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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:

© JPI Studios

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:

Courtesy/ABC

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.

© JPI Studios

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:

Courtesy/ABC

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:

Courtesy/ABC

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?

© JPI Studios

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:

© JPI Studios

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:

Courtesy/ABC

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:

© JPI Studios

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:

Courtesy/ABC

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
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 legacy it will leave.

todd
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
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
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 if I was I would of probaly killed myself without any hesitation. I’m just glad that Shane did not kill himself, and Jack Manning gets put into his place. I loved the interview between John Paul, Farah and Austin, and it should be interesting to see where this storyline goes.

eve henley
eve henley

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

Brian Greene
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
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
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
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 want to be the sick kid,” that really choked me up. I remember telling my mom and dad that I wanted to be normal and liked by people. Basically the only friends I had were my band friends and my church friends. I also think Farah and John-Paul deserve awards. They reminded me so much of my parents. Rex reminded me of my dad and Gigi reminded my of my mom. My dad wanted all of the people that hurt me to pay for what they did and my mom was supportive of me. My dad was also supportive. If it hadn’t been for my mom and dad and my best friend Jordan, I probably would have committed suicide. I would have slit my wrists in the bathroom at school just like I was trying to and I would have bled to death. I just thank God every day that I am now out of high school. But some days I wish i could go back and get revenge on all of the people who hurt me. Thank you OLTL for showing this storyline. Bullying is real and it can happen to anyone. Thank you Austin, JP, and Farah! The three of you are such talented actors!

Alaina
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

GH’s Steve Burton & Bradford Anderson Give The Lowdown on Their New Series ‘7 Questions’ & Their Creative Partnership

What started out as an unlikely on-screen pairing and friendship several years ago on the daytime drama, General Hospital has flourished, and become something even much greater than that. Knowing they struck gold with their characters being the antithesis of each other – one’s a hit man for God sakes, and the other an awkward computer geek, Steve Burton (Jason) and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) began to conjure up how they could parlay their on-screen and off-screen friendship into other creative avenues.

As fans of the popular soap stars know, these guys travel around the country performing their comedy act, Stone Cold and the Jackal to packed houses. They have a weekly podcast, now on the Podcast One network, That’s Awesome and have also been concentrating on delivering even more content to their audience via their You Tube page, with their latest collaboration 7 Questions with Steve and Brad; where the two take on some questions and answer them with some clever elements wrapped up inside of each installment.

Not a week can go by without Steve and Bradford releasing something new to whet the appetite and keep engaged their enduring fan base. While everyone is facing together the disruptions in our normal everyday lives due to the coronavirus pandemic, Steve and Bradford are using this time wisely to expand their reach while creating even more fun content within their wheelhouse.  So, who know what could be next, right?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Steve and Bradford to get the Intel on their success, their new You Tube series via their page, and more.  And of course, we couldn’t let this opportunity go by without putting them in the hot seat and asking our own ‘7 Questions’.  Check out what they had to say below.

Courtesy/YouTube

How did the idea originally come about for 7 Questions with Steve and Brad?  What was the inspiration behind it?

BRADFORD: We want to put out as much content as we can and as much entertainment as we can for people, especially during this time.  We’ve done a lot of work on our Facebook page, and we realized that we make so many videos, why the heck aren’t we putting them on our YouTube page?  With that, Steve kind of had this idea. Steve will talk about his inspirations for the visual component of it, and it was kind of a no-brainer.

I just also would like to know whose idea it was to have the MTV-ish voice-over gal for the interstitials of ‘7 Questions’.  That’s one of my favorite parts, by the way!

STEVE:  That’s me! I’m a kid of the 80s.  I love the 80s.  It’s what our brand has been.  We use a lot of colors that are 80s, and that’s our demographic. They relate to it.  With ‘7 questions’, I had no idea what it was going to be, really.  Bradford and I talk multiple times a day, and we are always thinking of ideas. We do our podcast, “That’s Awesome!” and then, we do a bonus podcast now every week that is 15-20 minutes, and that we put it up on YouTube as well.  With the way things are, we want people to laugh and have fun.  Now, usually Bradford does all of the heavy lifting with the technology.  He edits the podcast, he uploads it, he does all of that stuff, and I’m like, “Let me just try it.”  So, I do the sound effects and graphics in these.  I’m laughing while I do it, so I’m hoping people laugh, too.

BRADFORD:  In the beginning, Steve kind of wanted to make it like a morning show, and it my head, I thought he meant like a morning TV show, so I was a little confused by that! (Laughs) What he meant was like a disc-jockey from the 80s on the radio – the kind of show where they use the silly horns when there is a joke, or a lot of ‘whiz-bang’ sound effect, and stuff like that.  It’s fun to see Steve’s creative self come out and play.

Cpurtesy/YouTube

STEVE: The ‘7 questions’ episode out now with Josh Swickard (Chase, GH), is amazing.  Well, it’s amazing because of the sound effects I put in of course, but it’s also amazing because Josh Swickard is on it. (Laughs)

Photo: PodcastOne

You guys have been able to get along so well it seems from your podcast, to your YouTube videos, to your regular on-screen relationship at GH, and then, you do comedy clubs appearances around the country together.  Why do you think it works so well between the two of you? 

BRADFORD:  That’s a good question.  I think we have very similar goals.  We understand each other’s instincts a little bit.  So, we can navigate.  Sometimes, I can tell when something is going to frustrate Steve.  I steer that around him, and he certainly does the same thing for me.  He knows what frustrates me, and he’ll take care of that.  The cool thing about us is that neither of us are combative people.  We never bring our outside crap into our relationship.  We’re not that kind of people.  We are very positive people, and I think that really helps.

STEVE:  It’s always dangerous to get into business with friends.  That’s the first thing I can say because in the past that’s happened to me, and it hasn’t worked out.  I think Bradford and I just have a great mutual respect for each other.  I don’t want to say that it’s almost like a marriage, but it kind of is, because we are together so much.  We work together, we talk every day, and we are always collaborating on things.  There are always things that come up.  Most people wouldn’t even know the stuff that comes up with the podcast or with the live shows, and it takes a really special partnership to forge through that and still have fun.  That’s what the key is because I know plenty of people who are in business relationships who aren’t happy.  They’re just doing it for business.  If we ever get to that point, he and I just need to walk away.  It’s just a really great relationship where we are continually pushing each other, and where we are continually growing.  I never have to worry about what he is doing, and he never has to worry about what I am doing.

Photo: JimWarren

BRADFORD:  That’s a really big deal.  I’ve never even thought about that because we’ve never had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment where it’s like, “Hey man, you’ve really got to start pulling your weight here.” (Laughs)

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Ok guys, I have a lighting round of ‘7 Questions’ for you.  Here we go! Question number 1! What one word describes your initial impression of each other when you first met?

BRADFORD:  “Muscle-y”

STEVE:  That’s not a word, dude!

BRADFORD:   It is.  I made it.

Steve, what’s your one-word initial impression of Bradford when you first met him?

STEVE: “Interesting…”  Can it have an ellipsis after it?

Photo: SBurtonIG

Question number 2: When rehearsing your comedy show, which one of you has the most trouble remembering what comes next?

BRADFORD:  I’m going to say Steve, but there is a caveat.  The way that his set is designed, he does about 20 minutes of just talking.  Mine is song, talk, song.  So, there’s an order for mine… but for Steve, remembering half an hour’s worth of stories is hard.  That’s what I would say.

STEVE:  I would say me, too.  We are both pretty on it with our structure and what comes next pretty naturally, but there’re times when Bradford is like, “Hey, over here.”  What the audience doesn’t see is I go, “Oh yeah!  Hey!”

BRADFORD:  But we’ve been doing this for so long that we’ve both had our senior moments.  Neither of us is immune to a hiccup here and there.

Question 3: You both are super-high energy guys. After your performances, who has more trouble decompressing and coming down to earth after the adrenaline rush of playing in front of a crowd?

BRADFORD:  I can sleep anywhere at any time… so can Steve.

STEVE:  Usually, I can sleep anywhere, but after a show, I’m hyped!  I’m like, “Let’s go!  Where are we going?” Bradford’s like, “Give me a glass of wine, and a nice meal, and I’m going to bed,” and I’m like, “Oh, no, you’re not.  You’re not going anywhere near a bed!  We’re going out.”

BRADFORD:  Part of the problem is that we drink a Five-Hour Energy before the show, and our show is only 3 hours.  There’s that extra 2 hours. (Laughs)

Photo: BAndersonIG

Question 4:  What do your wives; Kiera and Sheree think of your ‘7 Questions’ and your comedy show? 

BRADFORD:  I was nervous the first time my wife came to our comedy show, because she’s actually a pretty talented comedian.  She knows comedic timing really well.  The first time Kiera ever saw our act was when she helped us do a GH Fan Club Weekend show.  She told me afterwards, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I had kind of low expectations, and you guys are hilarious.”  You know, I was a guy who kind of waited for the phone to ring because that’s what the life of an actor kind of just tends to be, and now what’s been so wonderful for me is becoming a creator, becoming a collaborator, and how it has really just changed my approach to work in general.  So, my wife is proud of me, and thankful to Steve for that.

What does your wife think, Steve?

STEVE:  My wife saw 7 Questions, and she loves that.   She’s seen some comedy bits that I have shown her on my phone, but she hasn’t seen a full comedy show yet.

Photo: JPI

Does Sheree like the comedic side of you?

STEVE:  Yeah, I don’t know if most people know that I may have a sense of humor because literally when we go to the shows, people are looking at me like I’m an alien like, “What the hell is going on up there?”

Right! It’s such a departure from what they envision as this image of you from your role on General Hospital to when they see you do something different. 

STEVE:  Right.  I’ve always kind of been kind of high-energy, and I don’t want to say funny, but I at least have a sense of humor and can crack jokes.  That was one of the first things that kind of connected my wife and me.

BRADFORD:  On stage, Steve’s a great storyteller, but what we’ve done over the last couple of years is really try to hone those stories in a specific way, like really make sure that the timing is there, that the setup is there, and all of that.  I think at the beginning, both of us were a little self-conscious about that because it was new to us.  I could sing a song and not be self-conscious about it because that’s what I did for most of my life.  This is new to us, and what I have loved seeing over the last couple of years, is Steve’s growth as a performer.

STEVE:  Thank you, buddy.

Photo: SBurtonInstagram

Question 5:  Do your kids understand what you do for a living? What do they think that you do?

STEVE:  My kids aren’t sure.  My daughter who is 16, she gets it.  My son, he hasn’t seen a lot of scenes from GH, but I showed him once he was able to understand some and he was like, “What do you do?”  I said, “I’m the Fonzie of daytime.”  He said, “Who’s Fonzie?”  (Laughs)  My 5-year-old really doesn’t know.  She thinks I go on the road more than I go to work.  She’s like, “Oh, are you doing your thing with Bradford?” She sees me working on my stuff with Bradford, and she’ll be like, “7 questions with Steve and Brad!”  She’ll walk around the house and say that.

Photo: BAndersonIG

BRADFORD:  My 8-year-old, Juna knows that I’m on TV.  There’s been a couple of times when we have been watching the news over the last couple of weeks, and the California governor will have press conferences, and it will then cut right into General Hospital, and there was one time that it just cut into me.  It’s been a long time since they’ve seen me on the television.  So that was cool.  There are a couple teachers at their school who are fans of the show, so that gives the kids a bit of a chuckle.  Juna will say to my 5-year-old, Finola, “Hey, Finola, come over here.  We’re going to be on dad’s podcast.”  So, anything technical, any video, she calls “a podcast”.  She doesn’t quite get that part of it.  She probably thinks YouTube, and everything is a podcast. (Laughs)

Photo: NBC

Question 6: If you guys could go on any late night TV talk show together, which show would it be and why?

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STEVE:  My sensibility would be The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

BRADFORD:  I would probably say Jimmy Fallon too, although I love Jimmy Kimmel because he’s on ABC.  Also, our sense of humor is pretty dumb, and Fallon’s sense of humor is pretty dumb.  So, I think our senses of humor match up with him better than anyone else, probably.

Photo: JPI

Question 7: On soaps, do you think more comedy should be injected into them?

STEVE:  Let me answer this, because when Bradford came on as Spinelli, he turned it into the comedy relief in a lot of ways.  We didn’t have a lot of comedy on the show.  Back in the day, you had some people like Steven Kay, who played Reginald, and you had people who had some comedic moments, but Bradford really kind of came in and was that.  People knew that once Spinelli was on the screen, something funny could happen.  Just with his encounter with somebody, or how he was going to try to approach me, or hug me, or how he was going to try to figure something out and spaz out, and people love that.  I think there needs to be comedy on a daytime drama.  There is so much heaviness all of the time usually, and that’s why I think Bradford (obviously he is a fantastic actor) is able to stay on for so long because he brought something new, something different to the table, and that’s what made him so valuable.

BRADFORD:  Thank you, Steve!  I think the best way for comedy to happen in daytime is through the organic instincts of each individual actor because the times where soaps try to be funny is where it doesn’t work sometimes.  That’s kind of a rule anywhere!  The best comedy is where it is found rather than planned.  So, when you look at someone like, for instance, Steve, when he moved the fuzzy balls the other day, that is the best kind of humor in our show because that is something that his character would do anyway, it showed a little bit of Steve’s personality, which I love, and it was just a little moment of levity.  You look at actors like Roger Howarth (Franco), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R), or Maura West (Ava, GH), everyone that finds moments in their performance to do something that maybe wasn’t planned; it lets the audience breathe a bit.  That’s where I find that the best comedy is in soaps.

Photo: JPI

Bonus question 8! Surprise! Which comedians have influenced you … and which actors have influenced you the most?

STEVE:  Oh, I love Jim Gaffigan.  I love Sebastian Maniscalco.  There are a lot of guys out there.  Acting wise, I’m a huge fan of Tom Cruise, and I’ll tell you why.  From what I know the guy’s work ethic is like nobody else’s.  That’s what always inspires me.  I’m like, here’s a guy who has made 500 million dollars and still gives 120% to this day!  So, there’s a ton of actors that I could pick, but Tom Cruise delivers.  Every performance that guy has done has been amazing.

Courtesy/Amazon

BRADFORD:  For me, it didn’t occur to me until later, especially thinking about my comedic influences as a kid.  What I love about GH and the way that they film is that I really can use my whole body.  It’s not just a shoulder-up kind of show.  They have four cameras.  They can catch pretty much anything that you’re doing.  So, I realized that when I think about the way I use my body that I was influenced a lot by Don Knotts.  When you see something on his face (and granted his facial expressions were amazing and huge) you also saw it in his whole body.   Not only do I love Don Knotts, but I also love Donald O’Connor from Singin’ in the Rain.  Now as for an actor, I’ve always talked about Gary Oldman, because I love character actors who, if they weren’t playing a character and they were just themselves, you don’t know what that looks like. You only know them as the characters they play, because every character they play is different.  , If you look at Gary Oldman in The Professional, he is playing a villain there, but he’s this Russian guy with slicked back hair, and then, you see him play Commissioner Gordon in Batman with a flawless Chicago accent, and then, you hear him talk and you’re like, “Oh, he’s from England.  He’s a British actor.  I had no idea.”  That’s what I love.  His physicality, his voice, everything is built from the ground up when he plays a character.  A comic that I love to watch is John Mulaney.  Even though he’s like a preppy little guy that says crazy things, it’s very smart, and I just love his style.

In closing, here we are in the middle of this COVID-19 pandemic, what would you say to your fans, some of who, may feel lost, isolated, worried, etc?

BRADFORD:  I would say watch General Hospital!  At a time like this, routine is very important.  One of the great things about General Hospital is that it is part of peoples’ routines.  It’s not just a plug to watch our show, but it’s something that is comforting in that it is there.  Then, outside of that, you know, we try to provide not just entertainment but connection too.  That’s what we are there for.  We’ve been going live a lot on our Facebook page, on our YouTube page, and our reason for that is that we know people are available, and people can actually talk to us in real time, and as I said, we are trying to create moments of connection.

STEVE:  The best compliment that we get is, “We had so much fun.” or “Oh, you guys made my day.”  I try to answer all the You Tube comments we get, and many of them are similar right now like, “Man, I needed to laugh today.  Thank you for putting this up.”  Obviously, we are all dealing with something crazy right now with this pandemic, but just to give someone even 10 minutes on 7 Questions where they can laugh 3 or 4 times and then go back to whatever they were doing, that’s really what matters to us.

So, what do you think of Steve and Bradford’s new You  Tube show ‘7 Questions with Steve and Brad’?  Have you seen their live comedy club appearances, and if so, what did you think of it?  Do you enjoy seeing GH”s Jason and Spinelli in scenes and hijinks together in Port Charles? Comment below.

 

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General Hospital

GH’s Eden McCoy Chats on Tackling the Role of Young Carly, Josslyn’s love life, and Her Co-Stars

The rivalry between Carly (Laura Wright) and Nelle (Chloe Lanier) has deep-rooted history in the past, not just the present, as viewers learn today on a special episode of General Hospital.  In it, we go back to the 90s, before Carly stepped foot in Port Charles.  This gave Eden McCoy, who usually plays Carly’s on-screen daughter, Josslyn Jacks, the chance to play a young Carly as fans of the ABC daytime drama series also see that the episode sheds come clues to a story that will play out in the present in the weeks and months to come.

McCoy got the opportunity to work with a different set of players than her normal scene partners in Port Charles in the episode – Cynthia Watros (Nina), James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) and young Willa Rose (young Nelle), who comprise the Benson ‘family’ in the flashbacks.

However, while Eden got the chance to travel back to the 90s, Josslyn is also in the dark in the present to that kiss shared by her best friends, Trina (Sydney Mikala) and Cameron (William Lipton).   If that lip-lock came to light to Joss, will that finally get her to admit she may feel more than friendship with Cam?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eden to discuss: the opportunity to play young Carly, having Laura Wright as her on-screen mom, and going to battle on-screen with her good friend, Chloe Lanier, plus if she would like to share more screen-time with Josslyn’s dad, Ingo Rademacher (Jax), and of course, the burning question, who has Josslyn’s heart? Is it Cameron? Find out when you read on as to what Eden shared below.

Photo: JPI

On today’s April 8th episode of GH, we see you portraying a young Carly.  Tell me when and how you found out that you were going to play Carly, and what the experience was like for you taping those scenes?

EDEN:  It was really one of my favorite experiences at GH, hands down.  I think if I had to choose favorite episodes, this would be this one for sure. My other favorites prior to this have been: the fight scene with Nelle, the dance scenes I did, and the fake drunk scenes with William.  Those were all so great.  I found out that I was going to do this episode and play a young Carly from Laura Wright.  I ran into her on set for blocking.  We weren’t even working together that day, and she’s like, “Oh, I’ve been told that you’re going to play a young me in an episode,” and then she literally walked away – because she had to work.  So, I was like, “What?”  It was kind of this thing hanging in the air, and I rushed to tell my mom, because I was so excited.  I didn’t get the script until maybe a month after Laura told me.  I didn’t want to ask more about it before then, because I kind of wanted to be surprised, too. Then, when I got the script and read it, I was completely blown away.  Then, when I got the news that Cynthia Watros was going to play Carly’s mom and that James Patrick Stuart was going to play Carly’s dad, I mean, I just about had a heart attack! Those are two actors that I’ve watched and admired so much and haven’t worked with a lot.  So, it was this perfectly gift-wrapped opportunity to get to know my fellow castmates and dive into a whole other character.  Everyone was so involved in that episode.  Look at the set design, for one thing.  You can totally tell that it transported us into the 90s.  Everyone did an amazing job with that style of architecture ….everybody had been researching it …everybody pretty much except for me as I lived through the 90s!  The wardrobe was one of my favorite things ever, because the 90s, for me, is my favorite era of fashion.  I feel like my own wardrobe is heavily inspired by the 90s.  I have vintage pieces; my favorite jeans are 90s Levis. I watched Friends and obviously was obsessed with it.  The wardrobe team did an amazing job focusing on all of the 90s trends with the cardigans and the clogs and the jelly shoes and all of that.  I have three outfits in the episode, and we literally named them “Monica”, “Rachel”, and “Phoebe” after the women on Friends.  It was so much fun.

Photo: JPI

What’s your take on what happened in the episode; as we learn about Carly’s troubled-past with her adoptive parents, and her past with Nelle?

EDEN:  It starts as a look into a young Carly’s everyday life.  She gets home from a job interview.  She is looking for work, and she gets the job, and Virginia and Carly are talking.  However, the conversation turns into how Carly wants to leave home, and have a very different life than Virginia, but she needs money to do it.  So, she leaves her mom, Virginia, to go find Frank, her dad, who, by the way, is a complete turnoff of a dad.  She thought he was going to have some money, and she could be rich, and get it from him, and move to New York, and see the world because that’s her overall goal.  Carly is a very passionate, goal-driven person as we know, so she goes to see Frank.  It will be a heart-wrenching moment for Carly as a character; and you will see how Nelle factors into this.   All of this in the past shows the internal conflict that Carly has towards Nelle as a person and as a character.  It’s not just that Nelle came into her life and hurt her kids and hurt her family, but it’s because it’s that desperate need for validation that Carly had growing up.  I think, she has had this resentment towards Nelle, because of it.

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How old were you supposed to be in the flashbacks as young Carly?

EDEN:  I was playing like 18-19 years old, and Nelle was around 6.  Willa Rose was such an adorable little actress.  She and James were so cute together, and James was phenomenal.  He just went 110% on this, and it was so, so fun to work against that.  Every take was different.  James was walking at this pace, or he was eating in this scene, and he totally took it to the place that I knew that he would take it.  Same with Cynthia!  Cynthia was amazing.   I’ve watched them together since Cynthia first came on the show as Nina, and I’ve watched James forever, so I totally scored.

Photo: ABC

Has Laura Wright seen your portrayal of Carly yet?

EDEN:  I’m super excited to see what she has to say about it.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I were discussing it day-of taping. We were kind of dissecting Laura’s mannerisms so that I could kind of plug them in to my performance. We used when Laura as Carly tucks her hair behind her ear, and Frank was like, “Oh, yeah!  Do that!”  I’ve grown up with Laura, and watching her, and acting against her, and people clearly compare us all the time and are like, “That’s insane.  Do you try to do that on purpose?” It’s like, “No, I’ve just been with her since I was 12, almost every day.”

You realize when working and talking with Laura that she truly gets and understands her art and acting in this genre.  She’s really one of the best there’s ever been in soaps.  She can dissect a scene and understand it from different points of view, etc.

EDEN:  Oh my God, I know.  She’s phenomenal to watch, and I am not immune to that whatsoever.  It hits me every time I see her act.   She’s just been the best teacher.  The comments I get the most are: how much I resemble her looks wise for one, but also acting wise.  So, I’m so excited to see what people have to say following the airing of this episode.

Photo JPI

What do you think about Josslyn’s combative relationship with Nelle?  I loved on today’s episode that we got to see the scenes where Josslyn clocked Nelle again!

EDEN:  I would love to slap Nelle again!  Chloe is one of my closest friends on that set.  Even though we haven’t worked together as much as we used to, we are still very close, and I learned a lot from her.  Scenes with her are always so juicy.

Photo: ABC

Where do you think Josslyn is at this point in her love life?  Is she still really into Dev (Ashton Arbab)? Does she truly loves Cameron, but can’t admit it to herself? 

EDEN:  I think that’s it. With Dev, he was an intriguing character with a very different background than Josslyn.  They say opposites attract, and I think that goes along with this story a little bit.  He’s just something that’s new, and someone who she is intrigued by, and I think that’s realistic.  I know that’s happened to me in my love life before.  I’m not sure where it’s really going to go between Dev and Josslyn.  Then for Cam, I think she doesn’t want to admit the feelings that she has for him to herself because that’s a whole big can of worms. I think she feels that once she admits that it might – not necessarily ruin their friendship – but taint it.  Cam is such a safe place and such a home for Josslyn.  I feel like if she were to admit that to herself, she’d be like, “Oh, no.  I’m going to make this uncomfortable and weird, and I can’t lose Cam as a friend.”  That’s always kind of been where her head is at, but I think as she spends more time with him, her feelings become more and more clear.  You never really know what’s going to happen, and I don’t think she’s set on anything.  Teenagers are just all over the place with feelings, and one day they feel this and one day they don’t.  So, it’s always such fun to play because I know some fans are dying to see Cameron and Josslyn get together that and some people don’t want to see that.  It’s fun to hear everybody out and to hear everyone’s opinions on it.  For me, I just hope it can be something fun to watch.  That’s always the goal.

Photo: ABC

So now Trina has shared a kissed Cam, and Josslyn doesn’t know that yet.  What do you think her reaction is going to be when she finds out? 

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EDEN:  It will be interesting to see how the writers do that when she does find out, because Trina has been a great friend to Josslyn, and Josslyn wants to be a great friend back, and of course, Joss is a great friend to Cam.  These are her two best friends.  She doesn’t really want to be anything but supportive.  I feel there is going to be a lot of internal struggle with that because I think that action is probably going to make her realize, and come to terms with some feelings that she has probably been avoiding, for sure.

Do you think that Josslyn has truly moved on with her life following her last boyfriend, Oscar’s heartbreaking death, so that she can welcome and accept new love into her life?

EDEN:  I think she’s moved on, at least I hope so!  That’s a pain that she’ll take with her for the rest of her life, and an experience that she’ll always have in her back pocket. That’s great as an actor … to have had a deep, influential experience because you can bring that into certain scenes and make them stronger.  Right now, I think she’s just trying to be normal and feel normal things, and that’s where I hope that her story will continue to go.  Life goes on, and we have awesome teenage characters that I’m happy to be a part of and working with.

Photo: ABC

Whenever the fans have seen William Lipton and you together, they have noticed that you get along so well. What can you say about William?

EDEN:   We do get along so well.  William is the best.  He’s really like a sibling.

Would you like to see more scenes between Jax and Josslyn? Don’t you think he should be more involved with his biological daughter’s life?

EDEN:  Yes!  From day one of meeting Ingo five years ago, he just made it so comfortable for me.  We have had a complete connection.  We share so many similar traits.  For instance, we both love the beach and we have a similar drive.  I will say that our relationship outside of the scenes is what makes those scenes what they are and what makes them fun to watch, and why when you’re watching, you feel like, “How is this not real?”  So, that’s why he is one of my all-time favorite scene partners.

Photo: JPI

Your mom was, and is, a big GH fan, right?

EDEN:  Yes, she grew up watching GH in her sorority house, and her two crushes were Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Jax (Ingo Rademacher), and I’m their kid on the show!  I remember when I auditioned for Josslyn.  I was given a fake script with a fake character name on it, so, we didn’t really know what my family tree looked like, or anything.  When my mom saw Maurice and Ingo in person for the first time, and I remember her freaking out.  I can’t even imagine what it was like for her.  My mom was just as excited as me to have this opportunity.

Are you at home quarantining, and taking care of yourself during this COVID-19 pandemic that we all find ourselves facing together? How’s that been going for you?

EDEN:  It’s going good.  I’m not complaining about staying in bed. (Laughs)  No, it’s been fun just trying new things and spending time with the family. You know, I’m usually so busy that it’s nice to have a little down time for a minute, but I naturally like to stay present and connect with people on social media, et

What are the fans saying to you most on social media that they want for Joss? 

EDEN:  I am hearing a lot about Cam.  It’s a big, “Is that going to happen?  Is that not going to happen?  Team Cam/Team Not Cam.”  That’s always fun because I love to have rivalries.  That means that people are invested in the story.  I get a lot of Jax things, like, “Where’s Jax?  We need more Jax and Josslyn,” and I completely agree.  However my dream, (and I think what a lot of people want to see) is Josslyn’s rebellion and gearing away from the goody-two-shoes person she is for a minute.

Photo: JPI

That would be in-line and typical for the daughter of Carly, right?

EDEN:  Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.  When I hear about what Carly had done at my age and in the past, I’m like, “I have that DNA.”   Carly had a very painful upbringing with not a lot of parental supervision and support.  She had no father figure growing up, and Josslyn has had two. That really shapes a person and makes them who they are, but I do feel like with all of the pain the Josslyn has gone through; some kind of off-the-rails moment would be fun to play and will be hopefully in her future.

So, what did you think of Eden’s performance of young Carly on today’s episode of GH? Do you want Josslyn to end up romantically with Cameron or someone else? Do you think Josslyn should display a more rebellious side given that she is Carly’s daughter? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Knots Landing favorites: Joan Van Ark (Valene), Michele Lee (Karen) and Donna Mills (Abby)  chat with Michael Fairman in honor of Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Leave A Comment

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