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The Genie Francis Interview – Pretty & The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/S.Fleming/CBS

Courtesy/CBS

Who says you can’t reinvent yourself multiple times over after portraying one of the most iconic, identifiable, and memorable characters of the soap genre and pop culture?  Well, don’t tell that to Daytime Emmy winner, Genie Francis.  The former Laura Spencer of General Hospital has gone on from her life in Port Charles’ sturm and drang, to her new role as mother-from-hell (sort of) Genevieve Atkinson on The Young and the Restless, to her starring role in the Hallmark series of made-for-television movies The Note.   But now Genie is taking another left turn in her stellar career, playing Dr. Kate, the pageant therapist, in creator and writer Steve Silverman’s hit comedy web series, Pretty! (www.prettytheseries.com)

If you missed the season-three premiere of Pretty, you will want to make sure to watch Genie, as she is plopped in amongst the zany and outlandish pageant-crazy Champagne family!  Francis will also appear in several more webisodes, where her Dr. Kate tries to make sense of it all … something we don’t think anyone can do with these folks!  On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Genie, not only about being part of a series on the web, but the consistent rumors that she is heading back to General Hospital, her current role as Genevieve on Y&R and what’s in store for fans of the show who have been missing Genie on-air.  And yes, she tells us about working with her CBS co-stars, including fan favorite Daniel Goddard (Cane) who plays her on-screen Genoa City son.

We also take a look at the genre today as opposed to when Francis first started in the glory days of daytime, and where she feels some much needed transition did not occur that might have saved the soaps from becoming extinct.  And what about that Oprah Show appearance with her and Tony Geary (Luke, GH), and being trotted out as part of the soap star legend spectacular?  Genie tells us more on what went down behind the scenes. We think that any long time soap fans will enjoy this interview with Genie, in which she tells it like it is, with honesty, humor, and as an actress who has been through it all in the tough world of show biz, and let’s not forget … the woman is still quite young!  Here’s the incomparable Genie Francis!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/PrettytheSeries

Genie, you came into being on Pretty through your former on-screen GH mom, Denise Alexander (Ex-Lesley Webber) who also appears in Pretty in the role of Louise Kirkpatrick.  How did she get you to even consider doing something like this wickedly funny and off the wall comedy web series?

GENIE:

I got a call from Denise Alexander telling me how much she loved this script, and Steve Silverman, and how fun he was to work for.  And since Denise is in the show too, she said, “It would just be great if you would do it, and would you consider it for me?”  And I said, I would, because this woman has been so good to me all of my life.  And, she has never asked me for anything in return.   So it was sort of a chance for me to do something for her.  So based on that … I made my decision to do it.  Then, I went through a very busy time in my life with making this movie for Hallmark, and working on the soap and getting my kids back into the first week of school.  I was just running around like a crazy person and I did not really read the script of Pretty till right before I had to go to work.

MICHAEL:

So you said “yes”, but had not read the script, and truly had no idea what you were getting yourself into or involved in.  You must trust Denise implicitly!

GENIE:

Yeah, because I basically made the decision that I was going to do this for Denise!  And then, I was very pleasantly surprised that it was this cute, funny, interesting group of people, and that it was actually a really fun experience.  So that’s it.  That’s the whole story. (Laughs)

Courtesy/PrettytheSeries

MICHAEL:

In Pretty you get to play Dr. Kate, Pageant Therapist!  I thought you were so funny! And it was so great, because we don’t get to see you like that.

GENIE:

Oh, I am so glad to hear you say that.  Thank you for telling me that.   And you’re right; you don’t get to see me like that. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

When you watched back the season three premiere webisode, with you front and center, did you think you were funny?

GENIE:

I was happy with the thing I did, that was much in the style of the hit comedy show The Office, where I was talking about the gold curtain and the lighting.  And that was great because I did what I wanted to do, which is that style made famous by The Office.

MICHAEL:

So were you acting by yourself in many of those “therapy” scenes with the cast of characters, which includes a hilarious cameo from The Bay’s Mary Beth Evans? Or, were they in the room with you?

GENIE:

Courtesy/PrettytheSeries

Sam Pancake (Michael Champagne) and Stacy McQueen (Annette Champagne) were there and Mary Beth Evans was there. But then there were others who were not there.  All of my part was done in like four hours!

MICHAEL:

Did you come in the way you were going to interpret the character and that was how you were going to play, Dr. Kate?  Or, did Steve Silverman give you more direction? Or, was it a ‘I’m going to run with it, here you go’ type of scenario?

GENIE:

Steve jokes about this, since I waited till the night before the shoot to read the script, but I was really busy.  And I have to take each job one at a time or I get confused.  So I just go one job, and one day at a time.  So I called Steve the night before and I went, “Ok. What do you want from me here?”  And he basically said, “I want you to be the voice of reason, because that would be the worst nightmare for the character of Michael Champagne, which would be to have to face the voice of reason.”  And I said, “Oh Great.  I can do that.  See you tomorrow.” (Laughs) There have been years that I have had in the past where I have not done a darn thing, but this happened to be during a busy time.  Like I said, Steve knew exactly what he wanted from me, so he facilitated that beautifully and quickly.  He got what he wanted.  The guy is very professiononal, smart, and very talented.  He deserves all the kudos.

MICHAEL:

So, would you come back and do another season of Pretty?

GENIE:

Oh yeah!  I would for him.  For him I would do it, because I think Steve is cool.  I don’t know that I would do it for just anybody.  Denise was right when she said, “I needed to do something that I have never done.”  I think she did not steer me wrong.  She involved me with somebody who is actually interesting creatively, and for that I am grateful.

Courtesy/Prettytheseries

MICHAEL:

The Mary Beth Evans therapy scene was hilarious!  Wasn’t she Sara Garrett from The Bay who was confused that she was in the wrong therapy office?

GENIE:

Yes.  I also thought that Mary Beth’s long monologue about all the things that happen to her was terrific. (Laughs) She did a really good job at it, and it was hard for me not to laugh while she did it!  I was happy to see her dealing with the monologue that way, because there are so many times in soaps that we are asked to do these ridiculous speeches, and we always say to ourselves, “This could be comedy real easily, if we could just play it that way.”  And there she was playing it that way.  And I thought, “Good for her!”   I was proud of her and impressed with her ability.

MICHAEL:

So on The Young and the Restless you came on as Genevieve, and you had said in interviews it was like breath of fresh air for you.  After years of playing “put-upon” Laura Spencer on GH, you got to play an eerie bitch!  How did that feel?

GENIE:

I will tell you it made me feel immediately lighter in my person.  I just felt like I don’t have to wring my hands and cry all the time, and worry and focus on the pain, you know. Now the focus of this new character was: how do I entertain myself, even if it’s at your expense?  It’s kind of like the character in House.  I just say what I want to say because it tickles me.  That was a fun-freeing part of the character to play and I enjoyed it.  I think they are changing Genevieve now a little bit, where they are leaning towards making her a more traditional heroine model, which is also OK with me.  They have a very big show to tackle, and how they want to use me in their show should be their decision, and I don’t have my heels dug in.  We know that Genevieve has this caustic side to her that is not gone.  Right now she is in a happy moment in her life and there is a little bit of softening going on, which I think is good.  Ultimately, she should have both.  She should have her tough side and her soft side.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

It was interesting because fans and soap pundits where saying, “Was Genie channeling her inner Helena Cassadine?”  Through your portrayal of Genevieve, were you at all doing that?

GENIE:

At times I was in the very early part of playing her, and then it started to change a bit as we went forward because I started to make her funny.  I don’t think Helena was ever funny.  Then it also started to be more fun for me to play.  I know that a lot of my cast mates thought it was funny, and I liked it.  And honestly, I don’t know how the audience receives it because we are so in a vacuum.  It’s very hard to tell.  You can use Twitter to try and ask people.  But even that represents a small group of people, and it’s not inclusive of everybody.  It’s uncomfortable being in that sort of a void, and seeing how people are receiving it.  I am hoping that the networks know more than me. (Laughs)  I am just grateful for every day of work they give me, and whatever they write for me.  I try to bring it to life as fully and as completely as I can, because that is what I am hired to do.

MICHAEL:

I think people were worried once they wrote off Tristan Rogers ( Ex-Colin, Y&R) and they saw less airtime from you that you were leaving Genoa City as well, and that you were rumored to be heading back to General Hospital.  So what would you say to that?

GENIE:

Well first of all, the rumors about me going back to General Hospital are just that… they are just rumors.  I wanted to go back to General Hospital for many years and they did not want it.  And I am quite sure, even after my Oprah Show appearance, they were not interested. 

MICHAEL:

Well, to this moment that stuns me!  I am damn sure, you were stunned too.

Courtesy/HarpoProds.

GENIE:

Yeah, I was little angry that they would put me out there as part of Luke and Laura and then not follow-up with a job offer.  They were getting me to do free press for their show, but not offering me any employment.  So to tell you the truth, I have really quite had it with that.  It is not fair.  I was very grateful that someone like Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Arena Bell said, “Well, I am interested and I will write for her.”  And in fact, CBS really embraced me in a very nice way.  They gave me lots of press.  They worked hard at creating a character.  I could not have asked for more from them.  I really couldn’t have.  I am very grateful to them at trying to re-launch me on a soap!

MICHAEL:

Any thoughts now with Garin Wolf and Shelly Altman co-head writing GH and it being a different regime? If they were to come to you now and ask you to come back, would that make any difference for you?  Would you consider it?  Even though Jill Farren Phelps is still the Executive Producer over there?

GENIE:

First of all, I think Jill is a very good producer, and I have nothing against Jill.  She is very smart and very talented.  I think she was stuck in a bad situation too.  I think it’s great that GH has a new creative team writing the show.  I hope it’s going to help them.  I would like to see them go on and do well.  But I suspect, they can’t make me an offer or do anything because they don’t know how long they are going to be on the air.  They can’t write a contract with me, when they don’t know what tomorrow holds.  You know what I am saying?

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Exactly!  GH is the show that unfortunately looks the most vulnerable right now compared to the rest of the soaps that are left, because of the moves made by ABC Daytime to shift and change their programming perspective.

GENIE:

Right!  ABC does not appear to have a commitment to the soaps that the other networks are holding on to.  I think that is the reason.  It’s not that I would not give them a chance to have me back.  It’s just that I don’t want to quit a three year contract to go for three months or so there.  It does not make sense for me, and there you have it.  I mean, I am thrilled to be back working again, and these people at Y&R have made a long-term commitment to me.  I am working with them and it’s a nice relationship.  I prefer to continue there where they do have a long-term picture in mind, and they haven’t given up.  They are not just biding their time just waiting to be canceled.  They want to keep working.

MICHAEL:

For the Genie Francis fans that adore you, let’s clear something up. When you are not on Y&R that does not mean you are off the show.  That means they are pushing forth other story and you are still going to be in the mix?  Right?

GENIE:

What happened was, I went to do a movie and the fans and some magazines assumed I was done.  But it just meant that I went to Canada for a month for another “Note” movie that I signed on to do before Maria Bell hired me for Y&R.  So for that reason, she had to write in my contract she would let me go do the film.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Tristan Rogers as his on-screen wife, after years of working with him in a different capacity at GH?

GENIE:

Courtesy/ABC

I loved working with Tristan.  I loved it.  I think he is a great guy and it is sad not to have him anymore on our show, but I hope he will go back to General Hospital.  I think they should pick him up.  And, I just want to say I hope GH makes it.  I really don’t want them to go off the air.

MICHAEL:

It’s hard for people not to see you, and Jonathan Jackson (Lucky, GH) and Tony Geary (Luke, GH) together again.  It’s like the three best actors on daytime!  There is a piece missing.

GENIE:

That is very sweet of you to say, but that piece has been missing for a very long time. And the piece was willing to come back, and honestly, they have been unwilling for whatever reason to give me a contract position there.  What can I do?  Someone else was willing to give me a contract position, and so I snapped it up.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Daniel Goddard (Cane, Y&R) as your son?

GENIE:

I think he is a great and he has been a sweet friend to me.  Daniel is very easy to get to know and very open.  I enjoy him and I enjoy working with him.  I hope that now that they are changing my character a bit that I will get some more realistic scenes with him that are a bit more about the relationship about these two people, and less about the agenda of getting rid of the evil dad.  So now we can delve into the history of these two people, which I think Daniel plays very well.  And I think it’s interesting for my character too.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/S.Fleming/CBS

Did you go, “Gosh. I have such a good-looking on-screen son!”

GENIE:

You know what I did?  The first day I said to him, “How old are you?” (Laughs)  He is nine year younger than me!  I could not conceive at eight, I am sorry.  Anyway, we giggle about that, but that is television, you know. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And how is working with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R)?

GENIE:

I love working with Peter and I got into his dressing room once.  And, I went into his bathroom, and Oh my God!  The guy has like 21 Emmys on the wall and these photographs, and that is the most intimidating bathroom!  I am like, “21 Emmys!  I am so out of my league here!”  And I laughed and laughed.  But it was terrific. The truth is I think he is possibly the best leading man I have ever had.  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  I love that he is really concerned about making it about the best scene it can be.  And there is a critical difference there.  Some soap actors want to make the best “them” they can be.  They want to steer the story to make it all about “them”, and I drive everything their way and that is all not who Peter is.  He just wants to make a great scene and he is concerned with your half of it as well as his.  And for that reason, I always listen to him and never question his judgment.  So when he says, “Hey Frankie, try this?”  I do.

MICHAEL:

“Frankie” is your nickname?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

GENIE:

It is my nickname that has been in my family for a long time.  But, I am using it over at Y&R because of Jeanne Cooper (Katherine).  There is one Jeanne over there, and it ain’t me.  I am Frankie to those people. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Should fans expect more with Jack and Genevieve?

GENIE:

I hope so.  I would like to continue to work with him because he is just so good, and Peter is so nice.  I did do a couple scenes with him that I was really proud of, and they were right before the two of them make love for the first time.  There were two scenes where Genevieve bares her soul to him.  And through that, the audience hopefully got more insight into who this woman really is.  That day was fun because we had some really nice long scenes.  Now most of the scenes they write these days in soaps are a page to a page and half, and that can be very tough.

MICHAEL:

Isn’t it so different than back in the day?  Soap operas would have two or three person scenes that would go on forever!

GENIE:

We used to have two or three character scenes that went on for nine to ten pages, almost like a play!  We just don’t have that anymore.  I just don’t know why we don’t have that anymore.  It doesn’t work as far as I am concerned.  You keep skimming the surface and never get anything deep or meaty.  I don’t like it.  I prefer the older way of writing where we really got a chance to lose ourselves in the material and the other actors.  And then some wonderful surprises would come out of it and thus the material would have more depth, and a scene would have more depth, as a result of it being a “scene”.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: PR Photos

I was there the night you won the Daytime Emmy, and I was so thrilled for you.  And I remember thinking that this was something that I felt should have happened many times over, and was a long time coming.  Did you feel like it was a defining moment?  And where is your Emmy?

GENIE:

My Emmy is by the TV cabinet by the television set, because they sort of go together.  In a weird way, it was sort of anti-climatic because it feels like it was done posthumously!

MICHAEL:

I know.  I couldn’t agree more. (Laughs)

GENIE:

It seems a bit like that, but that’s O.K. and you have to be grateful.  Better late than never, but who knows?  I got it at a time in my life when I could really be grateful for it and not tipped off balanced by it.  It didn’t blow up my ego, so in turn I would go act like a weirdo.  Now, when I was a teenager that might have happened.  Everything happens for a reason.  I am thrilled that they finally acknowledged my work, and that I got to put the little statue in my house.  I am glad I got the recognition.

MICHAEL:

When you and Tony Geary were on Oprah, it felt like such as short segment to me. Was it weird being on there?

GENIE:

You know what?  It actually really was.  I think the reason it feels like that to you is that they cut so much of that interview down. There were a lot of things that were said that were actually not included on the air show.  But I think to the producer’s credit, they cut out things that should have been cut out, and not have gone over the airwaves.  I think the Oprah Show and their producers are to be commended for how they put it together.  I personally thank Oprah for really taking the time.  And if you notice, she really teases out of me, “Well, c’mon. What do you want?”  She was like for the underdog in a way, and she was trying to give me a chance to speak to say what I wanted.  She made sure I got that moment.  I actually think the Oprah people handled that situation beautifully.  

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Do you and Tony Geary ever stay in touch?

GENIE:

You know, we really don’t.  He has always been a very private person and has kept to himself, and even in times of closeness, we were not particularly close.  I have not talked to him, and I don’t know what is going on with him at all.

MICHAEL:

When you think of that, and then the magic that happens on-screen between the two of you, it is truly amazing.  You must be proud of that and that you are iconic!

GENIE:

I am proud of what we created.  I think Tony is also proud of what we created.  And then when we do work together, we try to live up to it.

MICHAEL:

It had to be daunting from a very young age playing all of Laura’s crisis and despair up through being a grown up and a mother of several children.  Did you ever just want to yell, “Stop.  I can’t cry one more tear!?”

GENIE:

(Laughs) I enjoyed playing Laura right up until they had Lucky “die”.  And I played that as real as I could, and it was so tragic and so painful.  And then they kind of wrote the loss of a child through Tony eyes and they kind of put me aside.  So I really see that as the moment that they got off track with Laura.  For me, it was not much fun to play her from then on.

MICHAEL:

Even doing all of her heavy emotional breakdowns?

Courtesy/ABC

GENIE:

When my contract fell apart with them and I had to work with them for three or four more months, before I was going to be done, they finally wrote something for me. That was the Rick Webber situation and her losing her mind and going off into the straightjacket into a mental institution.  I loved that.  But I had to get fired to do it! (Laughs) It actually wasn’t a firing, it was a mutual decision. We both were done with each other at that moment, but out of it came some really exciting acting that I did enjoy immensely.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of Luke and Laura’s re-wedding?  Perhaps some of the biggest tearjerkers in soap history as we watched Laura slip away from her family and the man she loves, and she could not do anything to stop it.

GENIE:

When I did the re-visit for six weeks that I got my Emmy for, I had a lot of fun.  I enjoyed playing someone who had a physical ailment. Laura had a chronic illness and then she would only be around for a short period of time, and then she would go back into her trance-like state.  It was based on the movie Awakenings.  And again, I enjoyed that too because there was a story.

MICHAEL:

You are an icon.  So, what is it like for someone like you who is witnessing the genre dying?  It’s hard for me and I have been covering the genre for so long.  Do you think things could have been done differently at some point, so it wouldn’t have gone this way?

GENIE:

I think one of the biggest problems that I see is that the great, great, great writers, and minds, who created this stuff, the Doug Marlands’s, the Gloria Monty’s, the Bill Bell’s, the Agnes Nixon’s …they did not replace themselves.  They did not grow a new one to pass the baton on to.  It was like they held the position and held the power and closed the door as if it was all mine, mine, and mine.  They didn’t grow a new generation of people to carry it forward.  There really isn’t that new blood and I think that is a shame.  I think there are a lot of talented and new writers that don’t want to write for daytime because it’s dying and nobody wants to be associated with something that is dying.  So in a way, we can’t get the fresh blood we need.  They did not groom a new person who was passionate about soaps.  I am not sure why that is, but they didn’t.

MICHAEL:

What is it like being Genie now as opposed to back in the heyday in 1981 with the historic Luke and Laura wedding that blew up through pop culture and brought in sensational ratings and numbers? Do fans still come up to you from everywhere?  How do you handle those types of encounters different now?

GENIE:

Courtesy/ABC

It is much mellower, when I meet the fans now. They are not hair pulling on me or crying.  (Laughs) It is much more,Oh my God!”   And then there is this very warm feeling I get from them.  Then, I sort of do a very genuine check-in with them.   And I will often ask them, “Well, what are you doing now in your life?  And how are your kids?”  And then I will tell them about mine.  So it’s sort of like class reunion time and I treat it that way, sort of a “You were watching and I was doing. What is your life about now?”

MICHAEL:

Deflection! Very good.  I like your style!

GENIE:

It makes sense, doesn’t it? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

I know you have had so many trials and tribulations through your relationship with GH, but you have to look at your life and be extremely proud of what you have accomplished.

GENIE:

I am very grateful that after 36 years I am still working and under contract.  That alone is such a huge gift.  Most of us in television and as actresses work a long time and then you don’t hear from us.  I have been at this for 36 years.  I am still able to earn a living at it.  I am grateful and happy for my life.  I do hope the soaps can continue on, but if they can’t, you will see it grow into something new.  If you look at primetime television, there are tons of continuing dramas with continuing storylines.  People love to tune-in to get more of the story next week and that is never going to go away.  I just watched The Hamptons for the first time; I think it’s a soap!  I don’t think we are going to see soaps completely die.  I think we are going to see the genre move into different time slots, where there is an audience.  There is not much of an audience in the daytime anymore.  Everybody is at work and busy.

MICHAEL:

When you went onto the Y&R set for the first time, were cast members falling over themselves going, “Oh my God. I can’t believe it’s Genie Francis!  And she is on our show!”

GENIE:

(Laughs) I was welcomed by open arms, particular by Jess Walton (Jill).  I was greeted by such warmth right away from Jeanne Cooper, who could not have been sweeter and nicer.  It was my second day on the set and she was having a union rep into her dressing room and rounding people up. She yelled to Jess, “Go grab Genie Francis!” So I was summoned to her room and I was there.  So right away, I was treated as one of the gang, and you really can’t ask for more than that.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/TimesColumnist

And finally, are you going back to work for the first time in a while next week? When can fans expect to see Genevieve figure prominently into story?

GENIE:

I have been doing one episode a week for the last four weeks.  I work this week and then in November I am working a lot.  I have got several episodes per week.  So I think the storyline that they have been planning and building must be coming to a head in the next four weeks of shooting.   We should look for Genevieve to be playing heavy as the year comes to a close.  Needless to say, there will be a lot of “me” in December on TV. (Laughs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Colin & Jill
Guest
Colin & Jill

We want Tristan back on the Y&R with Jill. GF can feel free to go back to GH.

Webbie
Guest
Webbie

I have to say I’m surprised that she went on record as saying that PB is her best leading man ever. Wow.

Tralala
Guest
Tralala

Yep poor Tony…lol

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Hey I loved her on GH she is toning it down some on Y&R, it does not surprise me at all the things she said concerning Peter Bergman. They are so sexist over at GH and they are going to fall. Why because they are only about the male characters. Ask Nancy Grahan how they treat them and a few others. My husband used to walk by and catch a glimpse and still swears MB uses cue cards. Oh and ask Jackie Zemen about them I know the excuse is the plactic surgery she had well if it had been… Read more »

soapbaby
Guest
soapbaby

Lovely interview. I love how candid and honest Ms. Francis is. GH’s treatment of her is possibly the biggest blunder the show has ever made. And that says a lot considering how the show has eliminated The Quartermaines and focused on the mob. Laura was the soul of The Spencer family and now that family represents what GH currently is: morose and depressing. Luke, Lulu and Lucky are all drug-dependent, selfish, hateful characters. Luke has been ruined by the current writing and it is evident in Tony Geary’s every scene that he is more concerned with himself rather than the… Read more »

Webbie
Guest
Webbie

I have to admit I never noticed this about TG. Interesting. Thanks for enlightening me a little. It’s a shame that the legacy of this once-amazing couple has come to this. And with the 30th anniversary of their wedding just days away, it’s even more evident how far from the fairytale this story has fallen. But if you were to ask TG, he would probably say that what we are seeing is the real Luke. I think he was “over” the romantic aspects of his character a long time ago. THIS is what he likes to play and wants to… Read more »

Tralala
Guest
Tralala

if it is the case Tony Geary is really a smart actor, the challenge and the portray of human being flaws are far more interesting, complex and important than the sappy romance and i say that whereas i love/loved Luke and Laura (above all for the awesome chemistry between the actors and back in the day the layered storytelling of their love story)..as an actress i totally get it Tony, you should have tried prime time man.

JT
Guest
JT

Not nice, Stephen Nichols was your BEST leading man and certainly the most interesting!!!

m.k.
Guest
m.k.

With Genie now at Y&R , I am hoping she will eventually get a scene with Stephen Nichols. They shared such great chemistry together as Stefan and Laura on GH. I’m not expecting any romantic pair up, but a scene would be nice. 🙂

Ron Klopfanstein
Guest
Ron Klopfanstein

Much as I’d like to see her back on “General Hospital” as “Laura”; I’m happy that she’s someplace where she’s happy and treated with the respect she deserves. She has earned a role that is at par with her experience and ability. “GH’s” loss is ultimately “Y&R” and Genie Francis’ gain. Good for her.

(I wonder if she meant “Revenge” when she mentioned watching a new TV drama, “The Hamptons”? We can certainly forgive her for not remembering the title considering the massive amount of work she is doing!)

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Thank you for this wonderful interview. I love how forthright and honest Genie is. I think she’s was spot on about the old guard of soaps not training/mentoring the next generation.

bonnie
Guest
bonnie

Jeannie has it right being a gh fan forever they really left her hanging and the truth about the show now is the writing and they dont develop the charcters enough to make us care Women who watch soaps like mysself like the drama the emotional family dynamics more than the violence and mob activities and crazy whodunits that make no sense. The writers they need are the soap fans that are in there 40 and 50 they could write better then the writers they have now. The Reason the MIchael and Abby story is a fav because we have… Read more »

Tim
Guest
Tim

I’m so over the workings of Maria Bell. Her writing is disjointed and bounced around like a monkey with ADD. Instead of trying to create another lame story for Genie, Bell should have done the story of Colin, Cane and Jill justice. I like GF, but Bell ruined Colin by bringing Genevieve on. And now… making Genevieve heroic? I loved wathcing Tristan and Jess. They were fun, but now Bell has ruined that and most of the other characters. Bell’s crazier than Genevieve with all her rewrites and undoing and revisions. I used to love this show but Bell has… Read more »

aria
Guest
aria

i enjoy ms. francis being so forthcoming but i suspect all her y&r praising could be call premature, afterall she hasn’t been there a year yet, and while she is entitled to her feeling about gh, I doubt very much that the young and the restless doesn’t have a few stars over the years who felt mistreated ( victoria rowell.) and they also have their sexist macho stars like Eric Braeden. and as for her remark about peter bergman “possibly” being the best leading men she ever had, I think she’s still in the honymoon faze with that comment. still… Read more »

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Soapbaby right on the money about TG I just am glad to know there are other fans out there who felt the same way. The most disturbing part he seems to lavish each slam to their history. That is why I do not think it would work if GF comes back how do you retract all these rewrites what happened to his angel he use to call her.

TweetMaxine
Guest
TweetMaxine

General Hospital will be off-the-air by Spring. The announcement will come in January. Abc wants Katie Couric in place well before the 2012 elections. The Conventions are in July/August, but the Primaries start in the Spring. Also, Tony Geary is GAY. Not sure why our esteemed interviewer never asks about that. Why does he need protecting? Let the WORLD know, spread-the-news ….Tony Geary GAY GAY GAY !!!

Sarva
Guest
Sarva

Tweet Maxine, you say gay as if there is something wrong with being gay. Are you accusing or telling the world what the world has known for many years? Do you dislike gay people or just gay actors who don’t talk about their sexuality?

Michael
Guest
Michael

The esteemed interviewer never asks because (a) it’s irrelevant, (b) many people already assume it’s the case, so if it’s true, it’s hardly news, and (c) nobody really cares anyway (except you, apparently). Hope that clears it all up for you. Have a nice day.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Damn: I didn’t know that. In Genie Francis interview she spoke about of Tony being very private and I was, GOOD. (I can relate to that). Now, after reading Genie’s interview, I read these POST, and I’m like ok, gay, explains him being so private, and the long vacations far, far away for long periods, BUT who cares, anyway? I didn’t know, BC I’v known him to be with woman. Michael, that was a Helleva interview you conducted; I was thinking that while reading it. I would love to write for your site if your ever needed a writer. Jeer!… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Michael, I meant to Cheers!!! Genie Francis couldn’t have given that type of interview without the right reporter/ interviewer asking the RIGHT questions…..

Happy New Year!

Jo
Guest
Jo

And? So are lots of men in Daytime. What exactly is your point?

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Personally I could care less if Tony Geary is gay and Ms. Francis has to much class to even respond to such a question and in the final scheme of things what does that have to do with anything. I just wish TG would have objected to some of this character destruction of he and Laura but maybe he does not have that much clout after all! The gossip is still out there that she is being killed off on Y&R. If so and GH does get cancelled I think she should be part of the send off the woman… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Terrific interview; I love the fact that Genie is willing to be so candid while really not stooping to being particularly negative. In particular, she states her case about feeling overlooked and neglected by GH and ABC without going overboard: here’s what they did and here’s how it made me feel, and I wanted to go back and they wouldn’t commit to it, so I’ve moved on. The one thing I have to say that I think she’s wrong about is that people like Marland and Nixon and Bell didn’t nurture the next generation of writing and producing talent. They… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

I thought the interview was great . The part that stood out to me was when the writers made the story of Lucky dying all about Luke and I think they are doing the same disservice to Liz on Gh right now. I don’t watch Y/R but I have friends who do and are loving GF on it. I am glad she is not coming back to Gh either it is not a soap for woman really the writers seem to write male dominated story lines . I also think Gh hasn’t got long either cause the writers don’t seem… Read more »

Jo
Guest
Jo

I feel sorry for this woman. She has NO idea how Y&R works and seems totally clueless that her character is bombing badly. They keep trying to make her work, and it’s just not clicking. Sony will dump her and she will have missed the chance to go back to her iconic role. Mark my words, this woman will be gone from Genoa City in under six months.

Joe
Guest
Joe

It is very odd that there was no mention how poorly this character and storyline on Y&R has been received. I hope Genie lands on her feet because if Maura West is any indication Genie Francis hasn’t a prayer of lasting much longer. Which is a shame because she is very talented and pretty. I got to add but does anyone remember the Laura and David Hamilton affair and then murder. Well, I think Genie was only 15 or 16. That girl had major talent even back then. Simply amazing!!!!!

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Yup, I remember the David Hamilton storyline. Amazing!

And Genie is real. Reading her interview, you got the feeling you were dealing with a real person, not ego, showbiz, talk for the camera and all that. But the truth, and she didn’t tiptoe around (just like a true Gemini) which I commented on below.

Louise
Guest
Louise

I feel Genie was a tremendous child/teenage actress but developed sloppy acting habits in her later years. She must have used “you know” in between every other sentence and coasted on her ability to cry on cue. I also think GH spoiled her and she got lazy. Now that she’s having to really act a new character Genie’s flaws are showing. Not saying the woman doesn’t have talent but she has to remember how to “act”. And, I just can’t believe how she’ll never mention Stephen N. and the Stefan/Laura magic. Is she clueless?

Sylvia
Guest
Sylvia

I have loved Genie for as long as I’ve watched GH and this interview was candid and open, without being negative.

I love her on Y&R, and, no matter how much GH has tried to ruin L&L’s legacy, they can’t for for fans who were there at the beginning and remember it!

So, my L&L love continues – as does my admiration for Genie and Tony (I don’t listen to his interviews – LOL!)

Tweet Maxine
Guest
Tweet Maxine

Hey everybody guess what? It’s not 1981 anymore and Actors’ personal proclivities and peccadiloes are totally fair game. There’s no such thing as privacy anymore. Even people that aren’t on TV have no privacy. Didn’t Genie sleep with Kin Shriner way back when? Why is she never asked about that?

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Who said Genie slept with Kin Shriner (Scotty)? I never heard that?

WHERE did you hear that from and WHEN…….?

Paul
Guest
Paul

My goodness, I just love Genie’s honesty and I wish nothing but the best for her. She sounds very happy 🙂

m.k.
Guest
m.k.

Watching Y&R I finally did see a scene with Genie and Stephen Nichols. They still have that tremendous chemistry and even though they are paired with different people, I am glad they are on the same show and I hope they run into each other again in upcoming scenes. They should since they are now both paired with the Abbot siblings.

Jonnie
Guest
Jonnie

I personally don’t care who she is with…although Luke and Laura was one of the best chapers in any Soap….however, I love her and very pleased she is on my Fav show…Y&R!! Keep up the good work Genie!!

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Wow, Genie! U give a helleva interview. And in TRUE Gemini form, you are HONEST and you dont TIPTOE over what you believe the Truth to be. I have ALWAYS gotten the scence that you were GROUNDED as a person, down to earth, and not like some of those other soap actress’s we know…. lol Genie is a class act, with how she handels the fans that come up to her. She speaks with them as IF she KNOWS them, “What is your life like now?” Class. With Genie knowing fans watching keeps her employed, (it’s like) having JUST a… Read more »

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

As a longtime fan of Genie Francis, I am so glad that she is on Y&R now!!! Trust me…GH’S loss is most definitely Y&R’S gain!!! I quit watching GH about 3 years ago because some of the storylines and some of the characters just weren’t cutting it for me. And, besides, I’ve ALWAYS thought that Y&R was a better written and a better directed show. I still do!!! Most of all, it is BEYOND refreshing to watch Genie play Genevieve, a (new) character that is feisty and no-nonsense, yet that also has shades (or whatever) of softness and vulnerability. I… Read more »

General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright Talks on Mob Boss Carly and Her 30-Year Evolution in Daytime

She’s a fierce, force to be reckoned with, one who delivers raw and emotional performances time and time again, while never forgetting from where she came, and always willing to pass on to her newer co-stars’ the wisdom she gained from the grind of performing in front of the camera in the toughest acting genre there is … daytime drama.

General Hospital’s Laura Wright’s (Carly) real-life soap journey actually has a very humble beginning when in 1991 – fresh off a job at a gas station – she landed in Corinth and the role of Ally Rescott on ABC’s Loving.  Up next, a jaunt to its re-imagined version, The City, until the series ultimate demise in 1997. But that was just an appetizer for soap fans of Wright’s burgeoning talent, when next she ventured to Springfield and CBS’ Guiding Light to take on the role of a stripper with a heart-of-gold who ultimately would be crowned a princess, Cassie Layne. Then, after a popular 8-year-run, she would head to General Hospital, and one of the most coveted roles in soaps, that of Port Charles’ Carly Corinthos following in the footsteps of powerhouse actresses, Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun. In her 20th year in daytime, Laura took home the gold for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series back in 2011, and that brings us to now.  Next week on June 7th, marks Laura’s 30th year in daytime filled with memorable on and off-screen moments that she has cherished.

Meanwhile, currently on GH, Laura is getting to play Carly in a whole new set of circumstances as she enters her three-decade soap anniversary. In story, we find Carly stepping up to run the mob, now that she and everyone else believes her husband, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) is dead, and while her best friend and mob enforcer, Jason (Steve Burton) had to go on the run. And from the looks of it, Carly is adjusting to the mob boss role quite well … but is she really?

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Laura to get the lowdown on Carly’s life without Sonny, which has pushed her front and center into managing crimes and misdemeanors, mafia-style, all to protect the ones she loves, and to reflect on her amazing ride in daytime; which has made her one of the all-time leading ladies of the soaps.  Here’s what Laura shared about it all.

Photo: ABC

When you first found out what the structure of this storyline was going to be, where Sonny was going to “die” along with Julian (William deVry), and then he turns up alive and has amnesia, what was your initial thought?  Did you know how far they were going to take this for Carly, as far as her now running  the mob in Sonny’s place?

LAURA:  I had no idea about the mob part of it until about two months ago. As far as Sonny having amnesia and having another life now, I love those kinds of stories.  It also gives you as an actor something to play, and what else are you going to do with Sonny and Carly?  You can’t really break them up.  You’re talking to the person who is game for almost anything, so I loved it.  What does Carly’s life look like now as everybody believes that Sonny has died? How does she even take care of herself?  For me, it gave me great material to play because of how it all started to crumble.  Ava (Maura West) takes Avery, Cyrus (Jeff Kober) starts taking over the territory and the town, and Carly starts losing all of this security in her life as she knew it in trying to protect her family, and it was scary for her.

Photo: ABC

Of course, viewers could see where this storyline was heading once Carly lit in to Nina (Cynthia Watros), when Nina was in Nixon Falls and saw that Sonny was very much alive! You could see that Nina was going to seek revenge on Carly and not tell her about Sonny, aka “Mike”, all the while getting closer to him.  What do you think Carly would do if she found out that Nina was with Sonny and kept it from her?

LAURA:  You know, Carly before taking over the mob would have been awful, but now… and I was thinking about this the other day …  I’m like, “Carly would go after her with a gun!”

For years, I’ve always loved this idea of, “What if Carly became a mob boss?”

LAURA:  If they did have Carly go after Nina, then Jason and Sonny would be like, “You cannot do this.”  I think there is this blind rage, at least for a moment.  It can’t just be standing there and yelling at her, do you know what I mean?  Carly would probably take action and then Nina would disappear, or it’s like ‘get me away from her because I am going to kill her’ for what this woman did.  So, you have to have at least an episode of that before you come to your senses and realize that you have children and responsibilities, and you’re going to have to do this the right way, but you have to have the moment of losing it.  It’s stealing their life.  It’s great stuff.  My other thoughts are, “Poor Cynthia,” (laughs) because she’s got to be the nicest human being on the planet, and she is so fun to work with, and so great and committed, so we are going to have some interesting times getting through whatever they write.  I have no idea what they’re writing by the way, and I have no idea when it’s going to happen, but I am sure it will be great.

Photo: ABC

With the way GH shoots their taping schedule, I am assuming now you barely see Maurice, because you are basically in two different parts of this interconnecting story?

LAURA:  We shoot by set.  So, if Maurice is working in the morning, and I am scheduled at let’s say at noon, by the time I get there, he’ll be gone.  So, it’s fascinating. It’s kind of running parallel of what is happening on and off screen because I don’t see him at work, either.

Photo: ABC

Carly seems that she is becoming pretty comfortable in this mob role.  There was a scene that recently aired between Diane (Carolyn Hennesy) and Carly, where Carly was discussing her options of what to do with Gladys (Bonnie Burroughs).  Does Carly like the power this brings her?

LAURA:  I think so, but it’s not like she’s sitting around going, “Oh, this is amazing.”  It’s seriously what she has to do.  What she is seeing is that there are so many moving parts that she didn’t realize how difficult it was.  Sonny made it look easy.  There’s not a time to even take a breath.  You’ve got to always be on your toes.  You know, she is doing it in ‘Carly fashion,’ so it’s always entertaining, and trying as a woman to put out all the fires, but there’s 20 fires behind it, because there is just someone constantly trying to take your seat, trying to hurt your family.  There’s just always something to look out for whether it be from the other families or law enforcement.  I think that Carly is surprised that she is good at it and surprised at how making these decisions is becoming easier and easier for her, but I don’t know if she sits back and enjoys it.  At this point, from air to what we are taping, the decisions don’t stop, and the danger doesn’t stop, and more decisions have to be made, and there is no one else to do it.  This is a world that is life or death.  This isn’t like, “Well, if they don’t like me, I’ll just find someone else to do the job.”  There’s nobody else to do that job.  It’s not that world.  You don’t get to walk away, and she is learning that more and more, as she plays in the big world.

Photo: ABC

So, Jason went on the run with Britt (Kelly Thiebaud).  How does Carly feel about that?

LAURA:  Britt saved his life.  She said that on camera.  “She saved your life; she can take you wherever.  I trust her.”  Carly saw how Britt stepped up and helped him.  I don’t think there is anything else that Carly is thinking right now.  Carly doesn’t have the luxury of being old Carly and being snippy, catty, wanting to vet every person in Jason’s life.  It’s just not her reality right now.  That would be a luxury if she could go back and be that person, but that’s not it.  Right now, it’s assessing the situation.  “Is he safe?  Is she taking care of him?  Great.  I don’t care about anything else right now.”  This is the difference between old Carly and mob-boss Carly.  Those days are gone.  She would give anything to go back to those days because she didn’t have to have the world on her shoulders because Jason was safe, and Sonny was alive.  It’s not where she is now.  It’s a different dynamic that she was forced into.

Photo: ABC

When you and Steve Burton are in scenes together, whether it’s just in your eyes, or expressions or emotions, there is so much going on, or at least that’s how it plays to the audience.  Is the relationship between Carly and Jason one of your favorites to play, because it’s so unique and deep rooted into their history? 

LAURA:  Oh, I love the Carly/Jason relationship. It’s the loyalty and that their dedication to each other is unbendable, unbreakable.  It’s so unwavering.  It’s great to play because it’s like being in a really good relationship, even though he’s not her ‘person’, but he kind of is.  It’s being in a great relationship that means that you get to be 100% you and everything that means, and that person loves and accepts you. There’s such incredible love and freedom, and that’s what it’s like to work with Steve because Steve approaches our scenes – and almost every scene when I watch him with other people – that there is no undercutting judgment, only help.  If I’m struggling with a line or I don’t want to do something, he’s either like, “Yeah, I agree. That’s unnecessary; cut it,” or he gives me a really great way of looking at it, where I’m like, “Oh, that is a really interesting thing, thanks!”  So, then you have full freedom to feel and play and do anything, and that’s kind of what you see.  There’s just a confidence, and I think it is also the relationship.  I think it has to be there when I work with Steve because the relationship between Carly and Jason is that way.

Photo: JPI

Carly and Jason accept each other for who they are, all their flaws, and the dangers that come with their lives.  Wouldn’t you say?

LAURA:  She accepts him 100% for who he is.  She wants to manipulate the world around him, so he is safe, and perfect, and always there, but she still accepts him when nobody else does and vice versa.  He knows that Carly is going to destroy things, and mess up, and spiral.  Like, she had that scene where she said, “Even when Jason knows I’m wrong, he supports me.” It’s really that right there that is everything between the two of them, and it’s the hardest thing to find in any relationship, real life, TV, etc.  We always want to change people to make them be who we want them to be so that we feel okay. It’s a great soap opera relationship because it causes conflict in every other relationship that they have, which is great for storytelling in a show because then there is always a challenge, always a hurdle, always a problem built-in if you need drama. It’s because there is so much acceptance and unconditional love and support that they are free to be who they need to be, and I feel that as an actor working Steve as well.  I think that’s what you see when you say there’s ‘a lot going on’.

Carly’s plan for Gladys took quite a turn!

LAURA:  Well, Carly thought the second that Cyrus finds out that Brando (Johnny Wactor) is the father of Sasha’s (Sofia Matteson) baby that Cyrus is going to want to take him out, so she basically said to Gladys, “Look, I’ll set you up.  I’ll give you all the money you want.  Hell, I’ll even buy you a house.  Leave town, but you have to tell everybody that you lied about Jason,” and she doesn’t bite the bait.  So, you then have Carly saying, “Well, we can do this the easy way where I just pay for your life and you go, or we can do it the hard way,” and the hard way is me letting her know that, “You have a grandchild on the way, and your son is going to be murdered if you don’t do this for me,” because it puts Cyrus back in prison because he is on probation, and he has now obstructed justice.  It’s all on Gladys’s testimony.  That was Carly’s plan.  Right now, her biggest threat is Cyrus and obviously as viewers have seen things did not go as planned!

Photo: ABC

June 7th you will be celebrating 30 years on daytime! Do you remember your first day on Loving? What happened?

LAURA:  I do.  Oh, God!  I remember what dress I had on.  I remember how my hair was.

Were you like in “Oz”?

LAURA:  I looked like Oz. (Laughs) I looked like Dorothy… the dress they had me in, the hair, are you kidding?  I didn’t know what a boom was!  I was really loud.  I had one line: “Grandma!” and that was it, and then they had to note that because I kept saying, “Grandmaw,” and they were like, “It’s not ‘Grandmaw.’  It’s ‘Grandma.’”  Then, I did whatever they said at first, but then the longer I was on the show, I was like, “I say ‘Grandmaw.’ I’m not saying ‘Grandmuh.’ I don’t care. (Laughs) Everyone gets their own personalization of how they say what they say.”  That was my big argument, and now I’ve had a thousand arguments over 30 years, but that was my first big pushback because I would be doing, what in my mind was great work.  I got all of the lines out, my God, and that was before we could do pickups, and when we shot the show in order. Those cameras had wheels. So if you were on set, and they shot the scene before us, you had to be ready to go, and they would fly down the studio on those cameras to set up to start shooting the next scene.  If I got through a scene and they had to do it over again because I said, “Grandmaw,” I would be so angry. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

Who helped you the most on Loving?

LAURA:  Nada Rowand, who played my grandmother, Lisa Peluso, who played my aunt on the show, and Eric Woodall was my best friend and he played Matt Ford.  He and I would get together every Sunday night, and here’s a little bit of trivia for you … Eric lived with Billy Porter! They graduated from Carnegie Mellon together.  So, I would go over to his apartment, and on Sunday night, we would go over all of the scripts together for the whole week because Eric graduated from Carnegie Mellon; I worked at a gas station. (Laughs) We had very different talents that we were bringing to the table for this soap opera job.  Eric helped me a great deal, my gosh, and so did Bernie Barrow (Ex-Louis).

Bernie was an amazing actor and the only Daytime Emmy winner, ever from Loving!

LAURA:  I had scenes with Bernie because he played my grandfather on the show. I had no idea about half the notes that they were giving me. Bernie would pull me aside and explain what they meant and teach it to me in a way where I knew how to incorporate it into my scenes and adjust and take the notes.  He was extremely helpful.  Then, there is the famous Noelle Beck (Ex-Trisha) story, where two weeks after starting the show, Eric and I were invited to go to the Daytime Emmy Awards.  I was dying because I grew up watching daytime television, and I grew up watching the Daytime Emmys.  So, when I was allowed to go, I told my mom to ship me my prom dress from my senior year of high school, which was this poufy, emerald green thing, and it looked like something from Dynasty with jewels all over it.  I got it, and I was so excited, and everyone on the show was like, “Oh, my God, someone has got to tell her … she cannot wear that dress.”  I didn’t know you could go to wardrobe and ask to borrow a dress, because I’d only been on the show for two weeks maybe.  The same day, they came to me and said, “So, if Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica, AMC) doesn’t win, you’re going to be interviewed on Good Morning America the next morning about how the gas station girl got a job.”  So, it was a big deal. I’m getting ready for the Emmys, and to put this emerald-green dress on, and there is this knock on my door, and it’s Noelle Beck.  She has this beautiful, black, strapless dress. She’s like, “Your dress is beautiful, but I don’t know, I think this is really simple, and I think you might really look beautiful in it if you want to try it on.”

Photo: JPI

Her dress?

LAURA: Her dress! It was a dress that was in Noelle’s closet on the show because she went to wardrobe and was like, “Laura cannot wear that emerald green prom dress.  She will be laughed at.”  I would have been mortified because I did not know what people wore.  I had never been to a red carpet! Noelle went to wardrobe, and they all came up with this dress, and so she came to me and said, “Your dress is so pretty, but I think this might go better with Eric’s suit,” or however she sold it! I tried it on, and I just felt so sophisticated, and I was like, “It’s okay if I wear this!?” and she’s just like, “Oh, my God, yeah!”  When I think back to that story, I’m like, ‘thank God for Noelle Beck’.  It was one of the funniest stories ever, and her dressing room was right across the hall from me, and she was from Maryland; I was from Maryland.  She was like a sister.  Noelle was always looking out for me, personally.

Photo: ABC

Over the years, you have become one of the great leading ladies of daytime.  Was there a moment, when you were like, “I’ve got this down now … I really know what I’m doing.”

LAURA:   There have been different moments.  I remember the first time where I felt like ‘an actor.’  It was when they shot and killed Casey (Paul Anthony Stewart) on Loving, and he had to die in my arms.  I embodied something and felt it in a way that was different.  I didn’t know what it was at the time because I was playing my emotions of Paul leaving the show. I was really confused because I was like, “Do I really like this guy?” like in real life, because I didn’t know.  I didn’t have any tools of acting to know how to separate.  I was so in love with the characters’ love story, which was also my feelings at the time because I didn’t know the difference.  I didn’t know where Ally stopped, and Laura started.  I was just kind of playing myself.  I remember they called Paul to the set for a goodbye, and they were giving him a big cake and everything, and I could barely hold it together.  I couldn’t believe he was leaving.  I was like, “You’re going to say, ‘I changed my mind,’ right?” and I really believed that.  I really was like, “There’s just no way he’s going.”  Then, we had to shoot his scene, and I was very emotional and upset.  But, it was the next day where I had to go and play the scenes where he is dead and talk about it to the family, and that was when I just lost it.  I just changed as an actor in those scenes.  I remember having an opinion.  When the writers were telling me the story that they were going to tell, I remember saying, “Well, I think the interesting moment is she is not going to believe it,” and they were like, “What do you mean?”  I say, “When she comes home from the hospital, I think she needs to be like, ‘We have to go back.  Casey is at the hospital, and he needs us,’ and they were like, “That’s such a great thing to play.”  That’s what shifted for me.  I just remember there was a moment where Ally couldn’t lie anymore. She couldn’t convince herself, and then she had to tell her son that Casey wasn’t coming back.  I really understood what it was to get lost to a scene; what it was to not be Laura going, “I’m going to act now and play this scene.”  I learned how to become the character and transform in the moment.

It’s was on-the-job training.

LAURA:  Oh, for sure on-the-job training, because I went to one acting class thinking that in New York City I need to know what I’m doing, and I was so terrified to get up and speak in a scene that I literally could not talk.  I couldn’t even function outside of the safety of what I knew on a soap opera set.  I had that happen with my meditation teacher training a few years ago.  I almost left the training because it was terrifying for me to get up and not know what I’m going to do and have the script, no cameras in front of me!  It was very bizarre.

Photo: CBS

And later, Guiding Light came your way!

LAURA: When The City got canceled, I shot a pilot that did not get picked up, and my agents were like, “What do you want to do?” and I was like, “I’m really good at daytime… can we just stick with that?  I don’t really want to do this auditioning thing.” So, then all of the sudden within a week of me saying, “I think I’ll do daytime again,” I had a screen-test for All My Children and Guiding Light at the exact same time.  I was like, “What are the parts?” and I wasn’t going to pit them against each other because my agent was like, “It’s bad taste. We don’t represent that kind of negotiation.” You have to pick because before you go into any screen-test, you already have a pre-negotiated contract, and the deal has been placed.  So, you know going in what your situation will be.  So, it was All My Children, playing a doctor, or a stripper with a heart-of-gold on Guiding Light.  It was the role and that Guiding Light just had a better money offer that pushed me towards that screen-test. Then, I had to go in and meet Paul Rauch (Former EP, GL) before I screen-tested, and then Jim Brown and Barbara Esensten who were now the head writers at GL. They wrote for me on The City.  They were the ones who said, “Let’s get Laura Wright in here and see if she wants to do this.”  It’s interesting, because when they were shooting Annie’s (Cynthia Watros) big trial on Guiding Light, and Kim Zimmer (Reva) had these incredible, long days and tons of dialogue in the courtroom scenes. Then, they throw this screen-test at her with me in the middle of the afternoon! I remember when we were doing the scene. Kim had jumped to another part in it, and of course, I knew the script backwards and forwards because I’ve had it for a week and a half.  Kim had probably looked at it that day because she’s got a thousand other lines that she’s learning for that week of shows.  We were in the middle of the scene, and they’re rolling cameras, it’s very emotional, we’re going at each other, and Kim had jumped to the next page of a line, but I knew exactly where she went, so I went right there. We got back on track and ended the scene, and Kim goes, “She just saved my ass in that screen-test!” and we just started laughing.  It was a great moment.

Photo: LWInstagram

The cast of Guiding Light was so amazing!

LAURA:  So amazing, and that’s where I met my man.

Wes Ramsey (Ex-Sam, GL, now Peter, GH) at the time had a crush on you if I recall the story.

LAURA:  Yes, he had a crush.  I don’t know if he wanted to go out with me because when I first came on, I was pregnant, so that would have been weird! (Laughs) We have a funny story that he told me four years ago when we got together. Wes was going through old photos that he had logged into his computer and was trying to put things in different files, and he’s like, “Oh, my God.”  He had come back a few times on Guiding Light after he’d left, and one of the times was after I’d had my son, and this was when Richard had died, and Cassie had chopped all of her hair off.  So, he was going through these photos and he showed me that he had snuck a picture of me.  (Laughs) Then, he’s like, “See, I told you I had a crush!”  I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so funny!”

Do you and Wes run lines together at home, even though you are in different storylines on GH?

LAURA:  If he needed me too, I would, but Wes has a totally different way of learning his lines than I do.  His prep work is very different than mine.  His is very professional and probably how you should do it. He is a Juilliard graduate.  So, he was taught well, and I’ve just figured it out.  Mine is just pure survival …’the gas station girl’.

Photo: ABC

What was the impact Guiding Light had on the trajectory of your career?

LAURA:  Guiding Light was 100% an actors show. They told a different kind of story, and the actors across the board were serious and wanted you to take it just as seriously. You were either going to sink or swim on that show, and I had to figure out how to swim. I think I spent the first six months in my dressing room crying when I wasn’t on set, trying to figure it out.  I was really taken care of on Loving.  I was 20-years-old when I got that part, 27 when I left. When I went to Guiding Light, it wasn’t like I wasn’t taken care of and protected, but it was a new energy. No one knew me.  No one knew what I was capable of.  I didn’t even know what I was capable of at the time, and you weren’t going to phone it in there.  I started working with Kim Zimmer and Jordan Clarke (Ex-Billy Lewis).  My God, you’re thrown in with people who make you feel things and play things that are uncomfortable, because that’s what we do as actors.  We make it uncomfortable, and we stretch the boundaries, and we play these emotions that are so raw and real.  One day I was freaking out over a scene with the characters of Edmund and Dinah, and I just said I would never do this.  I was just adamant. The director, said, “We have to do this.  So, you have to give me one reason where you could stay in this room.”  I said, “I guess my daughter could walk in the door, and I don’t want to leave her,” and he goes, “Great!  That’s great,” and I go, “Or…” and it just opened this door of there’s a thousand ways I could play a scene.

Photo: CBS

When you came onto General Hospital and embodied Carly, did you feel like this was it now… and that you were in command of your craft?

LAURA:  No, because it took me a long time to get comfortable.  I’m the fourth Carly, so you want to honor what they’re writing, you want to honor the fans and what they love about the character, and there were three women who played her before me and somebody loved something about all of them. So, you want to bring that, as well as make your own mark.  You’re taking over a leading female role of the show with that much passion and dialogue that comes with the character, so it was a lot of pressure at first, but I was excited for it.  I showed up every day ready to kick ass, but as far as feeling like, “Ha ha, it’s mine; I’ve made it!”, I’ve never felt that.

Photo: ABC

I have spoken to many of your co-stars through the years, and they often share how you helped them within a scene, or with something they were struggling with.  That is where experience can be a great asset for a performer in this medium.

LAURA:  As a female lead on the show, I do think it’s important to lift other women up to become their own female leads, and I do mean that.  If I’m working with someone, and I see them get a note that they don’t understand, or it’s a technical note, but gosh, it’s an important scene for them emotionally, anything I can do to help them in that moment, whether it has anything to do with me or not, I am there for.  There was a bathroom scene that I think aired a week or so ago with Carly and Sasha.  In the scene, Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) has all of her makeup in front of her, and the shot they need to get is through the mirror.  Sasha has a full conversation with Carly, who is standing upstage. It’s very difficult to do that when you don’t have rehearsal time to figure it out. They gave her the note that they needed her to say her line into the mirror, or they can’t get her face, right? I’m like, “Hey, do you have any idea how you’re going to do that?” because it’s so hard! I wanted to help. Having 30 years’ experience in something feels great, and it’s shocking because where did those 30 years go? What incredible memories I have, but what it’s gifted me the most is being able to help people through my experience, and through what I have learned along the way.  The whole show shines when we all shine, not just when one person does.

Photo: LWrightInstagram

What do you think your late parents would say about your 30 years in daytime?

LAURA:  Oh, they would be so proud… so happy.  It’s just so crazy that it’s been 30 years, and 2020 being the longest year with what we all experienced with Covid-19.  Looking back on my daytime career, I don’t know why, the shows didn’t let me go. I think it really was work ethic.  I can really say my work ethic is a huge part of me sticking around because I never got lazy.  I was never not going to figure it out.  I was never one to show up not knowing her lines, or being a problem, or not caring. I think that’s what kept me going, and then listening, watching, feeling, and I’m just so grateful.  I’m like, “Wow, what a ride!”

Photo: ABC

… And what can you say about what your time as Carly has meant to you within your now illustrious daytime career?

LAURA:  I love every second of it.  It’s my choice how I show up on that soundstage.  After 30 years, I am not bored.  I have had my moments of trying to find the fun in it and caring about Carly’s storyline at the time. That’s my own choice though, right?  It’s a choice – how I choose to show up every day there – and what I choose to find interesting and challenging, and I do.  No matter what storyline they’ve given me, I can choose for it to be, “Okay, I’m here.  I’ve been doing this for so long, I could do it in my sleep,” or I could choose to show up and go, “Where am I going to kickass today?  Where is the moment?”  Now, I don’t love the amount of time it takes for my hair to get blown out; I’ll be honest (Laughs). I’m an antsy person.  But when I get on set, it’s my choice to find the love and the fun of it, whatever that is for me.  I choose to open up every script I get, the second I get it, and am always excited to see what I’m doing.

Photo: ABC

Finally, what would you say, as a tease of what we should look forward to in the coming weeks involving Carly?

LAURA:  All I can say is there is amazing stuff coming, amazing performances, amazing excitement, amazing heartbreak, amazing surprises.  It’s all coming.

So, are you into Carly running the mob? What do you think will happen when and if Carly finds out Nina has been with Sonny aka Mike for months?  What has been your favorite moment of Laura’s on the soaps throughout her 3 decades in daytime? Share your thoughts and congrats to Laura in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Telma Hopkins and Bryton James Talk on their ‘Family Matters’ Connection, Amanda Sinclair’s Past, and the songs of Tony Orlando and Dawn

This week, kicks-off a very special guest appearance by Telma Hopkins on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.  Hopkins plays Denise Tolliver, a private eye with some very important intel for Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan), about her past, her father, and her biological family drama.

Photo:CBD

Telma’s guest stint on Y&R reunites her with her dear friend and former on-screen son, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) after they appeared together on the late 80’s and 90’s sitcom Family Matters.  Fans of the comedy series remember a very young Bryton as Richie Crawford and Telma as his mother, Rachel.  Year laters, they now have the opportunity to work together in Genoa City.

Photo: CBS

In a new interview out today on the Michael Fairman Channel, Telma and Bryton chat virtually with Michael, and we learn that Telma is a longtime fan of Y&R, a huge fan of Mishael Morgan’s, and just how Denise Tolliver’s arrival in Genoa City will set the stage for fireworks to come.

And while Telma and Bryton reminisce about first their first impressions of each other on the Family Matters set, we also delve into another key part of Hopkins career as part of the iconic singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, whose hit singles included: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole’ Oak Tree”, “Candida”, “She Don’t Love You” and more.

Photo: CBS

So, excited to see Telma and Bryton together again? What were your first impressions of Telma as Denise Tolliver on today’s Y&R? What is your favorite Tony Orlando and Dawn tune? Did you watch “Family Matters” with Telma and Bryton years ago? Share your thoughts in the comment section.  But first check out their full interview below.

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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: Daytime Emmy Nominations Special 2021 Replay

Last night, during the Daytime Emmy Nominations Special Livestream on the Michael Fairman Channel, 15 nominated performers who will be going for gold on the upcoming 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, shared their reactions and their excitement at learning they were in the running in the major Daytime Drama performer categories as chosen by their peers.

Throughout the livestream, the actors also shared what scenes they chose for their reels in the competition that landed them in the top spots in their respective categories.

Photos: ABC, CBS, JPI, NBC

During the broadcast, Michael welcomed: The Bold and the Beautiful’s Darin Brooks and Courtney Hope, General Hospital’s, Maurice Benard, Finola Hughes, Max Gail, Briana Lane and Dominic Zamprogna, The Young and the Restless’ Bryton James, Melissa Claire Egan and Alyvia Alyn Lind, and Days of our Lives nominees: Victoria Konefal, Cady McClain, Wally Kurth, George DelHoyo, and Tamara Braun.

In addition, NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp shared insight into this year’s nomination process, the year in daytime, and teased what to look for on the upcoming Daytime Emmy Telecast on June 25th on CBS, where the award show recently got a two-year pick-up.

In case you missed it, enjoy this kick-off to Emmy season and watch the Daytime Emmy Nominations Replay below.  Then let us know what moments you enjoyed the most during our show, and who you are rooting for to take home Emmy gold in the comment section.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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