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The Frank Valentini Interview – One Life to Live & What If

Courtesy/ABC

What soap viewer has not entertained the thought of, “What if my favorite soap babe met up with my favorite soap hunk from another soap?”  Or, “I wonder what would happen if two soap legends from different daytime dramas perform together for the very first time as their renowned alter-egos?”  Or, “I wish my favorites from Pine Valley could just get stuck somewhere with some of my favorites from Llanview!”  Well, some of your prayers are about to be answered coming up this Monday July 12th, when ABC Daytime and SOAPnet’s new creative webisode mash-ups, What If premieres, with some of the most famous and infamous characters from One Life to Live, All My Children, and General Hospital in some very unique out-of-time scenarios.  Just an FYI for your viewing pleasure – the webisodes will be derivative of the characters you love and their unique past, but are not related to current storyline. You can view the webisodes at both ABC.com and SOAPnet.com, and cut down versions will air on both ABC Daytime and SOAPnet.

So, once the What If’s were put into motion, who was the man who was instrumental in directing the amazing talent of ABC Daytime stars in these humorous, touching, and exciting featurettes?  And, who could give us the inside story on what to expect?  That would fall to One Life to Live’s head honcho, Frank Valentini.  And while Valentini runs the ship in Llanview, many insiders know that it is also his directing prowess that has earned him kudos from his peers and the press.  In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Valentini gives us a look at how the What If’s were made, and takes us through each of the ten webisodes
you will see rolled-out throughout the summer.

Next, Frank gives us the overview for this summer’s sizzling storylines coming up on One Life to Live. And yes, finally, we do discuss how Valentini manages to keep things moving forward with his cast and crew amidst constant rumors that One Life could be the next show to hit the chopping block.  But after speaking with Frank and reading his thoughts, it should be apparent to anyone that this guy has the drive, determination, and love for the genre to keep creating new ways for soapers to enjoy their favorite stories be it on the web or the small screen.

You can view the full schedule of What If’s by clicking here

MICHAEL:

Frank, how did it come about that you were chosen for the job of director of all ten What If webisodes?  I know you directed the Endless Drama promo marketing campaign with ESPN Sports and ABC Daytime in the past.  So this obviously was a natural for you on so many levels.  And how involved were you in the development process until you finally went to tape?

FRANK:

Couresty/ABC

I heard from Sue Johnson, the Vice President of Programming and Talent for ABC Daytime on the east coast, about What If, and I got really excited.  She said that Adam Rockmore, and his team in marketing at ABC/SOAPnet, were heading them up, and it had been an idea that Sue and Adam had been talking about for awhile. They finally figured out a time when they could do it, and they told me the actors they were thinking of using from One Life to Live, and I got really excited about it. Then they said, “Well, we have one other thing… we know you are really busy, but do you think you could direct them?” And I was just floored, flattered, and honored.  I was really, really psyched.  I think it’s a really fantastic idea and fantastic for the fans.  It’s huge big wet kiss to the fans.  The webisodes are all really fun, sweet and heartfelt, and emotional.  The whole body of ten different scenarios is just fantastic and this great young writer, Sara Saedi, wrote them.  And, after I was invited on board and I was going through the directing process, I made some suggestions in terms of location, and how we might be able to make them the most accessible and most satisfying for the fans.  I was then able to bring all my experience over from One Life to Live to that.

MICHAEL:

Getting to work with so many of the top talent in the ABC Daytime line-up, that you never had the opportunity to work with before, was there any moment or scenario in working with certain actors that surprised you?  

FRANK:

There were a couple.  I always knew that Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) was a wonderful actress, but she was really fun and funny to work with, and we did a scene with her and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  I had known Susan for years, but I had never worked with her like this, and I had been a fan of Maurice’s for years, but only met him in passing.  I was thrilled that two dynamite stars were going to be in a scene together.  And just getting on the set with them, I could see it was exciting for them to find the humorous moments and the deep emotional moments in their scenes.  I mean, I directed Susan on All My Children like ten thousand years ago, but working with her and Maurice, who I had never worked with before, it was like instant chemistry.  I am always so floored with the professionalism and the dedication the daytime actors have.  When you work as fast and rapidly as we do, and as consistently as we do, those muscles are so strong and they react so fast.  Obviously, with the What If’s, we had a lot of time to do these compared to the regular daytime schedule.  Even within the five minutes of the piece, we were able to mine all these great moments, and that what was really fun for me.

MICHAEL: 

Courtesy/ABC

As a lover of the genre, you had to be pinching yourself, that you’re doing this and directing this with some of your favorite performers and colleagues.  How cool!

FRANK:

Oh, my God, it was totally cool!  Look, I am a fan, and it’s always great when you get to work with somebody you have never worked with before.  Also, it was a proud moment for me to see my One Life to Live actors working with other actors from the other soaps. What a blast to see Trevor St. John (Todd, OLTL) and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH) together.  It was so fun, and those guys were so great together.  And, Trevor is such an interesting actor.  He is just incredibly spontaneous, and Bradford was coming up with all types of different ideas.  And together, I am so proud of all ten of the What If’s, and they all have individual moments that were great.  I have never been able to direct Rebecca Budig (Greenlee, AMC), and we have been friends for years.  She was so funny, and she and Steve Burton (Jason, GH) immediately had chemistry on-screen, and they obviously knew each other from soap fan events, and what not.  Their segment is really funny, and then all of a sudden there is this poignant moment in it that is really sweet.

MICHAEL:

One of the pairings many are interested in seeing is Michael Easton (John, OLTL) and Kelly Monaco (Sam, GH).  These two had hot vampire love together on the now defunct Port Charles. How was it to watch them work together for the first time in years?

FRANK:

I think people forget what great timing Michael Easton has.  If you saw some of the scenes from Bo and Nora’s wedding, some of his reactions were just classic.  He is always very subtle, and some of the work he has done over the years with Tuc Watkins (David, OLTL) is priceless.  I am so crazy about Michael and his talents.  He is a real gift to One Life to Live. I know Kelly and I think she is dynamite.  These are two wild, energetic actors coming together, and they have such great history.  Their piece is a little more physical then some of the others and it takes place in an elevator, and it’s awesome.

MICHAEL:

Where were the What If’s shot at?  You obviously came west for a time to accomplish this. 

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:

Yes, I came out to Los Angeles to shoot these.  They were done in a separate studio called Air Hollywood out in Pacoima, just outside L.A.  We were dark at One Life to Live and we had a little break.  So that is how we were able to get the One Life to Live actors out to the west coast.  Then, I was able to come out and spend some time. We shot all of them within a two and a half day period.

MICHAEL:

One of the other What If’s, that I am looking forward to is the bringing together of six-time Daytime Emmy winners and soap opera legends, Erika Slezak (Viki, OLTL) and Tony Geary (Luke, GH).   What can fans expect from their pairing?

FRANK:

That one was so sweet, and we built a separate elevator set just for them. There was a mutual admiration society going on with them.  Tony did some things that came right out of his head that just added to the process.  I am a big fan of his.

MICHAEL:

Ok, but here you are directing all these heavy-hitters on daytime.  Did anyone take issue when you asked them to take direction, or with some notes you may have had to offer to get to your goal with each webisode?

FRANK:

Courtesy/ABC

First of all, the actors who were picked are all incredible professionals.  I have a good relationship with them.  So they will do what I ask them to do as their boss, (Laughs) but I have to say everybody was very excited about these.  All seven actors from One Life to Live said, “Oh, my God.  I am so flattered to be asked to participate.  This is going to be cool.”  When I told Michael Easton he was going to be paired with Kelly Monaco, he just burst into this big smile.

MICHAEL:

Kirsten Storms (Maxie, GH), and John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex, OLTL) is a pairing that could be quite interesting to watch, since they are both extraordinary and have a very quirky acting style!

FRANK:

It’s a fun one!  That one is actually very interesting because it has some moments that the younger audience can relate to.  Sort of like two sides of a coin, and a look at love and dating in the 21st Century, and what that means.  And we explore it through the eyes of these two very unique and very different characters.

MICHAEL:

One Life’s, Bree Williamson, (Jessica) got to play with Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) of GH.  But she is not Jess.  You brought back good ole’ Tess!  How does Tess know Dante?  From the… bedroom? (Laughs)

FRANK:

Tess knew him from the past, and that one is so good, because Bree Williamson is playing her alter-Tess in it.  And you know how much I love Bree! Also, another What If has Michael Knight (Tad. AMC) who is phenomenal in this teamed with Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL).  That one is chucked full of surprises. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

All My Children’s Jesse/Angie, somehow get mixed up with Starr from One Life to Live. That is an odd and interesting soap mash-up!

FRANK:

You’ve got to watch that one!  Little Kristen Alderson (Starr, OLTL) is right in there, holding her own with Debbi Morgan (Angie, AMC) and Darnell Williams (Jesse, AMC). And again, it’s an interesting look at different people and how they see life.

MICHAEL:

Ah, then this one looks to potentially have some soap elevator sex.  Always good, but it’s made even better because Pine Valley’s Ryan, meets Port Charles’ Carly.  How was that to tape?

FRANK:

I fell in love all over again with Laura Wright (Carly, GH). And, Cameron Mathison (Ryan, AMC) and I have been friends for years.  We used to have a locker at the gym together. That one is so fun, and that is one of the first ones you will see.

MICHAEL:

Now that you have done these ten, where can this lead?  What is the hope of the ABC Daytime initiative with this?

FRANK:

Like I said, it’s a big wet kiss to the fans of ABC Daytime.  Lets just hope this is foreplay, and there will be more of them to come.  A couple of them lend themselves to sequels, and that would be fun to keep these relationships going and play out in different scenarios. We are open to new synergies. There are wonderful actors from all three ABC Daytime soaps, who just because we only could utilize a certain amount of people, were not included in this round.  But hopefully, they will be represented in the next round.  With two of the soaps now out in L.A., it’s not as difficult and challenging to make it all work.

MICHAEL: 

Courtesy/ABC

With all the challenges soap operas are facing at the beginning of this decade, do you think there will come a day, because of the rough times we face in the genre, that perhaps to save shows, characters, and performers on the ABC Daytime line-up, that they might integrate some characters into one big show?

FRANK:

No, because all three shows have lots of interesting characters and can stand on their own.  I don’t buy into the doom and gloom as much.  I know it’s a reality that we are in a recession and budgets are tight, but if the fans love these shows and watch these shows, and continue to support them, and support things like the What If’s, then they should get out there and say positive things.  Look, there are plenty of negative things to say about the world right now, let’s say
a few positive things.  Let’s support the things we love before they go away,
because then we won’t be able to say anything about them.

MICHAEL:

You are known to be great with budgets.  In fact, One Life is one of the only shows that is always under budget.  What is your secret?  Because, in addition to everyday costs of taping episodes, you seem to bring in all the special effect shows, such as Stacy’s Ice Freeze sweeps story, on point within the budget constraints.

FRANK:

I can’t speak to other people’s budgets, but I feel we have an incredibly hard working group at One Life to Live.  I think everyone understands if we want to do Stacy falling through the ice, or the musical we just did, Starr X-d Lovers, or Bo and Nora’s wedding, which was also extremely tough to do, that everybody needs to be on set on time, and everybody needs to be able to do their blocking, and know their lines, and the whole crew is behind us.  The actors on One Life are just such professionals. We move along at a nice pace.  And we also have a crew and a team that has been together for many years, and we developed a short hand, and we have found a way to make it work.  I am then constantly refining that, and thinking things through.  For instance, I might say, “Do we absolutely need that?  Because if we don’t, we can take that money, and put it into this.”  Knowing we were coming off of the musical and into Bo and Nora’s wedding, it was extremely important to figure out how we can do this, and still have Bo in a bathtub filled with tons of tomato juice, and six guys in the room that needed to be there.  And, so we can also have Tuc Watkins come back for the summer and that gives Llanview a jolt of his craziness and brilliance. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Speaking of Tuc sticking around this summer in Llanview, what else can viewers at One Life expect through the summer heat?  Who is going to be front and center?

FRANK:

Fans can expect some very interesting things to happen with Bo and Nora, which will be really fun. We will explore what married life means for them and their relationship with Matthew.  Starr and Cole are going to continue to persevere amidst the craziness of their families, and the situation that they are in, especially involving James and Hannah.  There is a great story going on which is picking up steam and will play out for a couple of months between Viki, Dorian and David, and Charlie, and it goes through to the beginning of fall.  The story is humorous.  Viki and Charlie are trying to set up Dorian and David, which ultimately will make these two see their true feelings for one another.  It’s always fun when Viki and Dorian are in the mix together.  We are finding now that Eli is not the good guy we all thought he was.  He has a lot of stuff coming up with Blair and Todd that will happen.  Of course, the other major story is what is going to happen with Tea, and her daughter, Dani.  It’s really a hard, emotional story, and very uplifting at the same time, and life affirming. We did a fantastic remote with Trevor and Florencia Lozano (Tea), and Kelley Missal (Dani).  Also, there are a lot of surprises and twists and turns with Natalie, John, Jessica, and Brody.  That story will definitely be heating up over the next couple of weeks.  There is a little bit of everything this summer on One Life.

MICHAEL:

You have accomplished so much at a young age in daytime.  When did you start at One Life?  It’s been a few decades, right?

FRANK:

I have been at One Life to Live for 25 years, and I have been the Executive Producer for seven and a half years. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Do you think looking back, that this was your ultimate goal?  To run a daytime soap opera?

FRANK:

It’s kind of like when you first meet somebody, you don’t know you are going to spend the rest of your life with them. (Laughs)  And then 25 years later, you look back and go, “Wow, Wow, that has been fun.”  I came out of college and started working at One Life to Live for then executive producer, Paul Rauch, (now co-exec prod at Y&R) who was an incredible teacher and mentor, and I sort of fell in love with the show.  I fell in love with the actors, and yes, I love what I do, and I work incredibly hard.  But, I never want to watch the show and think, “I wish we could have done that, or we should have done that.”  We are
always trying to learn, and make the show better every day.

MICHAEL:

As the show’s EP, when you hear rumors that the show could be canceled this December, or all the other rumors about One Life’s cancellation over the past year, how do you rah-rah your show?  Keep everyone’s spirits at One Life up?  Rally the troops?

FRANK:

It’s a combination of pointing out what the facts are, because rumors don’t mean anything… they are just rumors.  And yes, you can re-check with the network and ask, “Is there something we should know?”  But we look at the ratings, and the sweeps period for the show, and the different segments of the audience.  Obviously, the demographic of 18-49 is very important.  From February up through May we were doing pretty well, and pretty much number three in the demos.  That is very good.  And sometimes, that number goes up, and sometimes that number goes down.  And on a good day it’s great, and on the bad days we try to sit back a minute and think, “OK, what did we do wrong?”  Everybody on our set has a great sense of humor, and they know ABC Daytime is behind us 100%, so we just keep going. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

In closing, what tip would you give every soap fan or ABC Daytime fan, about enjoying the upcoming What If’’s?

FRANK:

Don’t miss them from the beginning, because then when they all roll out you will be on board.   They are all fun!  Make sure you share them with all of your friends.  It’s for people who watch the soaps, or even who don’t watch the soaps, because it’s new and it’s never been done before.  Get in early and stay for the whole ride.

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Keith
Keith

Great interview. Nice hearing from Frank as we do not hear from him much in the press. The “What If” promos sound really great and I think a lot of soap fans will be tuningin to check them out.

Ann
Ann

A very interesting read! I enjoyed the interview and it was nice to see the cancellation rumors addressed. The “What If” promos are a unique concept. I am looking forward the most to Todd/Spinelli. I know that one will be great! Frank should have mentioned what a great “gift” TSJ is to OLTL though. I think he is by far OLTL’s biggest asset! I just love Trevor’s work!

Tina Payne
Tina Payne

Michael Fairman, thanks for that great interview with Frank Valentini! I saw Frank’s genius up close for almost 10 hours when my husband and I had the privilege to see OLTL tape for a day. I think he puts out the best daytime drama on TV today. I told him that after the Emmys a couple of weeks ago, then some fans came to him pleading “Don’t kill Tea!”!, and later Laura Wright and he talked a long time, so I never got the chance to ask him about cancellation rumors. I may not have had the heart to anyway, so I’m glad you did, and that it is called a rumor and not a fact. If anyone can save a show, it’s FV with his great cast and crew, and the best actor there is, MICHAEL EASTON! Can’t wait to see ME and Kelly reunited! Caleb’s love for Olivia lasted from the start to the finish of Port Charles and seeing ME with the first leading lady I enjoyed him with again, 7 years later, is such a fan gift; and I’m happy to thank Frank Valentini for making it as brilliant as I know it will be!

Cammie
Cammie

I really enjoyed the interview and I’m glad he addressed the cancellation rumors as just that rumor.I’m really looking forward to the What If webisodes,especially the ones with Michael Easton,Kassie DePaiva and Trevor St. John.I really think it’s an interesting concept and if they do it again I would love to see one with Michael Easton and Bobbie Eakes.I really think they would have amazing chemistry.

Doe
Doe

Michael, this is one of the best and inteligent interviews you have done. Not only did you ask the right questions to Frank , but he was very willing to give you and the fans , the right answers. I think the creation of these episodes is brilliant. The mash-ups are ideal. This shows the clevernes of Frank Valentini. I think they will be so succesful that the fans will be asking for more. Frank must have had a ball working with the personalities of these srars. Kidos to you for the interview and kudos for Frank for being so inventive. Can’t wait to see all the episodes…….

Keith
Keith

You are so correct Doe. This was a great interview. As you said, Michael asked great questions and just as important, Frank seemed to be very open in his answers. I would love to see Frank do an interview with Michael where he went in to depth about all the comings and goings at OLTL, storylines, what to look forward to, etc. You can tell Frank was very comfortable with Michael, so you know it would be a great read to hear Frank talk in depth about OLTL.

Ann
Ann

There will have to be a sequel with Michael and Kelly. If there are
sequels, you can bet this will be one of them. I cannot wait to see them
together again!

Joanna
Joanna

Excellent interview! I am looking foreward to OLTL in the next couple of weeks, because it looks like we move away from teen centered stories and back to the adults. I am really looking foreward to John/Natalie Jessica/Brody stuff. And Bo/Nora they have been missed.

Rosalind Wolf
Rosalind Wolf

I wonder if the powers that be know that not only the younger generation watch OLTL. My mom watched the show from its inception and I was hooked from the start. I am now a senior citizen and just love the show but I would appreciate seeing Erica, Charlie and Bo and Nora and Clint have more screen time. I loved the interview.

Jason
Jason

I’m glad Starr and Cole are perserving and working on repairing their relationship. Those two have gone through enough, and they deserve a break from the drama I just hope they tell each other what happened first before.

Kathy
Kathy

I’m a new viewer to OLTL and James & Starr have drawn me to watch it and anticipate it every day.

I love this new potential couple!!

Joan
Joan

“One Life to Live is the best soap on ABC…..I started watching when “All My Children”
and One Life to Live….. in with the baby switch…..I’ve been watching ever since…
I hope “One Life to Live ” can continue to thrive…..
I also enjoyed the “What if clips”….they were very entertaining.
I wish Tea didn’t have to leave…..I feel so bad for Danielle….
I also enjoyed watching Michael Easton….in Port Charles.

General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kirsten Storms Chats On: The Emotional Impact Of Nathan’s Death & Who Could Be Maxie’s New Love Interest

2018 has been a difficult year for Port Charles’ beloved Maxie Jones. She became a widow and a single mom following the untimely death of the love of her life, Nathan West (Ryan Paevey).  Maxie’s portrayer, General Hospital fan favorite Kirsten Storms delivered in scene after scene, tearjerker after tearjerker, as viewers experienced the grief of losing a good man, a good cop and her husband, and the father of her child.

Complicating things was Maxie’s friendship with Peter August (Wes Ramsey), who came to town with an agenda and who was revealed to be Henrik Faison, Nathan’s half-brother. As Maxie soldiered on with life after-Nathan, she formed a bond with Nathan’s sister, Nina (Michelle Stafford). Through various (and one nefarious) twists and turns, the two women have grown closer always trying to have each other’s back, and to be there for one another in their times of need.

This past Labor Day, ABC and General Hospital aired the encore presentation of Nathan’s funeral, which reminded us all of great soap opera storytelling, and Storms’ powerhouse performance in this storyline.

Michael Fairman TV recently chatted with Kirsten where we found out: how she handled this 10-hankie inducing storyline, who she thinks the ultimate new love interest for Maxie will be – with Peter and Chase (Josh Swickard) in the running, and how she has stood up for herself on social media when she has had to set fans straight on their often misperceptions. There is no question that Storms contributions to making the character of Maxie come to life, make her one of the standout MVP’s of daytime drama.  Here’s what Kirsten shared.

Nathan’s funeral has been one the standout episodes of the year thus far in soaps. Every aspect of it was beautifully executed from the performances, the writing, the directing, camerawork, etc.  What were your thoughts of the storyline that followed with Peter (Wes Ramsey) being kidnapped by Nina (Michelle Stafford) and Obrecht (Kathleen Gati)?  Maxie did not originally have a clue as to what was going on to avenge Nathan’s death. 

KIRSTEN:  I have chats with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) occasionally about storyline.  He and I have a very good relationship.   He’ll talk to me about things I have coming up, because he knows I’m not the type of person who talks to other people about it.  I’m literally the last person on the gossip train.  I’m always the last person to find out about things.  It almost makes me feel stupid. (Laughs)   So, it’s nice because he’ll say to me, “This is going to happen: Nathan is going to die, and Maxie and Peter are going to become closer, and Nina and Obrecht are going to kidnap him and start breaking his limbs ….”   I thought, “Oh cool. We’re going back to crazy Nina,” who is one of my favorite characters.   I love that we always forget the stuff that Nina has done in her past.  It’s not brought up, but it’s there!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

They have balanced the character of Nina out since her beginnings of the show, which has made her a more fleshed-out character with many dimensions.

KIRSTEN: They have!  Nina’s job with Crimson really leveled that character out, and the relationship with Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), although he’s crazy himself so it works!  Michelle has built up such a great character, and Kathleen Gati always brings one hundred and ten percent.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I love the bond between Maxine and Nina, because Nina has been the grieving sister, and Maxie gave birth to Nathan’s son, and they were trying to help each other through their despair.

KIRSTEN:  Yes, it wasn’t too long ago that Maxie was following Nina around in steam rooms begging her to take her back with her jobs, and now they’re inseparable.  (Laughs)  She jokes that Nina’s transferred her love from Nathan to Maxie in a creepy way. (Laughs)

Maxie has worked for Kate Howard and Nina. Who does Maxie think is a better boss?

KIRSTEN:  Selfishly, I think she’d probably say Nina, because I think Nina takes into account her opinion a little bit more.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How did you get through the amount of crying leading up to, and following Nathan’s death, that was called upon for you as an actress to play in so many tragic and heartbreaking scenes?   Were you able to get through it, and not take the emotional toll that was hitting the character home with you?  

KIRSTEN:  It’s always difficult to have emotional scenes, but to have so many of them felt like it went on for a long time.  There was a good two and a half weeks where I had to be sobbing going into work.  I had recently been reminded of what it was like to lose somebody that you care about.  I remember when I was breaking down my dialogue (because there’s a whole huge process that I go through) thinking, “Oh! I remember what this felt like, and I have to remember to try to portray that when doing this.”  The moment when Nathan flatlines, and Maxie goes outside, and she hears it … he’s dead.  That unexpected turn, because they woke Nathan back up that’s what killed me.  Nathan gets shot, he has surgery, he wakes back up and starts talking, and then he dies moments later.  I remember thinking, “Oh, my God!”  Having Nathan wake up, and giving Maxie that hope and then just taking him away … from that moment on I knew I would have to be just crushed completely… while playing pregnant.  I felt that there were a lot of days after work when I would stay for an extra hour and just decompress, but I was happy when they started to move on from that a little bit, because it was a heavy couple of weeks.

Photo Ctedit: JPI Studios

Did you watch any of those performances back?

KIRSTEN:  I did, and I never usually do that anymore.

So, you’re going to submit yourself for the Emmy this year, right?  If you don’t, I am going to do it for you myself! (Laughs)

KIRSTEN: (Laughs) Yes, I plan on submitting.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Where do you see Maxie’s relationship going with Peter now?  Will Chase (Josh Swickard) be in her life?  How many cops can she have relationships with if she were to date Chase? (Laughs)

KIRSTEN: (Laughs) I know, right?  I was kind of hoping for that fact alone that she wouldn’t end up with Chase, but then I worked with Josh.  Not only did people like it, but I liked it!  I worked with him the day after I came back from two sick days that I took, and I felt terrible.  I was there pretty much because I didn’t want to let Frank down, and Molly Burnett (Maxie sub, GH) was working on something else, and she couldn’t work one more day for me.  I remember being on set and I kept saying, “Josh, I am so sorry.”  We had already had our scenes in the police station, but they were so brief.  This was the first real set of scenes with him that I had.  I just felt that it wasn’t the first impression that I wanted to make on him for who I am as an actor, but he was so supportive.  Josh didn’t let it alter his performance.  I could barely look at him and I could barely look into the lights!   I just felt like I wanted to be at home in bed, but he made those scenes fantastic.  They wouldn’t have been what they were.  If I had walked on set, new to a show, with someone who had been there for a long time… and now, knowing that he was a Zenon fan, he probably had all of these other expectations, and I’m like, “I can’t even look at you!”  (Laughs)

(Laughs) So you would be okay with a Maxie/Chase pairing?

KIRSTEN:  One hundred percent.

And as far as Peter goes?

KIRSTEN:  I have a soft spot for Wes.  I really do.

He’s been given a tough time by many fans of the show on social media.

KIRSTEN:  He has, and I think that’s unjustified.  I have really high expectations for my scene partner, because I know that when I’m going in there, I’ve prepared my dialogue, and I have a good sense of what I am going to bring to the table.  You should do that too as my or anybody’s scene partner,  because there are lots of soap actors out there who are not working anymore, who would be willing to put that type of work into this part.  With Wes, he respects acting so much that never in a million years would he not go to the set with that same mindset – if not more so than I have – and I think we have this mutual respect for each other on that level.  We are committed to our scenes, and kind of don’t really care what else is going on in the storyline at that moment.  For example, when he tells Maxie that he’s Henrik in the hospital and she is in a wheelchair, there were four or five other people in that scene who didn’t have dialogue, so there was chatting and laughing going on.  He just completely zoned in to what he was doing.  He was able to bring emotion and cry.  I texted him and was like, “I don’t even think I’m going to be noticed in those scenes.  Great job!  It’s good, because I didn’t like the way I looked in the wheelchair!”  I just adore him, and he and Laura Wright (Carly) could not be a cuter couple with each other.  She’s happy. They both are very happy, and they both are genuinely good people, and to anyone who has anything to say about the reason why Wes was hired, or his part in the show, I’ll say that he has a better work ethic than a lot of people who I have had the opportunity to work with throughout my career.   He’s earned his place on the show, and if people just gave him a chance and step back from what they know goes on behind the scenes as far as his relationship Laura, they’ll be able to see how talented he is.

Does Maxie give Peter a pass for what he’s done, and his lies and deception?

KIRSTEN:  So many people have given Maxie a pass for stuff she’s done.  I’d have to say, “Yes”.   I do like that he’s Nathan’s brother.  I feel like that has got a weird thing to it that I can understand Maxie’s draw to him, but he’s also a different person than Nathan.

Courtesy/ABC

You’ve recently been great at shutting things down on social media when fans make assumptions about what is going on in your personal life and explaining the situation.  Can you talk to me about that?

KIRSTEN:  I guess motherhood changed me so much.  There’s no time for the b**s anymore.  Going through everything I did last year, I had to really accept that I am human.  The things that I go through and experience, or that have happened in my life are no different from somebody who is sitting at home watching the show.  I’m a person, too.  I can’t be ashamed of the things that happen to me.  I just have to own it and move forward, because owning it is how you get better with something.   Last year was a very rough year for me.  I think a lot of things came to a head for me personally.  I’ve never been the type of person to kind of slink back and let that take me over.  I’ve always been like, “Nope.  I want to get back to work.  I love my job.”  As much as I love it, I take it that seriously.  I know the emotional and mental condition that I have to be in to be able to be prepared and work as well as I want to.  So, I don’t want anyone to be confused about what my time away from work has been for.  I pride myself on the work I have done on myself, and I want to be able to acknowledge that.

So, what have you thought of Kirsten’s performance throughout her storyline following Nathan’s shocking death? Would you like to see Peter, Chase, or someone else as Maxie’s new romantic interest?  Share your thoughts on this and other points and views shared in this interview via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Camila Banus Dishes On The Dark Side Of Gabi & Her Ultimate Revenge Plan On Abby And Those Who Wronged Her

On Days of our Lives, Gabi Hernandez has been through the wringer, and now she is about to put everyone else through the wringer, too!  For the last few months, viewers of the NBC daytime drama have witnessed the turn in the character, played to the hilt by Camila Banus.  After suffering major mental and physical anguish, and being sent to prison for a crime she did not commit along the way (thanks Stefan and “Gabby”!), this spitfire is ready to takedown Abby (Marci Miller) and Stefan (Tyler Christopher), and whoever else is the way as part of her collateral damage in her revenge schemes.

Thus far, Gabi has already switched the DNA paternity results of Abby’s unborn child from Chad (Billy Flynn) to Stefan. She has been egging on her ex Chad to divorce Abigail, although that seems to be backfiring on her at the present.  So, what’s a girl to do?  The key to her plot may be poor Abigail’s delicate mental state; after all, Abby suffered from DID and created “Gabby”, and “Dr. Laura” to try to cope with the fact that she murdered Andre DiMera (Thaao Penghlis).

While Banus is getting the chance to show off her chops on DAYS, she has been landing many exciting projects in primetime and film. Chief among them, Camila has joined the cast of the Fox drama, Star, where she will be making an impact in her new role of Nina Ferrera on the show’s upcoming third season.  Michael Fairman TV caught up with this talented young woman to get her take on how playing bad feels so good. Check out what Camila had to say below.

When you found out that Gabi was going to the dark side, was this something you had hoped would happen?

CAMILA:  Yes.  I think when Ron Carlivati (head writer, Days of our Lives) first arrived; I had a phone conversation with him where he kind of knew I wanted a strong storyline: something that I thought would be worthwhile; something that I thought would be very strong for Gabi.  I didn’t give him a direction.  I thought it was just cool that he did go this way with her.  I think, I even mentioned to him, “I don’t care if she goes crazy.  I don’t care if she has multiple personalities,” but obviously as it turned out, he was doing that with the character of Abigail, but it’s cool, because Gabi’s able to interact with that storyline and play her own dramatic situations that are going on.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When you were One Life to Live’s Lola Montez, didn’t Ron write for you then as well?

CAMILA:  He was on board when that was happening.

She turned bad too, didn’t she?

CAMILA:  She didn’t turn bad.  She just took acid on her prom night.  Actually, she kind of did turn bad.  She poked holes in her cousin’s condom, but whatever. (Laughs)  It is what it is.  (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

I’m watching the scenes where Gabi is sipping on a martini, and being this bitch on wheels.  You’ve got it down! 

CAMILA:  Thanks!  It’s been a long time, and Gabi has been kind of been s**t on for a while (laughs), so it feels good to have a little redemption, you know?  It’s so fun!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Gabi is so upset.  She gets beaten up in prison, thrown in there from a crime she did not commit, she learns she may never be able to have children again because of it, and her daughter seems to not like her now and Abby gets pregnant!  You could see how it all could pile up and lead to a spiteful and revenge-filled Gabi Hernandez!

CAMILA:  Well, her daughter is feeling resentment because she’s abandoned her twice, for a very long time, both times.  Arianna is a very small little girl who needs her mom.  She’s pretty angry at her now and she can express it better.  Arianna chooses to act this way, act out, and tell Gabi how she’s feeling.  I think that just goes to show what a great mom Gabi is that her kid is able to speak so freely to her.  It’s been a pretty rough couple of months for Gabi, and then, this last straw has been to hear that she cannot create life again.  She cannot sustain life in her body.  That happened from being beaten in prison and getting a really bad infection that scarred her and that does not allow her to carry a child to term.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

And then she finds out Abigail is pregnant, and we start to see Gabi’s wheels turning!

CAMILA:  Yes, because the worst thing is that she finds out that Abigail is pregnant.  That really is a punch to her uterus.  It sucks, because she’s been given this other news, and it’s like, “What? Are you serious?”  This gift has been given to the woman that did all of the horrible things to her.

Also, Gabi was in love with Chad.  Is that another reason why she wants to destroy Abigail? 

CAMILA:  I don’t really think that plays into this.  Mostly, it’s just the backstabbing, the lying, and the setting her up for a murder that she did not commit; allowing her to sit and rot in prison, allowing her to be away from her daughter for so long.  It’s pretty hard to forgive.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When Gabi found out that it was Abby’s alter, “Gabby” that was framing her for murder, is that still no excuse in Gabi’s mind?  Even though Abby was mentally ill at the time?

CAMILA:  I guess the way Gabi is playing it is, “At the end of the day that was Abigail.  Abigail could have come out at some point and saved me if that was the case and did not.  If that was the case, why wasn’t she seeking therapy?  Why did I have to be the one who was harmed in all of this?  It’s not fair regardless.  So, yeah, I’m kind of blaming it on her.”

Then there’s Gabi’s resentment and anger at Stefan, who was part of the “Gabby” cover-up.

CAMILA:  Stefan just fed the fire of the personality.  He knew what was happening and didn’t do anything about it.  He made it worse

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Speaking of Stefan, what has it been like working with Tyler Christopher?

CAMILA:  It’s been fun!  I loved throwing the cup at him and just all of the fiery conversations that Gabi and Stefan get to have.  It’s great to fight with such a big, powerful character.  It makes me have a lot of power too, so it’s just been great.

Photo Credit: JPI Studops

This week unveils the next leg of Gabi’s plan, where she sets out to try to make it look like Abigail is suffering from DID again.  Do you think the audience will be tweeting, “How could Gabi do that to someone with a serious mental illness?” 

CAMILA:  Karma is a bitch.  That’s how it’s been written, and that’s how I’m playing it.  I think that it doesn’t matter if I like it or not.

Gabi seems to have conjured up this plan, but what does she think that the endgame is?

CAMILA:  She has some plan, but obviously you can’t be prepared for anything.  You can have plan A, plan B, plan C, but you’re always going to get an X-factor or variables.  It’s never going to be something that is going to go your way, especially for Gabi, because she’s not a savvy, dark side person.  She’s just getting into this dark side business.  She had to do what she had to do to Nick Fallon (Blake Berris), but that’s not something that she was planning.  That’s just something she did to protect herself.  I think she’s rolling with the punches.  She’s got Kate (Lauren Koslow), who is her compass in all of this, telling her, “What are you doing?”

Photo Credit: JPi Studios

Marci Miller made the decision to leave the show.  How do you feel about her exit when the two of you built this drama between your characters?

CAMILA:  People come and go all of the time from our show.  I left; I’ve come back.  It’s just something that is just part of our business.  It sucks to not have her around every single day.  We get used to having people here every single day, and then we just try to keep up, and stay in touch when someone leaves.

I thought it was great that your Lifetime movie Killer Caregiver came out at the same time that Gabi started becoming dark on Days of our Lives.  How was playing that role? 

CAMILA: That movie was so fun to play, because I feel like it had a lot of ‘Lifetime’ elements to it, but it also felt really edgy.  It was very, “Hand That Rocks the Cradle.”  I loved playing that role.  It was fun to be such a bad, bad girl.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You have been cast on Fox’s hit music dramatic series, Star opposite William Levy. Congrats!  What can you tell us about the role of Nina? Have you already shot your scenes?

CAMILA: Thank you!  I have shot scenes for my role on Star.  Nina Ferrera is a bold and savvy business owner that equals her powerhouse husband.  We are both go-getters and determined to make our mark in the industry and I can tell you that she’s extremely fashionable!

You have such passionate fans, who always want the best for you.  They are vocal on social media.  What have they thought of the turn in your character?

CAMILA:  It’s interesting.  I’m not getting that many haters, which I have in the past when she’s gone a little to the dark side.

Photo: CBanusInstagta,

I remember when that happened, and I was like, “What is going on?”

CAMILA:  Yeah, I’m not really getting too many haters.  I think people feel bad for me!  I think they feel bad that Gabi’s had it so tough.  I mean, being falsely accused of murder … when Gabi was on trial, she went to a maximum-security facility.  That’s not okay.  Melinda Trask had it out for her.  I think that’s why people kind of understand.

They want Gabi to stir the pot!

CAMILA:  Yeah!  We’re in a soap opera.  We’re on a show.  We need drama.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When you’re doing certain types of scenes where you have to look at the camera with the martini, or make certain comments to yourself, do you ever worry that it’ll be too over the top?

CAMILA:  I worry every single time, and I know every single time that it will be over the top, because who sits with a martini glass talking to themselves?  (Laughs)  Of course, obviously, I’m not psychotic!  (Laughs)  Again, it’s just part of our business.  It’s part of the scandal of it all, part of the drama.  I get these scenes, and I can say to the producers and the director, “Hey, I don’t want to do this,” and the only thing they’re going to tell me is, “You’ve got to do this.”  (Laughs)  You just try to make it as natural as possible, and roll with it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studiops

How will Gabi’s dear friend and father of her child, Will Horton (Chandler Massey) fit into all of this?  Will Gabi care what Will thinks if he finds out what she is doing?

CAMILA:  Will comes into this a little bit after this story develops as kind of a Jiminy Cricket character, in a guidance kind of situation that she may, or may not heed.

Do you think fans will see bad Gabi continue once this story is over?

CAMILA:  Gabi will continue to be bad as long as people continue to wrong her.  If people stop messing with her, everything will be fine.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Isn’t she worried her brother Rafe (Galen Gering), who works for the Salem PD, might arrest her if he finds out what she’s doing? 

CAMILA:  No.  (Laughs)  Honestly, that’s the honest answer.  She’s not worried.  She’s really just not thinking about that at all … at all!

Is her company “Gabi Chic” going to continue?

CAMILA:  She cannot have any other baby.  Her other baby is her company, so she’s going to fight for it.

You’ll have great stuff for Emmy time next year.  Is there one particular scene that you’ve loved so far in this story line?

CAMILA:  Yes, but it hasn’t aired yet.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What did you like about those scenes; without saying what they are specifically?

CAMILA:  You get to see a little bit of raw Gabi, and a moment of understanding of where all of this is coming from.

She switched the DNA results to make it look like Stefan is the bio-dad of Abigail’s baby when it is Chad’s.  Interesting how she pulled that off! (Laughs)

CAMILA:  It was very convenient.  It just kind of worked out for her, and that’s why it was something that just kind of happened.  Kayla’s (Mary Beth Evans) assistant came in and dropped the results at the precise time Gabi was standing there.

Courtesy/NBC

So, in a broad stroke, you would say to the viewers to look for Gabi to continue to terrorize those who wronged her?

CAMILA:  Yes! Look for Gabi to get the revenge she deserves.

What do you think of Gabi’s plans to get payback on Abby and Stefan?  Do you hope she succeeds  … or that someone will stop her before she hurts so many people?  Are you excited that Camila will be on the upcoming season of Star?  What has been your favorite Gabi bad girl moment thus far? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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