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The Farah Fath, John-Paul Lavoisier & Austin Williams Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

For those who have been tuning into One Life to Live in recent months, you have seen the carefully plotted, and true to life front-page news type storyline unravel before your eyes.  The soap which has always been at the forefront of telling social issues of the day, during its 43 year history, took on a subject that has seen young high school and college students take their own lives, after being bullied endlessly by their peers, roommates, or class mates.  Over the last several months, the rash of teen suicides via bullying in the United States has become staggering.  But unfortunately this is nothing new, for teen suicides because of bullying have gone on for a very long time in our society, just perhaps, slightly more under the radar.

In January of this year, the powers-that-be in Llanview, executive producer, Frank Valentini and head writer, Ron Carlivati began to embark on telling the tale of teenager Shane Morasco being both bullied and cyber bullied.  Later it would turn out that Jack Manning (son of Todd and Blair) is behind the horrific situations that Shane found himself in.  Eventually, feeling all hope was lost and alone in the world, Shane decides he has nothing to live for and feels he needs to end his life.  So he decides he is going to jump off his high school rooftop.  Even though those scenes aired a month ago, the story is still playing out with all the ramifications and complexities of this delicate subject.

Three performers at OLTL were handed the ball to make this story come to life.  And we have to say, all three have brought us all to tears, and made us take a look at what is going on in the world, not only with young children, but their parents, too.  We can only be talking about Farah Fath (Gigi), John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex) and Austin Williams (Shane).  OLTL has done an admirable and inspiring job taking a look at how bullying and attempted suicide affects not only the child, but the parents, and how do they deal with this most dangerous, unthinkable, and saddest of situations.

On-Air On-Soaps wanted to speak to all three key participants to discuss playing out the major rooftop scenes, the fallout, and how they have personally been affected, from being part of this very serious and important issue of the day.   And now with One Life to Live’s unfortunate and ill-timed cancellation, the integrity and quality of work that this storyline continues to bring to the series again begs the question, “ABC, what were you thinking?” That being said, here is our very special conversation with Farah, JP and Austin!

MICHAEL:

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I want to begin by talking about the cancellation of One Life to Live that was handed down now three weeks ago by ABC.  I know it is a sad loss, and that the cast was told before you went on a week hiatus.  Now that everyone is back, and has had a little more time for the news to settle in, how are you doing with the news and what is the outlook of everyone over at One Life these days?

FARAH:

I think my grandfather puts it best when he says, “It is what it is.”  That is the most comforting saying you can think of when something bad happens, or you have something you need to wrap your head around.  It is out of our control.  The fans can do as many campaigns as they want and write to the advertisers.  But at the end of the day, we all just have to continue to try and put out the best episodes we can and stay focused on our current storylines.  We still have a lot of show left to tape.  So we are not trying to get depressed about it, as that is just going to be a waste of energy.  We are trying to be upbeat and not miserable the last six months of work.

JOHN-PAUL:

Everyone at work knows that the dust has sort of settled.  At least in the studio, it seems to be a lot happier and nicer… almost.  There is a sense of peace now.  For the past year, we have lived with all these rumors.  Not a day went by in the daytime community where somebody wasn’t talking about somebody hearing something from somebody that the show was being canceled.  So it was this funky energy ever since we moved into the new studio.  Now that we have been given this seven months notice, it lets people sort of plan their life personally, professionally, and geographically.  And there is sort of a sense of peace in that we know how we can move forward from this in our own ways.  Obviously, people are not smiling or happy at all because the show has been canceled, just for their own ability to move forward.

FARAH:

Unfortunately for the viewers, they are not going to have that hour of the day to look forward to when they come home from work and watching their Llanview characters.  But as far as the cast and crew go, everyone is starting to be positive.  It is not a dreary place to be.  We are making jokes and laughing, and still having a good time.

MICHAEL:

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One Life will have a very special place in your hearts, JP and Farah, because you met there.   It will and has become very historical for you, in a way.

FARAH:

Llanview will always be a very special place to me and John-Paul.

JOHN-PAUL:

I just talked about this with Farah the other day.  I am not a big Internet guy, but I hope there is a YouTube type platform when we are old so we can go there and watch the stuff we used to do and go, “That is how we met.  Look at us meeting!”

FARAH:

It’s already weird to look back at 2007 and 2008 in clips, even now.

JOHN-PAUL:

Our first kiss was on TV…and now it’s on the Internet!

MICHAEL:

The performances in the bullying storyline have been tremendous from each of you involved.  I dare say the best work you have done during your time on the series.  When they told you that One Life to Live was going to embark on this very current hot topic storyline and that the three of you would be the characters used as the device to tell this story, what went through your minds?

AUSTIN:

I think I found out at casino night for ABC with Farah and JP!  I saw Frank Valentini, our executive producer that night, and talked to him a little bit, and I am pretty sure that is when I found out.  I was really excited and happy that I would get to be a part of such an amazing and powerful storyline.

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FARAH:

At first, I felt a little weary because it was a ripped from the headlines’ story.  I felt it was little bit Law and Order! But with each passing script I got I would think, “This is working.”  It had a nice built up and it wasn’t too sudden, and it also wasn’t dragged out too long.  I think it climaxed at the right time.  It has been fun as an actor, but a sad and scary place to dive into as far as playing it all out.  I think the chemistry between myself, JP, and Austin is good.  We have a nice connection going.  Austin has grown as far as being a nice little actor.  This has been a well-written storyline and something everyone can relate to, and that is what makes connecting to the characters right now a bit easier.  I was bullied in school; John-Paul had some situations.  Everyone has a little taste of that at some point in their lives.  You hear the stories in the news and it makes you feel so sad for these kids that are tormented so badly that they think the only way out is suicide.  I applaud the writers.  I think it’s all been executed really well.  In fact, the story has not concluded at all.  It’s going to escalate even more come next month.  So you have not seen the end of the bullying storyline!

MICHAEL:

Austin, did you have any trepidation playing a kid who is bullied, when you were still in high school yourself?  Did it cause any problems for you?

AUSTIN:

It definitely mirrors real life, but my school is not tolerant of that type of thing at all.  So, I didn’t see that much of it.  But you definitely see it online – cyber bullying – is very prominent right now and very true to life. Then, I think everything the kids did to Shane is so true to real life, because kids will find anything and go after you about it.  And it can be very random like that.

MICHAEL:

One of the things I recently shared about myself to the online readers of my website is that I was bullied terribly as child, and like Shane, I was an asthmatic.  I too, wanted to end my life at one point as a kid.   I shared that One Life to Live saved my life, since that is how I would escape the bullying and find a safe haven to take my mind off of it.  So when I saw that Shane was going to be bullied and the way it went down, I can attest it is very true to life.  Now, of course, when I was a child there were no computers so it was all emotional and physical abuse and not on the Internet.  But the Internet adds a frightening complexity to all of this.   But I have to say, that Shane immersing himself in comic books, etc as his world to escape into is dead-on.  So Austin, I personally wanted to congratulate you for doing such an amazing job with the material.

Courtesy/ABC

AUSTIN:

Thank you.  I tried my hardest to make it as realistic as possible.  I pretended that these things were happening to me, and that worked, while trying to make myself at the same time as sad as possible.

MICHAEL:

It also made great sense that the writers chose Shane, of all the kids on the canvas, to be picked on.  He was ripe for it, if you think about it.  He had gone through leukemia, had asthma and came from a blue-collar family.  He was not the rich kid and in the “in crowd” like Jack Manning.

AUSTIN:

He is definitely weaker because of always being sick with asthma, and the one line that he said on the roof really rings true for him: “He does not always want to be that kid that is sick with cancer or asthma.”

MICHAEL:

John-Paul, the speech Rex gave in the hallway of Llanview high, after Shane’s suicide attempt, was so riveting and something that I know any kid who was bullied mercilessly by their fellow students would probably stand up and cheer!  Rex screamed at the kids and the teachers!   What did you personally think of that scene?

JOHN-PAUL:

It was such a real speech.  It was a speech any parents would want to shout!  Kids should not be allowed cell phones, and kids should not be allowed to do all this none school stuff when they are in school.  When we all went to school from 8AM to 3AM, you were paying attention to the teacher.  Then you get your time in the lunchroom and at recess to socialize and play with a stick and a swing set… not a computer, where you are typing in and watching videos and doing all this crazy stuff.   It’s basically pointless!  You have the rest of the day to do that, and you should not be allowed to do all that crap in school.  So it was true and I felt it.  There should be no social networking from 8-3.  It is not going to help you get a job or go to college.  I want to say to the kids, “Stop it!”

MICHAEL:

There is such poignancy watching the struggle of Rex and Gigi.  Here are two very young parents that truly don’t know how to deal with this situation that was happening literally under their nose the whole time.  Rex seems so lost at times.

JOHN-PAUL:

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He is lost!  He does not know what to do.  Rex is guessing his way along with Gigi on this, and they are trying to be a strong team for their son.

MICHAEL:

Austin, what was the hardest scene for you to tape in all of this?

AUSTIN:

I would say the roof scenes were the hardest.  Now Shane is improving and therapy is helping, but every scene that you have to put yourself down like that is pretty hard to do.

MICHAEL:

JP, in the scene in the hospital where Rex breaks down in front of Bo, is one of the moments that will forever resonate with this story.  Everyone loves to see the dynamics between you and Bob Woods (Bo).  But since these were such high emotional stakes that we seldom get to see you do, was this more challenging for you to play?

JOHN-PAUL:

It wasn’t hard to do because of what I was talking about and the situation, and of course, it was not hard because I was working with Bob Woods (Bo).  Now perhaps if it was an actor who I had never worked with before and was a stranger, I don’t think I could have done it as well.  The hard part of it, other than I could not relate to it (because I don’t have a kid who tried to commit suicide, or anyone I know tried to commit suicide) was we taped out of order.  We had not taped the pivotal roof top scenes yet.  The hospital scenes we taped weeks before the roof top scenes, so I did not have the visual in my head.

FARAH:

I really wish we could have done the reverse order.  The scenes where we come into the hospital and I am suppose to break down with the nurse, and John-Paul was suppose to break down with Bo, we had nothing to really go off of, and it was our first time taping anything in that storyline.  I had no idea that being up on that roof, and seeing Austin Williams in that situation, was going to be as gut-wrenching as it was.  I felt so desperate up there.  All of us wish we had the opportunity to film those scenes first.  It would have changed our choices in the scenes that followed.

MICHAEL:

…Which is amazing to think about because those moments came off so real to me, and were portrayed beautifully.  It was just two parents… devastated, frightened, and helpless.

FARAH:

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Thankfully, it all came together OK, but imagine how much better it would have been.

MICHAEL:

Have you received or been aware of any reactions from family members, friends, or parents or kids, who have come forward that have lost a child via suicide to bullying, or a child who had been badly bullied?

AUSTIN:

My parents watched it, and they were like, “Oh, my God.  I am so proud of you.”   It was tough for them to watch, too.  I know my grandpa would not watch some of the scenes.  He was so hurt by them, since they were so sad.

FARAH:

For the first time in my entire daytime career, I have gotten compliments from people that I don’t know.  I just made a facebook page and people are messaging me on there.  I am hearing from women who have literally had children kill themselves. They tell me, “Gigi’s life was their living nightmare five or ten years ago.”   I just could not believe it. They told me what a good job I was doing, and that just brought me to tears.  For people who have actually experienced it to tell me that I am doing a good job for playing what they felt, that is the highest of compliments.  Also my family– who are hard to get compliments out of, like my sister and my mom – they watch OLTL and I never hear anything from them.  Well this time, I got phone calls and emails from my dad, my mom, my aunt, after the roof top scenes telling me it was the best work they had ever seen me do, and that hopefully, I will get pre-nominated next year for a Daytime Emmy, and those are my scenes.  I have never gotten that kind of feedback from them.  My sister particularly, is my harshest critic.  She will point out my bad habits, and she tries to get me to do better all the time.  She even said she was so proud of me.  So between my family complimenting me and the messages and letters that I have gotten from mothers who have been in the same boat, it’s the biggest response I have ever had in the last 12 years, and it has been really fulfilling.  I am glad in this last year of OLTL I have gotten to be part of this great story.

JOHN-PAUL:

My mother has been complimenting me a lot.  She complimented the Bo scenes.  She complimented Farah more. (Laughs)  I did a personal appearance a few months ago at the beginning of the storyline where I was doing a Q&A from the stage, and one woman in particular commended the show in general for tackling this very current and relatable subject.  And what was so startling was she lives in the town where they had recently had a teen suicide from Internet bullying. There have been three of four storylines of mine in the 9 years I have been on the show, and this is definitely in the top three in the biggest feedback.  In the past, fans would say, “Oh, it’s really fun when you went to Texas,” or, “It’s really fun when you and Bo outed Daniel Coulson.”  But when the show is over, this will be one of the top three which I saw was a hit with the audience the most.  And, it’s a good storyline and it’s great to be part of it!

MICHAEL:

Austin, did any of your younger castmates, such as Eddie Alderson (Matthew) or Shenell Edmonds (Destiny) come up to you and give you kudos for the rooftop performance?

Courtesy/ABC

AUSTIN:

Yeah, I was just on set the other day and I saw Shenell and she said, “Oh my God. You did such a good job!”  I was so happy and laughing whenever I hear that, because it’s fun to hear!  I remember Kassie DePaiva (Blair) said something, too.  Everybody is very supportive at OLTL.

MICHAEL:

What did you think, JP and Farah, when in a major story point turned out to be Rex who hired thugs to beat up Jack Manning!  People thought it was Clint for a bit!

JOHN-PAUL:

I was surprised, I was shocked, and I went, “I did do it? Well, OK.” But, I justify it with the fact of Rex still very much being a kid at heart.  Look, if jail did not exist Rex would kill Jack, and beat the crap out him with his fists.  This has made Rex in a slight way digress. Rex is having to fight inside himself actually becoming a 14-year-old boy walking on to the recess yard and beating up Jack and all of his friends, and not caring about the repercussions.  He would strangle Jack to death!  So the fact that he hired these people does not surprise me.  It makes sense.  I agree with it, and as an actor, I have justified it.

FARAH:

Listen, I do not know what it is like to be a parent, but as an older sister, I was in a situation one time where I went to the bathroom and was coming out of the bathroom – we were in a public place – and a woman started to beat up my 16-year-old sister.  I had never been so enraged in my life!  I can imagine if you are seeing your 16-year-old kid being beaten up!  I don’t think you care who is beating up your child; you are going to jump on that person and defend your child.  You don’t care how old that person is, as your emotions just overcome you.  I asked John-Paul’s mother for a little bit of advice before the storyline got going.  I said, “If you think back to when John-Paul was a freshmen in high school, and you found out that all these horrible things were happening to him and he was being picked on so badly that he wanted to kill himself, how would you feel?  Would you be sad, or would you be so pissed off that you wanted to strangle someone?”  And she said, “I would be so pissed off.  I would go to their house and be banging on their door. I would scream at them and tell their mothers what was going on, and be madder than I have been in my life.”  So, I thought, “OK, so there is my answer then.”  As an adult, you don’t think about the consequences when you are seeing your precious child being abused.  You can’t think rationally like, “This might put me in jail.” In fact, you probably don’t even care if you end up in jail, because you want to protect your baby.

MICHAEL:

Now that Rex has had Jack roughed up, is Shane fearful that Jack and his young goons will become more aggressive for Shane ratting them out to his parents?

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AUSTIN:

That was one of the main fears for Shane at the beginning.  He was afraid to say anything to his parents, because he thought it would make things worse.  But to me, it seems like Shane is starting to get his confidence back.

MICHAEL:

Will we see major confrontations between the families?  Will we see the Mannings vs. the Balsoms clashing to protect and defend their children?

FARAH:

The Mannings and the Balsoms meet up in the hospital one day, and you will see the Mannings on one side and the Balsoms on the other side, and you kind of see the families go head-to-head for a minute.

MICHAEL:

How is Andrew Trischitta (Jack) to work with, Austin?  What goes on behind-the-scenes between takes after he is being really mean to you when the cameras are rolling?

AUSTIN:

Andrew is so much different than his character in real life.  He is so cool and so much fun to hang out with.  It is weird when he goes from that to someone who does such bad things on the show.  For the most part we talk to each other between takes.  He does not stay in character and bully me when we are not taping! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What about scenes between Rex and Todd?  Now those should be some complex exciting scenes to watch.  Can you preview anything?

JOHN-PAUL:

I just worked with Trevor St. John (Todd) yesterday and this is actually going to air next month, and as far as I have been told, this is going to spark a lot of stuff between Todd and Rex.  To my knowledge I am going to be having quite a few scenes with Trevor, which I have not had in awhile.   So the answer is yes, we will be working together for the next few months.

MICHAEL:

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What did you think of Austin’s performance on the roof as Shane, when he delivered the sad and emotional speech?

JOHN-PAUL:

Yes, you mean “…having to make up friends and the comic books.”  I know.  We could have done the rooftop scenes in the studio, since as you have seen we do rooftops scenes in the studio all the time.  But it helped, and it was really good that we were on the roof. (Even though, it was our ABC studio roof in the back lot.)  It felt real.  We are on a roof and it felt high above the ground, and the wind made it so you had to shout and be loud to communicate, and our hair was blowing, and it felt so real.  I commended Austin afterwards.  I said, “Really good job, good for you. You do snot really well.  I cannot do snot.” (Laughs)  Austin’s face just bleeds snot.  He had boogies. (Laughs)  I can’t do that. (Laughs)

FARAH:

His dialog was heartbreaking to the point where in the one scene where I had all of those lines, I got stuck. It was Gigi’s turn to so desperately spill her guts, and tell him how much she loves and needs him,  “I need more minutes, baby…” etc.  Now Austin was so good, and even though I had read his dialog before hand, hearing him say it and see his little face so crushed saying those lines, my jaw was on the ground.  I thought, “Oh my God. This is so sad.”  And then I went blank.  I could not remember anything I was supposed to say, because I was so caught up in listening to him.  I was at the point in Gigi’s speech where I discuss when I got pregnant at 17, and how that was not cool.  Gigi goes on to tell him, “People laughed at me and pointed at me.”  But, I just could not remember anything I was supposed to say.  I was blank and I felt so bad, because Austin was doing so well.  I felt like I screwed it up for everyone because I could not remember my lines.  But thankfully, the stage manager fed me my line, so we just did a pick up right there where we left off and continued on.  Bottom line: Austin was so good that he made me go blank! (Laugh)

MICHAEL:

Austin, the roof top scenes where Shane wanted to jump and end his life, and watching him so sad and breaking down in front of his mom and dad, gave all of us in the viewing audience a lump in our throats, and we grabbed the hankies.  How did you prepare for the big episode to deliver this kind of a performance?

AUSTIN:

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I had known for a month that this was coming, while they figured out when they were going to shoot the remote scenes.  I only found out we were going to be shooting on the roof of the studio a day before.  The day of, I woke up, went over to the studio, had breakfast, and then did not talk to anybody.  I tried to make myself as sad as possible and get really depressed, because that is how Shane felt.  He was really sad and did not know what to do.  Eventually, I saw the episode.  I was in school when it aired, but I did watch it on SOAPnet later.  I thought it was really good and JP and Farah did an amazing job, too.  It was really weird seeing myself in that situation, though.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of how good JP and Farah were in those scenes, Austin, how has it been to play their on-screen kid all these years?  Clearly, they are very impressed with your acting!  It seems like all of you have a love and a mutual admiration society going on!

AUSTIN:

They are both so amazing and so nice.  I have worked with them so much, and it is always fun to know that I have more scenes coming up with them.  They are such amazing actors and they are awesome to hang out with, and they are like a second family to me.

MICHAEL:

You also got to work with Daytime Emmy winner, Kim Zimmer (Echo) as your grandma in some big scenes.  How was that to work with her?

AUSTIN:

She is amazing, too!  I am kind of sad I have not worked with her for a while.  It’s been a few months now.  I was hoping I would have more scenes with her, but soon maybe there will be more.

MICHAEL:

Have your classmates said anything, or seen you on OLTL in the bullying storyline?

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AUSTIN:

For the most part… no.  One Life to Live is on while we are in school, but one person just posted on my facebook that they were out sick from school and turned on the TV and saw me!  I pretty much keep my school life and work life separate.  I am not going around going, “Watch me!”  For the most part, I don’t acknowledge it, and just hang out with my classmates and be a normal kid.  But then when it’s time to film, sometimes I have to leave school early and be like, “See ya everybody!”  Then, I get to go off and become Shane.

MICHAEL:

Austin, many times kids who are bullied grow up to be bullies.  Many times they don’t, and are extremely sympathetic to those who have gone through this.  Where do you think Shane falls in all of this?  How do you think he will be affected long term by the bullying?

AUSTIN:

I don’t think it will change who he is.  I always think that Shane will be this really nice kid, but I think things will be different for him.  However, I don’t believe it’s going to change his personality.

MICHAEL:

Now that all of you have experienced this bullying storyline and seen the feedback, and the importance of this issue, would you be open to speaking publicly for an organization that helps kids who have been bullied, or to a group of parents who have lost children via suicide this way?  I know GLSEN is a wonderful organization that helps kids, and also I know One Life worked with STOMP Out Bullying, too.

AUSTIN:

That would be amazing, and that is what is so amazing about this storyline.  That is, it can make a difference and can help people that are going through this, and hopefully stop people who are hurting other people and bullying them.  Yes, that would be very exciting to speak and a great opportunity.

FARAH:

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I would love to.  As I mentioned earlier and I don’t want to have a pity party for myself, but I was bullied very badly when I was in the eight grade.  When I entered ninth grade, all I wanted to do is get out of school and go to L.A. and become an actress.  It drove me to want to be an actress.  I think acting was my escape, because I could forget about Farah’s torment, and try to be somebody else, and that has helped me get through.  I would love to talk about my time as being the bullied kid, and share my experience of playing a mother to a bullied kid.  I have now learned even more about the subject in the last few months of working at One Life to Live.

JOHN-PAUL:

They wanted me to speak at an event recently, and its not that I don’t want to speak, it’s just there is no way I could write the speech.  I could easily do a Q&A talkback and would love to on this topic. But I will never steal Ron Carilivati’s (head writer, OLTL) job from him! (Laughs)  I don’t know how to write anything.  I just cannot step up to a podium and read something that I have written.  I could not even write a toast for a best man’s speech.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of weddings, I loved the nice moment recently where Rex went down on his knees and asked Gigi to marry him, again.  What did the two of you think about it?

FARAH:

I thought it was nice.  Gigi thought it was odd timing, but Farah thought it was good timing.  I think that Rex and Gigi should get married.  They love each other, and they have a son, and they want to be a family forever.

JOHN-PAUL:

It’s a third time Rex has asked Gigi, so I did not really think anything was in Rex’s mind. It was not like, “Here we go again,” but in John-Paul’s mind it was.  It was very serious and important for Rex, so I went with it and played it as such.

MICHAEL:

On tomorrow’s episode, there is a big group therapy session for the Morasco/Balsoms.  What can we expect to see?

FARAH:

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Gigi confesses to stealing the tape and Rex confesses to the thugs.  We just admit our faults and we make a bit of progress at being open and honest with each other.

JOHN-PAUL:

When Gigi and Rex go to see the doctor it’s interesting, because Rex and Gigi are two adults with a teenage child, yet they are sitting in front of this doctor going, “We don’t know what to do. Please help us help our son.”  So it’s really about these two people who should know how to take care of themselves, but don’t quite know how.

FARAH:

The therapist, Dr. Buhari, starts to apologize to Rex and Gigi because Shane’s tape went missing.  Gigi is feeling really guilty and she thinks that Dr. Buhari is on to her.  She thinks Dr. Buhari is saying all these things in the session to get Gigi to confess, when in actuality, Dr. Buhari has no idea that Gigi took the tape!  But Gigi fesses up and says she is sorry and was wrong.  Rex hands the tape right to her.  Dr. Buhari had asked Shane to step out of the room, because she did not want Shane to know his tape was missing.  And then when Shane comes back into the room, that is when we confess our wrong-doings.

AUSTIN:

Shane and his parents want things to get better now, and they feel therapy is the best way for him to get past it and just move in.  There are some scenes where it’s individual counseling, and some where we have therapy scenes together. But it’s very interesting what happens.

MICHAEL:

Austin, what would you say is the one key message you would like to say to kids going through this, now that you have depicted one on television?

AUSTIN:

Hurting yourself is not the answer.  Please try to find ways to make yourself happy.  Like, Shane’s thing is doing comics and that is what made him happy.   No matter what it is: drawing, music, watching TV, anything that you can do to be happy and be yourself, and you will get past it.  Having someone to help back you up is so helpful, like your parents, friends or anybody.  They can help you get past it and be a healthy and happy kid.  I would say to not shut down.  You really do need to tell somebody.  They really can help you.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

In closing, what you would say to the fans about the bullying storyline?  Will it dovetail and continue into more story for all of you?

AUSTIN:

Now that his parents know, which is huge, it’s not only his secret anymore.  Things look like they are getting better.  We will see if Jack continues to bully him, or if he has learned anything from this, or if he finds away to continue bullying Shane.

FARAH:

It has had a climax, but the worst is yet to come…if you can imagine.

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Sarah White Sees

I think this will be one of the most important storylines in daytime this year. It is such an important story to tell, and I hope it helps many people. The acting from John-Paul, Farah, and Austin has been amazing. Their performances have been real and raw. This storyline and the acting involved is one of the reasons One Life To Live continues to shine as the best show in daytime right now. I am so saddened that it has been canceled, but I know the cast will continue to put their best efforts into this show and enhance the… Read more »

todd
Guest
todd

I was bullied throughout junior and high school. The roof scenes really made me break down. Amazing work by Faras, JPL, and especially Austin. They have their reels for next years Emmys…..if they have the awards next year.

lisa
Guest
lisa

What a fabulous interview from three very talented actors…..my hat is off to all for such stellar performances on such a timely and important issue as bullying.
Great stuff !!

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

The storyline hits home, but I was in high school over twenty years ago, and school bullying was not near as bad then as it is now. I was bullied in high school, and I know how Shane feels, but not near as bad. I felt lonely and depressed a lot, and there were times I felt like killing myself, but then I thought of my parents, and I knew that they would be devastated if I did commit suicide. That is the only reason I did not do it. I was not bullied near as bad as Shane, and… Read more »

eve henley
Guest
eve henley

at least u could had a good going off the air fornally this messed up

Brian Greene
Guest
Brian Greene

OMG! Big Props Must Go To Michael For Conducting An Informative & A Most Meaningful Interview With John-Paul, Farah, & Austin! Bless You All!

eve henley
Guest
eve henley

why didn’t u just let gigi and rex get married,give shane a family he deserve that.why did christen make that dum move, it shouldn’t end this way.

patti
Guest
patti

the roof top scene made cry I was alone watching watching it. I want the 2 main bullies Brad and Jack to be expelled and they should be,

Lindley Pablo
Guest
Lindley Pablo

My name is Lindley Pablo. When I saw the bullying story on OLTL, I really related to Shane.I was bullied from the time I was in 8th grade to the end of my 12th grade year in high school. Even a few of my teachers talked bad about me behind my back. I did not tell my parents. However they did figure out what was going on thanks to one of my best friends. I just want to say that Austin deserves an award for his acting. He had me in tears. When I heard Shane say “I don’t always… Read more »

Alaina
Guest
Alaina

That second picture down is a picture I took New Year’s Eve 2009. So how could it be a JPI Studio picture? I don’t care if you used it though, just wanted to let you know.

General Hospital

Kelly Thiebaud Opens Up on Her Exit from General Hospital, Taping Britt’s Tragic Death Scenes, and Parting Thoughts on Co-Stars

Just a few weeks ago on the January 4th episode of General Hospital, viewers were left devastated when Dr. Britt Westbourne succumbed to a fatal poisoning after a confrontation with ‘The Hook’.

While it was revealed that Daytime Emmy winner, Kelly Thiebaud, was exiting the ABC soap opera at the end of 2022, many thought the story would see Britt leaving Port Charles to deal with her declining health due to Huntington’s Disease in private, in order to keep the door open for a possible return down the line.  However, that was not meant to be.  When a report from Deadline surfaced back in August of 2022, it indicated that Kelly was returning to her primetime role on ABC’s Station 19, which caused some confusion and rumors of just what would Thiebaud’s ultimate status be with the daytime drama series.

Photo: ABC

Now, in a very special exit interview for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Kelly chats with Michael Fairman and clarifies what led to her decision to leave her role as Dr. Britt Westbourne.

Talking with Fairman direct from London, Kelly, who won a Daytime Emmy in 2022 for the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, reveals how it came to pass that GH would kill-off the character of Britt by becoming another victim of ‘The Hook’, and more.

Photo: KThiebaudIG

During the conversation, Thiebaud shares her thoughts on working with her former GH co-stars including: Steve Burton (ex-Jason), Parry Shen (Brad), Kirsten Storms (Maxie), Kathleen Gati (Liesl), Cassandra James (Terry), Roger Howarth (Austin) and Josh Kelly (Cody), as well as some of her favorite memories throughout her run on the series which began in 2012.

Photo: ABC

Kelly took the character from being the manipulative ‘Britch’ as an interloper in the romance of Patrick (Jason Thompson) and Sabrina (Teresa Castillo), all the way to becoming a well-loved character to root for.

Courtesy/ABC

While, GH viewers witnessed Britt’s shocking death scenes, Kelly weighs-in on taping those moments, as well as Britt’s emotional goodbye birthday party, and having the opportunity to portray a character who was trying to navigate her life, while suffering from the effects of Huntington’s Disease.

In addition, Thiebaud gives a very special ‘thank you’ and shout out to the fans for their enduring support as she looks forward to new roles and new adventures ahead.

Photo: NATAS

Check out our heartfelt farewell interview with Kelly below, and for upcoming celebrity features, interviews, event coverage, music videos, and more, make sure to ‘subscribe‘ to the Michael Fairman Channel.

So, what did you think about Kelly’s decision to depart GH? Will you miss her as Britt? Share your thoughts on our conversation in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Michael Graziadei Talks Daniel’s Past and Present, Reuniting with His Co-Stars, and Life as Dad to Twins

Longtime viewers of CBS’ The Young and the Restless are excited that Michael Graziadei has returned to the top-rated daytime drama during its 50th anniversary season as Daniel Romalotti.

Graziadei made his on-screen re-emergence right around Thanksgiving, as in story, Daniel came home to surprise his mother, Phyllis (Michelle Stafford), but also for a business idea he wanted to present to good friend, Devon (Bryton James) and Daniel’s former girlfriend, Lily Winters (Christel Khalil).  Seems Daniel has a mega-universe gaming platform he’s created that he wants Chancellor-Winters to potentially be a part of.  But there must be more to the story than meets the eye, right? Will Daniel find himself drawn back to Lily, especially since her relationship with Billy (Jason Thompson) has hit a major rough spot/road block named Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan)?

Courtesy/CBS

In a new virtual interview exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Graziadei sits-down to talk about coming home to Genoa City with a look at Daniel’s past, present and future.  Michael first appeared as Y&R’s Daniel from 2004-2013, made a guest stop back to the show in 2016, and now at the end of 2022, he is back full-time with the soap opera.

During the conversation, Graziadei shares what it’s been like working with beloved cast mates including: Michelle Stafford, Christel Khalil, Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and more.

Courtesy/CBS

Michael also shared his enthusiasm at getting a chance to reconnect not only with Michelle Stafford, but Daniel’s adoptive father, Michael Damian (Danny) as well, when they all appear in scenes together for the upcoming holiday episodes.

Courtesy/CBS

Just what have been Michael’s favorite Daniel storylines of all-time? Was it Daniel’s part in Cassie’s death (Camryn Grimes) and its aftermath? When they gave Daniel a porn addiction storyline? Graziadei weighs-in.

Courtesy/CBS

In addition, Michael reveals the wonders of being a new dad to twins boys in real-life, Oliver Bear and Arlo.  He opens up about how he and his lady love, Lauren found out they were having twins, the naming process they went through, and what life is like now at-home.

Photo: GoodGriefCharlieBrownIG

During Graziadei’s time away from Y&R, he appeared in numerous TV and film projects.  Most recently, Michael was seen in Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer, where he shares what it was like to take on a legal role for the first time in his career, plus what it was like to act and kiss Oscar-winner, Jessica Lange in American Horror Story (a role he played while still at Y&R during his first go-round).

Courtesy/Netflix

You can watch the full interview with Graziadei below.

For more celebrity interviews and features make sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Michael Fairman Channel.

Now let us know, are you glad Daniel is back in GC? Do you hope Lily and Daniel get back together all of these years later? What has been your favorite Daniel storyline of all time … and your favorite part of our conversation with him?  Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Camryn Grimes and Fiancé Brock Powell Talk On Their Roles as Mrs. Claus and Santa in ‘Mickey Saves Christmas’

Two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Camryn Grimes (Mariah, The Young and the Restless) has been involved in a very special passion project in more ways than one!  Now, everyone will be able can see it, and hear it, when Grimes voices the role of Mrs. Claus opposite her real-life fiancé and voiceover star, Brock Powell as Santa in Mickey Saves Christmas.

The new stop-motion holiday special premieres Sunday, November 27th (7:00-7:30 p.m. EST) on ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD, and Monday, November 28 on Disney+ and Hulu.  It features Disney icons: Mickey, Minnie and the gang, who are sent to the North Pole on a quest to save Christmas and find the true meaning of the holiday.

Camryn and Brock Powell became engaged earlier this year on January 7th, which also happened to be Camryn’s 32nd birthday. How the two met all comes back to the world of voiceover and Disney, as you will learn.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the real-life lovebirds to preview Mickey Saves Christmas, how they wound up voicing the important voices of Christmas, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and just what Brock thinks of Camryn’s Genoa City alter-ego Mariah being married to Tessa (Cait Fairbanks), and more.  Is Brock #TeamTeriah? Check out what they shared with us below.

Photo: Disney+

The two of you were actually introduced by Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy! How did that happen?

BROCK:  So, Bill Farmer is my mentor, and through him, that was the first time I actually met Camryn.

CAMRYN: I knew Bill growing up, and in 2020 when I wanted to get into voiceovers, I reached out to him and that’s how this all started and I guess, the rest is history.

Now you are voicing Santa and Mrs. Claus in Mickey Save Christmas. How did it come about that you both landed parts on the project?

BROCK: I got to play the role of Santa in Mickey and Minnie Wish Upon a Christmas, which was the first time I got to voice Santa for Disney, and now I’m returning to the role this time. Camryn received the audition randomly for Ms. Claus on the day we were getting engaged, and it was perfect timing because I had to get her out of the house so I could set up the proposal here.  So, it really was a Christmas miracle because I was sweating!

CAMRYN:  We were cast separately. The production team had no idea that Brock and I were a couple. When I went in to record, they were like, “Here’s the voice of Santa for you to record to, and I was like, “Yeah, I know… that’s my fiancé!”  They were like, “What??” (Laughs)

Photo: Sarah Irene Decristoforo

Did the engagement go off without a hitch?

BROCK:  Yes, so after the audition process, Camryn returned home. I proposed, and there was a whole Disney/Pixar theme going on in the backyard. It was a really special day. To have her say, “Yes”, and also to have this crazy opportunity for her to audition for the role of Mrs. Claus happening at the same time … and then weeks later finding out she booked the role, it was all amazing.  We were now going to be working on this Christmas special together.  I think anytime you get to voice an iconic character, it’s special.  However, if you’d told me that I would get to return to the role I love, with the person I love playing opposite me … I think I’m done.  I just don’t know how you can ever top it!

Camryn, what did it mean to you to be in this film as Mrs. Claus, because fans saw this post of yours with a photo of you outside the Anaheim Convention Center where Disney’s D23 convention was happening.  It made everyone speculate  just what you were working on, which you shared was a lifelong dream.

CAMRYN:  Yes!  Y&R and CBS is my home, but I’ve always wanted to do something with Disney.  My family raised me on all things Disney and all things Christmas.  They were huge into the holiday, and so this kind of just checks every box.  It’s not only Disney, it’s Christmas, it’s stop-motion animation, and it’s Mrs. Claus.  I think my family was more excited for me to book this then anything I’ve ever done. I think there were tears! So sentimentally, this project really meant a lot to me.

Photo: BrockPowellIG

Camryn, did Brock coach you on doing voiceover work, or give you any tips?

CAMRYN:  I mean, I live with my voiceover coach. (Laughs) It’s amazing!

BROCK:  You know, I do coach for voiceovers and Camryn is my star pupil now.  She’s a talented actress, obviously. The biggest misconception is that, while it starts with the voice, Camryn, as well as most of the amazing voice actors I know, they have access to this childhood imagination which I think makes their performances possible. So, while you’re watching Mickey Saves Christmas, even though we recorded everything separately, what you’re looking for is that energy and every character connecting. You’re inventing the circumstances, you’re inventing your scene partner, where we have to close our eyes and embody a character we may, or may not, have a reference for. I think watching Camryn and hearing Camryn’s work on this, and a couple of other projects she’s worked on, I’m just so impressed at how coming from daytime television where there is a very stringent set routine and at the level that she excels at there, to then come into my world and then just kill it behind the microphone. She was able to let all of that go and have the bravery to try something new. I think a lot of people are going to love what Camryn has done here.  I’m most proud of her to be willing to look silly which is what is required in voiceover.

CAMRYN:  That’s true, and that’s probably the most fun thing about it.

Now, what can you tease us that happens in the story of Mickey Saves Christmas?

CAMRYN: It’s kind of built into the title a little bit, but I think what you’re going to get out of this is a deep sense of community and coming together to fix a problem and being able to lend a helping hand.  I feel, it’s just a really lovely film about chosen family.

BROCK:  It’s about family, it’s about friends, it’s about putting a lot of pressure on the holidays be perfect.  I think everyone involved in this special from the animators to the music team, everything in it helped make this a love letter to the holidays. The film really just talks about that Christmas is who you spend it with, and not necessarily how it turns out. I think it’s a really positive reminder that the most important part about Christmas is being with the ones we love. These are characters that Camryn and I love, not just the ones we voiced. To be with these actors, to be with these characters. it is just is going to be so special with everyone watching on November 27. It’s going to be the first tine for all us watching it together,

Photo: CBS

Now Brock, do you watch Camryn on The Young and the Restless?

BROCK: Yes, and I will say sometimes when Camryn is at work, our puppy does sit and watch mommy on TV, too!

Is Brock, #TeamTeriah on Y&R, as well?

CAMRYN: Yes, Brock is all about #TeamTeriah. It was actually really beautiful kind of getting engaged around the same time, Mariah and Tessa did on the show.

In another post of yours on social media, I saw that you had picked a spot for your wedding to Brock.   

CAMRYN: Yes. We don’t actually have a set date (we have three options), but we did pick a location.  So, we will be figuring that all out very soon.

Check out a clip from ‘Mickey Saves Christmas’ featuring Camryn as Mrs. Clause and Brock as Santa below.  Then let us know, will you be watching the special? What did you think of Camryn getting to work on this project and opposite the love-of-her-life, Brock Powell? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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DAYS Billy Flynn (Chad), Greg Rikaart (Le0) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) talk with Michael Fairman on the series move to Peacock and their latest storylines.. Leave A Comment
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Parry Shen as Brad

General Hospital

Airdate:2-2-2023

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