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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:

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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
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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
Guest
happykt

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

Pat
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
EE_P

Thank you Michael! I think I love you.

teeptmn
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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,… Read more »

Rita
Guest
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… Read more »

BetterBet
Guest
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.… Read more »

VeniceFan
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

puh leeze
Guest
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… Read more »

Keshia
Guest
Keshia

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

TNjane
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

RockieSoul
Guest
RockieSoul

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

coachbqueen
Guest
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… Read more »

KelsMinUSA
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

BethboWV
Guest
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
Guest
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,… Read more »

willie robinson
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

hachiomaru
Guest
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… Read more »

shunt
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

crystalfan
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

indigo8014
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

shella
Guest
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… Read more »

Jeannette Doswell
Guest
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… Read more »

JT
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

anita
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

stoker315
Guest
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… Read more »

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

Photo: AP

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

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

Photo: Hustory.com

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

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

Is that what inspired you originally to do your project?

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

Photo: Getty

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: MMorganIG

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

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

Photo:JPI

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

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

Photo:JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

MISHAEL:  Oh my gosh, yes.

Photo:JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo:JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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