters can we expect?

KIM:

Three, and then there are going to be some characters that are going to be in a couple of episodes that I think people are going to really, really, really love.  Lucky us!

MICHAEL:

Have you cast anybody?  Can you let one out of the bag for us?

CRYSTAL:

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Yup!  Jeff Branson is coming on board as Van!  So it will be Gina and Jeff and Galen, in a story, and that is going to be messy.

KIM:

I am not going to say he is bad.

CRYSTAL:

He has something to resolve.

MICHAEL:

Well, he better not bail on Venice this time!  Last time you cast him as your brother and he could not do season one!

CRYSTAL:

Jeff Branson is a friend of mine.  I am going to kick his ass if he takes another show this time! (Laughs).   We also have some great people who have approached us about directing.  I ran into Susan Flannery at Frances Reid’s celebration.  I asked Susan, “I would like you to come direct a little bit,” but I made it clear she was not getting the nipples scene.  She was so gracious and said, “I would love to do it.”  I am also going to direct more in season two.

MICHAEL:

So when can the fans expect to see season two?  What is the plan for production and launch?

CRYSTAL:

I am thinking it’s going to be first week of June and July, but what we are going to do is fly out our team and they will be editing while we shoot.  I think by the end of July we can have all the episodes shot and mostly edited.  So probably August, it will hit the web.

MICHAEL:

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Will this season see the same amount of webisodes?

CRYSTAL:

Yes.  We are still shooting for 12 episodes of 12 minutes each.

MICHAEL:

I want to ask the two of you since you brought Venice to life for the LGBT community and the mainstream, what did you think of the abrupt firing of Brett Claywell and Scott Evans on One Life to Live, and the decision by ABC and One Life to end the Kish storyline?

CRYSTAL:

I was surprised by that.  Here is something I want to say; when I saw the success of Otalia, a love story, these grown women fondled each others knuckles more then they should ever have to, without being able to move forward, and after that there seemed to be certainly Nuke on World Turns, who were already there and going strong.  But there certainly seemed to be this emergence of male gay love stories…Y&R, and then One Life.  I was very happy to see any kind of story being told with same-sex characters.  It is very disheartening and I was so disappointed.  I don’t know the circumstances and I know everyone is dealing with budgets.  It seemed to be working and so I don’t get that.

KIM:

I am actually, as a gay person, disgusted and saddened by it.  Not only was it working, for the life of me…

Courtesy/Venice

CRYSTAL:

…. My point is that the Otalia coupling got so much attention…it makes me uncomfortable to think, and I am not suggesting this is what happened, but that people would think or create gay characters for daytime and then, so what happened?  You have to play it out, and it has to be something that is taken seriously.

KIM:

Don’t abandon it.

MICHAEL:

I have had so many conversations, talked on this subject so many times, but it feels like the gay audience feels like they get to a certain place and then dropped from mainstream television culture, and no one follows through, and rightfully so, they should be upset.  Then you have Middle America housewives with families also, who fall in love with these same-sex couples and tell me they are their favorites on the show, and yet they are ceasing to exist on daytime television for various reasons.

CRYSTAL:

To a point, it’s one of things I appreciated about Guiding Light with Otalia.  They made it a love story.  However, the lack of a kiss was disgusting and ridiculous.

KIM:

And they put out a love story, and the sad part about it is, a love story is a love story.  People say, how do you write gay characters?  I write all characters the same in the regard that love is love.  I will hold to that until I am in the ground.  I don’t care who you are, or your gender, or your color.  If you are going to invest in the same sex storyline then please, dear God, the gay community is in these relationships and you can’t just abandon it.

CRYSTAL:

I had a fear when I was working on Guiding Light when I realized we were touching foreheads.  I understand building suspense and longing, but then the realization hit me that they are never going to let these two women kiss.  And I thought, in some small, small way, that I appreciate that Otalia can go off.  I was afraid of what would happen if something ridiculous happens that Olivia decides all of a sudden, “I am heterosexual.” You know what I am saying?  I just did not want it to be debased in any way.  I love where people go with that, and that is my one small gratitude about the show being canceled was that I was concerned about what would have happened.

MICHAEL:

Season two… tease it for me?

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KIM:

I think there is going to be some surprise for the fans.  They are going to see all different sides of lead characters that they did not know existed.  There are secrets, lies, and deceptions.

MICHAEL:

And sex scenes?

CRYSTAL:

Listen, I am determined to get Nadia Bjorlin’s nipple.  I have written the words, “Close up on Nadia’s nipple”.

MICHAEL:

Crystal, you have something you wanted to announce about your company, and some changes and some new directions?

CRYSTAL:

Yes. We have had an amazing journey this year, and obviously the fans have been the only reason we have been successful, but as Open Book Productions we have another show that is in pre-production that will involve some of the same cast members of Venice. Open Book Productions, now consists of just me and Kim.  Hope is no longer with us, but we wish her all the best.

KIM:

We are very excited.  We have a show in development, and this is something we are going to shoot along with Venice, and it’s more of a reality show, and going to involve Twitter.  Both of us have been reading scripts, and have been taking meetings with other people who want us to produce their stuff, and there are some other things on our development slate.  So, Open Book Productions is moving forward.

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CRYSTAL:

I will tell you that they do cater to the LGBT community and I want to be clear about that.

KIM:

Yes, they do.  And just for a second, I want to set the record straight.  Gina is not giving up her toaster.  Gina is not going to be with a man!

CRYSTAL:

She has been gay since she can remember!  Jesus! (Laughs)

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kelltwomyn
kelltwomyn

What an incredible interview! Thank you for posting this, Michael, and thank you, Crystal and Kimmy, for setting the record straight on so many issues! I always had faith and you have proven yourselves over and over. Thank you.

happykt
happykt

One of the best Crystal Chappell interviews ever! Thanks for doing this Michael! I love CC!!!!!!

Pat
Pat

Thank you for posting another great interview! I’m personally excited to see where things will go in season two, now that the technical issues seem to have been resolved for the most part. And that promise of the hottest love scene ever between Lara and Ani? Let’s just say I’m going *THUD* already at just the mere thought of it, lol.

Sabrina
Sabrina

thanks Michael for the fabulous interview, we got to know more about how the ladies kept their promise and give us Venice! it’s gonna be hard to watch Jessica having a love scene with someone other than Crystal, but ..I can’t wait to see the labour of love directing by Crystal.

soulgirl65
soulgirl65

Thank you Michael Fairman for this wonderful and insightful interview with the lovely Crystal Chappell and the very talented Kim Turrisi.I am so looking forward to season 2 of Venicetheseries.

PattiC14
PattiC14

LOVED this interview! Thank you Crystal and Kimmy for taking the time to do this interview! As a long time fan of Crystal’s, I am so proud for her in this venture, and especially proud that she’s able to share it with one of her best friends! I’m thankful that I’m able to witness such a wonderful piece of work! For any of those that complained about $9.99…it was worth SO MUCH more than that! I would’ve paid that PER episode! Can’t wait for season 2…I know Crystal and Kimmy will not disappoint! Thank you Michael for a wonderful interview!

Michele
Michele

Hopefully, Gina let Tracy go back to London. Although, Ani is with Lara, she still will always love Gina. I want to see some flashbacks from Ani and Gina’s relationship. Great interview.

quietb4storm
quietb4storm

I was so impressed by this interview. Kimmy and Crystal answered things openly and honestly, and we the fans love that. And for the record I would’ve paid more and will pay in the future if necessary. I’m just glad to see someone telling “our” story. The LGBT community loves that – I love that. I love Kimmy and Crystal and will continue to support them in any way I can.

soho
soho

What an amazing and informative interview! One of my favorites of the both of them.

Michael, I loved the questions you asked, they weren’t the same ones we always hear, so thank you.

Emporess
Emporess

Awesome Interview. Great info..looking forward to Venice 2 so exciting. Crystal Chappell and Kim Turrisi are so brillant and funny and I just adore them. Thanks Michael F. for the great questions! BRAVO!

EE_P
EE_P

Thank you Michael! I think I love you.

teeptmn
teeptmn

Great interview very open ,sincere & funny. Thanks Crystal and Kimmy for all your hard work just know we love you guys as much. Your labor of love has touched our heart and kudos to all that helped. Gotta love the loyal fans for there support keep pumping it up. Now on to all the goodies in season 2 can’t wait did I hear some mention about ice and human anatomy heh.

Thanks Michael

UgottaLovett
UgottaLovett

Oh to be a fan of CC and KT. Love the insight into their world. It is amazing what they have already done and what they plan on doing. Ambitous much? Forever I hope. Brava!

Susi
Susi

Thank you for this wondeful interview! So very informative and it just proves to me again that Crystal and Kimmy are two very intelligent women who absolutely know what they’re doing. Now I just need to figure out a way to get through til August…

cLu3le55
cLu3le55

Wow! Thank you for the very enticing and entertaining interview Michael. A few points that were addressed made things a lot clearer and understandable. And being a young entrepreneur, I know how hard it is to try and bring up a company; the word ‘Sacrifice’ always lingers in the air and will never disappear. I envy Venice for having such die-hard fans to support and cheer them on through all the hardships.
Definitely looking forward to more Venice behind-the-scene shinanigans in creating Season 2. (^_^)

Annahgrrl
Annahgrrl

My official opinion….This was probably the BEST. INTERVIEW. EVAH. with the Venice crew. Refreshingly candid. There were things that I didn’t realize about the cost of streaming video. So a Great Big Thanks for the extra few months of Venice season 1.

“Thanks” just doesn’t seem like enough. These women are extraordinary. I will slip on my respectful objectification cap on for a sec and say…hellz yeah regarding the love scene/nipple tease. I think my brain just melted a smidge. “Toto, we’re not on broadcast tv anymore” .
Thanks Michael for the great interview.

Lee
Lee

It sounds like Season 2 will be all over the place, like Season 1. For the record, that is not a good thing.

karlayvette
karlayvette

Very open, honest and informative interview. Thank you Crystal and Kimmy for your hard work and dedication. Looking forward to Season 2 on the edge of my seat. Keep pushing forward into the the exciting worldwide network of web media.

24
24

Huge Kudos and thanks to you Michael 😉 ..Thanks CC and K xo..Crystal never seizes to amaze me with her talent and her Love for us devoted fans. I know Kimmy was blown away by all us, but she seems to fit right in haha. When Gl was canceled, that was one of the worst days I can remember in my life personally. It wasn’t just a soap for me, but a part of my everyday life and knowing that my hero “Olivia Spencer” was going away, never to be seen again, really hit me hard. Then the next day, I found the BPD board and saw I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Thanks to Destini for bringing us all together. It’s more than a board, It’s a community of family and friends. Friends I would have never had if it hadn’t been for her xo. And Thank God, You got CC on twitter and me 😉 ..Thanks Kimmy for your writing of Venice. Knowing I would have something to look forward to when GL was canceled was very emotional for me. I couldn’t or can’t image not seeing Crystal on Tv…or now the web. Like everyone says,,CC and Jess have amazing chemistry and I love the way Venice has went with the characters. I will be a fan of Gina’s, no matter what she does,, I mean; come on,, I was a Die hard Olivia fan haha. The meaner she was,, the more I loved her lol’s…Just hope that when I get to meet CC, that I never get one of those GTH looks unless it’s all in fun of course haha.
Thanks Michael for all you’ve done for us fans. Your interviews are amazing! Looking forward to Venice season 2! Love you guys..;)

Rita
Rita

Another fabulous interview Michael. I’m so glad that they chose you to interview them as you always ask the right questions. One thing that I really liked about this interview is Crystal and Kim’s honest responses, especially Crystal’s response to the non kiss on Otalia. From all the interviews that I have read/seen, I think this is her most outspoken response, and I respect her so much for that. With regards to Season 2 of Venice, I really hope that they are in a position to do it subscription free this time…I mean I would pay for it if I had to, but being self employed during a recession isn’t great!

I know there has been huge debate over Season 1, and it appears that they have taken a lot of what has been said on board, and I look forward to seeing the characters develop more in Season 2. (Also Crystal’s fixation with Nadia’s nipples is hilarious :-))

It was also great getting that insight into behind the scenes work that needed to be done, and I certainly appreciate it.

Thanks again, Michael. You’re the best!

BetterBet
BetterBet

Wow. Great interview. The one thing that really bothers me though is that neither Crystal or Kimmy thank Hope. Yeah at the end, “we wish her the best.” It would have been nice to hear “we thank her for all of her hard work.” In fact, Crystal only mentioned Hope one other time, “more of a technical person and also a co-director.” Huh, funny because wasn’t she the 3rd Executive Producer and the Main Director? I have followed Crystal for a long time and I must say it is very disappointing (and eye opening) that she/they did not thank her. No matter what happened behind-the-scenes, you should still thank your former team member (and partner) publicly.

VeniceFan
VeniceFan

I agree with you. When all the technical problems at the launch of the website, Hope worked very hard to solve problems. The directing of season 1 is really great. I also think they could thank her better than that.

Thanks Hope

Alli
Alli

I agree as well. I was repeatedly disappointed from missed opportunities where Hope should had been thanked or given credit for the work and time she provided.

Hope, thank you.

venicelovah
venicelovah

Well said! BetterBet! I had always found irony in the fact that their production company is called “open book productions” yet they have always kept the fans completely in the dark about what happened with Hope. It seemed up until they aired the first episode, that Hope was still part of “Team Venice”. Then suddenly, they stopped tweeting her and publicly thanking her? The whole thing just seemed odd to me and honestly, disrespectful of the fans and of Hope.
Hope, if you’re reading this, we the fans thank you for your hard work and contribution to Venice. We know it couldn’t of happened without you and sorry if you lost all your hair!
(there, a public quick thank you. Crystal, that’s how it’s done. See, it aint too hard.)

puh leeze
puh leeze

This is ridiculous. Did you demand that Lennon thank McCartney? Should Martin have thanked Lewis? Creative people – like all people —have the right to begin and end relationships . No mud was thrown, and it was all quite respectful. The bottom line is that for whatever reason which we will never know, the association did not work out and ended rather amicably.Your statement that “it couldn’t have happened” without the previously iunknown Hope Royaltey is honestly utterly without support. The brains and engine for Venice is CC, who put herself way out there in a way no other has ever done, including zillionaire gays who could and should get into production ( Hello Ellen, Oprah, etc) and I am grateful for Chappell’s efforts . Way to go Michael as always..

Keshia
Keshia

awesome friggin interview..thank you Crystal, Kimmy and Michael

TNjane
TNjane

Great job Michael. You, Mimi, and Destini always ask the questions that we the fans need answered and you don’t hold back.

ramzeee68
ramzeee68

Thank you Michael for this wonderful interview with our girls Crystal and Kimmy. I am continually impressed with C & K and what they are doing for their fans of Venice. I will forever follow them. C & K did an extraordinary job fixing the issues on the fly and I believe Season 2 will be better because of it.

I’m so happy that they will be able to roll over what they made from Season 1 to Season 2. Even if Season 2 ends up to be subscription based, i will pay anything to keep this series going. I love that Crystal has been able to bring on so many of her daytime friends and that they are so excited to be part of this journey with all of us. I can’t wait to see what this other project comes to be. These two women are phenomenal and deserve all the accolades being received. Thanks again Michael, Crystal and Kimmy

RockieSoul
RockieSoul

This interview was Fantastic… Thank you Mr. Fairman, Ms. Chappell and Ms. Turrisi….

coachbqueen
coachbqueen

Thank you Michael for an awesome interview. Your questions were spot on . I love hearing to what lengths Crystal and Kimmy went to in order to give the fans what they wanted. They were always so positive throughout the first season but I knew it had to be extremely difficult and they had some major hurdles they had to overcome. Thank you for giving us insights into what they really endured. And thank you Crystal and Kimmy for being so devoted to this project. I think it’s important that you guys know you are reaching out to many diffferent types of people regardless of sexuality, gender, race, etc. I think we all can learn and relate in some way to the story you are telling. Thanks to everyone involved with the production of Venice! Can’t wait for Season 2!

KelsMinUSA
KelsMinUSA

Freakin loved this interview. I’m so excited for Season 2 as I just ordered Season 1 on DVD from the Vstore 🙂 Crystal Chappell is simply amazing!

zenobie
zenobie

j’ai adoré lire cet interview; merci à vous toutes pour l’effort accompli : le résultat est au-delà de ce que l’on rêvait ! merci au journaliste qui posait les bonnes questions avec respect et intelligence et on vous souhaite vraiment le meilleur pour la suite, avec, il faut l’espérer, moins de problèmes techniques et plus d’amusement pour vous
on vous adore !

angelkitty
angelkitty

I agree with everyone else. This was one of the best interviews with Crystal and Kimmy. The quesitons were what most people wanted to ask and the answers were honest and insightful. I have been on this “journey” since the beginning and I have embraced the ups and downs along the way. I am glad they addressed the major issues. Hopefully, they will be a blessing in the long run and it sounds like they learned from them. I never had a problem with paying for content. Glad to hear that Season 2 may be free. So I plan on buying a few more T-Shirts and the DVD over at their store. No matter what Crystal and Kimmy are doing this for the fans. I am excited for Season 2. I hope they refocus a little and make a main triangle between Gina/Ani/Lara and I can’t wait for Jeffs character. Oh and Susan Flannery directing a little. Thats amazing. Anyway, thanks Michael for the great interview.

BethboWV
BethboWV

I really loved the interview thank you! Just bought S1 on dvd, and can’t wait for S2 it’s like anticipation for Christmas! It means so much to me that Crystal & Kimmy, and the rest of the crew really care about their fans! I have been a fan of Crystal’s for over 20yrs, she never ceases to amaze me how wonderful she is! I hope to be watching her for many years to come on television & on the web! Keep it comin’ cause I can’t get enough!

natjaku
natjaku

This is the defining interview Michael, Kim and Crystal. Every aspect of it is informative and gorgeous. Thank you so much for not only bringing the LGBT community amazing and enduring characters but also for bringing so many wonderful people together through this totally awesome adventure. Your courage, honesty, work ethic, fun-loving spirit and the relationships you are forging and re-affirming along the way is just so inspiring and really leaves me in awe. (Brave comment in there too Crystal – thanks for the insight into what you felt about Otalia not kissing! And also agree that although incredibly sad, we are so lucky that we didnt have to see the Otalia characters go through the treacherous soapy paths so many of us weren’t equipped or prepared for)

willie robinson
willie robinson

loved the interview, as long i can see cc and jl on screen i am always on board. can not wait for season two.

perla
perla

Wow this is a great interview, I got so much insight from everything these lady’s and the whole Vteam did during the production of S1 and now also S2 so grateful for all this wonderful people did for the fans. Just can’t wait for the next season to start, and I don’t mind paying this coming season. to all the great people that made this possible thank you so much.

MF you did a wonderful job on this interview thank you very much

Julie
Julie

Crystal and Kimmy and the rest involved in Venice, I think we all knew your efforts were super human at times but I don’t think enough can be said about your efforts and vision. You championed through some very hard times and took a lot of grief other times. As a loyal Venice watchers I can’t say enough about your perserverance. You are doing great by your fan base and as webseries innovators, plus you are not selling out the storyline. I hope I get to support Venice for a long, long time. Thanks.

curleenshoy1
curleenshoy1

thank you for such a honest interview, i alway believe in crystal words she told us what she and kimmy was about to do and my friend and i said well sink or swim we will back them all the way so thank you cc and kimmy, from our heart to your,. it will be hard to watch JL make love with someone else. when will we every see ANI AND gina again, together like an old marries couples

SpaceMom
SpaceMom

Bravo! Thanks for the wonderful interview. I can’t wait for Venice, Season 2 … and now I’m even more anxious, with the hints of what we can expect.

Thanks Kimmy & Crystal 🙂

MH20001
MH20001

During the time there was some complaints about CC and Venice, I wrote something over on the Venice the series youtube site in support of CC and the cast and crew, after reading this wonderful interview I’am so glad I did, this interview backed everything I said. CC and Kimmy to both of you and the cast and crew, I give a standing ovation for the work you all have done.

FrogProd
FrogProd

Like everyone here….great interview and I got the questions answered I was ruminating about. I have been a fan off Crystal for over 20 years and was FINALLY able to meet her in MN for the “HER HRC” event….and what I love about her is she is so genuine. What you see here is the real deal. I appreciated that so much as I was completely nervous and excited for this chance of a lifetime to finally meet her!! She totally set me at ease and talks to you with full attention and acts like she wants to really get to know you. Unfortunately there is not a lot of celebrities that are like this…so kudos to Crystal!! So my point is….if anyone is thinking that Crystal is not being genuine in this interview…then they haven’t met her yet!! =)

I can’t wait for season 2 and am happy and excited to have been apart of this journey….it’s been VERY exciting!! Thank you Crystal!! Hugs XO

hachiomaru
hachiomaru

Thanks Michael, Crystal & Kimmy! Fantastic interview! Have appreciated all your hard work on this labor of love…Venice..for all of us. You have a lot of fans supporting you no matter the ups and downs. We are here for you, too! Any help you need, we are there, just ask. Can’t wait for S2. Jessie & Nadia are quite the hot couple. Jessie is just fabulous in this series. Looking forward to more of CC’s directing. Thanks for everything you do. The new venture sounds intriguing! Love you! Happy to pay a subscription to give the budget you need to make it look good and pay cast and crew! See you soon in Venice!

shunt
shunt

Michael this was a very informative interview, good questions and honest responses. I also am amazed at all CC and Kimmy have been able to accomplish. Their ability to learn and deal with the problems as they are on this journey is something we could all take a lesson from these days. I am looking forward to Season 2 of Venice. I am also a CC fan forever.

Jobadge
Jobadge

What an amazing interview! Such a insight to the behind the scenes workings of a very short timed and intense labour of love in order to bring Venice to the fans. Its very humbling to see how much work these guys put into this because its what they believe in.

I was a newer Otalia fan as in the UK we didn’t have Guiding Light, but once on board the ride was amazing and so it brought us Venice and thus introduced me to Nadia Bjorlin. Jeepers that is some woman, I now find myself as fixated on her as anyone I’ve seen on tv and to see her playing such a convincing character in Lara is fabulous. What is even more fabulous is the news of her scenes with Jessica in Season 2. Their kiss in Season 1 was by far the best for me and although I’m saddened that Lara will be the bad apple so to speak, I understand the role of Lara in the Gina/Ani story – but hey – Kimmy says Lara/Ani have the hottest love scene in Season 2 – that’s good enough for me.

Crystal, I bow to your fixation with Nadia’s nipples – a site to behold I’m sure.

Great job everyone – Venice is Amazing!

Kimmy & Crystal rock!

crystalfan
crystalfan

Great interview with crystal and kimmy,nice questions asked and great answers.Did a great job of getting series up ,with the huge volume of peeps wanting to watch.I read on a board ,someone mentioned that they thought you guys did fantastic on a shoestring budget,when they saw the trouble a major network had trying to stream olympic coverage on the net .Oh and i hope that gina and lara get together somewhere down the line ,because crystal and nadia have such great chemistry,and i loved the pic of their smooch ,and the dirty dancing shot.,lol.

MarylandOtaliaFan
MarylandOtaliaFan

I appreciate what CC and KT are saying and doing, but Otalia was my love story, and Venice is very bittersweet, it just reminds me of how mad I am at CBS and P&G all over again, tho I agree there was a real silver lining in cancelling that venerable soap and giving us one of the few real love stories with a happy ending that we’ll ever see. Otalia was very, very special. Nothing can replace it. I’m not thrilled at seeing ‘my couple’ interacting with others. I want a romantic love story goshdarnit! I don’t want to see another L Word, please no.

Also have to say that the bright spots in “Venice” were JL as Ani and her wonderful comic timing and JC as Gina’s dad–I had no idea old ‘Billy Lewis’ was that damn good an actor, CC’s right, he’s brilliant. They both did film quality work. And the girls’ oceanside scene was epic feel.

indigo8014
indigo8014

Thanks for such a wonderful interview with Crystal and Kimmy!! I will support anything they do! They are such awesome people! I feel very lucky that I got to experience watching the 1st Venice episode in Vegas with them!

AKDwyer
AKDwyer

I was one of the fortunate ones to be in Vegas watching ep1 with Crystal and Kimmy Friday night and then the next day, at the GL Q and A, I declared my coming out because of the Otalia storyline. I am now engaged to my love. Crystal and Jessica are a direct contribution to my happiness. I will forever be grateful to you and the LGBT community. Keep up the awesome work and we can’t wait for the upcoming seasons. I’d pay a lot more than just $10 each for the rest of the seasons. Thank you!!! XOXO Awesome article, Michael!

shella
shella

Hello Kimmy/Crystal Todos nós sabemos que o sucesso de VENEZA deve-se ao vasto público, ao grande número de fãs de Otália e as magnificas interpretações destas duas personagens. É claro que não faz sentido nenhum que este casal Gina e Ani não acabem juntas, seria uma grande desilusão, até porque só teria sentido isso acontecer se Otália não tivesse a sua história. Agora pergunto? Porque razão Kimmy/crystal não dão outro seguimento a estes dois personagens, todos sabemos que todas as series/novelas, o desenrolar das mesmas são praticamente iguais só mudam os cenários, personagens, texto etc, o contexto é quase sempre o mesmo! é rivalidades, casais que separam, traições, ódios enfim, e fazem o publico sofrer 99% da história porque só no último capítulo é que dão um final feliz as personagens ou seja só dão 1% de alegria aos fãs. Ora bem, se vivemos numa sociedade de consumismo, droga, álcool, guerras, catástrofes famílias infelizes, enfim, basta abrir os jornais, ver os noticiários, é praticamente pura energia negativa que entra nas casas através da Tv. e na mente das pessoas, quanto mais energia negativa obtiverem mais infelizes são e há aqui um aspecto muito importante a salientar, é que há pessoas que vivem de tal forma uma serie/novela como se ela fosse real e fazem disso parte da sua vida, tomemos por exemplo os comentários das cenas do casal Otália que estão na internet para vermos que isto é uma simples realidade, com as mesmas imagens constroem as suas próprias histórias. Infelizmente não têm raciocínio para interiorizarem que aquilo que vêem através do ecrã é tudo um trabalho de representação e que por detrás das câmaras os actores são pessoas normais como todos nós e que se divertem ao representar os seus personagens! Uma vez que esta serie VENEZA é algo inovador e sem complexos que não faz distinção de sexo, cor ou raça, o que é de louvar! e como já vimos em algumas entrevistas de Crystal ,que havia muitas restrições nas personagens de Olívia e Natália, desde já os meus parabéns a Crystal pela excelente interpretação, é de louvar a capacidade que ela tem de comunicar com Natália através de um simples olhar, coisa que muitos actores não conseguem através das palavras, foi justamente esse o motivo que me levou a pesquisar mais sobre esta actriz, e quando dei por mim já estava envolvida de uma tal maneira que segui a historia a através da internet porque aqui em Portugal não temos canal que estava emitindo. Para mim foi a mais bem conseguida história de amor entre pessoas do mesmo sexo que já assisti até hoje. Sou heterossexual (a natureza assim o permitiu) mas tenho o maior respeito por todos aqueles que não o são, infelizmente na era em que nos encontramos ainda há muitos SERES que sofrem em silencio ou represálias por apenas AMAREM alguém. No amor não há escolhas porque afinal o AMOR quando é INCONDICIONAL não tem cor não tem raça muito menos orientação sexual. FELIZES… Read more »

Jeannette Doswell
Jeannette Doswell

Crystal and Kimmy,
This is a very insightful interview! We learned about the early and ongoing struggles of Venice, your first web show experience, which is inspirational. Your Dream was Ambitious, your Effort a Sacrifice and the Result, Extraordinary. Your story is a true testimony to what can be accomplished when a person has vision, fortitude, focus and sweat equity. I’m certain the wet spills of your occasional tears and sweat almost drowned you and you seemed as though you were up a web creek without a server paddle. But your resilience foiled your fears and you were able to navigate through. Season 2 holds great promise for this character driven plot. You have constructed a solid foundation on which to continue building a great story. You will resume to craft and develop the characters to reveal the various characters’ true self. With careful writing and seamless performances, the inspirational characters will become enduring. It’s exciting to watch Venice and experience along with you the phenomenon of the global network of web media. From the show’s inception, the strong fan base continues to make a rough road or the World Wide Web a little easier to trek. Crystal Chappell, you are FEARLESS! Just like Martin Luther King, Jr., you had a dream. You said, “I have a dream, a dream that gay people can come together with straight people. This nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: that all people, gay and straight are created equal. You had a dream that one day the children of gay people and the children of straight people would be able to sit down together at a bar or a night club and butch and sissy could dance to a “party mix” with a macho male or diva. You had a dream that gay children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their feather boa or the content of their closet, but by the content of their character. You dreamt that one day, gay people would not be judged at all, not by society, or by any measure which would seek to discount their worth. You had a dream that day! Move forward into the great web arena. Grow strong Web Women and Prosper!

JT
JT

What an amazing interview – thanks for bringing it to us!! It just highlighted how hard we KNEW everyone was working to bring us Venice and take Otalia to the level it should always have been at in Guiding Light.
I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone involved for making Venice – I never lost faith for one minute that it would be anything less than fantastic!! I can’t wait for Season 2.
Crystal and Kimmie – two amazing women!! 🙂

Gio
Gio

Great interview!..
By the way, what did Crystal mean by her comment when she said that Susan Flannery wanted to do some directing, just that she was”not getting the nipples scene”? Did I miss something?

Lizzy
Lizzy

I think its awsome that their are actresses out there that are so dedicated to thier fans that they continue the story line in a round about way. I like to right my own little short lesbian stories sadly im not much of a writer for one my spelling and punctuation suck bad. But my friends all enjoy reading them and giveing feedback my bff seems to like to edit them as well as read them. Where i live we have a small gay community there are many gay bars but almost all are hours away except our little hole in the wall called Chill its a nice little bar. It can be dramatic at times but mostly everyone get along.

anita
anita

Awesome awesome awesome interview. I love how candid they are, how open, it’s something to be admired and encouraged. I love these women…

Giving Owl
Giving Owl

What a great interview. CC and Kim are so authentic and genuine. Thanks for staying REAL, ladies. And by the way, I never thought that $9.99 was an excessive cost. As a matter of fact, I did I little math of my own and it goes like this: 12 epis X 5 min average length = 60 mins, I believe there were 3 or 4 behind the scenes specials = 15 mins = total 75 mins and that’s a very conservative estimate as I am sure the total time was more than that. Which means that the price of one minute equaled 7.5 cents (and actually less than that). So, now let’s take a step back and look at the investment that a huge number of people made with their time, skills and talents, costs of streaming which were apparently very expensive and unplanned, equipment and I am sure there were other numerous miscellaneous expenses. So, having said that I feel like I got a heck of a deal and was hugely entertained for 3 months in return which was PRICELESS!!! All I know is that I am looking forward to season 2. Oh, and I am happy to find out that Crystal has another project on the go and hopefully she will turn into a full time web film producer and leave Carly behind before the get buried alive again.

stoker315
stoker315

Thanks so much for a wonderful story. A university assignment a couple of years ago asked what is the most radical feminist thing that you have done…. I have to admire people who risk to benefit others; publicly supporting the LGBT community is a huge risk. I have to admire CC and KT for their efforts. I also think that it is an amazing individual who inspires so much trust from those people that actually know her that CC is able to get people to come on board for this project, because they believe in her, and want to support her.

Thank you Michael for the phenomenal interview. Thank you to CC, KT, JL and the other people involved in this project for just being phenomenal you (s).

Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

MISHAEL:  Yes, Amanda’s client is Chance.

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Does Amanda now suspect that she could be a twin? 

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

Photo JPI

We’ve seen Amanda be a little shifty.

MISHAEL:  Maybe a little bit. (Laughs)

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

MISHAEL:  Put people in their places.

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: MMorganInstagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo JPI

How is working with Sean?

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Denise Richards is doing a great job in the role.

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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