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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
Colin & Jill

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

Webbie
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
Tralala

Yep poor Tony…lol

kay killgore
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 a man he would still be on the show.

soapbaby
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 overall story. It’s most evident in the s/l of Luke killing Jake. Tony Geary went on record as saying that he enjoyed that story. Tony Geary is very talented but incredibly myopic and it seems that Jonathan Jackson is very similar. Now, GH completely dismantles the legacy of Luke and Laura as Luke goes on ad nauseum about how his marriage to Laura “trapped him”, he never wished to be a parent and that he was a serial cheater while married to Laura. WTF?! Luke and Laura’s love story was the most iconic romance in all of soaps. It’s legacy has been destroyed. And with it, my care if GH ever survived. I doubt the show will last the year and it definitely won’t last to see it’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Good riddance.

Webbie
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 play, at least at this point in his career. I don’t think he cares anymore what the fans think or want. As a romantic and L&L since 1979, I’m sad beyond the beyond. I wanted a sunset ending for this couple, as sappy as it seems. And if GH was smart, they would have tried to do this too and gotten Genie back, no matter what it took.

Tralala
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
JT

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

m.k.
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
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
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
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 a history with michael and his strugles. Just like Laura after she killed and had to cover it up with family. We knew her as a young girl Ihope they dont do the same with Abby and Michael. They need to bring back family drama Love Geanie

Tim
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 just become CBS’s version of Bob Guza. I’m convinced that CBS is pulling a Frons and letting Bell ruin this show.

aria
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 love you genie, but you don’t have to kiss your new costars butt, remember your an icon and their not.

kay killgore
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
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
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
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
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!
Happu New Year!

1loveabcsoaps
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
Jo

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

kay killgore
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 started on that show at age 14 and she & TG did make magic together on screen.

Michael
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 did–and the networks drove them away. Working in soaps now is very, very different than it was 20 years ago, and many talented people (Nancy Curlee comes to mind, as do the Dobsons and Claire Labine) just won’t do it anymore. I’ve often said that I’m not sure Marland would still have been willing to work in soaps had he lived. And Agnes Nixon herself had been sidelined by ABC for a number of years until they recently started paying attention to her again. It’s not that the next generation of talent wasn’t nurtured, it was that they were strangled by the networks.

Mary
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 to want to do anything to save it. I agree about there not being any talent left writing for daytime TV but I think that is also true of primetime.

Jo
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
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
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
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
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
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
1loveabcsoaps

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

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

Paul
Paul

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

m.k.
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
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
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 bit of concern that the person standing before her is about some substance other the soaps, (just in case another conversation comes up, is there substance with this person beyond soaps?). Genie, I grew up watching you, and I love you. Now, I’m pissed at G.H, finding out you expressed an interest in going back and they wouldn’t have you. I will tune in to see you NOW on Y & R, since I know you didn’t chose a return to daytime with Y & R, over G. H. Should G.H rape and retire in the next year, please promise me that you will go back to end the Luke and Laura storyline the right way for your fans, along with yours missing son(s). All the Best Genie. Happy New Year 2012.

jaybird369
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 hope and pray that BOTH her and Debbi Morgan (another recent casting coup for Y&R) get to stick around on the Y&R canvas for a very LONG time!!! Genie and Debbi…CONGRATULATIONS LADIES!!!

Interviews

Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

So, just how did The Young and the Restless lure back one of the series most powerhouse actresses to take on a brand-new role? Mishael Morgan, who earlier this year was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her gut-wrenching final performances as Hilary Curtis, reveals in a new interview with Michael Fairman TV, what went down to bring her back to the CBS Daytime drama.

As fans know thus far, after appearing as ‘Ghost Hilary” through the late spring and summer, Y&R’s creatives worked behind the scenes to get Morgan back on screen without tainting Hilary’s ultimate demise.  That is when they came up with the role of the sexy yet tough lawyer, Amanda Sinclair.

So, enter Mishael in a new wig and style that defines Amanda as her own character.  Question is, since Amanda is a dead-ringer for the late Hilary, are they related? And, what will ultimately be proven to be in her DNA?  In story, Amanda entered the scene as the often-mentioned Chance Chancellor’s attorney.  She shows up in Genoa City to contest the legitimacy of the late great Katherine Chancellor’s will and the fortune she left to Devon (Bryton James).  With Devon directly in Amanda’s line of fire it sets the stage for potential fireworks down the line.

We sat down with Mishael backstage at Y&R for this informative and entertaining chat as we officially welcome back this truly kick-ass performer.  Here’s what Mishael shared below.

Photo: JPI

What transpired behind the scenes to make it possible for you to come back to Y&R?

MISHAEL:  Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) kind of gave me a little bit of a heads up.  They called me back to come in and do the ghost episodes as Hilary, and it happened really quickly.  It was like, “Hey, Mishael, do you think you can do this?  Yeah?  Okay.  We’ll work it out with your team.  Alright.  We’ll see you tomorrow.” (Laughs) It was really, really fast.  I was hesitant for a second about the whole Hilary ‘ghost thing’, because I felt good about how we wrapped up Hilary’s storyline.  I’d only left for a couple of months, and I still felt funny about it, but I was like, “I’ll do it.  She’s a ghost … so she hasn’t returned from the dead.  So, it’s fine.”

Originally, I was concerned that they were going to have you as Hilary keep popping up as a ghost to Devon for an indefinite amount of time; when the show has already done that with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and his father, John (Jerry Douglas).  Because of your previous performances, and Emmy-nominated performance for the final arc of Hilary’s story, I thought, in the end, it might detract from that.

MISHAEL:  Yes, and I think that’s how I felt too, but I agreed to do it because they said that it was going to be a max of seven episodes.  So, while I was doing that, Tony was on set watching the scenes.  Next, he just called me up and said, “Well, how do you feel about coming back?”  I was like, “Coming back?  Hilary is dead.  Like, Hilary is dead-dead.  Is this going to be an alternate universe?” (Laughs) He said, “Well, no.  You’d be coming back as a different character.”  That was really intriguing to me, because one of the reasons why I left was because I felt like creatively I’d played a character from beginning to end, and it felt like it would just be nice to go off and play somebody new.  I never in a million years thought that I could come back to Y&R and actually play someone new!  That was weird to wrap my head around when they said, “You’d play a new character,” but then when they said she was going to me a lawyer, my ears really perked up! I’ve always wanted to play a lawyer, because I have the background where I wanted to be a lawyer in real life.  So, then I’m like, “OK. Now I get to play a lawyer on TV.”  They really got their hooks in to me with that … and just hooked me in from there.  Then, I got open to the idea and the story that Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) wanted to tell.

Photo: JPI

Once you learned the idea of the story from Josh, it seemed that things happened very quickly!  We all found out about your return via a social media post where you got to tell the fans yourself that you were coming back … but as a new character.

MISHAEL:  It happened relatively quickly in terms of me tentatively coming back, but then they still had to write the story.  So, everything wasn’t really confirmed until a couple of weeks before I started taping again.  We were in talks for about two months, and we worked it all out.  I said, “I’d do it,” and then it was 100% confirmed around August of this year, and I was airing in September.  It was kept was very, very quiet.

Are you still figuring out what Amanda’s back-story is?

MISHAEL:  I am.  I feel like every writer is a little different, and I feel like Josh likes to keep things very close and tight to his chest so that you kind of don’t know what’s happening.  Josh gives you enough information to play a little bit of something that is coming down the pike, but he doesn’t really disclose everything.   I’ve gotten little hints, and I kind of know where we are going, but I still don’t know the whole back-story of Amanda.  I’m still trying to figure her out.  If she’d been the polar opposite of Hilary, I think it might have been easier, but if you read her description, she’s very much like Hilary: A-type, strong, driven, all of those things.  Hilary had this very malicious, unscrupulous side to her, but I don’t know if Amanda has that.  In terms of the general description of the character, they’re very similar, which I was happy about just because I like playing strong women on TV.  If they had said, “We’re bringing on this character, and she is homeless” … or somebody who was super quiet… that would pose a different set of things for me as an actress.  I think seeing strong women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes is so important right now on TV, and it is very relevant.  I am happy to be a part of that.

Photo: JPI

What was it like playing all of these entrance scenes as Amanda where your former and current scene partners had to suspend belief? There’s Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Jess Walton, and you, and Amanda walks in like, “Hey there!” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  We just laughed about it.  It’s one of those things that is so funny, and it can only happen in the world of soaps.  A lot of the fans said, “This is weird,” in the beginning, but the fans love the show, and they accept it, and they do suspend their disbelief, and then it becomes normal.   We just had fun with it.

You’re like, “Hi, do you like my new hair?” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  That was the thing too.  (Laughs) I don’t even think Christel even saw my hair until she came to set, and she was like, “Oh wow! I like your new hair.”

Photo: JPI

What happened when you and Christel taped the scenes where Lily sees Amanda for the first time, after the former contentious relationship of Lily and Hilary that ultimately changed the course of both their lives?

MISHAEL:  For me, it was super fun and easy because I don’t know any of the Hilary/Lily back-story.  I just play very oblivious like,“Hi, I’m just here.” (Laughs)  So, it’s very easy for me, but I almost envy a lot of the other characters who have to play all of these layers because Lily does have that back-story because she was charged for Hilary’s death, and the guilt associated with doing something like that, and also the hate that she had for Hilary.  Then overcoming that hate, and then going on that entire beautiful journey that they had together as women.  But now having that as a layer, and adding on top of it this woman who looks exactly like Hilary, but is a completely different person, is really interesting. Even for Bryton, I feel like he has a golden opportunity as well, because to have that love of your life, and then a new love of your life there in Elena, and then see a woman who looks just like your ex-wife is, I’m sure, really difficult.  Your mind would just be exploding!

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How did Bryton find out that you were coming back, and what was his reaction to the news?

MISHAEL:   Well, I came in for the ghost episodes, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I told him before we finalized this new deal.  He’s a friend of mine.  I wanted to get his opinion, and he was like, “You should do it!”  I was like, “Really?  It feels so weird because I just left a year ago, and I was so happy and content with leaving, so it feels weird to come back.”  He was like, “No, it will be fine.”  He’s like, “The fans will love you either way.  They’ll want you back.”   I was worried about how the fans would feel because it is such a quick return.

Photo: JPI

What is the feedback you’re getting from the fans thus far on your transformation from Hilary to now Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like it’s pretty positive for the most part.  There are always going to be a couple of fans who are skeptical … or who don’t like the storyline … and even if they don’t like it they say, “This is kind of weird to bring her back as a different character.  We miss Hilary, but we love that Mishael Morgan is back, so, that kind of makes it all OK.”

The story that brings Amanda to Genoa City revolves around the legitimacy of Katherine Chancellor’s (the late Jeanne Cooper) will, and she comes in and says there was a counterfeit will etc.  She’s the messenger at this point and her client is Chance, correct?

MISHAEL:  Yes, Amanda’s client is Chance.

Isn’t she starting to question the legitimacy of her client?

MISHAEL:  Yes, but I think she still believes that it was Chance.  She’s kind of wondering now … because she even accuses Jill (Jess Walton).  She’s like, “It’s your grandson.  He’s all out to lunch.  He’s not getting back to anybody.”  Jill is very much in the headspace where she is like, “Well, this is probably not my grandson.”  Amanda is like, “I’m pretty sure it is.”  So, I think Amanda still thinks that it is Chance, even if he is a criminal, and even if he is doing something tricky.

Photo: JPI

How did Amanda get contacted by Chance in the first place to take this case?

MISHAEL:  It was an email, and then Amanda spoke to him on the phone …  or at least to who she believed was Chance.  He signed the papers, he scanned them over, and he forwarded Amanda the retainer. She had no reason not to believe that it was him.

So, when Amanda came to see Devon and company, she had no idea that there was this lookalike of her that was intertwined with this family?

MISHAEL:  No, but then after Devon tells Amanda about all of this, she sees pictures of Hilary online, but this is all done off-camera.

Does Amanda now suspect that she could be a twin? 

MISHAEL:  I think so.  I’m kind of playing that or keeping that there.  I’m kind of playing that as part of the reason why I want to stay in town because Amanda is intrigued by this other person who looks like her.  This could possibly be family.  I think it adds an extra layer as to why she wants to stay on Genoa City.  It is not just because she likes this person, or that person.  I think it is because she wants to figure out her connection to this person who looks just like her.

Photo JPI

We’ve seen Amanda be a little shifty.

MISHAEL:  Maybe a little bit. (Laughs)

What do you think we, as the audience, should be feeling at this point about Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I think we just have to wait and see.  Hilary had a lot going on before I left, and this is a new character who is slowly building.

I think that one of the things that daytime shows often have done wrong is that when they bring in a new character, they shove them down the audience’s throats too fast that they get sick of them.  I don’t know if that’s the tactic for the emergence of Amanda, more of a slow burn?

MISHAEL:  I feel like they are definitely doing a good job of building her character slowly and adding layers.  It’s not all coming out right away.  I feel like people should be feeling excited to try and figure out who this woman is because that is what it is eventually going to be leading to.  Right now, we are all just together in trying to figure out who she is.  I feel like everybody is really excited (and I am too) to get going, but even when Hilary came to Genoa City, it took about a year for her to catch her stride.  I think it’s going to take a while to really understand the meat of this character and how she fits into everyone’s lives.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Amanda feels badly about what is going on with Cane and Devon with the will, and how it would change both their lives forever?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  I definitely think that she feels badly about that.  In the beginning, it was very much her job.  I think when Devon is contemplating giving over his fortune, it makes Amanda see him in a different light, and her empathy for him starts to increase because she sees that he is a good guy, and that there wasn’t anything that he did that was malicious.

I think there is an attraction brewing here between Devon and Amanda.

MISHAEL:  Possibly.  I mean … Devon was attracted to someone who looked like Amanda.

Photo: JPI

Will she like him if he has no money, though?

MISHAEL:  I don’t know… I mean, Hilary definitely wouldn’t. (Laughs)

What do you think about working with Brytni Sarpy (Elena)? I see a triangle or quadrangle brewing and I see catfights in your future!

MISHAEL:  I love Brytni.  I definitely see that because Elena is definitely in the state of mind where she can’t stand this Amanda character.  The second she walked through the door, she couldn’t stand her.  I’m sure there are going to be some catfights coming.  I’m sure that it is going to be very entertaining for everybody! We’ll see.

Because you were considering being a lawyer … wait until you get into the courtroom set for some scenes!

MISHAEL:  I know, I’m excited for that!

Christian LeBlanc (Michael) always loves the courtroom monologues because he says it’s like doing a stage play.  Will you be up for that?

MISHAEL:  I think it’ll be ready for it.  I had a little one already to kind of warm up.  I won’t tell you what it was about.  I was like, “I can do this,” and I think it would have been even more fulfilling if there were an actual jury there where it feels like you’re performing.

Photo: JPI

What kind of lawyer is Amanda?  Does anyone know? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  Well, right now she specializes in estates and trusts, but the one thing that I do know about attorneys is that technically with your license you can kind of do anything.  It is just that your experience will be in a specific area.  So, certain people may not want you to defend them, because you’ve never defended people in these cases.  I feel like it is not the same as a surgeon.  A surgeon specializes in the heart, and they don’t really do anything else, but as an attorney, you can kind of do anything.  You can defend anyone if the price is right and you feel confident.

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When you were thinking of being a lawyer, did you think of the kind of lawyer you wanted to be?

MISHAEL:  Well, when I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be an international human rights lawyer.  So, something very different.  I wanted to save the world.

You know what they should do?  Maybe Amanda could have a courtroom show.  Instead of Judge Judy, it could be called Judge “Mandy”!

MISHAEL:  Put people in their places.

That’s if Amanda doesn’t get a talk show gig on the side, like Hilary did with GC Buzz! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  With the courtroom cases, and the talk show, that would be a lot.

Photo: JPI

We talked about Hilary and taking her through everything she had gone through, and it really was the perfect ending when she passed.   Do you look back on that time and that work which we all loved so much?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I do.  I still look back on it, and I feel so blessed to have gone through that journey with her and to have created such a great character.  There are times when I’m like, “Yeah, coming back as Hilary would have been a lot of fun,” because I read the lines, and I know how Hilary would say everything, and now I have to figure out how Amanda says it – and it never feels the same, because I got so used to this being Hilary’s home.  I feel like Amanda is a little more like me, so there is a little less playfulness happening.

You want more of that which is reminiscent of Hilary, or not as much with Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like naturally there is not as much now with Amanda, but I do want more of the playfulness to happen. It’s fun to play that on camera.  I feel that’s the fun of acting and pretending in that you get to be less of yourself, and more like a character.  Hilary was so different from me that it was just so fun to play her.  I feel like I’ve got to find those things in Amanda that make her unique and different that I can indulge in.

Photo: MMorganInstagram

In real-life you’re now a mom of two.  When you leave your kids to come to work, is it hard for you?

MISHAEL:  It is, but it’s okay because my husband stays at home with them.  We bounce back and forth.  He doesn’t work when I am working, and the days when I am not working, I am at home, and I get to enjoy time with them.  Then, when I am working, he stays home, and he gets to enjoy time with them.  It sucks to leave them, but at the same time it’s great to know that they are getting to spend time with their father, and I’m getting some ‘me time’.  I think that is necessary, because being a stay at home mom was a lot harder than I thought.  It is exhausting, and you are always on call.  You feel like you’re a surgeon.  It is just too much at times.

You always have the best Instagram photos with your kids and their outfits.  Are you going to have them dressed for Halloween?

MISHAEL:  Oh, yes.  They are going to dress up.   My son is going to be a firefighter, and I am going to be the fire, and my husband is going to be the fire hydrant, and my daughter is going to be the fire dog, the little Dalmatian!

Were you thrilled that you had a daughter this time, after previously having a son?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  At the time, I was okay with whatever the gender turned out to be.  I know everybody says it, but as long as they’re healthy, that is the most important thing.  I even thought about if I did have another boy, there would be that brother bond.  I grew up with sisters so to give him a brother would have been great, too.  Everybody always wants to have one of each because you want to be able to see what a boy would look like, and what a girl would look like, and their temperaments and all of that.  So, it’s nice that we got one of each.  We are happy.  We are good.  No more kids in my future.  (Laughs)  I shouldn’t say that too much because what if I do get pregnant, and my kid is like, “I was definitely an accident, Mom?” (Laughs)

We don’t know who Amanda has ties to at this point, but would you like to see her in another romantic relationship with some guy who is not Devon?

MISHAEL:  I would like to see that just because it would be something that kind of defines her as her own kind of person with her own journey and her own likes and her own dislikes.  I even feel that if she just ends up with Devon, it would be kind of weird.  We don’t know if Hilary and Amanda are related, but if they are related somehow, you would not have the same experiences, you would not have the same connections as this person.  As far as who I would want to work with, I don’t know.  I don’t know how to judge.  Well, Sean Dominic (Nate) has been awesome.  It would be kind of cool to be with Sean character-wise, because if Amanda ends up with Nate, that’s a relative of Devon, so Devon would have to see that all of the time … so that’s interesting.

Photo JPI

How is working with Sean?

MISHAEL:  Lots of fun.  He actually has the same birthday as my dad.  He’s a really cool guy, and we get along great.  That is half the battle because every now and again (and you rarely hear about it) you can’t stand the person you’re working with, and every time you get into scene work with another character, you’re always wondering, “Am I going to get along with this person?”  I love Bryton because we definitely have a special connection when we are on camera and when we are working together.  We’ve known each other for so long, and we’ve done so many amazing scenes together, and I think there is a lot of trust there.  It’s easy to just work with him.  That being said, the challenge of working with another character would be great as well.  We’ll just see where the chips fall.  Either way; I’m going to have a blast.

So, Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and you obviously have this great relationship together on-screen.  Mariah was Hilary’s dear friend.  Did you ever see her performance after Hilary died and her heartbreaking monologue on the set of GC Buzz?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I did.  It was amazing.  She’s an amazing actress.  She’s an amazing person.  I was so happy to work with her, and I am so happy to be back, because we are such good friends.  My first day back on set when I walked in, Camryn was the first person I saw.

Photo: JPI

Did Camryn know you were coming back to the show as Amanda?

MISHAEL:  Yes, she knew I was coming back.  We had a big hug and everything like that, and we were laughing about the fact that she’d come back to Y&R too as a whole different character.  So, I was like, “What pointers can you give me?” I would really love to figure out how Amanda and Mariah can work together.

The big question … I wonder if Amanda will have friends in Genoa City? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  I think she would.  I mean, I know she is a little uptight, but I think she’ll have friends.  I hope so.  I don’t know who though. Guess everyone will have to stay tuned to see.

So, are you happy to see Mishael back at The Young and the Restless? What do you think of the character of Amanda Sinclair thus far? Do you want to see her with Nate, Devon, or someone else on the canvas romantically?  Do you think it will turn out that Hilary and Amanda were twins? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Talks On Thomas’ Vendetta With Brooke & Playing The Manipulative Bad Boy Of The Forrester Clan

Since coming to The Bold and the Beautiful earlier this year, Matthew Atkinson is making his mark in the role of Taylor (Hunter Tylo) and Ridge’s (Thorsten Kaye) son, Thomas Forrester.  But while Matthew was a recast for his predecessor Pierson Fodé, his Thomas is quite different.  The new Thomas is a bad boy capable of horrific manipulations to get what he wants, and a young man who has caused so much suffering already for the Logans, Spencers, and the Forresters  But is there a heart underneath that often volatile exterior?

After all, Thomas went to great lengths to keep Hope (Annika Noelle) in a relationship with him and for her to be a “mother” to his son, following the death of Caroline.  So, what did he do? He covered-up and blackmailed many people to keep their mouths shut to the truth – that his sister Steffy’s (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) little girl, Phoebe, was actually baby Beth, the child Hope and Liam (Scott Clifton) believed had died at birth!

Following the big reveal, and getting a bit of comeuppance, Thomas landed in the hospital with a questionable push from Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) after a fall.  After promising to change his ways, looks like Thomas is back to scheming and conniving – this time to make sure Brooke gets payback and that her marriage to his father blows up to smithereens.  Meanwhile, Thomas needs to be a better father to his little boy, Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri), but will the Logans and the Spencers come between father and son?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Matthew Atkinson to get his take on: the emotional make-up of his incarnation of Thomas Forrester, what his ultimate takedown of Brooke would be, and how he thinks Thomas can find a way back into the family good graces, and more.  Here’s what Matthew had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

Thomas really has a vendetta with Brooke.  The scene where Brooke slaps him illustrated just how deep-rooted his issues apparently are with her. What did you think about what Thomas said to Brooke that came to a boiling point with the slap, and what was it like performing the material with Katherine Kelly Lang?

MATTHEW:  Katherine rocks every chance I get to be around her.  She is such a sweet human being and so fun to work with and takes her job seriously and puts a lot of work in, and I think it shows.  As far as the scene goes, every chance that I get to work with her is fun.  She’s just a great actress.  Brooke basically had this vendetta against Thomas for a while now, and she was the one who unjustifiably went a little crazy about Thomas before anybody knew Thomas was off the rails.  So, it’s kind of this interesting culmination of having that where she has built herself up to hating Thomas at this point, and she is just scared of him and what he could possibly do.  Then you have Thomas, who has hated Brooke ever since she came in and destroyed his family.  There is so much emotion there and so many levels to it.  It’s just so much fun to play around with, and in those scenes especially, it is kind of like neither one of them really has a filter.  They are both just going at each other.

He is punctuating his plan by telling Brooke that she may, “Have his father tied around her slutty little finger, but her reign of terror ends with him!”  I was just like, “Uh-oh.” (Laughs)

MATTHEW:  Yeah, and that’s how Thomas sees Brooke.  He sees her as this slutty woman who came in and kind of giggles her way into his dad’s life and flirted with him and destroyed his entire family.  Thomas sees her and all of her sisters as these air-headed women who are kind of just family-destroying kind of people.  They come in, they do whatever they can to get what they want, and he doesn’t care about them at all.  I think he has kind of gotten to this point, especially with Brooke … considering what happened with Hope and that he has this genuine love for Hope.  Brooke won’t even accept that, or think about that as a possibility with how she views him.   It’s that crazy dynamic and those scenes were definitely an emotional peak for both of them.

Photo: JPI

Thomas seems to become obsessed, and laser-focused on people like Hope, and now Brooke.  What has happened to him?  How are you playing this behavior pattern of his that we are seeing established?

MATTHEW:  Some of the most successful people in the world are people who obsess over things.  I think Thomas is like that, but I think that since Caroline’s death, his obsessive nature has been so focused on things other than fashion.  They aren’t his job and what his talents are, which is where he should focus all of that energy, but instead it’s been on his son needing a mother.  So, getting Hope in his life was key to him, and with Brooke, it’s a woman who has destroyed his entire family.  He wants his dad to be better off.  He wants his entire family to be better off.  He honestly feels that they would be better off without Brooke in their lives, and so that is what he is focused on.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad attribute to have when it is focused in the right direction, but for Thomas, since the death of Caroline, his focus has been on things that are a little abstract and are not necessarily objectively sound decisions.

Photo: JPI

What was interesting was that I did not know how they were going to be able to save the character of Thomas on the B&B canvas after all that he has perpetrated.  But then, there were scenes in the hospital where he is recovering from his “fall”, and Thomas is having big emotional scenes with Ridge and Steffy.  In those moments as the viewer, you say to yourself: “Oh, they’re going to redeem him,” but then they don’t.  He goes right back to a new vendetta.  What did you think of those plot twists?

MATTHEW:  The interesting thing about this character is that I don’t think this guy is a bad guy.  I think he is a guy who is doing a lot of bad things, but I think a lot of people can relate to him and the struggles that he is dealing with: being a single father and having a rough childhood with his family being broken up.  This is a guy who wants his father to approve of him and respect him and he has never really felt that way.  I think a lot of people out there know what it’s like to have a parent who they just want approval from but can’t get it … couple that with the fact that he let his sister down.  Everybody knows what it is like to think that they are making the right decision and end up making the wrong decision and possibly hurting someone in the process … and the kind of shame that you feel from doing something like that.  I think this makes Thomas an interesting character where viewers could say, “Well, he is doing bad things, and I don’t agree with anything that he is doing, but I can relate to him, and I want him to be better, and I want him to get better and become the good person we all know he can be.”  Yet, Thomas just keeps making all of the wrong decisions.

Photo: JPI

I predict that in short order, Thomas will be in cahoots with Shauna (Denise Richards)!

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MATTHEW:  Okay, we shall see.  (Laughs)  They have aligned interests; especially at the moment, when it comes to removing Brooke from that situation.  I think with Shauna, it’s fun that Denise Richards has come into this role and what she has done with this character.

Denise Richards is doing a great job in the role.

MATTHEW:  She’s amazing, but I think that behind the thought process she has is this woman, Shauna, who is not so dissimilar from Thomas, and is willing to blur the lines of what is acceptable and morally sound to make sure that she gets what she wants.

Photo: JPI

When you were taping those emotional hospital scenes where Thomas admits he has lost his way, and reaching out to his dad to try to find forgiveness, how were playing those scenes with Thorsten Kaye?

MATTHEW:  I respect Thorsten a lot as an actor.  I just love having scenes with him because I feel like we play off of each together so well.  When we enter a scene together, we are both in it.  When you are both in it, something real happens from that, and those real moments are kind of magical in a way, and it makes you feel great about the work that you do.  Thorsten shows up, and he’s prepared, he knows what he is doing, and at the same time, there is this connection between father and son.   I think Thorsten and I have definitely done that as father and son, and Jacqui and I have done that as brother and sister.

Since the show usually has you shirtless or sneering in scenes (laughs), I was so happy that they finally let you have some crying scenes.  It was at the point that the audience was able to see you bring another emotional level and dimension to the character.

MATTHEW:  I think he is not a guy who breaks down and cries very often.  It takes something very serious (especially for him) to get to that point.  For Thomas, the most important thing in the world is family, and he has kind of destroyed his relationship with his own family with what he has done, and I think that from the inside out is what breaks him.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of shirtless scenes; in a short amount of time you have been with the show, I think you may have set a record there.

MATTHEW:  (Laughs) Yep.  It’s all the time because the wardrobe sends me mostly pants – no shirts (Laughs).

Obviously, there is the issue of Thomas’s son, Douglas … and will he lose him because Hope and Liam want to gain custody of him. Brooke wants Thomas out of Douglas’ life for good.   This poses a major obstacle for Thomas moving forward. Agree?

MATTHEW:  Sure.  However, Brooke has no legal right to stand on.  You can’t just take a guy’s son.  There’s no legal way to do that, but they can try their hardest to either sign adoption papers or sign over custody, or something like that, but there’s not a legal way they can go and just take his son.  There are a lot of people who I understandably think Douglas would be better off with being raised by Hope and Liam, but I think Thomas has a point of view too, and just because he is going through a bad part of his life at this time, doesn’t mean that he is unfit to be a father.  I think Thomas will prove that he is fit to be father and all the while, a great force to be reckoned with,

Photo JPI

But, Thomas hasn’t been so great to Douglas, either.  Hasn’t he yelled at his son, manipulated him for his own gain, etc?

MATTHEW: Right, this was kind of right before the truth about Beth came out, and Thomas was on this massive downward swirl where he wasn’t thinking clearly; he wasn’t himself. I  think in reality, you have a person who went off the rails, he wasn’t being himself, he found the person he wasn’t, and I think that the “accident” of Brooke pushing him off a cliff, the slip, kind of clarified his intention in life to be a good, standup person from here on out.  So, I think his priorities are straight now, and I think he is thinking clearly.  I don’t think he is in the same mental state that he was before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be manipulative and that he won’t get what he wants, because he will.  There was a time that he went through a headspace when nothing was really clear for a minute, and he didn’t really have any moral backbone, but I don’t think that moving forward you’re going to see a Thomas Forrester that would hurt his son.  You’re going to see a Thomas Forrester who will stop at nothing to protect his son.

How does Thomas feel about Hope now, especially since Hope wants to raise Douglas? 

MATTHEW:  Well, here is what I will say; I think that Thomas has always had a love for Hope. I think he respects her as a person, I think he has seen her be a mother to his child, and that is undeniable … how much of a connection that she has to Douglas, and she is incredibly important to him.  Thomas can basically discard any Logan except Hope.  Hope is kind of his kryptonite.  So, going forward, I think you’ll maybe see a guy who wants to discard Hope as a person who he cares for (her and the rest of the Logans), but he may not be able to do that, because she has got a place in his heart that he can’t compartmentalize and leave behind.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Annika Noelle, because you as Thomas had been terrorizing Hope for many months?

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MATTHEW:  Well, she’s a sweetheart, but also, secondly, she is a badass.  She could kick my butt any day of the week.  So, I just had to make sure that in between takes I said, “You understand that I wouldn’t do this to you.”  She’s so sweet, and she was actually one of the first people to talk to me about taking over a role on the show, because she had been one of the most recent people to take over a role, and that was something that was really hard for me.  Coming into a character that has already been there for 30 years, you have a lot to live up to.  She was amazing from the beginning just helping me through that process.

On that note, what did you think of the epic fight scene on the rooftop opposite Scott Clifton; right before all the truth came out to Hope that Beth is alive and Thomas was lying to Hope and up to no good?

MATTHEW:  So much fun.  The shots they got were incredible.  Shooting those fight scenes was so much fun and I love Scott to death.  So, every time we get to work together it’s fun, but just getting outside and literally pretending to beat the crap out of each other is a blast.  We got to go out to Malibu, and I got to fall over a cliff.  What else can you say about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

There is another interesting relationship Thomas has on B&B, and that is with his friend, Vinny.  How has it been creating the on-screen dynamic with Joe LoCicero (Vinny) as these two scheming dudes?

MATTHEW:  I like it, and I love Joe.  This dynamic between these two guys is really funny because you have this shrewd, alpha male, Thomas Forrester, who is extremely driven, and insanely smart, but also very manipulative and he has got a thousand things going on.  On the flipside, you’ve got Vinny, who is just this guy who he has been friends with for a really, really long time, who just kind of lives life.  He is living in his apartment in Venice, he sells some not so legal substances just to his friends, and he’s a decent guy.  It’s just fun when we have these scenes together, because essentially you’ve got him looking at me like I’m an alien creature, and thinking, “I don’t understand this guy.  I don’t know why he is acting this way, but who cares; I’m going to eat my Chinese food.”  (Laughs) I think it kind of grounds some of those scenes especially when you see Thomas going off that rails, and his friend doesn’t even seem to notice. (Laughs)

I know! (Laughs) Thomas has got his own sidekick.

MATTHEW: I think Vinny wants to give sound advice, but he gives all the worst advice.  He’s like, “Well, the way you described it Thomas, it sounds like a good idea, so yeah, go ahead with that,” but maybe doing a little behavioral cognitive therapy and questioning would be good for Vinny.  He just kind of goes, “okay,” (laughs) but I think that’s what makes those scenes so much fun.

Photo: JPI

Having appeared on The Young and the Restless previously you know how soaps go.  There is always this fear of: “Will they kill me off if my character has gone too far?” Did at any point in Thomas’ storyline, and as you got the scripts and read all the terrible things Thomas was doing, that the character might get murdered, kicking off a murder mystery, and you’d have to make an exit?

MATTHEW:  I’d had discussions with Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) and I kind of knew where the character was going, so I kind of knew that he was going down a rabbit hole, but that Thomas wasn’t a lost cause.  I knew that he would at least be present for the upcoming short future that I know of, that Thomas wasn’t going to find his demise, which was very nice of Brad to give me that insight into the character to not only know what was coming up, but also know where his head is at by this point.  It helps me with the character work that I do for each scene and prep for each day; because I know where Thomas’ head is going to be at two weeks from now.

Photo: JPI

Have you had any interactions with fans, or are you checking out on social media what the viewers are saying about Thomas?  Do they love him?  Hate him?  Is there a great debate going on?  What is your take on where Thomas sits with the audience?

MATTHEW:  Oh, yeah.  I definitely pay attention.  The fans are the reason I have the job that I have.  All the feedback that I have seen is positive, and by positive, I mean that it is emotionally effective.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are happy with Thomas because most people are not happy with Thomas.  They don’t like what he is doing, and that obviously gets them angry or sad or whatever, but that is kind of the point of the show.  If you’re watching a bunch of characters who are all great people and who all do nice things, then it wouldn’t be that much fun to watch.  You’d be watching 40 Liam’s talk to each other, and it would be like, “Yeah, it’s just another day in Happy World.”  (Laughs)  I think that Thomas especially has been such a driving force in the last couple of months and caused a lot of drama.  I think there are a lot of storylines that people have connected to in the past that are really making people enjoy the drama happening now. You have the people who hated Ridge getting together with Brooke in the beginning that are happy with what Thomas is doing now.  You have the people who are pro – Liam and Steffy.  Thomas has been a big advocate of that since the beginning.  There are some people who just can’t stand Thomas and don’t like him, and he makes them mad, but the reality of it is that there is a thin line between love and hate.  So, as long as they love me or hate me, I’m happy.

So, have you been enjoying Matthew’s portrayal of Thomas? Do you think he will rip Brooke and Ridge apart for good and succeed in his plans? Do you think he should somehow pay for his manipulations? Share your thoughts on the current B&B storyline involving Thomas via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Eileen Davidson & Vincent Van Patten Talk ‘7 Days to Vegas’, Their Relationship and Y&R, DAYS & RHOBH

Today’s the day for the highly-anticipated film, 7 Days to Vegas which bows in selected theaters. The motion picture which stars Vincent Van Patten and his real-life wife, two-time Daytime Emmy winning actress Eileen Davidson (Y&R’s Ashley and former Kristen/Susan Banks, Days) is a comedic gambling romp, centering around the character of Duke (Van Patten), an out-of-work actor turned poker player who makes a prop bet that he walk from the San Fernando Valley in California to Sin City, Las Vegas in 7 days.

There are some catches to this bet that make it even more challenging  … Duke has to wear a suit the entire time in scorching heat.  The events in the movie are loosely based on Van Patten’s Hollywood Poker game nights.  7 Days to Vegas features a fictional gang of betting entertainment industry bigwigs, who are hardcore gamblers and of course, jealousy strikes.  Davidson plays Duke’s wife, KC.

Michael Fairman sat down with Eileen and Vincent at their home, and at their famed poker table for the Michael Fairman Channel, to chat about the making of the movie, their relationship and some intriguing tidbits for fans of Eileen’s work on The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives and her time on Bravo’s hit reality franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In 7 Days to Vegas, Eileen says that Vincent fashioned her role of KC after their real-life relationship adding, “They are in it together. This is a lifestyle that they both enjoy.  That is what somebody does when there is a home game; you call people up, and make sure who is going to be there.  Van Patten said, “There is a host of the game, and that is her role in the movie.”

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As to the scenes where Duke is walking to Vegas, Van Patten shared, “We shot the film in Santa Clarita, California in the hills and the mountains and all of that, and then we out five days after with a second unit shoot and shot with drones in the desert.  So, I must have walked 10 miles a day, shooting, sweating, but you don’t feel it, because when it’s your baby, it’s a labor of love.”

When asked if she would go back to daytime, Eileen shared she would be back for more Ashley on Y&R: “I am supposed to go back to Y&R in a couple of more weeks. So I am popping in and out at this point.”  Davidson also shared she wishes nothing but the best to Stacy Haiduk who inherited her roles on Days of our Lives as Kristen DiMera and Susan Banks. Eileen said she does not watch the episodes of the show anymore, because it makes her feel sad.  The roles of Kristen and Susan were so close to Davidson’s heart.

In speaking of her time on RHOBH, Van Patten shared, “I think she (Eileen) did a great job. It went by real quick. I think she did like three years on it.  I was in the background carrying her purse, going, ‘Yes, yes, here I come.”  (Laughs)  Davidson expressed: “Listen, reality TV … it’s a crazy, wild, Wild West.”  When Michael asked about the time a drink was thrown in her face, Eileen explained:  “I think Brandi (Granville) felt she needed to be relevant to be on the show, and her role was to be a troublemaker. I understand more of it now.  At the time, I was a deer in the headlights for the first couple of years.”  Vincent shared, “People always ask if this stuff is scripted, and it’s actually not, but you can spice it up”   As to if ‘Housewives’ makes up the drama, Davidson elaborated, “Before the season starts they will ask, ‘What is going on in your life?’, and maybe there is some of that behind-the-scenes stuff.  It didn’t happen with me.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it is a reality show, but it is also entertainment, and if all we did was sit around, how fun would that be?”

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Watch the full interview below with Eileen and Vincent and make sure to “subscribe” to The Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interview features.

Now let us know, will you be checking out 7 Days to Vegas, which will also be available on iTunes and VOD come September 24th? Do you hope there will be more Ashley on Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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