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THE ELLEN AND PORTIA INTERVIEW – PRATT FALLS

Over the past few weeks the online soap world has been abuzz at the hilarious satire called Pratt Falls, which offers a parody on the much maligned head writer of All My Children, Chuck Pratt. The series details Pratt’s fumbles and stumbles with the same sex storyline of fan favorite Bianca (played by Eden Riegel), and her new gal pal, Reese (played by Tamara Braun). In Pratt Falls the virtual animated Pratt has behind close doors chats with his alleged co-conspirator, “AMC’s” executive producer, Julie Hanan Carruthers, who at times during the webisodes (or clips) is the voice of reason against Pratt’s mishandling of “AMC” storylines.

In a very recent TV Guide Interview that added more fuel to the fire for the already disgruntled fans of the Reese/Bianca story, Chuck Pratt blamed the mess on Eden Riegel’s exit for pilot season. “I was led to believe we had her for longer than we really did — suddenly I got word that Eden is leaving now. We got to play everything we wanted to with Bianca and Reese, but not in the time we’d hoped for — in my mind, it was a two-year story,” Pratt continues. “I guess I could have rushed to the wedding earlier so that they’d have had more time together as a married couple and then had them break up, but I think the fans would have been even more unsatisfied with that.”

Regarding Tamara Braun, Pratt said, “If Tamara decided to stay, keeping her on the show as an angry lesbian — with no other lesbian characters on the canvas — would be kind of insane. So we thought about making Reese bisexual — kind of an Anne Heche who bounces back and forth.”

Through the use of the Xtranormal animated application, the creators of this satire have been able to keep in stitches, both soap pundits and fans, (especially fans of Bianca and Reese) and “AMC”, with their snarky observations. After much public fanfare on You Tube, the creators decided to come forth (a few weeks ago) only as their virtual selves, named Ellen and Portia, and give a face to their popular series.

When I approached Ellen and Portia for an interview, I was asked to take part in their virtual world and I happily agreed. I mean, how else could I get into their space? I wanted to chat with the very clever gals, who are now an online sensation. But there was one stipulation that they were adamant about; protecting their true identities, that seem to be akin to the Cape Crusader and his sidekick, Robin! On all accounts, Ellen and Portia seem to speak for many fellow soapers, who through their sharp wit and tongues only want what’s best for their favorite characters on their soaps.

So, I present to you my very special interview with Pratt Falls creators, Portia and Ellen!

View the video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkxTe9y51zk

prattFalls.jpgHow did you two get the idea to start Pratt Falls? How did you come about the Xtranormal animations?

PORTIA: After reading Pratt’s TV GUIDE interview where he throws Eden Riegel under a bus, we simultaneously experienced the urge to slap Pratt. And that resulted in the satirical smack down now known as PRATT FALLS.

ELLEN: I am quite passive by nature, but Pratt’s blatant lies about Eden Riegel’s contract had me seeing red. If I remember correctly, I posted a ten line mock script on the Bianca/Reese message board. Portia emailed me, asking if she could play around with it and animate it. I said yes. Next thing we know: BAM! (No pun intended).

How long have you been Bianca fans and fans of Eden Riegel?

PORTIA: Always and forever.

ELLEN: Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but I followed Eden to “AMC” from Imaginary Bitches. So I’m quite new to Pine Valley. It took me about a month to catch up on a decade’s worth of Bianca storyline on youtube. But now I’m a fan for life. And I will never leave Erica Kane. Ever.

Was there ever a Bianca story you liked, and if so, what was it? She had so many great stories from “coming out” to Erica, to the baby switch and getting back Miranda, etc?

PORTIA: Any story with Bianca in it, I like. Even if the story is abysmal, and the writing is wretched, Eden seems to rise above. And when the writing is good, she soars! I especially enjoyed the days when Bianca and Kendall hated each other. Their relationship right now is so fractured and damaged, it’s sad to watch.

eden.jpgELLEN: As Portia has said, anything with Bianca in it, no matter how poorly written, I’ll watch. I love the relationship between Kendall and Bianca. And I could watch Bianca bitch slap Babe over and over again.

Do the two of you have a background in comedy writing?

PORTIA: We do now.

ELLEN: Not at all (until last week, that is). I have spent years sitting in front of “SNL” and telling people how I would rewrite certain scenes. But no one ever listens.

How did you meet to collaborate on Pratt Falls?

PORTIA: We “met” as members of the Bianca/Reese Forum. But we’ve never met in person.

ELLEN: We met in a private message inbox. We’ve now moved into an email inbox.

Many want to know if you are life-partners or just friends.

PORTIA: We are just friends for life.

ELLEN: I prefer “friendly partners in crime.” It has a nice ring to it.

When the first episode of Pratt Falls made its way to the internet and you saw the amazing feedback, because it was spot on to what many fans of Rianca and “AMC” felt, what was you reaction?

PORTIA: My reaction was: “Jumpin’ Johosephat!”

ELLEN: I believe my exact words were “By the Hammer of Thor! What the hell is going on?” And then I let loose with some expletives that would make the Imaginary Bitches crew blush.

View the video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjOaPGH4zZc

What would you like to see happen with Pratt Falls and animated Ellen and Portia, next?

PORTIA: I suppose Pratt Falls will continue as long as we have satirical things to say about the state of AMC. Which means, potentially forever…. I’d like to see Ellen and Portia address other absurdities currently rampaging through the world. I am endlessly fascinated by people’s ability to live with cognitive dissonance. And Silvio Berlusconi, — how is his existence even possible in the 21st century? Wouldn’t you love to hear us discuss that?

ELLEN: I think as long as we have something funny to say, we’ll keep putting episodes together. And the way “AMC” is going right now, that shouldn’t be very difficult. Plus, with Eden Riegel on the loose, who knows how many other storylines she will destroy? We’re on guard, protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

erica_gals.jpgIf you were writing “AMC” right now…..

PORTIA: Oh, please, from your lips to God’s ears.

ELLEN: I’d have to buy Susan Lucci’s pilates machine.

What changes or makeover would you give to Pine Valley in terms of story?

PORTIA: If I were writing AMC, I would institute a few basic rules: 1) Only Jesse gets to carry a gun. 2) Only one coma per character per decade. 3) Only one kidnapping, life threatening disease, and/or disappearance, per family per year. 4) Take all the minutes that Erica is scripted each episode and triple it. 5) No more blaming actors for crappy writing. 6) Casinos and hospitals are really not all that interesting, let’s stop going there. 7) No more misogyny. It’s offensive and not entertaining for our core audience. 8) If a character dies, they are dead. And they stay dead. Forever. 9) If you have Tamara Braun on contract, you use her more than 3 minutes a week. (See #4, it applies here too). 10) Bianca has suffered enough. Let the poor girl have (and keep) her happy ending already!

zach.jpgELLEN: Here I go: 1) No more sex in mental institutions, hospital beds or Ryan Lavery’s penthouse. 2) The characters should move the plot, not the other way around. 3) Erica Kane is the queen of daytime and she should remain front and centre. 4) Strong women. I am so tired of watching strong women makes fools of themselves in front of the men folk. Kendall is a Kane woman. She doesn’t need Zach or Ryan to survive. 5) Use the vets. Young and the Restless is heading into sweeps featuring a wedding between two eighty year olds, and it’s wonderful. 6) David needs to stop drugging people and twirling his imaginary mustache. 7) Jackson? Anyone? Jackson? 8) Less violence, more love in the afternoon (but not love between David and Krystal or Kendall and Ryan) 9) Where have all the sets gone? Long time passing. Where have all the sets gone? Long time ago. Where have all the sets gone? Gone to scrap heaps, everyone. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? 10) I agree with Portia. Bianca will now have a life of overwhelming joy. They can start heaping pain and sorrow on Miranda and Gabrielle in a few years, but lay off Binks.

How long have you been watching the soaps?

PORTIA: Since I was knee high to a grasshopper. But I don’t watch consistently. I check in every 4 or 5 years…. And I’ve never had a problem keeping up!

ELLEN: Since birth. A soap character inspired my first name. And my first crush was on Bo Brady (back when he was with Carly Manning).

How do you feel the portrayal of gays on the soaps has been, in general?

PORTIA: Mixed. Certainly some things have been done quite thoughtfully and with real sensitivity. But TBTB can’t quite seem to sustain that.

ELLEN: I feel like soaps haven’t quite figured out how to integrate gay characters into the general storylines. This is part of the reason the Bianca/Reese story went so off track. The writers obviously wanted to create some drama, but because there were only two gay characters on canvas, they went the Zach route. And it obviously came off as ridiculously offensive.

What are you expecting from the Reese/Bianca wrap-up this week?

PORTIA: I was hoping their reunion would be as intense and dramatic as their break up. But I know that’s not likely to happen. So sadly, I expect to be disappointed.

ELLEN: I have very low expectations. I know that Tamara Braun and Eden Riegel will take what they’re given and do fantastic work, but I have no faith in Pratt (shocker, I know). Maybe we’ll get a grief glance, followed by a grief high five and then a grief flight back to Paris.

View the video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcXtUU8FnxY

How do you feel Tamara Braun did in this messed up role?

tamaraBraun.jpgPORTIA: I think Tamara Braun deserves a soap opera version of the Congressional Medal of Honor for distinguishing herself “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of her life above and beyond the call of duty” while engaged in a storyline penned by Pratt & Co. Seriously, my Fake Internet Girlfriend has had a rough time in Pine Valley, and I feel sorry for her. She spun straw into gold for “AMC”. Plus she had to put up with the scorn of BAM and Zendall fans! She must be made of steel. The more convoluted and nonsensical they made Reese’s story, the more I fell in love with Tamara, because even though she was getting screwed over, she always gave a 100% of herself. I truly felt sorry for her. Much in the same way I feel sorry for Alicia Minshew right now…..

ELLEN: Don’t forget the Purple Heart, Portia! I can’t even begin to imagine how she went to work everyday and managed to portray this character with integrity and depth. Reese is an interesting character with an interesting back-story. But her feelings and motivations changed daily, and somehow, Tamara had to make the audience believe. Pratt & Co. did her no favors when they threw her between Zendall. I am actually a fan of the Zach and Kendall pairing, but the Zendall fans are armed and dangerous. I really hope Tamara avoids soap message boards because things can get vicious. Yet, no matter what they threw at her (both on and off screen), Tamara gave her all and so I have great respect and admiration for her. And I agree with Portia in regards to Alicia Minshew. I’m very tired of hearing characters refer to women as “whores, sluts and bitches.” Enough.

When the same-sex wedding day occurred on AMC, what did you think when it was over? A landmark or milestone? Botched opportunity?

PORTIA: It was all of that. It was a landmark and a milestone and they managed to botch it. I will admit to oohing and ahhhing over the dresses, and I thought the vows were beautifully written, and, yes, I cried. But I could not for the life of me understand why it all had to be intercut with the other stories. Really, how can you enjoy the wedding when Greenlee, in her wedding dress is on a motorcycle, flying off a cliff? I think Bianca and Reese deserved better than that. Actually, I think Greenlee deserved better than that too.

wedding.jpgELLEN: I have such mixed feelings about the wedding. On one hand, it was beautiful and everyone looked smashing. On the other hand, the constant juxtaposition of crazy Annie and biker Greenlee destroyed what could have been a beautiful, memorable event. Even the fact that Kendall was not present upset me. The wedding was not about Bianca and Reese; it was about Annie’s gun wielding, Kendall’s anger and Rebecca Budig’s exit. I wanted to concentrate on the vows and the love, but all I could think about was the absurdity of Greenlee riding that bike wearing her wedding dress. The whole thing was over the top and preposterous. And on top of all that, the Reese and Zach kiss hung over the event like a dark cloud. Bianca is the daughter of Erica Kane. The wedding should have been all about Bianca. Instead, it was about everyone else.

Why is the anonymity important to you? Why did you choose Ellen and Portia??

PORTIA: We just enjoy being a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, rendered in a cartoon.

ELLEN: We’re both comic book fans and I think the idea of a secret identity appealed to our nerdy sense of humor. We also want to live. And Pratt has connections with Sonny Corinthos.

Has anyone at ABC Daytime or any of the top brass from “AMC” contacted you regarding your parody and satire?

PORTIA: Not yet.

pratt_2shot.jpgELLEN: No. Although lately, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being watched.

What can we preview for your new online fans to look forward to in upcoming episodes of Pratt Falls or Ellen and Portia?

PORTIA: We just don’t know until we start venting…. Probably more pirate jokes.

ELLEN: Definitely more pirate jokes. We will continue to fight for truth and justice.

Final thoughts?

PORTIA: We’d like to encourage everyone to visit our virtual store at http://www.cafepress.com/breesenation You can purchase authentic Pratt Falls merchandise! 100% of all sales go to “Invalidate Prop 8.” And, of course, a great big THANK YOU, Michael for your interest in our little show. We’ve enjoyed “talking” with you.

portiaEllenWide.jpgELLEN: A huge thanks for your interest and a thank you to all the people who watch and support our little show! And before we go, just a reminder that in these dark times, we all must take extra precautious for our safety. Remember,
Eden Riegel walks among us.

PORTIA: Oh, I heard bells, did you hear the bells?

Interviews

Y&R’s Executive Producer Anthony Morina Talks On Daytime Emmy Drama Series Win For Neil’s Memorial & Honoring Kristoff St. John

Last Friday night, The Young and the Restless was named the Outstanding Drama Series at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on CBS. The show won on the strength of their submissions, which centered on the death of Neil Winters; including when the residents of Genoa City find out of his passing, and the subsequent heartbreaking memorial service in his honor.

However, what made those hours of television unlike anything seldom seen; were not only was Genoa City saying goodbye to Neil, but the cast was saying their goodbyes to their beloved friend and colleague, Kristoff St. John (Neil) who had passed away suddenly back in February of 2019.

Y&R’s executive producer, Anthony (Tony) Morina accepted the award for the top-rated CBS Daytime drama during the Emmy telecast, which now makes Morina a five-time Daytime Emmy winner himself!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Tony on the series emotional Emmy win, and what it meant for him to win the gold for these incredibly moving and special episodes that were at its epicenter paying tribute to Kristoff in the best way the soap opera could. Here’s what Tony shared on the Y&R Drama Series victory and more.

Photo: JPI

Congratulations on your Outstanding Drama Series win. The episodes that you submitted were at every level, so gut-wrenching, sincere, and beautiful.  What did you think about the process that you went through to make these right for Kristoff and the character of Neil?

TONY:  Occasionally, when you are in this business, as you know, you work so hard to achieve certain things, sometimes you think you’re achieving something, and you’re not, and sometimes something shows up that surprises the heck out of you, and this was kind of it for me.  But what didn’t surprise me, of course, were the actors’ ability, the director’s ability, and the crews’ ability, and for these episodes it was at such a high level.  Sometimes there is an emotional element, or an otherworldliness thing that takes over.

Photo: CBS

Yes, because it was all so real and raw; in that we were watching the characters who loved Neil Winters mourn him, but we were also watching all the actors who loved their co-star.

TONY: When everybody was in that church set and were giving their eulogies, it felt like everybody was so behind each other, and everybody just cared for each other so much because they cared so much for Kristoff.  All the eulogies that people were doing were a page and a half to two pages.  They were really long, but you could feel the emotional tension, and you could feel how people just felt.  Kristoff was a very unique special person, who ended up going through some rough times, but he really was beloved.  Sometimes you love people, and sometimes you say somebody is beloved.  Whenever you saw him, he put a smile on your face.  He made you feel like he really cared about you.  Those shows came together really out of this feeling of love.  We did two whole shows that day.  We did that whole show and the show that came after it.  I don’t know how many hours of a day it was, but people had so much emotion attached to it that those shows really kind of took over themselves with everybody just trusting and letting go and supporting each other.  I got a text from Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) saying how it was one of the greatest experiences he’d ever had in terms of how it all came together.  Those shows just meant a lot to us, and I really felt that if we didn’t win, I’d be perfectly fine with that, because I was just so glad that we were able to do these episodes, and people got to see it.

Photo: JPI

At what point did you decide, “We are going with this to submit for the Emmy!”

TONY:  I actually knew that day.  I think, I actually said to Josh Griffith (head writer and Co-EP Y&R), “This is going to be our Emmy show … or one of our Emmy shows.”  The other show when everybody finds out Neil died was an incredibly powerful show to me too, but I knew that day when we shot the funeral that you rarely see that kind of rawness.  When you get into this business, and you want to become an actor, it’s tough, but you know that in the end what you want is to get into a position where you can share who you are as a person in an artistic way.  I think the Neil memorial gave people a way to say, “This is why I do this because I get to really share myself, and I get to express how passionate I am and how much I care about other people.”

Photo: JPI

Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm) came back to honor his dear friend and on-screen Y&R brother.  How was it having him on set with you to share this experience?

TONY:  Shemar was amazing.  He was there until the bitter end of our tape day.  He could not have been kinder and more supportive of everybody, and really laid out his emotions, and it was like that with everybody.  I would say this was the the most amazing experience I have ever had.

What do you think Kristoff would say?  I think he would be very proud that you gave Neil a real proper sendoff.

TONY:  Absolutely.  I also think Kristoff, would have thought that Neil deserved it, and would have loved it, a, it’s an interesting question because you have got to say to yourself, “Does Kristoff feel he deserves it?” As a character, he’d definitely feel he deserved it.  He was a part of that community.  He was a part of Genoa City.  Those were his friends and his family.  Would Kristoff feel he deserves that?  I don’t know if he would have felt he deserved it, but I know he would have loved knowing how much people cared for him.  I think that would have meant the world to him.  I really do.

Photo: CBS

I loved your acceptance speech.  I thought it was one of the better ones of Emmy night. 

TONY:  Thanks so much.  Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) has been amazing.   He gave me a lot of guidance on where to go, and my wife, Sally (Sussman Morina) really helped write the speech because the rules were you’ve got 30 seconds.  I really believe in the notion that when you have an opportunity to speak in front of people about something, it has some meaning to you and to other people.  I think you have to put thought into it because how many opportunities do you get in life to share about yourself and how you feel about people?  So, I really appreciate you saying that.

Photo: CBS

What did you think of your Y&R actors: Bryton James’ (Devon) and Jason Thompson’s (Billy) major Emmy victories?

TONY:  Well, personally, I am enormous fans of both people.  I like when nice, good people have nice things happen to them, and you know them.  First off, I was so happy for Bryton because I know he and Kristoff were close, and I know he was deeply affected, as Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R) was, as everybody was, but they were like family.  I love Bryton personally, and he laid his heart out there.  As for Jason Thompson, people think the world of him, and I think he is an unbelievable actor.  I taught for years, and I have worked with a lot of actors, and I think Jason has such control of his work.  I’m impressed by him.  I’m just as impressed by who Jason is.  I think he’s deserved it other times too, and this was his first win; which must be very special for him.

Photo: deCazotteFacebookPage

During the In-Memoriam tribute on the Emmy broadcast, former producer, Lisa de Cazotte was also featured.  What can you say about your time working with her at Y&R and over your career?

TONY: I’ve known Lisa De Cazotte since Santa Barbara when Paul Rauch (former executive producer) brought her there, and that’s where we first met. Lisa was probably my favorite producer to ever be in the booth with because she let you be yourself, and she let you do your job, and yet, she still had control over the room and the studio.  She was a great touchstone for me, because when you are in this position, you need someone to bounce stuff off of or just say, “Am I really being an idiot here?” because we were old friends, she could say, “Tony, you’re being an idiot.”  (Laughs)  We miss her terribly.  She was really a loved person, and she was just fantastic at what she did.  I just miss her as a friend.

Photo: JPI

And of course, the In-Memoriam featured the late Y&R co-creator, Lee Philip Bell who also passed recently. 

TONY:  Yes, and that’s what was interesting about that speech I gave, because you had to mention those three people: Lee, of course, Kristoff, and Lisa – three truly linchpin important people in daytime drama for many years. Losing all three made it a particularly rough year for The Young and the Restless family.

I also wanted to talk about Eve LaRue (Ex-Celeste Rosales), who had never won a Daytime Emmy but she did for her work on Y&R! She was very emotional and moved by her win as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series.  What can you say about Eva?

TONY:  She is such a lovely person and she did a great job for us.  I’m just glad for her because I know she had ever won before.

Photo: JPI

One of the clips shown on the Emmy broadcast that Y&R chose for air from Neil’s memorial was Victor’s emotional eulogy; which Eric Braeden delivered so beautifully.   I know how found he was of Kristoff; so it made that on-screen moment all the more heartbreaking. What can you say about Eric?

TONY:  Eric feels as deeply as anybody who I have ever known.  Really, he can come across sometimes as a certain kind of image for people on-screen, but he cares deeply, and is the most supportive actor of every other actor.  Eric has a depth and is a fantastic actor, and he knows how to use his talent.  He actually called me last night and left a message.  He just said, “Hey, I saw you on TV,” and then he just laughed for 5 minutes.  It was really very funny.  He’s not used to seeing me on TV, and so he just laughed.  It was hilarious.

What did you think of Y&R’s win for Outstanding Drama Series knowing they submitted the episodes of Genoa City finding out Neil had passed, and his funeral? Share your thoughts on Tony’s remarks via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Daytime Emmy Winners: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Scott Clifton & Heather Tom Talk Winning the Gold & Returning to Work at B&B

This week, The Bold and the Beautiful has been airing encore presentation of Daytime Emmy-winning performances from some of the cast over the years as a prelude to tomorrow night’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS.

The weeklong Emmy celebration concludes tomorrow with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood’s (Steffy) Emmy-winning performance from last year which won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series prize for the first-time in her daytime career.

Michael Fairman chatted with Jacqui, along with five-time Daytime Emmy-winner and a nominee for Lead Actress again this year, Heather Tom (Katie) and three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Scott Clifton (Liam).  As daytime soap fans know, Heather and Scott hold the distinction of being the only actors to win in all three acting categories: Younger, Supporting and Lead.

In this candid and fun conversation on the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Jacqui, Scott and Heather remember the nights the won Emmy gold, their acceptance speeches, things they wish they would have said, and what it was like waiting for their names to be called, plus taking a stroll down memory lane and remembering when they taped their Emmy-winning performances.

Scott reveals why he chose not to submit himself in Lead Actor this year, even though he has some of the finest performances throughout the Baby Beth baby switch storyline,.

Later the trio talk about The Bold and the Beautiful being the first U.S. soap opera and first U.S. broadcast show back in production following the shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic and how B&B is looking to shoot episodes during the times we live.

Watch the full video interview below.

Then let us know, what was your favorite part of the moments shared by Jacqui, Scott, and Heather in the Emmy conversation?  Do you think Heather might tie Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki, OLTL) tomorrow night with her sixth win in the Lead Actress category?  What do you think of B&B’s return to production following the sentiments shared.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Thaao Penghlis Chats on His Daytime Emmy Nomination & How He Makes Tony DiMera One of a Kind

He has been one of the longstanding cast members of Days of our Lives and certainly of Salem’s notorious DiMera Clan; and while Thaao Penghlis may be off our screens for a time and then comes back again; though the years one thing has been true, he delivers top-notch performances in a way that is uniquely ‘Thaao’.

This year at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards to be broadcast on Friday night, June 26th at 8 p. m. EST, Thaao is vying for the Outstanding Lead Actor prize amongst a formidable group of other daytime favorites.  And this makes it two years in a row that Penghlis has received an Emmy nomination although this time in a different category.

As fans know, Penghlis takes the art of acting seriously, and expects other he works with to bring their A-game, just as he does time and time again; whether it be playing DAYS dashing Tony or the evil Andre or when he portrayed Victor Cassadine on General Hospital.

Michael Fairman TV spoke to Thaao to get his thoughts on: receiving the Emmy recognition and what it means to him what he thought about his nominated scenes, plus what he might be doing at home during the ceremony, and where he hopes Tony DiMera’s future is headed.   Here’s what Thaao shared.

Photo: JPI

Tell me about what scenes you submitted that landed you a Lead Actor Emmy nod!

THAAO:  Well, the week I came back to DAYS, I had 11 shows, and this material was from one show of three I did one day!  When you think of other actors doing 150 shows, and I did less than 50 this past year, my choice is kind of limited.  So, when I came across these particular scenes, which were with Eric Martsolf (Brady) and with Arianne Zucker (Nicole), what I liked about it is that usually when you see other peoples’ work, its histrionic, it’s great tears, it’s drama – and what I was able to put together had a through line and an arc from beginning to end.  It makes it very logical when somebody is following your story, and you can show a whole ebb that makes sense.  I had some lines that were really difficult to say, like, “Coming back from the dead is not easy.”  When I get lines like that, I throw it away, and because of that, it becomes humorous.  I have to say I work well with Arianne.  She was great.  I found in the past, when I have worked with some actors, they step on your lines.  I found the best way to stop that is I put my hand up, and I say, “Hey!” and everything goes silent.  They go into shock mode, and I say, “I haven’t finished,” and then I go on.  (Laughs)  So, when Kristen as Nicole starts to talk to Tony the way she does, and she says, “You’d better behave…” I thought, “This is a DiMera you are talking to,” so, I just snapped back at her.  I gave her a, “Hey!”  So, she shut up, froze, and I went on.

Photo: JPI

Would you say your reel was more comedic … or both funny and serious?

THAAO:  It is both.  There are subtleties to it.  There is a teacher I know in Australia, and she is very critical.  She said, “I want to see your work.”  I showed it to her, and she wrote back, “Oh my, God.  How did you make those transitions so readily?”  I went, “Oh.  How did I do it?”  I didn’t think of that.  I think it’s an old technique.  It’s called having to do 3 shows in one day, and you had better get your stuff right, and it’s about how do you make a scene work?  There is one director who I did a miniseries with who said to me, “Where did you get your training from?”  I said, “Daytime.”  He said, “My God.  You certainly know how to have a camera follow you,”   Well, the camera has to follow your movement.  So, when I finished a transition, I’d move to another spot, and the camera had to follow me.  So, what happened in the arc of this Emmy-nominated piece is that I took charge and controlled the scene so that it became a scene of lots of transitions. And of course, charm, I did all of what I thought Tony would be.  He is a DiMera.  I have one of those looks. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe it’s as I get older, but I’ve learned how to work the camera where I may slam something first to get your attention, and then the camera comes onto your face, and you’re going, “Oh, what the hell is he thinking?”  So, I can play the dark side quite readily, and yet in my real life, I’m not so bad. (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

You have Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Steve Burton (Jason, GH) also in your category, and these guys who are obviously been soap veterans like yourself.  What do you think about the group you have been nominated with? 

THAAO:  I never worked with Steve Burton, but hear good things.  I know Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan, GH).  He’s a lovely actor.  I have worked with Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R).  He’s a lovely actor.  He is well-trained.  So, it is nice to see that the nominees are all vets.

Right, they are all vets.  It seems like a good group to be with. 

THAAO:  I agree, and I love that the Daytime Emmys are coming back to television.  I think it is an upswing when they think of daytime dying.  I think whoever made this happen is taking on the responsibility of taking daytime back.  It is why people love novellas.  People love the story, they love to follow the characters, and we’ve got fantastic fans.  I mean, what would we do without them?  You can’t sustain the show without them, and you pay a price, you have to know how to entertain them because once they know who you are and what you’re about, they get bored.  So, you have to be ahead of your audience all of the time.  That’s what I have always tried to do with both characters that I’ve played on DAYS

Photo: JPI

They’re doing a virtual ceremony this year.  How do you think you would dress while watching the ceremony?

THAAO:  You don’t wear a tux in your house, do you? So, I’ve invited some people for a celebratory time.  Lauren Koslow (Kate, DAYS) and her husband Nick Schillace (head of make-up, DAYS) and Leann Hunley (Anna, DAYS) are some of my great friends who have been very supportive of me through some tough times this year, and I’ve got a friend who has got  a wonderful restaurant, and he is going to cater it.  Probably it will be a group of 10.  You know, could you imagine being here on your own, in a tuxedo, with a glass of champagne? (Laughs)

I know, kind of awkward! (Laughs)  You’ll put something nice on for the big night, right?

THAAO:  Yes, you know me.  I’m always dressed.  What would you suggest?  Sweatpants on the bottom and a tuxedo jacket!  How about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Now, you have been previously nominated for Daytime Emmys, too!

THAAO:  Yes, and last year I was nominated as well for Outstanding Guest Performer.  So, it’s kind of nice to be back-to-back, and in 2008, I was nominated for Lead Actor when I played the clown in the Tony and Andre storyline.  Thank God, DAYS recently DAYS had James Reynolds (Abe) wining in the Lead Actor category.  I thought, “Wow.”  That was for years and years of good work that he’s done, and also, Greg Vaughan (Eric) wining for Supporting Actor was very nice, but we haven’t had that many wins in the acting categories over the years.

Photo: JPI

DAYS tapes so far ahead of air; that what was once a seemingly major concern has paid off swimmingly during the coronavirus pandemic.  The soap is the only show to have enough episodes in the bank for months ahead when production shut down and enough even when other shows go back into production.  Who would have thought?

THAAO:  We used to think it was ridiculous that DAYS taped eight months ahead, but look at us now! Who would have thought is right?

What would you love to see happen with Tony when DAYS does resume filming new episodes again? 

THAAO:  I’d like to go back and play the head of the DiMera family.  I’ve never been granted that, and I think, at this stage, with the way I worked with Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano) it would be nice to see the transition just like Michael Corleone did in Godfather.

So will you be rooting for Thaao to take home the gold as Lead Actor in a Drama Series come Emmy night?  Do you hope DAYS writes Tony into upcoming story, and if so, how would you like to see him on the canvas? Comment below.

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