Connect with us

Interviews

19

The Eric Braeden Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Getty Images

This week on The Young and the Restless the CBS soap opera honored its iconic star, Jeanne Cooper, with a two-day memorial episode for the beloved character she played for almost 40 years, Katherine Chancellor.  One of Jeanne’s longest running co-stars, who was deeply touched by the loss of his long time friend on-screen and on-off, is the indominatable Eric Braeden (Victor Newman).  Now the question remains, with the reading of Katherine’s will next week, how might it affect the mighty Victor?

Over the last several weeks, while there was plenty of attention of viewers waiting to have a good cry at Katherine’s memorial episodes, there was also controversy brewing at Y&R with the swift departure of head writer Josh Griffith, who Braeden took to Twitter to publically defend Griffith’s stories, and who voiced his displeasure over a change at the top.  In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, we ask the Daytime Emmy winner, where he sits with it now?  And, that raises the age old question: has any writing regime in the history of the show even come close to the way that Y&R creator Bill Bell told stories and constructed the show?  Eric certainly weighs-in heavily on the matter.

In the coming weeks on Y&R, look for more bombshells, especially when Victor finds out that his son, Adam’s (Michael Muhney) secret investor is really his nemesis, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman)!  Braeden gives us a preview of a major fallout!  And what about the entire Newman clan?  Will Victor ever let Victoria (Amelia Heinle) run Newman?  Will Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) share with Victor the secret contents of her letter from Katherine?  Or, will it cause a rift in the star-crossed lovers marriage, yet again?  For the answers to this, and Eric’s thoughts on the exit of Michelle Stafford (Ex-Phyllis) and not getting much air time to work with his other on-screen son, Joshua Morrow (Nick).  Read on for our chat with the always candid, tell-it-like-it-is Mr. Braeden!

MICHAEL:

As this week’s viewers witnessed the memorial service of Katherine Chancellor on Y&R, going back a step, how difficult has it been for you dealing with the loss of your longtime cast mate and friend Jeanne Cooper?

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

It was difficult for me.  I must say Jeanne’s death touched me more than I would have anticipated.  It really hit me, and I thought about it a lot.  I suddenly realized I have been working with her for more than 30 years!  That is a helluva a long time.  I was very fond of Jeanne, and loved working with her.  She was such an intrical part of Y&R that it affected me more than I thought it would.  Jeanne’s memorial service, which was held at her house with her sons Corbin and Colin, and her daughter Caren, was so moving, nice, and so real.  Jeanne was an extraordinary person, and you can see that in her family.  Her children are some of the most stand-up people I have known.  As direct as Jeanne was, I was just as direct, obviously. (Laughs)  So, I had such a huge fondness for her, I must say, and as she got older and frail I even felt more protective of her.

MICHAEL:

I remember you speaking at Jeanne’s memorial.  It was so authentic and touching.

ERIC:

You know, that during the memorial service when Corbin spoke there was a dove right behind him, and it stayed there during the entire service, as if it was Jeanne listening.  I have never seen anything like it, right over his shoulder!

MICHAEL:

Do you think the fans will be touched by Katherine’s memorial episodes?

ERIC:

Yes, I think so.  It was a difficult day.  We had scenes where different people are involved; it became very difficult with the other actors, and for the crew.  But it was certainly appropriate.  I look forward to seeing the episodes.  I remember after we finished shooting Katherine’s memorial service, Corbin spoke and said some very lovely things, and how strange it was for him … how art and real life meet.  He is talking as the son from the stage of where his mother spent most of her life.  Very strange in ways, and very moving.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite of all-time of yours and Jeanne’s?  You had so many scenes together as Katherine and Victor.

ERIC:

What comes to mind is what I said at her real memorial service.  It is the first time we had a scene together.  She came up in the inevitable Jeanne Cooper way, and grabbed me by the “privates” and said, “Ok, big boy. Let’s see what you got!”  And I said to myself, “I am going to get along with her!”

MICHAEL:

Nikki knows the content of her letter from Katherine, and so too does Paul, but Victor does not know what it says.  Both are dealing with the loss of Katherine in their lives.  Would you say Nikki is hardest hit by her passing?

ERIC:

I would say Nikki is obviously hit hardest by it, because Kay was her confidante and best friend.  I can say a lot of surprising things will play out over the next few weeks.  I loved it.  It’s great stuff!

MICHAEL:

Often times, fans recently have been vocal that Y&R has focused on newbies that they don’t know or care about in favor of the veterans.

ERIC:

I think every since I have been on the show, during the summer months they have made the mistake to try to garner the attention of the young demographic, and that is an edict from above.  So all networks think they have to grab the attention of a young demographic, and without realizing it, it’s the old demographic that is your core audience.  I have heard these complaints for 33 years every summer.  Nothing has changed.  I think it’s a corporate decision that is made on top, but I think it’s a mistake.  I don’t think the facts support the hypothesis that it gets more young people to watch the show. But that is the thinking industry-wide, and wrongfully so.  It is the older demographic who has the financial wherewithal to buy things anyways, or to give permission to the younger kids.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

How do you feel the writing of Y&R was, during just exited head writer Josh Griffith’s tenure?

ERIC:

As you know, whenever there is a change, it takes a while to get adjusted to it.  I am happy with the storylines right now.  I was happy before, and so as an actor you learn to do the best with what you are given.  I must say, I can’t complain at all about what I have been given.  There was only one time in 33 years that I was blatantly unhappy, and only once during someone’s regime as a head writer, but not for a long time.  I love working with Maria Bell, and I loved working with Josh Griffith.

MICHAEL:

You have voiced your displeasure on Twitter over the departure of Josh Griffith as head writer, and what kind of criteria a person should have to be put in that position to write the number-one soap. (Reports have been that Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman are the new co-head writers at Y&R, although unconfirmed by the show) What are your thoughts on the subject now?

ERIC:

It was upsetting to see that Josh was gone.  I am so use to changes, one becomes unoit to it after a while, but I was surprised.  Obviously, someone who knows the history of the show and is familiar with the characters should be the new head writer.  I don’t like change.  I did not like Maria Bell leaving, and now I don’t like that Josh Griffith leaving, but that is part of the business.  I am not aware of the reasons why Josh is gone.  I was upset on Twitter about his departure, but I have had changes for 33 years on Y&R, and the only real calm time was under Bill Bell, as we all know.  There was a sense of continuity which has not been replicated since.  Bill simply did not tolerate any interference … none!  Hopefully, the show continues in a successful way.  I think Jill Farren Phelps (Y&R executive producer) is doing a good job, and Josh was doing a great job, and we had just gotten use to that.  I am against that change, period.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Adam’s secret backer in business, is of all people, Jack!  What do you think will happen when Victor finds out?  It’s on the verge of happening!

ERIC:

Well, just fasten your seat belt.  That is all I can tell you!

MICHAEL:

Did Victor want things to go well with having Adam at Newman Enterprises?  Or, did he not want it to go well?

ERIC:

I think for Victor initially, part of him wanted it to go well, and he was hoping against hope that Adam would become someone he wanted.  But, we must always remember from the moment Adam came into Victor’s family, or the periphery there of, that the moment he came back into Genoa City he has been nothing but trouble.  I mean, people forget the things he has done, and the list goes on and on, and so it makes for interesting drama.  I think every father has a desire to get along with his children, no matter how wayward one of them has become.  Anyway, it is a very interesting storyline.  Again, fasten your seat belts!

MICHAEL:

The reading of Katherine’s will is coming up.  Could the contents in the will be paramount to Victor and his future business dealings?

ERIC:

I would say there is another bomb about to go off!  You bet!

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I am hoping Victor won’t screw with Katherine holdings.

ERIC:

Victor is a businessman, but he is very respectful of Katherine.

MICHAEL:

How does Victor feel about Nikki’s multiple sclerosis?  Has it changed or impacted him in some significant way?

ERIC:

Obviously, Victor is very concerned for her, and it gives him pause in his business endeavors to not forget what Nikki is going through.  I think it has struck a chord in him that he wants to be more affectionate to her than usual.

MICHAEL:

When you call Billy Abbott (Billy Miller) “Billy Boy”, which is so funny, where did that come from?

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I think it’s very funny.  I love working with Billy.  He is a character. (Laughs) The “Billy Boy” thing came from me.  I remember using that when I shot my nemesis in my film, The Man Who Came Back.  I shot him in the balls and I said, “I shot you in the balls, Billy Boy!”   And that stuck with me!  “Billy Boy” I just love that!  It rolls of your tongue. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Why does Victor not want Victoria in charge at Newman?

ERIC:

That isn’t quite true.  I adore Amelia Heinle, and I love working with Billy Miller.  Unfortunately, there is always friction between father and daughter.  And in my real life, I would hate friction with my own kids or grand kids.  That is one thing about Victor I never really liked, but it’s conflict and drama and we need that.  But my God, I would be so warm and giving with my own daughter, of course.  I enjoy having dinner with my son more than any other person, and we are very close.  My grandchildren I just adore.  Victor gets to show part of that, but for my taste not enough.   But what a great conflict with “Billy Boy”! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How does Victor view Adam as opposed to Victoria in business?

ERIC:

He does not trust Adam business-wise, but he wants to trust him.  Adam is always up to shenanigans that makes Victor very disappointed.  It must be horrible in real life to have children like that.  Again, we are doing a drama and need conflict.  As far as Victoria, I think Victor thinks she is very capable, but in the end he doesn’t trust anyone.  So let’s be frank, he wants to run the ship himself and that ain’t going to change.  So, would he like to be close to his kids?  Of course, yes.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Why do you think the Jack Abbott/Victor Newman clash has worked so well over decades?   Do you attribute it to you and Peter Bergman as actors?  Or, the story?

ERIC:

That is a good question to ask, and very difficult to answer.  I think it is to the way that Peter Bergman plays Jack, and the way I play Victor.  We piss each other off.  It’s as simple as that.  I respect Peter as an actor enormously and we certainly get along, but then we start acting these scenes, and they are full of vinegar and poison.  That is due to how we both interpret our parts.

MICHAEL:

Did you think the role of Victor would last this long?  You must moments of “How cool is this”.  You are playing this delicious role that many actors only dream about getting to play once in their lifetime!

ERIC:

I have many moments of how cool this is, when you think of how hard it is to keep a job in this business.  We have 150,000 actors registered in the union, in which 1% makes a living.  I have been doing this show for 33 years, and I have been in the business for 50. The longest I have been unemployed is for three months.  I consider myself very fortunate with this job, and very proud of this show.  Do I wish I had more say and power as I have over some films, such as The Man Who Came Back?  I would be lying if I said “no.”  But you do the best within the parameters that you have been given.  This is too fleeting of a business.  This medium is so fast.  We shoot 80 pages in one day, and what they write about we find out about 2 months later.  So, I am reconciled to the limited parameters of Y&R for me as actor.  We have 25 characters most of the time on the canvas.  So I am very happy where I am, and the kind of life I have had.  There is no question about it.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Soap operas over the last five years have faced numerous network television cancellations.  A few, AMC and OLTL moved to a new online platform and format.  How do you think soaps are doing now?  What do you think of how CBS Entertainment Daytime SR. VP Angelica McDaniel has been doing in her position, since being put in charge of the day part that Y&R resides in?

ERIC:

I think Angelica has proven that she is very passionately in support of our show.  I like that very much.  I appreciate that very much.  Look, we have been number one for a very long time, and there is a reason for that.  We try to make it as real as we can.  We stay away from the fantasies, and away from the science-fiction stuff.  We can’t do certain things as well that other people can do in films, or nighttime television. This is about being real people, and their real emotions.  I have always insisted in playing my role as realistically as I can.  I think that is the key to success in our medium.  We just need to have good stories.  Our medium is not made for something fantastical, or out of the ordinary.  It is made for real emotions.  That is what people want to tap into.  What is art about?  Art is about people looking at something, or watching something, or reading something, and going, “That’s interesting.”  You transport them into the lives of the artist whether its music, or daytime soaps.  Within that enjoyment of looking into other people’s lives, you need people to be as real as you can be as the artist, so you identify with them.  If people can’t identify with it, you lose them.  I think the medium is here to stay if the people who write soaps understand perfectly well that the audience needs to buy into the characters, and that’s all.  We have done that to a greater or lesser degree on this show, ever since I have been here.

MICHAEL:

You are up on Twitter a lot more now!  How do you like being part of social media? I know a few times you may have encountered some controversy while on there, as of late.  (Laughs)

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I must say I love it, because you get immediate feedback, and you begin to in the 33 years I have been here, be intimately aware that there is an audience out there and that is the reason you are here to begin with.  We in Hollywood often times become cynical of what we do, because we are not in contact with the people who watch.  And when you do films, you are just totally out of touch with the people who watch you, and who pay to see you.  Twitter is an avenue where I really appreciate the audience, and learned that the audience is very smart.  They know exactly what is going on, and I resent the condescending aires of certainly people in Hollywood as if they don’t know … they know!  The audience knows when something is phony; they know when something is real.  They really know it immediately, and Twitter gives me an immediate feedback. So one lesson I would teach Hollywood executives, some actors, and directors, is don’t ever under-estimate the intelligence of the viewing audience.  You make a huge mistake when you do that.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Michelle Stafford leaving Y&R was a big loss for the show?

ERIC:

I am very upset that Michelle is gone.  She is one of those rare actresses who doesn’t come along very often.  She is very unique, and very passionate about her profession.  When she comes on the screen, it lights up the scenes and pops!  For whatever reasons she left, partly personal reasons … I don’t know, and I don’t want to know, but I am sad she is gone.  It’s a loss.

MICHAEL:

Michael Muhney and you play two very strong-willed characters.  What is it like acting in a scene with him when you go toe-to-toe constantly?

ERIC:

Well, I have never been worried about someone else’s strength, that does not bother me. Michael is very good at what he does, and so the scenes work well.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Do you wish you had more scenes with Joshua Morrow? Viewers don’t get to see the connection between Victor and Nick much at all anymore!

ERIC:

It saddens me, because Joshua is my first son on the show and he couldn’t be a nicer guy. He is a very good actor.  Joshua has one of those casual all-American attitudes, where sometimes you underestimate what he does.  I don’t.  He can star in any medium, as far as I am concerned, nighttime television or film.  So sometimes it saddens me that he and I don’t have a closer relationship as Victor and Nick, as father and son, on the show.  I am so sick of Victor interfering in others people’s lives!  I don’t give a shit, but unfortunately I have too.

MICHAEL:

Will Victor ring Sharon’s (Sharon Case) neck for changing the paternity test on his son, Nick, when that eventually comes to light?

ERIC:

More than that!  She also set fire to the damn ranch!  Yes, I am asking “Paul, God dam it. Find the culprit, will you?” (Laughs) And he hasn’t yet; he walks around with that silver briefcase all the time.  It must be so heavy; when he comes home he needs a rest.  (Laughs) Anyway, Doug Davidson (Paul) is wonderful to work with.  The only problem when Doug and I work together is we have a difficult time keeping from laughing.  With Dougie, when I see the glint in his eyes, it’s difficult to keep a straight face with him … it really is!

MICHAEL:

So as we conclude our chat, we can leave the fans knowing that truly all is OK from where you are sitting with what’s happening now with Y&R, and in the near future, for Victor Newman?

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

To be frank with you, I am happy with the storyline.  I was sad to see Maria Bell go at the time, because it was the last of the Bells that went.  It really affected me a lot.  I have a good relationship with both Jill Farren Phelps, and Josh Griffith.  I am an actor and paid to do what people write, one must not forget that.  But if I had to do it over again, I would have decided years ago to direct more.  I like to have complete control of stuff, and that is the one frustrating thing of being an actor on a soap.  If you star on a primetime series or a film, you have far more power.  In daytime, your power is limited and you can’t affect things.  And, that I would never do again.  I have seen too much; I know too much.  I know what I think is right.  So my interests are that I learn my lines, I do as well as I can, but then when it’s over, I am on to the rest of my life.  So that is one thing I would change if I had to do it all over again.  I would start directing earlier, I would be more involved in the writing, and have much more control over it, than I have allowed myself to be.  But having said that, are you kidding?  I am very happy playing Victor Newman. And look, we all have complaints about this and that, that are life and part of the creative process. We don’t always agree, but we pull ourselves together and in true show business style, you say, “Let’s go.  Let’s get it done, and do it the best way that you can.”

Leave a comment | 19 Comments
Advertisement

19

avatar
17 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
KerryMARY ELLISONSherry Holas-HerrickmarkSR Recent comment authors
newest oldest
mary jonas
Guest
mary jonas

what a guy. what a guy! He’s funny. I love how he tweets Doug about “who burnt the damn ranch”.
Fun read.

kalamaty
Guest
kalamaty

Great interview with the icon himself! Always loved his absolute candor, and love his affection for his costars!

Monica Junge
Guest
Monica Junge

Wonderful hearing from Eric.

SHARON HARRISON
Guest
SHARON HARRISON

ERIC,, I WAS WATCHING THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS YESTERDAY. AND I THOUGHT THAT JACK ABBOTT WAS GOING TO GET YOU MAD ABOUT NEWMAN ENTERPRISES. I SAID GET HIM VICTOR . JACK THOUGHT THAT HE HAD YOU FOOLED. ABOUT ADAM IS PLAYING ON THE DIRTY SIDE WITH JACK ABBOTT. I WILL BE WATCHING YOU ON THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS TONIGHT GET HIM VICTOR

SHARON HARRISON
Guest
SHARON HARRISON

ERIC THIS THING ABOUT ADAM MAKES ME SICK. HE IS A SNAKE IN GRASS FOR WHAT HE DID TO YOU AND NIKKI NEWMAN. I HOPE THAT YOU WILL LET HIM GET A WAY WITH IT. I WONDER WHAT NICK THINKS ABOUT HIS BROTHER ADAM DOING WHAT HE HAS DOING TO YOU AND THE NEWMAN FAMILY. HE IS AS BAD AS SHARON NEWMAN THAT SORRY NO GOOD. BECAUSE SHE IS TRYING TO MESS WITH NICK”S WEDDING PLANS. SHARON HARRISON

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

The one thing I hate is that the writers on both of these regimes screwed up the relationship he had with Sharon it was always a father/daughter if you will. The one storyline I know he hated was when LML was running the show and had him cutting out paper dolls that was indeed an eye roller.

Diane
Guest
Diane

I so loved reading your interview..thank you so much..Eric is the backbone of the show..with Jeanne gone he makes it still feel like family..they have added to many young actors to fast ..so it gives me comfort to see Eric as often as possible ..
Great interview…just wonderful…
Thank you..dd

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

This was such a great interview. I have such respect for Eric saying all that he said and being truthful about it. He is right about tweeting…it gives you that personal bond with the actors.

ethel
Guest
ethel

loved the interview!

MEG
Guest
MEG

I would have liked to know how will treat Adam when they find out ,the baby is Adams will he be there for Adam and his son .

Eileen Hargis
Guest
Eileen Hargis

In person, the first thing u learn about him is that he has a wicked sense of humor! He is truly so interesting to listen to and I value that he twitters to me fairly often, the first thing he that he said to me at the autograph table was a tweet I sent to him while he was in Monte Carlo earlier! Eileen n Vegas

glenda alford vaughn
Guest
glenda alford vaughn

I loved every min. of this interview. He is a legend! He demands respect, and gets it in the end.

I do hope it all plays out the way; that all is well, and like OKAY:-)

Colleen
Guest
Colleen

What an awesome interview. Eric is admirable in every
human way possible. Both on and off screen. If only he would follow
me on Twitter!!
And Michael, as always, your interviews are excellent !
I really enjoy all of them.

Jewell
Guest
Jewell

Love how he came up with Billy Boy. haha Eric is so fun to talk to on Twitter, he is very intelligent , and so funny..

SR
Guest
SR

Honest, straight forward, insightful, consummate actor, respectful of fans and dam smart. He rocks! Great job Michael.

mark
Guest
mark

great interview hes a classy guy!

Sherry Holas-Herrick
Guest
Sherry Holas-Herrick

I admire Mr. Eric! I started watching this Y&R soap when Steve Burton jumped over from GH, but it turns out, my most favorite scenes are with the Victor character! Michael Fairman, you do a great job interviewing also 🙂

MARY ELLISON
Guest
MARY ELLISON

PLEASE BRING PHYLLIS BACK AND GET RID OF SHARON . IT TIME FOR HER TO GO|||

Kerry
Guest
Kerry

My mother has watched Young and the Restless for as long as I can remember, and I am now 48 years old. She is going to be 82 September 29, 2013 and she was diagnosed with stage 4 mouth cancer barely a month ago and it is progressing VERY quickly. She would be so thrilled to have an autographed pic from the cast…..especially Murphy. Obviously she would love it if he could call her, or better yet visit her, but I know I have to be real!!!! If there is anyone out there who knows how I could accomplish this… Read more »

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Cady McClain & Rob Scott Wilson Talk Being Recasts, All My Children Reboot, Future of Cin & Jennifer’s Bitch-Slap

Current Days of our Lives and former All My Children reboot stars, Cady McClain (Jennifer, Days, Ex-Dixie, AMC) and Rob Scott Wilson (Ben, Days, Ex-Pete AMC) chat with Michael Fairman in an enlightening and exclusive conversation for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

McClain, who recently took over the role of Days of our Lives beloved heroine Jennifer Horton from mainstay Melissa Reeves (who chose to stay with her family in Nashville during Covid-19 thus forcing the series to recast the role for now) talks about stepping into the key part of the Salem canvas, plus the recent Jennifer/Kate fight over Jack (Matthew Ashford), and how the legacy series is coping with production during Covid-19.

Cady is no stranger to be a recast.  She was the second actress to play Dixie on ABC’s All My Children, as well as the second actress to play Rosanna on As the World Turns, and she had previously taken over the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless.

Photo: JPI

Rob, talks about landing the role of Ben and being a recast, and in an emotional moment, reveals how he credits the opportunity to the late producer, Lisa de Cazotte. Wilson also shares his hopes for his Salem alter-ego who is struggling to move on with his life after the supposed death of his wife, Ciara.

The actor also opens up on if DAYS decided to recast the role of Ciara, since Victoria Konefal is not presently with the NBC soap full-time, how he would feel about it and thus the future of Cin.

Photo: JPI

Both Cady and Rob first appeared together in Prospect Park’s online revival of All My Children. In this interview, they discuss how they had high hopes for the continuation of the series, how it ultimately fizzled, and what it was like to be a part of the then, groundbreaking first, for a daytime drama series along with One Life to Live.

Photo: TOLN

In addition, Cady gives the viewer insight on how she runs lines for both DAYS and GH at home with her real-life husband, Jon Lindstrom (Kevin and Ryan, GH), while Rob talks about his recent storyline where Ben was kidnapped and tortured by a vengeful Eve (Kassie DePavia) and much more.

Check out the full chat with Cady and Rob below. Then weigh-in: How would you feel if there was a Ciara recast? What are your hopes for the holidays for Jennifer? What did you think of the stories shared by Cady and Rob in the interview? Comment below, and if you have not done so already make sure to “subscribe” to the Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interviews.

Continue Reading

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

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

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Power Performance

William deVry as Julian

General Hospital

Airdate: 11-20-2020

Advertisement

Popular