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The Gina Tognoni Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto

Courtesy/CBS

It was one of the most sought after roles in the history of daytime for any actress to play. After quite the search to find the successor to two-time Daytime Emmy winning dynamo, Michelle Stafford, The Young and the Restless has found their gal in Gina Tognoni  to step into the shoes of Phyllis Summers!  Soap fans know of Gina’s stellar work from her first daytime role as Kelly Cramer on One Life to Live, to her two-time Daytime Emmy winning star turn as Dinah Marler on Guiding Light.  Now the journey begins for the Y&R audience to see just how the talented Tognoni will put her own stamp and spin on firecracker Phyllis!

And as it written in the soap opera handbook 101 … when one actress is put in a coma to facilitate her exit, but then goes to another soap, only to wake up from a coma as a different character … the original soap has the character wake up from a coma as another actress!  Got it?   But with that, both Michelle Stafford now Nina Clay on GH, and Gina Tognoni now Phyllis on Y&R, both have roles befitting their acting chops!

On-Air On-Soaps had the pleasure of sitting down with Gina at the set of Y&R for one of her first interviews back to the soap fold where we gleaned: just how she landed the primo role in Genoa City, how she views the character of Phyllis, and what she thinks of her new leading men, Joshua Morrow (Nick) and Peter Bergman (Jack). And Gina gives us some subtle, yet definite clues as to what to look for when Phyllis finally awakens for her comatose state.  And let’s be real here … hell hath no fury like a Phyllis scorned!

In addition, Gina addresses the sad fate of her former soap homes, Guiding Light and One Life to Live, plus getting into the groove at the number one soap playing the kickass Phyllis, who fans are just waiting to spring back to life and into action!  The story picks up stream on the Monday, August 11th episode of Y&R when Gina makes her on-screen debut.  And now, here’s our enlightening and entertaining chat with the new Phyllis in town!

MICHAEL:

Was there ever a time you thought: “I would like to be on the number one show, Y&R?”

GINA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Yes, yes, and yes! A few weeks ago I stayed in Melody Thomas Scott’s (Nikki) dressing room, which I have to say is epic!  It is incredible.  My whole life I have admired this show.  It is number one for a reason.  It is not only beautiful to look at, but there is just a certain type of class with this show, and I say that in the best possible way.  It was no more evident when I got the job from the phone calls I got from everybody, but especially the phone call I got from Peter Bergman (Jack).  And, can I just say, he was my first call!  Peter is truly the ambassador of The Young and the Restless.  He is truly authentic, and what a gift to be working with him.

MICHAEL:

Did Peter Bergman say to you, “Gina, you don’t know what you have gotten yourself into?” (Laughs)  And then did he say, “You have big shoes to fill!”

GINA:

(Laughs) Actually, it was a kind message congratulating me and saying how happy he was.  I kept that message on my phone for a really long time, because it meant a lot to me.  It’s people like Jimmy Freeman, our associate producer and former show publicist, who call and open their heart and tell you a little bit about the show.  And from there it was the hair and make-up team, directors, wardrobe; it has been awesome and rare.

MICHAEL:

I heard you blew everyone away with your audition tape and screen test!  So what were the scenes that you performed? Everyone kind of wants to know how this all came about that the show ended up choosing you, since this role is so identifiable to Michelle Stafford (Nina GH) who was your predecessor in the part.

GINA:

Photo Credit: DuffImages.com

So, I have loved Michelle Stafford’s work.  I think she is fabulous, and that is why this role is so amazing, because she is fearless.  I identify with that.  With that being said, I was in New York.  I put myself on tape and I sent it to the Y&R casting director, Judy Blye Wilson.  There was a casting call for the role that was open to all.  It was interesting.  I didn’t know if I was going to go back to daytime, or what I was going to do, or what was going to be in my path.  I thought, “You know what?  We are going to try and see if this is the right match.”  So the show called me back and said they wanted me to come out to L.A to screen test.  And when I came out here, I was so open to the fact that maybe this isn’t the right thing, but if it is, it will be.  Then when I arrived here and got to the studio, and being here the day of the screen test, it just felt like Kismet.  It felt right.  So I performed two scenes: one with Peter Bergman and one with Joshua Morrow (Nick).  And initially the scene I sent in from New York was between Phyllis and Sharon.  I love that relationship.  It’s a real fierce relationship.  I felt that I understood that.  I was then happy to see they were going to focus on the two guys here.  I think that was important to see what the chemistry is like.  Peter and Joshua are two different entities, and what is wonderful is that Phyllis has two important men in her life.

MICHAEL:

What was your first impression of Mr. Morrow?

GINA:

Joshua is gorgeous inside and out.  He is a bright light, and he has been here a long time, and he is still so humble.  That struck me, along with Joshua’s ability.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Joshua told me in a recent interview that he wants the fans to give you a shot and a chance to win them over as Phyllis!  What were the audition scenes with Joshua like?

GINA:

It actually was an aggressive scene between Phyllis and Nick that was a fight layered with a lot of passion.  Whereas the Peter scene was about Jack’s trust and how the hallmark of their relationship was that they always had trust.  And with Nick, there is a fire.  Now, Joshua is a beautiful man! (Laughs)  And I am a married woman in real life! (Laughs)  I am looking at him, again thinking that he is just so humble, and yet he is so funny!  I love being around anybody who can make me laugh.

MICHAEL:

So are you aware of the “Phick” fans and the “Shick” fans, and that never the two will meet? (Laughs)

GINA:

I learned about it.  I am like scared of these people! (Laughs)  Let me tell you, I am going to wear horse blinders, because I am NOT going to read what people are saying.   I will purposely not read what people are writing for awhile.  I have to focus on the work.

MICHAEL:

What happened when you found out you had nabbed the role of Phyllis?  How did you find out?  Who told you?

GINA:

Courtesy/IMDB

Let me just put like this: It was completely on facebook and quickly on the Internet. And that happened well before any of my family members knew, and it just shows you the speed of social media.  It got out there fast when it was announced.  I truly, when I left this building for the screen test, knew I was proud of my work.  I had stepped out of my comfort zone.  I pushed it, in my opinion, but I knew that’s what this particular role needs.  As Phyllis, you have to really just go for it!  And, we don’t know the way the fans are going to go with this.  I am like: “Well, I hope they like me.”  I remember after the audition seeing Y&R executive producer Jill Farren Phelps’ face.  She looked happy, but there was still another girl to read for the role.  Everyone gets a fair shot, but the cards went my way.  Now the way I found out was through a text message from a friend who said, “Oh, my God.  I just found out you got the role!”  When I found out I got the part I couldn’t believe it, and I was so thrilled.  Then, I had a moment of: “Oh, my gosh!  How am I going to do this?”  I was concerned how I was going to work out the flying back and forth from the east coast, and the logistics of it all.  As everyone knows, soaps are at an insane speed.  Every day there is new stuff for everyone to learn.  I was used to that stuff, but the travel I had not done.  But what is unbelievable is that it is all working out quite well.  Typically, I will fly in a day before I tape an episode, or if it’s for four episodes, even better.

MICHAEL:

But you had to have a “pinch yourself moment” when it sank in that you were going to be the actress to play Phyllis.

GINA:

I was speechless.   I think I thought, “Wow! Wow! Wow!”  Because in my mind, Y&R is the number one show on the planet!  This is the number one role on the planet, so this is it!  In Jill Phelps’ words: “This is as good as it gets!”  And it’s true.  I am a very lucky girl, but I am blessed.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto

You had worked with Y&R’s executive producer Jill Farren Phelps previously, correct?

GINA:

Yes.  I worked with Jill a million years ago when I was at One Life to Live.  She said to me, “You grew up pretty good.”  And that just meant so much.  Jill is wonderful to work for.  It had been so long since we had worked together, but to get this role was still a fair fight.

MICHAEL:

Michelle Stafford sent you a tweet congratulating you on becoming the next Phyllis. What did you think of her doing that?

GINA:

I think it was classy.  Look, I loved what she did with the role, and I think I identified with it.  Dinah and Phyllis could have been from the same family, in fact, they might be cousins! (Laughs)  I pray that the audience gives me a chance, but what I am going to do with all of my heart is express the spirit of Phyllis.

MICHAEL:

And what is the spirit of Phyllis to you?

GINA:

She loves with all of her heart fearlessly, and she is not afraid of what that looks like, and that is interesting to play.

MICHAEL:

Are you nervous that no matter what you do, you will not be accepted by the Y&R viewing audience?

GINA:

Courtesy/CBS

I think it’s human nature to fulfill people’s expectations, but if you go too far in that direction in your mind, you are toast.  I am excited, but if turns too much to nerves, I watch that and keep an eye on that.  I will say; you need all the strength you can get for this role! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What happened when you met Y&R legend Eric Braeden (Victor) for the first time?

GINA:

I met him the other day, and he is like an icon!  And in that voice of his, he went, “It was so nice to meet you!” (Gina screams)  I said back to him, “You are so cool!”

MICHAEL:

And what are your thoughts on your on-screen nemesis Sharon Case (Sharon)?

GINA:

I love Sharon Case.  First of all, Sharon is the most beautiful girl ever.  I have not worked with her yet, but she gave me a hug, and I gave her a hug.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Who have you worked with thus far from the cast?

GINA:

Peter Bergman, Hunter King (Summer) who plays my daughter.  That girl is wicked talented.  I love her energy, and I was drawn to her right away.  Matt Atkinson, who has been great as Austin, the character of Dr. Cutler, and I have worked with Eric Braeden.  Victor came to visit Phyllis.

MICHAEL:

So here you are, two-time Daytime Emmy winner Gina Tognoni, and it’s your first day on set at Y&R, and your first scenes, and you have to pretend that you are in a coma! (Laughs) 

GINA:

My first scenes were me lying in a coma.  I kept thinking, “I hope my hair color is correct and I hope my eyes are not twitching,” and they were!  I got a note that I was twitching a little. (Laughs)  Must have been too much coffee! (Laughs)  But it was fine, and it is actually the best way to get to know somebody – to be able to be there and not talk, but to listen.  So that was all O.K.

MICHAEL:

So you obviously know the story, and there are major issues and bombshells surrounding Phyllis waking from her coma.  First on the list is revealing Sharon switched the paternity test, and Summer is Nick’s bio-daughter.  Please tell me, Phyllis is not going to wake up with amnesia?

GINA:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto

Well, you don’t know.  You don’t know what place Phyllis has gone to, and what she has seen while she was gone, and we don’t know what she has seen.

MICHAEL:

Well, knowing Phyllis she has probably got a few tricks up her sleeve!

GINA:

Yes.  I will tell you when you talk to anybody who has been in a coma, when they come back … they know they have come back.  They could have either passed on, or come back, and Phyllis is back and there is a reason she is coming back, and that intrigues me.  I think that is fabulous.  There are quite of bit of undercurrents going on here!

MICHAEL:

I think there is a huge revenge element in there, too!  After all, everyone else has moved on with their life, while she was stuck in this coma!

GINA:

Which is interesting, because now she has to get integrated back into her life.  So physically, where is she?  There are all of types of wonderful questions that come up for an actress: is she 100% strong?  So we are going to see a journey, and the audience is going to have to watch very closely, because it’s going to be subtle.  It has to be built brick by brick.

MICHAEL:

Which is so interesting, because Michelle Stafford’s new character on GH was in a coma for 20 years!  You two are the comatose twins!

GINA:

Courtesy/ABC

I love that, and I know!  It’s going to be like Frick and Frack, right?  It’s going to be … who was the best coma patient?  It’s very weird that we both have those storylines, but that’s also what is kind of cool about it.

MICHAEL:

So, as you know, fans were very worried about who was going to take over this role. They had seen so many of their favorites depart The Young and the Restless for one reason or the other over the last year and half, that they wanted to make sure that someone truly capable of performing this role got the job, in their opinion.  What has been the pulse you are getting from fans in their reaction to the news that you the new Phyllis?   On my site, it was extremely positive … which is a rarity these days! (Laughs)

GINA:

Honestly, the manifest I got was: “Oh, we are so happy.”  I know they were happy I was coming to the show.  Now, there will be no negativity! (Laughs)  I don’t want to hear it! (Laughs)  I am a very spiritual girl, so I would not have flown all the way here!  So we are going to embrace that.  When you take on a character, you take on a character, and then you open the door and trust, and have that responsibility.

MICHAEL:

OK, let’s get down to it.  Who do you want to have love scenes with?

GINA:

Courtesy/CBS

(Laughs)  I think I am in great hands with Peter Bergman, or Joshua Morrow!  And then Cady McClain (Kelly) and everyone else is going to hate me for it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you know where the character of Phyllis is heading, let’s say, six months out from now?

GINA:

I do not know six months out.  I have never in my career on daytime known story six months out.  Let’s just say that I know there is quite a bit of conflict coming up with Sharon, and a lot of concern over Summer, and then Phyllis fighting her way back and being integrated again.  I know there will be specific things to accomplish for her!

MICHAEL:

Do you want Phyllis to have a knock down drag out catfight with Sharon?  I think many fans really want to see it!

GINA:

I think she needs to step in the ring with Sharon, but I think there needs to be a discussion!  (Laughs) And I think the fans will get plenty of that!

MICHAEL:

You know the entire back-story of the tumble down the stairs that Phyllis took in a confrontation with Sharon?

GINA:

Courtesy/CBS

Yes.  I knew Phyllis took a tumble. There is a debate whether she was thrown down the stairs, or if she fell down the stairs, or if Sharon pushed Phyllis down the stairs.  Of course, Phyllis will probably see it as Sharon pushed her down the stairs!  And, as I said, when people come back to life from this kind of situation they come back with a sense of purpose, and fans will see that.  That will be very clear.  She is back to establish relationships, make some relationships good, to get some clarity on things with Avery (Jessica Collins) and Kelly!  The thing is Jack seems quite happy right now with Kelly, and that relationship is going quite well, and the fans certainly like it.  However, Jack and Phyllis had a connection   He is in many ways Phyllis’ soul mate.  She has two soul mates, the other being Nick.

MICHAEL:

Nick is really Summer’s father.  What do you think will happen when Phyllis realizes this?  I think this will draw her back to Nick!

GINA:

Ideally, yes, in a perfect world.  I think Phyllis has a soft spot for sex with Nick! (Laughs) But also having that soft spot for everything with him … she wants it all.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

Fans have loved you from Guiding Light, and they have loved you from One Life to Live.  Both shows have now gone, for all intent and purpose, to soap heaven.  Can you share a few thoughts on your experience on Guiding Light?  You had left GL early before the show wrapped.

GINA:

What happened there was my contract was up, and it was time to go.  It was something when I look back at it that almost felt like I left the funeral early.  I wished I had stayed through to the end.  I loved my experience on Guiding Light.  It was amazing, and I loved playing Dinah.

MICHAEL:

Do you think the role of GL’s Dinah prepared you to be able to take on a role like Y&R’s Phyllis?

GINA:

Oh, yeah!  I am sure I will use a lot of strength and fire that we saw in Dina, and yet, Phyllis has a very different core.

MICHAEL:

On One Life to Live you came back to the role you originated of Kelly Cramer, and continued on shortly before the show went off the air.  Can you touch upon your feelings for the show that gave you your first soap break being canceled?

Courtesy/ABC

GINA:

My heart broke for that show.  It felt very unfair that it was canceled.  OLTL fans were so supportive and vocal about the show being canceled; you would think in these days that it would be enough to keep it on the air.  I think for the TV version, Frank Valentini (former EP OLTL, now EP GH) and Ron Carlivati (former head writer OLTL, now head writer GH) did a good job of wrapping it up.  It broke so many people’s hearts to take something off the air that meant a lot to so many.  I feel grateful to be on The Young and the Restless as there is an appreciation here for what we do.

MICHAEL:

What did you think about your final turn playing Kelly on One Life?

GINA:

I feel like Kelly’s storyline was stuck somewhere between first gear and neutral, but here at Y&R I feel thrilled to be working with all five gears with the Phyllis storyline. Case closed! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And now in another twist of irony, Michael Easton, your former love interest on OLTL, is now involved with former Genoa City Phyllis, Michelle Stafford, on General Hospital!

GINA:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Damn him! Damn her!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

In closing Gina, what would you like to say to the fans … those that are in your corner, and those who may be your toughest critics, as you begin a new chapter in your soap life as Phyllis?

GINA:

I have so many people rooting for me that I do not take it for granted.  I love that, and I cherish that.  I promise, to the people that I have not won over yet, that I will work very hard to do that.  I will put my heart and soul into this, because I want to, and I have to, and I will do this character justice.  And you be nice!!!! (Laughs)  I plan to go for it with this role.  It’s going to be balls to the wall!

 

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Max
Guest
Max

Love Gina and cannot wait!! Loving Michelle as Nina too.

Phyllis Newman
Guest
Phyllis Newman

I LOVE GINA SHE IS MY FAVIRETE ACTRESS EVER SHE’S GOING TO DO GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

steve
Guest
steve

I hope Gina stays on the y and r for a long time.She is foxey

Jeffrey Sweeney
Guest
Jeffrey Sweeney

AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!! I am so excited that Gina is taking over the role of Phyllis Newman; I was a HUGE fan of her work as Dinah on GL.

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

Me too… I loved her on GL…. I was really upset when they said Phyllis was leaving the show…. but when I saw her on the other soap one day… Made me really mad she would leave the top Soap on tv to go there…. I am so excited for Nina to play this part now….

Michael
Guest
Michael

I am so looking forward to Gina’s take on Phyllis starting next Monday! It’s going to be fun to watch!

Susan
Guest
Susan

If this story plays out in real life (not reel life) I doubt Phyllis will remember anything before falling. After a severe head injury like that most cannot immediately remember what caused the accident, if they ever remember. I have never seen Gina in anything but will give her a go. I still can’t stand nu-nu-Billy. He has no chemistry with anyone. The other one who needs to go is Stalker Stitch. What a creep.

Eileen Hargis
Guest
Eileen Hargis

Stitch isnt a stalker, he is the good guy u will soon see. Burgess has great chemistry with Melissa who plays Chelsea. Gina is a terrific actress. Watch and learn.

Enola Barrett
Guest
Enola Barrett

I totally agree,can’t stand Stitch either.And we all know that in the soap world,they don’t always do what is reality. Phyliss could wake up and remember everything all at once.

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

Susan, I just call nu-nu-Billy, Old Bill now. Much more fitting for a man of his years.

marion
Guest
marion

It’s funny everyone mentions the new billy as being old.truth is he is younger then Victoria.He is 40,she is 41

Linda A.
Guest
Linda A.

The one character I REALLY want to see leave town — PERMANENTLY — is IAN WARD! He is Satan personified! I can’t STAND him! He totally creeps me out! I usually don’t support Victor’s schemes, but ANYTHING he can do toward accomplishing that goal is just FINE with me! I heard a suggestion that they should kill off Ian and there’d be a “Who Killed Ian?” storyline. I know that’s SO cliched, but there’d be plenty of suspects! Sounds good to me! :^) You’re right, Susan. New nuBilly doesn’t have chemistry with anyone — I’m still getting used to him… Read more »

jonboy
Guest
jonboy

While I found her boring on OLTL I will give her a chance. My fear is that, like with many recasts, the actor attempts to make the character “their own” and suddenly the character you’ve known and loved is a virtual stranger. Presently I don’t know who this Billy is. But he’s not the Billy I’ve enjoyed for years (even with David Tom).

Leslie
Guest
Leslie

I haven’t seen Gina’s acting before, but unlike other recasts, Gina sounds like she “gets” what Phyllis is about. She seems to value what this character’s past brings to her future. While I’m sure the character might change a bit over time as she continues in the role, this interview goes a long way toward making me feel excited and hopeful that this is going to be a perfect recast (and I agree that it’s time to rest the role of Billy). Good luck and welcome, Gina!

Susan
Guest
Susan

I agree with recasting Billy. David Tom would have been good if they had given him time to settle back into the role. Billy Miller is going to be the new Jason on GH. Michelle Stafford and Billy Miller to GH. JFP killer of soaps, is doing her job. T he only story that interest me now is Nick, Sharon and Mariah. I love Joshua Morrow. His smile lights up the screen. Sad to see what was once a great soap decline in ratings. While they boast they are #1 this is true. But, there are only 4 soaps left.

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

This newnuBilly seems to me is actually oooooollllllllddddddddBilly. In that he’s been SORAS’d like 25 years! Its like having Peter Bergman playing the part of Billy, but without the good acting. Don’t like this version of Billy at all. Maybe now we should call him Old Bill. He and Victor can get together and tell Victoria how to run her life. They’ll finally have something in common. (For the record, I really don’t blame the actor. I blame casting, writing and production for this debacle. I thought David Tom was warming back into the role and doing fine.)

Kathleen Karp
Guest
Kathleen Karp

I hate David Thom as Billy! So glad they recast that role. He just didn’t work. The new ( old) Billy is o.k. but they could have done a better pick. Also don’t like Gina Tognoni as Phyllis but I’ll keep an open mind and we’ll see what happens.

jonboy
Guest
jonboy

I disagree about Burgess Jenkins. For a former prime-time actor I’m astounded that his acting skills are so poor.

louisa
Guest
louisa

LOVE her from OLTL. I don’t watch Y&R, but will check it out now.

B.J.
Guest
B.J.

I love Gina, and will be delighted to see her again. GL was my favorite soap for years.

There’s no doubt she has the acting chops to portray Phyllis.

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Lovely Lady! I really wondered about her age but with the new hair cut and PB looks dam good for 60 she will probably make it work. She has a couple of things working for her that Maura West did not playing the Dianne character she is not having to play a love interest for Victor/EB because he is 30 years her senior and they will not be showing Daniel so she does not have to deal with that issue. Wish her the best I just hope they do not waste her talent and throw her with Dylan. Let’s be… Read more »

Kathleen Karp
Guest
Kathleen Karp

Gina Tognoni is not 60! Who are you talking about?

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

@Kathleen PB stands for Peter Bergman/Jack he just turned 61 I think. Sorry I confused you Gina is only 40 and I was concerned she was going to look to young next to Peter Bergman/Jack.

SR
Guest
SR

I loved her on G&L. Looking forward to supporting her . I am a Phick fan and can’t wait to see what happens! go Gina.

scotty m
Guest
scotty m

she is amaaaazing! thrilled about this and pumped to see her on Y&R. Phyllis can’t wake up soon enough!

Enola Barrett
Guest
Enola Barrett

I loved Gina when she played Dinah on GL…..and will enjoy seeing her as Phyliss,never really liked Michele Stafford that much anyway…so I am glad for the change.

Aunt Libby
Guest
Aunt Libby

ME TOO!!!!

MsErica
Guest
MsErica

Me THREE! Never liked MS; loved Gina as Dinah. She’s gonna kill it!!!

A Baptiste
Guest
A Baptiste

I remember Robin Stasser so annoying as Christina Karas on All My Children but she was totally transformed and hit the ground running as One Life’s Dorian. My instincts tell me that although Gina’s Kelly Kramer was ehh (sorry) she has “grown up good,” indeed and is gonna kick a… and take names on Y & R…this is her time!

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Her stint on Dinah on Guiding Light worked so well, I hope she channels Dinah during her portrayal.

Lawrence
Guest
Lawrence

I can’t wait for her to debut as Phyllis. She is an amazing actress. I loved her as Dinah on GL.

Sue
Guest
Sue

Did not care for MS, did not like her acting. Welcome Gina, nice to see the change.. That being said U better take it easy on Sharon or she will kick your ass!! LOL

juju
Guest
juju

as if…

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

I was a fan of MS as Phyllis. That said, she was really phoning it in for a long time and I welcome the change. I think Gina will be great. (I’m a Sharon fan too)

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

I love this interview, and absolutely adore Gina. Her being cast as Phyllis on The Young and the Restless is going to be good; while she wasn’t my top choice of actress (Sarah Joy Brown was), I have a strong feeling she’s going to really connect with the audiences and her fellow cast mates. I hope the drive of Phyllis returns; during Michelle’s final years the fire of Phyllis kind of disappeared. I’m excited about her joining, from the video of her and Joshua and Hunter, there seems to be a great familiar connection there. Gina and Hunter even look… Read more »

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

Another great interview. Loved her as Kelly on OLTL. She can really generate great chemistry with both male and female cast members, so I don’t think fans will be disappointed. It’s always hard when you are in placed in the role as a recast of a classic soap role, such as Phyllis. I am really looking forward to having Phyllis back in G.C. and I think Gina T will be awesome.

Break a leg, Gina!

Barbara Cummings
Guest
Barbara Cummings

I think Gina is a perfect fit to replace Michelle. I loved her on Guiding Light and she played a great role in Guiding LIght. Congats Gina wake up soon as we have missed you. You will be accepted as the Y&R fans don’t worry about that. I only watch CBS Soaps so get out of that coma and start some trouble Y&R needs it. Good Luck!

Judie
Guest
Judie

I feel like Gina will fit in well. As for the Billy character…David Tom was much too young for the mature “Billy.” The current actor is better, but certainly hasn’t successfully “replaced” Billy Miller. Maybe “resting” the role is called for while they search for a more acceptable actor and at the same time perhaps have something happen to “Billy” that changes his personae before he comes back to Genoa City. If Josua Morrow ever leaves we are in deep trouble….same sort of charismatic actor as Billy Miller but more so.

Robbie
Guest
Robbie

So happy that she will be playing the new Phyllis. I remember when she was Dinah on GL. Ooh yes, they have the right one. It’s on now!!!! Welcome Gina!

Jim McGlynn
Guest
Jim McGlynn

Glad you are back have watched O.L.T.L. for over 20 years and Young and Restless longer. My mom and dad had watched it before me. Good Luck you will be put in the line of fire.

Jacqueline
Guest
Jacqueline

Being a 20 year fan of Y&R it’s always hard when someone leaves or is replaced . It’s takes time to think of them as That Person they’ve replaced. I’ve seen 3 Billy’s in this time and you just go along with the story line. It took me awhile for me to get to like the Phillis character but when I finally loved her, she went into a coma . Now another persons coming in. It’s like trying to replace Edith Bonker. That person was the character ….. And that’s how I feel about the people on Y&R. You could… Read more »

Aunt Libby
Guest
Aunt Libby

Gina really did do a great job on GL as Dinah. I totally feel she will ROCK this character on Y&R.
On another note, I had heard a rumor that Stitch and Kelly’s mom actually set their dad on fire and Stitch took the blame and confessed to protect their mom. And nobody not even Kelly knows, and that is why she is so mad that their mother took Stitch’s side and supported him, just a rumor though.

SHAUN
Guest
SHAUN

ITS DEFINITELY GOING TO GET STEAMY QUICKLY IM GUESSING WITH THE SUMMER PATERNITY COMING OUT….GOOD LUCK GINA

Mary Ann Redeker
Guest
Mary Ann Redeker

I loved Guiding Light and loved watching Gina on that show! She is one of my absolute favorite soap actresses! I am a die hard fan of Y & R too and have always love Michelle Stafford. I was sad that she left the show, but when I found out who they case new in the role, I was so happy! I knew Phyllis would be back, better than ever, and I was ecstatic that I would get to see Gina’s work again! Y & R hit a home run here and I call it early: Gina will win another… Read more »

Delores S.
Guest
Delores S.

i am willing to give you a chance but RED left some mighty big shoes to fill. And Please make your hair the same shade of red. Thanks. and good luck.

Teri
Guest
Teri

Yes her hair needs to be redder!

Teri

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

This new Billy is a horrible choice! He’s waaaay too old looking and he is a terrible actor. Nobody can sufficiently replace sunnyboy Billy Miller!

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Blech!

What happened when you met Y&R legend Eric Braeden (Victor) for the first time?

GINA:

I met him the other day, and he is like an icon! And in that voice of his, he went, “It was so nice to meet you!” (Gina screams) I said back to him, “You are so cool!”

honestly

seriously

???

hold on… this is the truth

Victor needs to go

if so much at Y&R is new…. to hold on to Victor has no resonance…. no reason… dull

MTS’ Nikki…needs to celebrate and MOVE

if it’s with Meredith Baxter Burney… then so be it… a one upsmanship… womanhood… would hold

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

that last picture… in the red dress

is fire : comeuppance : fearful… : lasting

go their

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Patrick so glad to see a post from you I was beginning to think something had happen to you. Concerning Eric Braeden maybe he will remember her name in 10 years. I believe he said that is how long it takes for him to recall your name.

Angela Meredith
Guest
Angela Meredith

Great recast. Gina you’re perfect for this role. I loved Dinah! Good luck to you. As far as the new/ old Billy is concerned, people need to lighten up. Billy Miller moved on. So should Y&R. Yes he was special, but give this one a chance. So he’s stoic and not at all silly, but what’s going on in the story doesn’t call for comedy either. I wish you both Blessed long lived success.

Val
Guest
Val

Welcome Gina! I have watched Y&R since the beginning and I think you will fill MS’s shoe’s nicely. I can’t wait to see where the story goes! I just heard that Michael Muhney wrapped up the movie he was filming a couple of days ago, so I have a feeling Phyllis coming out of the coma is going to affect Adam’s storyline as well. I think once Phyllis reveals that Sharon changed the paternity test results, Summer is not going to be able to handle the stress of her life being turned upside down yet again and will take off.… Read more »

SherryLynn
Guest
SherryLynn

I am so so excited to see Gina take on this role. I have never even seen her work before. But this interview was like looking at cookies and cakes through the window of a bakery. I can hardly wait for her to bring Phyllis’s character back to us.

Suzybel
Guest
Suzybel

Gina has big shoes to fill, but I think she’s up for it. I’m just glad Phyllis is finally waking up, I miss her. My only thought is, maybe her hair could be a bit more on the red side. Good luck!

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Phyllis’ hair wasn’t exactly red when she slipped into a coma, though. So they probably are keeping it a darker hue right now to keep something the same.

Analois
Guest
Analois

NO ONE can take Michelle Staffords place, just like no one can take Billy Millers place!!!!!! I’ve been watching for 40 years, I saw the first show! Some people you can’t replace and they are the ORIGINALS, Victor, Nicky, Catherine ( deceased), Paul, Lauren, Jill, Michael, Nicholas, and BILLY AND PHYLLIS.
You are making a big mistake!
If the cast doesn’t get better than this Billy, get Adam back, get the real Phyllis back and Billy Miller I’m afraid your #1 spot will fall!

Linda A.
Guest
Linda A.

I don’t think “Y&R” has to worry about losing its #1 status. I’m gradually warming up to Burgess Jenkins’s Billy, although I don’t think he’ll ever completely replace Billy Miller.

Another actress playing Phyllis? Yeah, I know it’s going to take some getting used to, but if any actress can do it, I think it’s G.T.

BTW, Jess Walton is NOT the original Jill, she’s a recast, but she IS the best. I remember when she first came into the role I took to her immediately, and I don’t think I’d ever done that with a recast before.

Analois
Guest
Analois

This Jack is not the original Jack either but he’s been there so long now he cannot be replaced. ☺️ It will be very hard to replace Phyllis but I guess we’ll see. This Billy just doesn’t fit the bill, no pun intended. Billy Miller had it all, looks, personality, charisma. This guy does not ,nor did David Tom even tho he use to be Billy! Billy Miller is just awesome. MM wasn’t the original Adam either but did fit the part sooooo well! Hard to see someone else being Adam. Good looks was not what Adam was about, it’s… Read more »

Linda A.
Guest
Linda A.

Shemar Moore is coming back? Nice thought, but I doubt it. He’s still on “Criminal Minds.” Besides, why would he ever go back to daytime when he’s been in primetime for so long, now. That’d be like going back to dial-up when you’ve had broadband! :^)

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

I’ve watched GL’s Gina Tognoni as “Dinah,” and she truly made the show! The 2 Daytime Emmies she has won are a small example of Gina’s depth of character! I watched GL from 1979-the very end, and Gina was def one of the most exciting actresses I’ve ever seen,& she was a recast back then as “Dinah,” and she cleaned the floor (so to speak) of the former actress who played Dina,so well that whenever “Dinah Marler,” is spoken of -it’s with Gina’s name! She will rock this role! To those that don’t know her yet-give her a chance, cuz… Read more »

pat coggins
Guest
pat coggins

I hated to see Michelle go but if anyone can do great as a recast its Gina. She is

an awesome actress and certainly seems to know Phyllis. Hope everyone gives her a shot.As for new billy. David toms was better than him tooo old looking for part. They will never sucessfully replace billy or micheal(adam)…….

Don
Guest
Don

She could be a good fit as phyllis time will tell but for the billy recast they should have write him off since billy miller left the series. I am willing to give her a chance in playing phyllis as she can.

Jared
Guest
Jared

I was also devastated when Michelle left, and I was disappointed that she signed on with a show that isn’t on Y&R’s level of excellence, for an invented role that was pushed on the GH audience. However, just like with Billy Miller, leaving was Michelle’s choice. Longtime viewers like me will remember that there was chaos in the late 80’s when Brenda Dickson was fired and Terry Lester left. Both Jess Walton and Peter Bergman took over the respective roles and they were quick hits with the audience and critics. Even on GH, Laura Wright was able to make lightning… Read more »

Long Time Fan
Guest
Long Time Fan

I agree with everything you said. David Tom may look to young, but he was familiar and I enjoyed seeing him on screen. This guy is too old to be Billy. No question about that. People who are long time viewers know that Billy is supposed to be younger than Victoria. He was a mid-life birth to Jill and John. I have to use my FF button everytime this NuBilly is on screen. I cannot stand to look at him. He does not look the part. He may have some chemistry with MCE, but he has none with the Abbotts… Read more »

Marcie Tatum
Guest
Marcie Tatum

I am so glad Phyllis is coming back she put the fire in the show an i think they need to offer the old Billy more money an let him come back he was amazing .

BlueHorn
Guest
BlueHorn

Am looking forward to Gina T as Phyllis; I think she has what it takes to make the role her own… and the latest Billy is more enjoyable than David Tom (and I’m surprised that I feel that way, but David T was ‘colorless’ as Billy after Billy Miller ‘made’ Billy Abbott ‘his’ character); just sayin’!! Looking forward to lots of Phyllis intrigue… and what are they doing to make Neil a ‘wimp’ and marrying the chick who is HOT for Devon (Brytan)?? I’m sorry to see Devon falling in lust with her, she is so memorable that I can’t… Read more »

Blake
Guest
Blake

I know Gina is going to kill it as Phyllis. If you saw how she played Dinah on Guiding Light then you know she has the look and the chops to play Phyllis. Amazing casting choice there Y&R!

Chaz
Guest
Chaz

Have been a fan of Ms. Tognoni’s since she first played Kelly on OLTL. Thought she was good in that role but outstanding as Dinah on GL. I have no doubt she will portray Phyllis with the same intensity and talent she has brought to her previous roles. She might, just maybe, convince me to tune in to Y&R again. I only hope they write for her and not make a mess out of Phyllis like they have for everyone else. I watched a few minutes of the show last week and was as unimpressed with it as I had… Read more »

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Chaz…VERY EXCELLENT POST!!!!! While I agree with everything you said, I would like to throw in my 2 cents and all. Like… 1. I (also) have been a fan of Gina Tognoni ever since her OLTL days. Furthermore, I am already ROOTING FOR GT to make the role of Phyllis her own. Y-A-Y GINA!!!!! 2. Chaz…RIGHT ON about that Devon/Hilary/Neil SNOOZE-FEST!!!!! Furthermore, that LOOSE CANNON Lily WORKS MY NERVES THE MOST!!!!! S-H-U-D-D-E-R!!!!! 3. Character-wise, The Incredible Hulk (to me) was WAY MORE BELIEVABLE AND DIMENSIONAL than that WALKING STIFF Dylan…LOL!!!!! Yep. 4. If Y&R is actually trying to redeem that… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

With Y&R stumbling on Billy and Adam, I think they got this right. She and Michelle could be sisters and it sounds like Gina will incorporate the character and put her on mark on it.

Lynn Robbins
Guest
Lynn Robbins

I love that you all chose Gina. I have missed her acting since her days with Guiding Light. I met her at King Dominion in Virginia quite a few years ago… I think she is the perfect pick for Phyllis. Can’t wait to have her wake up and act.

arterbell
Guest
arterbell

Gina will do a very good job on young and reckless, I have watched her on guiding light and one life to live, she is wonderful.

dmr
Guest
dmr

I miss Guiding Light (before all of the cost-savings measures took place). I used to watch the show when on school vacation, when it was on at 10:00 a.m. EST. I was sad when the show ended. I watched the last week of the show and thought the writers did a good job at wrapping up the family arcs, storylines, and bringing back veteran actors. I’ve always liked Gina. I remember when she began on OLTL. The best of luck to her.

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

Gina will do a great job and put her own magic on portraying Phyllis.

fay johns
Guest
fay johns

Gina is great as Phyllis. Whose coat was she wearing on today’s episode. I want it. Oct 22 2014 please respond. Thankyou

Tams
Guest
Tams

Love the new Phyllis…I mean like, Michelle who????…For me its Gina all the way for Phyllis…Personally I would like to see a Phyllis/Sharon hookup…the animosity they have towards one another..lets just say that if one of them was a man…they woulda slpet together a long time ago….LOL!…Like Gina said Sharon Case is a beautiful woman and so is Gina!!..So really lets get that ball rolling…Nick and Jack can go sulk in a corner…who cares…

sherrie
Guest
sherrie

I had to watch for a few weeks to see how Gina is as the new Phyllis and she is great. Really connected with her . Keep up the good work. What took you so long Y&R to put her in that character?

marge symons
Guest
marge symons

Gina is perfect for this role, do not get rid of her.

Phyllis Newman
Guest
Phyllis Newman

Gina Tognoni YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Interviews

Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Kim Waltrip Talk Plans & Launch Campaign To Make ‘Dial Emme For Murder’ into a Series

Two-time Daytime Emmy winner, and soap opera favorite Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R and Ex-Kristen/Susan, Days) is bringing one of her soap opera mystery novels to life with a proposed six-part series for the soapy and hilarious mystery, Dial Emme For Murder.

Joining Eileen in the cast will be none other than Judith Chapman (Gloria, Y&R) , Knots Landing favorite, Donna Mills (Ex-Abby), and primetime TV and film actress, Nancy Valen.  More cast members will be announced in the future.

Photo: JPI

In Dial Emme for Murder, Davidson plays actress Emmanuelle “Emme” Peterson, a successful soap star who finds herself smack dab in the middle of a  whodunit.

Now, in conjunction with the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television (PSWIFT), and its president and director/producer, Kim Waltrip, Davidson is launching a fundraising campaign to get the series made.

Photo: EDavidson

In an exclusive interview on the Michael Fairman Channel, Eileen, Judith and Kim exclusive reveal key Intel on the project, campaign and working together.  The proposed series has also launched its official website here.

About PSWIFT:  PSWIFT (Palm Springs Women in Film & Television) is a non-profit organization, founded in 2001 dedicated to promoting our members, both men and women in the Entertainment, New Media Creative arts community. In 2020 Palm Springs Women in Film & Television created and launched a Filmmakers’ Lab to teach members how to make a film, by making a film, hands-on.

PSWIFT is currently seeking donations through their non-profit – which are 100% tax-deductible – to fund the Filmmakers’ Lab’s next venture Dial Emme for Murder.  You can find out more on the different perks and packages if you donate to the project here.

Watch the interview with Michael, Eileen, Judith, and Kim below.

Then let us know, if you think Dial Emme for Murder featuring powerhouse actress, Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Donna Mills, will be a must-see for you via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Chats On Mia St. John’s Powerful Interview on ‘State of Mind’, Winning the Daytime Emmy & Sonny’s Future If Carly & Jason Get Hitched

Since the launch of Maurice Benard’s You Tube series, State of Mind, he has welcomed numerous guests who have opened up and shared their struggles with different aspects of mental health.  But this Sunday, July 11th, Maurice will share for the first time his powerful and emotional sit-down interview with Mia St. John; one that he reveals was one of the most moving of his series thus far.

With Maurice being a huge boxing enthusiast throughout his life, having St. John, who is a boxer, herself, on as a guest was, of course, special. However, as soap fans know, Mia is also the former wife of the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters, Y&R) and they shared a son, Julian.  Both men died, tragically. Julian, suffered from a long-history of mental illness, and his death was ruled a suicide, and Kristoff was consumed with grief following his son’s death which ultimately set him on a downward spiral.  Kristoff’s death was ruled accidental caused by hypertrophic heart disease; which was exacerbated by alcohol use.  In the conversation with Benard, Mia opens about her own personal struggle with addiction and how she coped with these two devastating losses. (See an exclusive preview clip below within this interview)

It’s also been a whirlwind year for Maurice. He just took home his third Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series during the 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards for his moving portrayal as GH’s Sonny Corinthos, as he goes through all the stages of a child watching his father, Mike Corbin (played by Emmy-winner Max Gail) slip away due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Since the Emmy broadcast was pre-taped due to Covid restrictions, except for revealing who the winners actually were, Benard shares what went down when his name was called watching the show from home with his family.

 

And … things are heating up on General Hospital!  For months, Benard has been playing an amnesiac Sonny aka “Mike” who has become taken with deceitful Nina (Cynthia Watros), who knows he is alive and well and living in Nixon Falls, but fails to tell her nemesis Carly (Laura Wright), or anyone else in Port Charles.  With everyone believing Sonny is dead after his showdown with Julian Jerome, Carly and Jason (Steve Burton) find themselves having to save Sonny’s territory and go up against the five families.  So, what are the besties deciding to do? Get married! And as viewers saw, Carly recently removed her wedding rings to Sonny.  So, now the question on GH fans inquiry minds is; will Sonny get his memory back in time, and stop Jason and Carly from tying the knot?

Benard weighs-in on what the future may hold for Sonny, the difficulties he faced during the Covid-19 lockdown with his mental health, his conversation with Mia, and much more.  Here’s what Maurice shared.

Courtesy/StateofMind

Having Mia St. John on as your guest on the upcoming episode of State of Mind was quite emotional for you. What can you preview? 

MAURICE:  I can say that during last ten minutes, there’s a lot of spiritual stuff going on.  I felt it.  She’s very tough.  You can tell that she doesn’t want to hurt anymore, and with me, I don’t know for sure, but I think she felt safe and protected.  We got into Julian and Kristoff and what happened.  I’m pretty sure I asked her and said, “I’d like to get into something.  You could say ‘no’ to me.  It’s fine,” and she told me the whole story.  Michael, I know you were friends with Kristoff, you’re going to really be moved because I was extremely moved.  It really, really hit me hard, because of what I’ve just been through during the pandemic. I just felt the need to be there for her.  I mean, I have that in me anyway, but with her, I did because it seemed like a lot for someone to go through.  I didn’t know Kristoff.  I met him once, and we talked for a bit.  He seemed like a great guy.  I knew he was a great actor because I watched his work.  I do know that everybody seemed to love him, but through State of Mind, it seemed like I got to know him a little better through Mia.  I was looking in her eyes, and taking it all in, and she was telling me everything.

Throughout your series, you seemed to have become more comfortable in the role of the interviewer.  It’s quite the switch isn’t it from always being on the other end as the interviewee.

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve gotten better.  You know what it is with me, and somebody said it, I’ve got a curiosity that I love to hear people’s stories, and I have a way to make people comfortable.

Photo: KSJIG

Does it help you in listening to what other people have gone through in dealing with your own struggles with mental illness?

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve said it before.  It’s like therapy for me.  After Mia, I was drained, but in a good way.  In the beginning of doing “State of Mind’, I was just learning.  I wish I was more well-rounded in my intelligence.  I barely graduated out of high school, but as far as what it is with me, if I know something like acting or mental health, I really completely know it.  I’m into it.

How did the interview with Mia come about?  Did you ask her to come on State of Mind?

MAURICE:  I know who is involved with mental health.  I know who would be interesting to interview, and then I reach out, and I have people coming who are not in the soap world.  I have a WWE person; I have a TV critic, etc.  So, I asked her, and Mia said ‘yes’, and then we did the interview.  I’m a huge boxing fan.  So, to be able to talk to her about boxing and things that happened to her right before her fights, I was just really fascinated.

That is right in your wheelhouse!

MAURICE:  Way up my alley!  If I could have more boxers on, I would love that.  I love sports, but boxing is my one sport, so I was like a kid in a candy store talking to Mia.

How do you feel Mia is doing as she has been very open about her battle with alcoholism?

MAURICE: Any time you’ve been through that much, I think it’s a daily struggle for anyone. In addition, there is a really great organization she works with that I hope people will check out as she is trying to help others.

In terms of all of your State of Mind’s, did this one impact you in a different way?

MAURICE:  The good thing for me about State of Mind is that I learn from each person about things that I didn’t know.  For instance, coming up I have: Linsey Godfrey (Ex-Sarah, DAYS) who got hit by a car.  I mean, you could read about it, but when you’re talking to someone, things come out.  That’s what I love about doing this show.  Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R) didn’t know anything about mental illness, personally, but he talked about mental illness more than anyone!  I said to him on the episode, “For somebody who doesn’t know anything about mental illness or didn’t have someone with it, you talk more about it,” because he had a curiosity on the subject.  Mia’s was a little more because of the boxing and how deep we went with her talking about death.  In an upcoming episode with Ken Shriner (Scott, GH), he teaches me a lot about death.  When your parents die at 16, I don’t know how you could keep going.  He taught me how.  It was beautiful.

Photo: NATAS/CBS

Let’s go back to a few weeks ago on June 25th and you win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  How did you find out you took home the gold?

MAURICE:  I was at my place in LA with my son, Joshua and my wife, Paula and we were watching the show.  When they called my name, I was very moved to watch my wife and my son get so excited, it really was sweet.  I liked my speech even though people had a problem with it, which is fine.  It’s always great if Max Gail wins or I get a win, because it’s the Alzheimer’s storyline that gets the attention.  And as I told you already, my dad has Alzheimer’s so it makes it even more personal.

And as you know, my mom had Alzheimer’s and died.  That’s why what you and Max did together on-screen together felt so real and raw and touched so many people – especially those who have a loved one going through this now, or that has passed.

MAURICE:  Yeah, it’s tough. I truly believe with this Emmy win, that it is the Alzheimer’s that really pushed it over the edge because it was a real story, greatly written, everybody deals with it, including you, including me, and you just can’t help but have a feeling about it.  You know, if I have a reel that shows me as Sonny yelling at people, beating people up, it’s not going to give you the impact.

Photo: NATAS

Was it weird coming to the stage and doing a pre-taped Emmy acceptance speech knowing that everybody else that was nominated had to do one too?

MAURICE:  Well, thank, God I didn’t have to do it in front of actors; I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it.  It’s weird, right?  I knew I had to adjust.  When I’ve won before, it’s in front of a lot of people, or semi-in front in a lot of people.  So, with this year, your energy is different.  So, you can’t act in a speech like that, because then it would seem kind of over the top, maybe.  So, I just made a speech that I thought would work for what I was doing; which is kind of acting because I didn’t want to come out and say, “Oh, my God!  I can’t believe it!”  So, I said, “Okay, I’ll thank the actors, I’ll thank Frank, and I’ll make it about Alzheimer’s.”

Photo: GFrancisTwitter

I know some fans on social media jumped on the comment you made within the speech about ‘being the star of the show’ and you did tweet out that you went to Genie Francis (Laura, GH) to make sure there were no ruffled feathers there.

MAURICE:  I went to Genie because I thought, I don’t want her to take what I said personally, and she’s like, “What are you talking about?”  Sometimes I respond to a negative comment on Twitter with an emoji which can incite people.  So, I decided, “I’m not going to do that anymore. No more responding.”  Like I always say, you want to be loved and you want to be hated.  You just want to be loved a little more. So, I stopped with the child’s play.  I’m cool with it.

It seemed that things got twisted up, because you had related in the speech, that Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) came over to you and said you have to do the storyline, because you are the star of the show, when you were overcome in the screen-test with Max Gail. 

MAURICE:  Sometimes people love to change the narrative.  If you watch everything … they say what I said, but they don’t say that I also said ‘Alzheimer’s’ was the star, but I’ll take the hit.

Courtesy/ABC

I recently posted a clip of my interview with Cynthia Watros from the red carpet at the Daytime Emmys saying how she is so thrilled and honored to work with you.  How is it working with Cynthia?

MAURICE:  Let me tell you about Cynthia, and this is just my experience because I don’t know her that well.  We hadn’t worked together before. First of all, we tend to overlook, because of her character and the story, or whatnot, is that she is a real actress.  Let’s not forget that, I know she did Lost, and I didn’t watch her on another soap.  I know from working with her.  She can act She makes adjustments, and she listens, and I’m really happy to be working with her.  She is just stuck in a circumstance that is not her fault, but you know what, like I said today I think on Twitter to somebody, ‘but wait’.  I’ve been working this last month doing some scenes with her, and when you see that, there’s a little bit of magic in there!  I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world, I’m just saying there’s a little magic!

Photo: ABC

Have you liked being “Mike “and not having Sonny’s memory because it opened up the story?

MAURICE:  I know people think this story is my idea, like I needed a break or something.  It has nothing to do with me needing a break.  They came to me and said they were going to do this story.  I said, “Let’s do this!”  I’ve been enjoying this.  It’s a different energy.  The energy that Sonny has is dark.  It’s like in third gear.  Mike is like in first gear, calm, relaxed, happy.

You’re just realizing that now?

MAURICE:  (Laughs) Well, I guess until you’ve gone somewhere else you really don’t know.  Often times, when I do movies and other projects, it’s often the same kind of energy that Sonny has. I’ve never played a character like “Mike” where it’s a whole other feeling!

Courtesy/ABC

Is it more challenging to play a character like Mike?

MAURICE:  No, easier!  Sonny can be difficult to play.  But guess what?  The audience – at least my fans – they don’t care how happy I am or whatever, they are screaming “Go back to fricken Sonny!”  I like that in a way, but I didn’t know that it was going to be this vocal from people.  It’s not that they hate Mike, they just want Sonny, and Cynthia is put in a tough situation because of her history in that character.

So, now everyone saw last week that Jason and Carly have decided they have to get married for the sake of the business with Sonny believed-to-be-dead.  What did you think when you heard that they were going in that direction with the story?

MAURICE:  Well, I was the last one to know.  I didn’t know they were going to get married until I heard about it in the makeup room.  I think the first thing I thought of was … we are all going to be having some great scenes coming up, like, “Alright.  Let’s rock and roll!  Let’s do it!  I’ll get into this character of Sonny when called upon.”  It might be and dark and the whole thing, but once I’m in there, I’m fine.

Courtesy/ABC

It would seem if Carly and Jason do actually get married, it’s not going to be an easy road to reconciliation for Carly and Sonny down the line.

MAURICE:  No.  I would say not.  The thing about Sonny is that it’s what Sonny does best, or what I do playing him best, is betrayal.  So, for him, this is not a good thing.  I would assume he’s just going to go, “What the…” and all hell is going to break loose.

Sonny’s body washed ashore and he was very much alive, while the search and rescue mission quickly became a recovery.  Once again, law enforcement in Port Charles isn’t very good! (Laughs)

MAURICE:  So, there you go.  It’s going to be a bigger fight.  It’s going to be a great fight when Sonny does return.

Photo: ABC

Fans are predicting that Jason and Carly are going to be at the altar, and Sonny is going to walk in alive and well with his memory back to the nuptials!

MAURICE:  Well, however it goes, I would say, just let them just watch the fireworks as they unfold.

But you’re enjoying this story?

MAURICE:  I’m cool, man.  I will say this, I’m glad that I have been given this last month playing Mike, and the Nixon Falls story.   I don’t know how much more we have ahead.  I just know that what we’ve taped has been really cool, and I’m glad that they gave me that.

Photo: ABC

I know that the coronavirus pandemic and its isolation was rough for you.  What can you share, and how did you find your way out of a downward spiral?

MAURICE:  Yeah, Covid was just one of those things where I was hit with a lot of different things all at once, which was …  GH shutting down production, my book tour not being in New York (although the book ended up probably doing better because of the pandemic, which was interesting) … my mom and dad moved out …  and I thought it was the end of the world.  We all did at some point, and it all hit me with a rush of anxiety that I had never felt before in my entire life, and it was four months of terror … way too long. I was shaking like a leaf, not sleeping, it was tough.  What I tell people is that when you go through these things, it will pass.  I know, for me, four months was too long, but it did pass.  You’re better because of it.  You can take one of either two roads.  You can get worse, and you can say, “I’m a victim, I’m a victim,” or you can take the other road and say, “I’m stronger now.  Look at what I’ve been through,” and then, look at what happens … a year and a half later, look at what my life is.  I have a pond here at home, and I used to run around this pond crying my eyes out, every morning crying, like I couldn’t do it anymore, and a year later, I walk around the pond like it’s the greatest thing in the world, but that’s what this is, this mental health.  You can think you can’t go on, but then it rewards you with a better life.

Photo: Noah Harmon

I was going to say, that’s pretty profound.  When you were going through the four months, did you think you were going to come out of it okay?

MAURICE:  No,   I’m going to be honest.  I finally got on Lexapro after three months.  If Lexapro didn’t work, I can’t say positively what would have happened.  It gradually made me feel better.  Like I have said, if GH had called me a month before, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the storyline.  It would have been the end.  I wouldn’t have been able to go back to work, because I was in that state of mind.  So, they called at the right time.  I went back to work and I was on Lexapro.  The thing about Lexapro is – and we always tell people to get professional help. There are a lot of people like me, and I’ve got to say, first you get professional help because you’re on the brink of whatever.  So the first five days of taking Lexapro, you feel worse than you did just before you started taking it, and that is scary because you’re like, “I can’t take this.  This is horrible,” and then I stayed on it.  It got gradually better, and just a month and a half ago or so, I weaned myself off.

How are you feeling now?

MAURICE:  Oh, let me tell you, the day that I weaned off, was a Thursday, and I wasn’t going to take it, and I was on my bed, and I felt the greatest I felt maybe, ever.  Now, I’m not saying people should go off it, whatever, because I was on it for like 8 months or something, but it saved my life like lithium for my bipolar disorder, and that’s an amazing thing that these pills could do.  What happened with me with the pandemic is that I had never really taken anything for anxiety.  I had only taken lithium, and I’d been on lithium for 30 years, but for anxiety, I never wanted to take anything, but if you’re bad, if you’re like (you know those gears I’ve been talking about) in 4th and I was like in 5th gear, you’d better get some help, man, because you can’t get off it on your own.

Photo: State of Mind

I want to conclude checking in on your dad, Humberto.  When did you learn he had Alzheimer’s, and how is he doing now?  

MAURICE: It’s been a while since I found out.  I didn’t really want to talk about it, and then I did something in People magazine with the book, and I asked him if I could talk about it, and he said “yeah”.  So, it gave me the green light, and that was maybe 10 months ago.  He’s actually doing good.  It’s slowly kind of happening but that is how the disease works.  This has been a really great conversation, man!

So, what do you think will happen with Sonny aka “Mike”? Will he return to Port Charles before Carly and Jason tie the knot?  Have you been watching Maurice’s State of Mind series, and has it helped you with any of your mental health issues or concerns? Were you happy that Maurice took home the gold this year for his portrayal in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Shares Her Emotions & Reactions On Her Second Daytime Emmy Win for Lead Actress

Last Friday night on CBS broadcast of the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy Forrester) took home the gold in the hotly contested Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category.  This marks Jacqui’s second win.

MacInnes Wood’s performance in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline, that aired in 2020, was the ticket to victory for the talented young actress and new mom to her second son, Lenix.

As viewers saw, the Emmy telecast was pre-recorded including all the nominees taping acceptances speeches ahead of air; with the winner being revealed for the very first time on the broadcast.

 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Jacqui post-Emmys, to find out how she felt about her speech, her emotions at having her name called for the second time in her career, and how she felt Steffy’s addiction storyline resonated with so many people at home, and obviously, the Emmy voters.  Here’s what she had to say …

Photo: NATAS/CBS

What was it like for you to do have to pre-tape your acceptance speech?  Yours, actually came off very in-the-moment, because you kind of stumbled over a word, but it seemed like you were very excited.

JACQUELINE:  Yeah!  I was very excited.  Of course, it is strange to do it that way.  I am very grateful that I was up to my nose in The Bold and the Beautiful scenes and dialogues in the week and the days before, that whole week.  I wasn’t sitting around going, “I’m going to rehearse this in the mirror.”  I just wanted it to be very heartfelt and real.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t like last time – I truly was not expecting it the first time I won.  I think that this time I wanted to be mindful of who to thank and talk about the story, which was so important to bring up opioid addiction, and I really wanted to thank Brad Bell (executive producer and executive producer, B&B) for giving me this story, and allowing me to tell it, because it was such an important message to tell.  Even though this year’s Daytime Emmys were shot differently, I was still nervous. I was so excited to get on a stage. Last year, we were on a Zoom, so it was nice to be able to do this on a stage again.

So where were you on Emmy night?  Were you watching the broadcast at home?  

JACQUELINE:  I was at home, and I was with my friends and my family.  To be honest, it was such a fun way to do it.  Even though it was so wild the way that we shot it – they do this on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Sometimes they’ll do it live, but everyone has their acceptance speech.  I was just happy during the Emmy taping day to be dressed up, wearing high heels, and to be with my cast, Then, I got to celebrate watching it with my friends and family.  It was so cool to find out in that moment, then afterwards we ended up going out.  We went to Ronn Moss’ (Ex-Ridge, B&B) house for a party, where Ronn was performing, and it was great to be with some of the cast and have everybody together.  So, we danced the night away, and it was so much fun.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Of course, if we had been able to be at the Daytime Emmys that way would have been great, but it was nice to be able to go, “Okay, I can celebrate in my casual clothes, and dance, and not be uncomfortable.”

Photo: JMW Instagram

Were your children, Rise and newborn Lenix, with you watching when their mom won her second Daytime Emmy?

JACQUELINE:  My children were with me, and we celebrated together, and of course they don’t really understand what is going on, but they just saw all of us jumping around.  I probably scared my 4-month-old.  My mom ended up watching them.  Then, we all went out.  So, it was a good night.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

Did you have an inkling that you were a frontrunner to take home the gold as Lead Actress for your work in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline?

JACQUELINE:  Were there times when I thought I could win?  I wasn’t sure, but I knew what we did was very special.  The first time I won, I was very proud of myself knowing I had to do all of these long scenes, but I was not expecting to win.  This time, I thought there was a possibility, and I wouldn’t say that it’s all because of me.  I know it’s cliché, but honestly those days when we were filming, you could just feel the energy.  Everyone brought it.  We do film so quickly, and some performances are great, and some of them aren’t, whether it’s because you don’t sleep that night, you don’t know your dialogue that well, you don’t understand why your character is doing a certain thing, but you’re trying to figure it out.  When we were filming these scenes, I thought it was just such an important story to tell, and I felt like everyone gave it 110%.  I looked at everyone, and I knew we were all connected, and even though it was such a heavy storyline, there was something so magical those days and those weeks of filming.  I was so proud of everyone, and it wasn’t something that was like, “Here I am forcing myself to cry,” I was like, “I am just going to be in this scene and really tell this story that millions of people have gone through.” When I watched back those scenes after they initially aired, it was not only about the cast, but it was just how the audio had been added, how the directing was done (since we had to be six feet away from each other because of Covid-19 protocols) which made it all come to life.

Did you think when you came into this medium that you wind up being a two-time Daytime Emmy-winner?  Was it something that you aspired to have?

JACQUELINE:  I think yes and no.  I can’t sit there and say, “No, I didn’t.”  I have goals for myself, and you want to manifest some things, so I wanted to visualize that one day.  I’m in this industry, and I want to do the work, and I eventually wanted to have the Emmy one day, absolutely.  I’d be lying if I said, “I just want to go with the flow, and if I get an award, great.”  No.  I definitely thought about it and said, “Okay, this is something that I do want one day. I didn’t think I’d have two!  I just wanted an award, one day.  So, I think that’s amazing in itself, but I am very honored.

Courtesy/CBS

So, during the Lead Actress nominee package during the Daytime Emmy broadcast, they showed the gut-wrenching clips of yours, where Steffy admits in front of Ridge, Liam and Finn, “I’m addicted.  I’m addicted.  I have a problem.”  Do you remember performing those scenes?

JACQUELINE:  You know, you remember it sometimes as if you’re out of your body. In that moment, I remember being so in my body, but in a good way.  To say those words, to finally realize how heavy – even in talking to you right now – my body feels heavy.  I felt the weight of what Steffy was finally admitting. It broke Steffy, and it broke me.  I’ve never been in that position, but I did my research, and I looked up people who have suffered from addiction and the families, and to look over at Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) and see the heartbreak in his eyes, in Ridge’s eyes, to see what Steffy was doing to other people – she realizes in that moment, “Oh, my God. I am addicted.”  Looking back at those scenes, there is just so much truth in them, and for so many people who have been there.  It just breaks my heart that people have to go through this every day.  People sent me messages from all over the place, it was amazing.  I couldn’t believe the number of direct messages they sent me on my Instagram.  It was pretty incredible.

Courtesy/CBS

Your performance just felt so raw and real, which is why I think it registered with people who have been in that situation, and for the peer vote for the Emmy.  Whenever I talk to other actors about what they look for in judging other performers work, they always say they look for the truth. They don’t want to see a false note delivered in a performance.

JACQUELINE:  Absolutely.  For sure.  That’s why I’m so proud of everyone in the scenes because they all gave that.  It wasn’t like you look over at a cast member and went, “Oh, what’s my line?”  We were there.  It just gave me goosebumps.  It isn’t just my award.  It was everybody’s award.  When you get to really feel like you’re really alive in these scenes, living in those scenes, it’s such an incredible feeling. After this win, I am just riding the wave right now and really just enjoying it.

Photo: MFTV Inc.

Well, I’ll finish on this last question: How do you rate our Emmy photo together this year? (Laughs) We have well-documented our issues taking a decent photo together; usually because we break up laughing trying to take one.

JACQUELINE: (Laughs) I mean, okay … I am happy that we had those LED bars of light.  We have to have LED lighting around us 24/7.  So, I’ll give it a 9.5 rating   Moving forward, we need indoor, 3-4 LED lights, and we’ll be good.  Now that I have two Emmys, I’m going to be asking for that lighting moving forward … now that I’ve turned into a diva. (Laughs)

Share your congratulations to Jacqui via the comment section below … and let us know your thoughts on her winning her second Daytime Emmy – this time for Steffy’s powerful opioid addiction storyline.  But first, check out our red carpet interview with more with the eventual Lead Actress Emmy winner.

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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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