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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.”

READ MORE
GH's Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist
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KerryMARY ELLISONSherry Holas-HerrickmarkSR Recent comment authors
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mary jonas
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
kalamaty

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

Monica Junge
Monica Junge

Wonderful hearing from Eric.

SHARON HARRISON
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
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
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
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
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
ethel

loved the interview!

MEG
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
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
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
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
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
SR

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

mark
mark

great interview hes a classy guy!

Sherry Holas-Herrick
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
MARY ELLISON

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

Kerry
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 in a quick manner I would be so grateful. Moms name is Carole. She doesn’t know I am doing this, but my brothers and sisters all agree that this would really be an awesome gift hearing from the The Young and the Restless cast who have been family to her and a huge part of her life ; )

Thank you and God Bless!

Kerry

P.S. Victor…she has always been in love with you too!!!! (As have I!)

General Hospital

GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stacy Haiduk and Eric Martsolf Talk Kristen & Brady’s Twisted Relationship : The Mask, The Deception, The Sex

Last week on Days of our Lives, Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) was able to get the man she craves in between the sheets.  So, just how did that happen when Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) had no idea she was alive?  Well … he still doesn’t, really.  You see, Kristen returned to Salem disguised as another ex flame of Brady’s, Nicole Walker (who everyone believed died in the warehouse explosion).  And Kristen has been parading around town donning an incredible likeness of Nicole’s face – via a prosthetic mask – and some other tricks to sound and look just like her!

Kristen’s goal is to infiltrate Salem, remind Brady of the love and passion they shared, take over DiMera Enterprises, and who knows what else!  And everyone who stands in her way, better watch out as we have seen! We are speaking to you (the late) Ted, and (once kidnapped) Kate, et al.

Fans of the NBC daytime drama series have followed the tortured relationship between Kristen and Brady for years and through many plots; Kristen was first played and brought to life by Eileen Davidson, and for well over a year now by Stacy Haiduk.  Not only has Haiduk reprised the role of a frustrated, vengeful Kristen, she is also playing at times multiple roles: the wacky and often misunderstood, Susan Banks, Kristen playing Susan, or Kristen pretending to be Sister Mary Moira.

As for Daytime Emmy winner, Eric Martsolf, this latest story arc puts him front and center as viewers watch to see if what Brady senses, and the clues, and the feelings he is having, bring him to the conclusion that he has been duped by Kristen, and that her horrendous scheme – pretending to be Nicole (Arianne Zucker), and dumping Nicole’s longtime love Eric (Greg Vaughan) to be with him have a result that is unexpected or catastrophic!

Michael Fairman TV sat down with Stacy and Eric for this conversation about: all the plot twists, and playing the drama and the humor of the situations they find themselves in as actors in a wild story that only head writer Ron Carlivati could pen and keep the audience on the edge of their seats in the process. Check out this oh-so-fun, direct, and enlightening chat with two of DAYS most shining stars.

Photo: JPI

Eric, what has it been like working in this part of your storyline; where there’s the character of Kristen in its many forms: Arianne Zucker playing “Nicole” (but it’s really Kristen), Kristen as Susan, and the real Kristen, etc?

ERIC:  It’s been a nightmare Michael.  (Laughs)  I don’t know who I’m sleeping with anymore.  I’m at the point where I go home at night, and I just tug on my wife’s cheek just to make sure that she is not my ex-girlfriend from high school.

When you first heard of this storyline, and that it was going to facilitate how Arianne was going to come back to the show… and that it was supposed to be Kristen in a Nicole Walker prosthetic mask with a voice alternator, what went through your mind?

ERIC:  I think in the back of Ron’s Carlivati’s (head writer, DAYS) mind, he was thinking to himself, “This dude started his soap career on Passions, he’s okay with this kind of thing,” and honestly, nothing surprises me anymore.  When you’re thrown into that supernatural, crazy reality, doesn’t-live-here sort of atmosphere for you first soap gig, you don’t sweat a mask and a voice modulator.  That’s just par for the course.  My biggest problem was the body thing … that Brady is not able to distinguish one body from the other, because I would as Eric.  My God, I know every inch of my wife’s body.  So, it’s difficult to get my head around that, but at the same time, I’m going with the whole “love is blind” thing here. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

(Laughs) I was going just going to say that Brady would absolutely know Kristen’s body from how passionate their relationship has been in the past, as well, he would Nicole’s body from his relationship with her.

ERIC:  Since Kristen did finally just succeed – let’s use the word in “seducing” him, and using her wonderful feminine wiles as only Kristen has to get Brady in to bed, there was also another twist.  What plays after that is that he notices the tattoo that’s been removed, and she plays it off as scarring from the fire.  What’s going through his mind as he is making love to Nicole is a “Kristen train”.  He can’t get Kristen out of his mind, and the guilt that he feels about that is horrendous.

Right! Brady is thinking: “Why am I feeling this when I am supposed to be with Nicole!?”

ERIC:  Right!  Brady has been waiting for a relationship for God knows how many years now – at least a successful one.  He is so eager to have this work, even though he has been concerned about how Eric (Greg Vaughan) would feel about this.  In Brady’s mind, Eric is done with Nicole.  He’s good.  He loves Sarah (Linsey Godfrey).  This is fair game.  Brady and Nicole have always been close … they’ve been close before … so, for him, it’s, why not give it a fair try?   However, he finds himself now thinking about another woman the whole time.  That’s rough.

Courtesy/NBC

Do you think in the back of his mind, that this whole time, he possibly knew that “Nicole” was Kristen?

ERIC:  Well, you just have to wait.  There will be a reveal eventually, obviously, but until then, let the games play on.

So, once Brady and “Nicole” have sex, he keeps thinking about Kristen?

ERIC:  Constantly!  She just plagues his mind.  I think he’s realizing that his affection for Kristen is anything but dead and is very alive, and I think this is Kristen’s master plan from the very beginning.  She knows that she pervades his soul, and once she does reveal herself, I would guess he would probably be surprised, maybe a little angry, but in the end … you can’t deny what your heart and your body wants, right?

One of my favorite recent scenes had Brady half-naked and Kristen as Susan getting into his room, because she was looking for the MIA Nicole mask she so desperately needed.  She finds herself gawking and lusting after Brady under her disguise, and he tries to remove himself from the situation and says, “Susan, I’m going to get in the shower…”

ERIC:  Yeah! And, “It’s not going to happen, baby.”

What was that like doing that scene?

STACY:  I loved it!  I thought Eric was brilliant in it.  I watched it, and I thought, “Oh, my God!”  (Laughs) It is one of my all-time favorite scenes.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  Kristen is a tiger.

STACY:  She is a tiger.  She’s got a goal, and she is going to go after that.  She has obstacles that are going to come in-between her goal, but she will go after whatever she wants.

When Stacy comes in to Brady’s room as Susan, were you not laughing?

ERIC: No!  I thought she was hot. (Laughs)

STACY:  He did … he loved it.  You liked me, didn’t you baby? (Laughs)

ERIC:  I don’t think anybody can deny that Stacy Haiduk’s portrayal of Susan Banks is ridiculously good.  Everything from her delivery … to her facial expressions.  I think it is amazing.  I mean, it is corny, and it is fun, and soaps need characters like that once in a while to lighten the load of the heavy dialogue and the drama.  It’s a welcomed addition.  So, I love playing scenes with Susan.

Photo: JPI

Eric, you always have been able play the straight-man so well in comedic scenes with impeccable timing,

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STACY:  You’re brilliant, Eric.

ERIC:  You guys are being very nice to me.

STACY:  You are.  I remember on the day how much fun we had, but then, seeing it back and the crap that I was giving you, and just the stuff you were giving back was so beautiful, and innocent, and so alive.  It was so funny.

Does Kristen think that now that she finally got Brady into bed that she won … that she got what she wanted … even if she had to don a “Nicole” mask to do it?

STACY:  Well, no, because she still can’t be really Kristen.  I think she is grateful that she gets to be with him.  That’s one of her biggest goals: to be with Brady and she wants to have him fall back in love with her again.  But for her, now it’s all about, “How do I reveal myself so that he doesn’t get scared away?”  That’s the toughest part for her.  Kristen’s love is so deep that it goes beyond this mask.  So, how is it going to be when he sees her?   Is he going to freak out?  What’s going to happen?

ERIC:  Did you think Kristen would be a little pissed off and think, “Oh my God.  He did go for Nicole?”

STACY:  Yes!  I do, because she’s like, “Finally, I got him!  But wait a minute … did I get him because I was Nicole … or because I was Kristen?”  As Kristen, she always believes there is something deeper between them and a deep connection.  That remains a driving force to her.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  That’s why I love these characters so much, because of you and the history of Kristen with Brady.  She’s always wanted him as much as he has wanted her.  She’s always wanted to be loved.

STACY:  Yes … and very much so.

ERIC:  Kristen had always wanted to be a part of the DiMera Empire, just as Brady has always wanted to be a part of the Kiriakis Empire, and they’ve always wanted love.  They’ve never had it.  They believe in the back of their minds that anything is attainable.  So, I can see why Kristen would just forgo the Nicole disguise and just go, “He wants me.”

STACY:  Kristen wants to believe that Brady knows it.  She says to herself, “He knows it’s me inside and behind the mask.  When he finds out, he will fall back in love with me.”

Now that she actually had sex with Brady, wouldn’t that make Kristen even more insatiable to be with him? Like, “I’ve got to have him!?”

STACY:  The fear is still .. what happens she takes this mask off?  She always says, “I’ll reveal myself, but I have to do it slowly when it is the right time.”  I think there is that built up frustration now for her, absolutely!

Photo: JPI Studios

Arianne Zucker really has Stacy’s mannerisms down as Kristen.  It really comes into in scenes where “Nicole” goes off on someone or loses her temper.  Eric, you have worked with Arianne for years on this show.  What do you think about her performances in this storyline?

ERIC:  I have worked with Ari over the years, and I have enjoyed it a lot.  Ari did do her homework.  She did study Stacy’s tape, and she watched her mannerisms, and she took it very seriously.  I know that because she is a hard worker, as much as a goofball as she is, she does work hard, and she wanted it to be good.  I think my favorite parts were the Kristen meltdowns.  You have to understand though; Stacy and Ari get along very well!  They’re kind of two peas in a pod.  So, it wasn’t a big stretch for her to take on how Stacy would play those types of scenes.  They’re both animated, they’re both wild people by nature, and so, it was a good fit.  It was a smart idea from the writers.

STACY:  It was a good fit!

ERIC:  I’ve been out with the two of them, and it’s hard to tell the two of them apart. (Laughs)

STACY:  We are just like two cuddly bunnies.

ERIC:  They’re like flirting with each other, and hugging each other.  You find yourself thinking, “Are they going to start ordering the same food at the same time?  This is getting weird. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

In the recent scene that aired; where Kristen as “Nicole” turns off the light while having sex with Brady, is she worried her plan will now go awry?

STACY:  Yes.  I think she is worried about her body because it is burned.  You know, how they take a tattoo off, and it’s as painful as can be.  Not that I’ve had that done personally.  I like my tats, but I hear it is painful.  So, in the storyline, the burn is that pain that she has and the tattoo. There’s a part of her that thinks,  she has to cover it up, and turn the lights down low.

ERIC:  “Nicole” is sleeping, and Brady is rubbing his hands over her shoulder and touching her body, and as he goes over the burn marks.  He sees a flash of the tattoo!  That is a pivotal moment when he starts to put some pieces together.   He thinks, “Woah! That’s exactly where that tattoo was.”  It’s a slow little rollercoaster ride.

Courtesy/NBC

In the past, Kristen then played by Eileen Davidson, drugged and raped Father Eric.  Stacy, did you ever see that story arc?  Literally the sex scene is playing on the screen at Kristen’s wedding to Brady and then all hell breaks loose.  This to say Kristen is notorious for the ways and the lengths she goes to get her men into bed.

STACY:  Yes! I saw her Eileen do those scenes.

ERIC:  You also saw how close Kristen and Brady were to their dream, to their happiness, their goal, which was they were going to marry each other.  Brady is looking upon his loved ones in this town and thinking, “I know what you all think of her, but I’m going to show you our love on this screen, and once you see the connection that we have here as a couple, you all are going to be convinced that we belong together as well.  This is the happiest day of my life,” and the screen comes up and it’s his brother banging Kristen instead.

Marlena (Deidre Hall) played the wrong DVD!

STACY:  It was so good.  See, I try to find as much info as I can on the character’s past, because all of the time I’m trying to find where these characters have been in their dark and twisted past.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  You’re putting your own stamp on Kristen.  You got a direct call from DAYS casting department, didn’t you … when they were recasting the role?

STACY:  Yes.  You have to understand, I had two really separate characters to play when I was on Y&R.  One was a doctor, and one was this crazy passionate, wild, little minx.

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ERIC:  I will say to find the wild and the beauty in one package is not easy in any town, yet alone Los Angeles.  I’m glad they called you, because you have that.  You have that villainous nature, but you also are able to show a vulnerable side to Kristen that is going to be a lot of fun and interesting to see.

Stacy is one of those people that will leap off of the screen at you and you will remember her.  She is one actress that will have fans talking about their work, like when you played crazy Patty Williams on Y&R.  The audience was on the edge of their seats going, “Oh, my God!  What is Patty going to do next?”

STACY:  I never knew what she was going to do!

Photo: JPI

Eric, has Stacy come to you at any point where she been overwhelmed by the task at hand; playing Susan while playing Kristen, etc, and the two of you have a moment where you work through some of the challenges of complex scenes  … and ones where she is playing multiple characters?

ERIC:  We’ve had many moments  to speak of.

STACY:  I always come into Eric’s room, and am like, “I’m scared!”

ERIC:  It’s funny you mention it.  We have had some very emotional scenes, and Stacy – who cares so damn much about this job and portraying this character correctly – that she gets a little overwhelmed, and the material that they give her is overwhelming for any anybody on any level.  I have looked at her in the eyes, and said, “You’ve got this gig.  You are this character.  You are knocking it out of the park.  Just do it.  Just be you.”   I can’t wait for people to see some of the stuff we have shot recently and have been doing.

Photo: JPI

Stacy, do you think Kristen can be redeemed? Many characters on daytime … and on DAYS … have done horrible things and later turned over a new leaf.

STACY:  The thing is that villains are bad and all that other crap, but they’ve got a lot of stuff going on inside and insecurities, and they’ve got a heart.  I’m sorry, the villain with a heart of gold, can be very  true.  I never see villains (and I play them a lot) as bad.  You have to find where it comes from … how far does this go … where did that little seed change … and what made them go into the dark, but also, where is the good?  You want to bring the good to it, too.

ERIC:  Let’s face it!  Star Wars is all about Darth Vader and how he became that because it’s intriguing.

Because of the pace in which DAYS tapes its episodes; do the two of you find time to run lines together before you go hit the set?

ERIC:  We are running out of time to run lines.  It’s pretty wild.  Funnily enough, I was recently filming a movie and I was so underwhelmed at the pace of everything.  I’ve gotten so accustomed to moving at this militant style, that as hard as it is, it is preferable to me now.  I almost like it because you don’t have time to overthink what you are going to do, and you end up getting more visceral and natural reactions to the material.  You can overthink a scene, and you can come to a wrong performance that way.  When you burn your fingers on a hot stove, that’s the most natural reaction you are going to get.  You can’t have ten minutes to think about how you are going to scream about that pain.

Photo: JPI

But, would you like the pace of shooting the show to be a bit slower?

STACY:  I would like to, but I do think sometimes just jumping in, and going and seeing what happens is great.  I love that.  I do appreciate that.

ERIC:  It’s scary.

STACY:  It is scary.  I would love if we would get to do a rehearsal and then two takes just to see, and then they can mix  together what happens.  Sometimes I am hard on myself as an actress.  I’ve always been.  It’s that jumping in when you only get to do one take.  You have to just give it everything you’ve got.

ERIC:  You can have a second take.  Want me to give you a little secret?  All you have to do is screw up your last line.

STACY:  I can’t do that.   I don’t even need it to be perfect because nothing is perfect.  It doesn’t matter what I’ve done if I sometimes don’t feel it.  I need to feel it when I’m on that set.  I need to feel something because when I shut down, I close myself off.  It’s like an athlete who has just got to  train as hard as they can to reach their goal.

ERIC:  You’re an Olympic swimmer!

STACY:  You’ve got to do it as hard as you can.  You practice, and you practice, and you practice, and you practice, so that when you come to that day, you do the best you can, but sometimes you are disappointed because you didn’t get that one last thing you had hoped for.

Courtesy/NBC

How do you view what happened to Eric with Kristen, who disguised as Nicole, tricked Brady into bed with her?  Some fans commented that that they thought it was akin to a rape.

ERIC:  No, I would disagree with that theory.  I believe there is a high degree of deception in this, but there is a willingness on behalf of Brady.  He’s not drugged.  He’s not being forced to do anything.  Deception, yes.  Rape, no.

Stacy, what do you think?

STACY:  Total deception.  There is no rape.  There is absolutely no rape.  These are willing participants; he just doesn’t know exactly who he is dealing with.

ERIC:  I appreciate the context of how somebody could construe that, and the seriousness of the matter.  I don’t think it really has a place in this particular storyline.

Do you guys think that Brady and Kristen are each other’s star-crossed lovers in a weird, twisted, bizarre way?

ERIC:  I don’t know.  I think they’re magnetism can’t be denied.  I think the hurdles that they’ve jumped through are astronomical.  Will they end up together in the end?  Who knows!  Will there ever be an end?  Who knows!  It’s definitely been one of, if not the most, in-depth relationships Brady has ever had.

Photo: JPI

And intense!

ERIC:  Yeah.  They’ve just gone through so much to be together, and when you do that, anybody who is married knows that, that’s where the good stuff is; the wars that you win together and the battles that you go through.  When you come out of the war, and you’re still together, that’s the bond.  That’s what lasts.

What would Kristen do if she couldn’t have Brady in the end?  Would she find a new obsession?  What if she could not nab her man?

STACY:  Wow!  Hmmm. (Laughs)  She’s going to get her man.  She wants her man.  She wouldn’t settle.  She’d keep fighting.  I would say to her, “Kristen, keep fighting the good fight.”

So, do you think Kristen will reveal herself to Brady sooner than later? Will Brady figure out what Kristen has been doing to get to him?  Will Brady turn Kristen away if he knew she was alive and back in action  … or would he fall back into her arms? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Rebecca Herbst Chats On ‘Friz’, Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

Last week, Rebecca Herbst celebrated her 22nd year playing fan favorite Elizabeth Webber (now Baldwin) on General Hospital.  She made her on-screen debut on August 1, 1997.  And in those two decades plus in Port Charles, Liz has gone through many a rocky relationship, plenty of drama, and carried out some misdeeds of her own.  But one thing is for sure, Becky is loved by the fans of the long-running ABC daytime drama series who always want the best for her, and for Nurse Elizabeth.

Recently, ‘Friz’ fans got a moment they had long been waiting for when Franco (Roger Howarth) and Liz, and their friends and family (and some enemies) shared in their wedding reception.  But can their happiness last?  According to two psychics, Sibley Gamble (Veronica Cartwright) and Chelsea Lambas (Jen Ray) that Franco has run into in recent weeks, he better be careful.  That has made Franco concerned, while Liz is trying to get her family all on the same page, and it looks like her boys are coming around to loving and accepting Franco, too, despite what Liz’s ex Jason (Steve Burton) may have to say about it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Rebecca  at the GH Fan Club Weekend, where she made a welcome appearance, to talk about: how she sees Elizabeth’s relationship with Franco, her talented on-screen sons, and how Liz has grown-up since she started on the series, and more.  Here’s what Becky shared with us below.

What did you think of the long-awaited wedding reception of Franco and Liz?  The show finally gave them this joyous moment; after their jailhouse nuptials. Did you feel like the way the wedding actually went down it felt like it cheated the relationship, or did you like it?

REBECCA:  I felt the jailhouse wedding was a bit of a cheat, because they had tried two different times to have a really glorious wedding, so to do it in a jail cell was not the most desirable place. (Laughs)  However, the fact that the characters did actually get married and nothing came in between was a plus, and so, hey, they’ll take that.  Later, when I read in the scripts that there was going to be the reception, I was shocked, because I really didn’t think it was ever going to happen.

Photo: ABC

Do you think the fans were getting to the point where they thought this was never going to happen, also?

REBECCA:  For sure.  We all thought they Franco and Liz were never going to have their moment, or their honeymoon or any of that. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that not only did they write it, but it was beautiful!  It was also visually beautiful.  They put a lot of effort and thought into the show itself, and nobody died, and nobody fell through the roof.  Well, it was kind of funny that Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) got pushed off the ‘Haunted Star’, but according to Elizabeth, that’s just fine that Obrecht got pushed off the boat. (Laughs)  She didn’t die, so everything is good, but all in all, it was a really wonderful party.

What did you think when they had all of Elizabeth’s sons performing a song for the happy couple.  It was so cute, and touching.

REBECCA:  Oh, my goodness.  Those were real tears I shed.  That was so sweet.  So very, very sweet of them.

Photo: ABC

The show is growing the boys, so now you, as Elizabeth, have some young actors to play off of in your scenes.  How do you feel about that?

REBECCA:  Oh, I love it!  For so long, Elizabeth would only talk about her kids, “My boys, my boys, my boys, my boys in the attic.” (Laughs) Now, she has relationships, and very different relationships with each one of them.

I think that echoes real-life too.  A mother has distinct relationships with each of her children.  That’s what I like about Liz with her sons.  And as a mom in real-life as well, I am sure you can relate to this.

REBECCA:  Yes, my relationship with all of my kids is completely different, and I really love that it’s true for Elizabeth’s kids.  I attribute a lot of that to the writers, because they definitely write our relationships differently.  Aiden (Jason David) is still this baby who Elizabeth coddles and protects.  Cameron (William Lipton) is expected to be the man of the house and take care of things, and sometimes Elizabeth feels like she puts too much responsibility on him, but he is going to protect his mom no matter what.  Hudson (Jake) is so wonderful, too.  The fact that I have been blessed with three beautifully smart little actors is just a win for me.

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about Aiden, who had been bullied at school by the other kids.  Do you think that story will be fleshed out?  It seems it may have been put on pause, because it would be an important story to tell for parents with LGBTQ children, if that is how GH ultimately chose to tell the story.

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REBECCA:  It is an important story.  I would love to tell the story.  There is a great message.  I don’t think we touched on it enough.   I think, for now, the best way to put a button on it is to send the message that we should accept our children with all of their wonderful attributes and personalities and whatever their interests, and let’s not label children, and listen to them and support them.   We should just all be kind.   I was sad when I would read some of the tweets about the story.  It saddened me to read people’s harsh opinions towards Elizabeth’s acceptance of her child.  Some people said that we should not be doing a story like this, and then there was the other half who said, “Just because he is a baker, doesn’t make him gay,” which is 100% true.

True!  TV viewers have certainly seen a lot of straight chefs on foodie or cooking shows, for example.

REBECCA:  Absolutely!  All three of my children in real-life love to cook.  There is nothing wrong with that.   I think we need to just continue to love Aiden no matter what, and he is not different than any of the other kids.

Photo: ABC

William Lipton has been amazing as Cameron, right?

REBECCA:  Amazing.  I know!  He is not only a great little actor, singer, and performer, but he has this beautiful little face, and he is such a grounded young man.  He’s a really sweet person.  You can tell he’s been raised in a really great house, and he has an amazing mom.

Because you are such a “mom’s-mom” in real life, do you think that helps you in how Elizabeth reacts to her children?

REBECCA:  I think so.  I always ask permission from my on-camera kids before a scene: “Is it okay if I kiss your little head?  Is it okay if I put you on my lap here?  Is it okay if I put my hands on your face?”  I’m not their mother, but when I think about what I would do with my real-life kids,  they’re always getting kissed and hugged and held by me, so I want to make it look as real as possible.  I have to think, “What would I do if this were Emerson?”  He’d be on my lap, and I’d be kissing his little neck.  So, then I have to ask Jason, who plays Aiden, “Is it okay that I kiss your neck, and if I kind of just like snuggle you?”  All three of my on-screen kids are so great, because they’re like, “Yeah, sure.  We don’t care!” and not all stage kids are like that.  They all are receptive of my love, and they just let me do it.  I think that is what is so sweet.

Photo: ABC

What do you think of this whole pairing of Elizabeth and Franco, and that you were paired with Roger Howarth?  Elizabeth has had many relationships on the show, so where does her relationship with Franco fit into her list of romances/relationships?  Do you think Franco is one of her great loves?  Over her life, Liz has had a lot of ups and downs, and at times, has not made the best choices for herself, or the choices she made just haven’t worked out in her favor.  I think we all can relate to somebody whose choices don’t work out the way they envision them to be.

REBECCA:  For sure.  I think each of Elizabeth’s relationships have been so different. Just to talk about a timeline: she was a little girl when she was with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson), and as she’s matured, so have her relationships.  However, I think the relationship she has with Franco is her first real adult relationship; in that she not only does respect him, but she respects herself.  She is not afraid to stand up to anybody for the sake of herself, or her children.  I think that is the difference.  In the past, she has been a little so head-over-heels in love that she would do anything, and now, she knows who number one is, and that’s her children, and she puts herself first now, too.  Before, Elizabeth did not matter to herself.

Photo: ABC

I thought Elizabeth treated herself badly.  Is there a self-loathing?  Did you ever that figure out as an actress where that comes from?  Do you think it was from when she was raped years ago?

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REBECCA:  I think it went deeper than that.  I think it was because her parents left her at such a young age, and although they were doing great work for whatever they were doing, she was left as a child.

So, she felt something was wrong with her if they left her behind?

REBECCA:  Yes.  I think that’s where her lack of self-esteem came from.  She just didn’t have that support at home when she needed it the most, especially when she was a teenager.  You need your parents around you to tell you that things are awkward and weird, and you’re changing, but you’re going to be okay.  She didn’t have that, and so, she kind of had to figure it out on her own.  She did it through her relationships with men, and she didn’t have men in her life who were telling her, “You’re going to be okay,” except for Lucky, but that was a younger relationship in her life.  Now, as more of an adult with Franco, he tells her she is going to be okay.  Franco believes in her as much as she does now.

Photo: ABC

What’s the best part about working with Roger … and what’s the most challenging part?  Is it some curve balls that might come from when you are going live-to-tape?

REBECCA:  For me, I know I can totally work around whatever comes out of his mouth. (Laughs)  I’m good with that. (Laughs)  The most challenging thing about working with him is that he is constantly losing his glasses, so he can’t see his scripts.  It’s always at the end of the scene.  It’s like, “Where are the glasses?” (Laughs)  So, if losing his glasses might be the most challenging thing, then I’m a pretty lucky girl!

Where does Jason (Steve Burton) fit into Liz’s life at this point? 

REBECCA:  We’ve not really established that.

Courtesy/ABC

Since Jason has been back on the canvas, not much has been played between them.

REBECCA: They had a relationship, they have a relationship, and they have a friendship.  It should be played.

What would you love to see happen to Elizabeth story-wise, that perhaps you have not gotten the opportunity to play?

REBECCA:  I would love to see Elizabeth be happy with Franco and just explore whatever that means for her in a long-term, adult sense (because she doesn’t really know how that is yet), an adult happiness, while trying to navigate the kids’ lives, but also having a friendship with Jason.  I think that would be interesting, because she has always held a torch for Jason.

Photo: ABC

Viewers are currently alarmed that Franco has been receiving warnings from two psychics.  On last Friday’s episode, Franco is clearly afraid to take a drive and in Cameron’s new car (the one Oscar gave him) due to the psychic, (Chelsea) telling him: “Don’t take that drive!” Does Elizabeth have something to be worried about? 

REBECCA:  Yes, but she’s going to hang on to Franco, and make sure nothing happens to him … until he doesn’t come home (laughs) …  and then she’ll be calling Jason! (Laughs)

So, what did you think of the sentiments shared by Rebecca?  What did you think of the Friz wedding reception, and Liz and Franco’s relationship?  What do you think of Liz’s relationship with her children?   What are your hopes for Liz moving forward? Comment below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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