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THE GREG RIKAART AND EMILY O’BRIEN INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

rikaart.jpgBy Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:
Jana is in a prison uniform right now.  What has happened to cause her to be locked up behind bars?

EMILY:
Jana has turned herself in and is having a fun time with Phyllis right now.  At this point Jana is panicked.  She doesn’t know anyone in the prison environment, and she is latching on to Phyllis because she is the only one Jana knows.  She is trying to become close to her, because she doesn’t know anyone else.  Jana has just had this tumor removed, and she is so lost.

TV SOAP:
So, are we sure that the brain tumor that Jana had removed was the actual cause of her killing of Carmen Mesta?  Also, the evil she perpetrated on Kevin and Colleen, by locking them in a freezer and leaving them to die, months ago?

EMILY:
Jana thinks so and Kevin thinks so.

GREG:
That is what we are banking on, at least for Kevin.  The tumor was this great explanation for Jana’s behavior.  I think he never really understood why she did what she did.  Kevin is trying to create this whole defense for her; that everything she did was because of the tumor.  Whether or not that’s true is what we are banking on… right?

EMILY:
Yes.

TV SOAP:
Emily, did you know that Jana would be coming back, after you were written off “Y&R” a few months back?

EMILY:
I didn’t.  (To Greg)  I don’t know if you knew?

GREG:
I didn’t specifically know.  I always suspected, because I knew that Emily was very well liked and she is a strong actor and stuff.  Beyond that, I felt that story had not run its course yet, not just the relationship between Kevin and Jana, but also the explanation as to why.  There was not much closure on it.

EMILY:
I had no idea.  I thought when I went off the show the first time, that was it.  I didn’t know if I would be back.  But then I thought, that the writers could write in that she died or she ran away and was never coming back.  But, the show would continue talking about Jana.

GREG:
That was the other reason I thought she was coming back.  Months before she came back, Kevin was on the prowl trying to find her.  I remember telling Emily before she left, “I have a feeling you would be back.”

TV SOAP:
How is working with Emily?  How do you explain the way you ignite the screen together?  You both have told TV SOAP separately, that you have a mutual admiration society for each other.

GREG:
At least my explanation for it is, there is no explanation for it.  It’s just a chemistry thing, it’s either there or its not.  Pretty much from day one, working with Emily was effortless. You don’t have to try and turn it on; we go onto the set and work well off of one another. To me, chemistry is not something you can manufacture.

To hear this audio snippet, click back to The Global sections,
“New This Month” area.

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TV SOAP:
Is she a good actress?

GREG:
Certainly!  That is one of the many factors that play into how and why we have this chemistry.  If you don’t have a lot of respect for the work of the person you are working with, it would really be hard to create this reality with them.  I think Emily is terrific!  In fact, I will go on the record as saying, and I have been saying this since January when we had the scenes in the freezer that she locked us in, that I am absolutely certain she will get nominated for an Emmy this year.  And, I think she is going to win. She has such solid work, and routinely delivers. That is the other reason I am glad she is back, because the whole voting process is warped, in my opinion.  A lot of time what happens is, “out of sight… out of mind”.   If she did great work in January, and we don’t vote until December of that same year, then people forget.  But, now she is back and people are reminded.

TV SOAP:
Emily, what about working with this guy?

EMILY:
Well, you heard what he said?  That is why I love working with him.  No, I am kidding!  I am kidding! (She laughs)

GREG:
“He flatters me and I like it” (being Emily responding)

EMILY:
Yeah, exactly, I mean… look at him!  He is Greg, and he is great.  From the first day on the set he made me feel so comfortable.  He remembers I was a nervous wreck the first day.

TV SOAP:
Did you screen test with her?

GREG:
No.  I do know that they were specifically looking for someone who would be a good match for me.

EMILY:
See, I didn’t even know that.  I thought I was going to be on 2 or 3 days.  That was what the character description was, not recurring or anything.  When I started becoming his girlfriend on the show I thought, “OK.  This is great.”  The first day he made me feel totally comfortable.  I had so many questions like: “Where is this? And how do I do that?”  I thought when I came on the show that these actors were going to shun people and be only interested in what they were doing, but that wasn’t the case.  We are good friends off screen, and have so much fun together, and that reads on screen.  It really does read on screen.  I look up to him.  He is an Emmy winner, and well deserved.  I have learned so much from him, and it’s a privilege to work with Greg.

TV SOAP:
The recent scenes in the hospital were so meaty for Kevin and for you, Greg, as an actor.
When we last spoke, Kevin had not been utilized too much.  Now we are seeing the Kevin we know and love. Were those scenes hard for you?  Are you proud of the work?

GREG:
Certainly!  Yeah, it’s work I was proud of.  There was a transition before Jana came back to town where Kevin hated her and tried to kill her.  Here we are a relatively short time later, and he has power of attorney and her life rests in his hands.  He wants nothing more than for her to get well.  So, it was challenging making that transition by making it pretty quickly.

TV SOAP:
But this whole relationship is so twisted!

EMILY:
Jana is far too adventurous to be with someone normal.
GREG:
I know that Kevin was concerned when Jana found out that Ji’min died, and she was all concerned about it.  I was like, ”Wait, you don’t want to go take pictures of the body; you know, all that twisted stuff?”

TV SOAP:
To clarify, why is Jana in jail this time?  What crime is she paying for?

EMILY:
Jana turned herself in for murdering Carmen Mesta.

TV SOAP:
Do you also think that Jana could still have killed Ji’min?

EMILY:
You can’t escape from the hospital.

GREG:
Anything’s possible!

EMILY:
She is in prison for her past crimes, and she tried to murder Kevin and Colleen.  Right now she is in jail for the Carmen Mesta murder, only.

TV SOAP:
Emily, how do you justify the actions of Jana and portray such a complex character, and do justice to someone living with a brain tumor?

EMILY:
I did as much research as I could on this, because I did not want to insult anybody that had a tumor.  I really tried to read into it that if this kind of personality disorder happened, I do believe Jana thinks it’s a part of her that she has no control over.  I have read that it can happen.  It’s like another person controlling her.  It was that person that committed this crime, not the Jana who loves Kevin.

TV SOAP:
How is working with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis)?  It’s like “Babes Behind Bars”!

EMILY:
It’s fun, and it’s good.  The material is so absurd and we are so contrasting.  Jana is holding on to her with everything she has, and Phyllis just wants to get away from her.  Jana is freaked out!  I am always over Phyllis’ shoulder and in her personal space.

GREG:
I can’t wait to see it!

EMILY:
Its fun!

TV SOAP:
But now Colleen could be the real spoiler here.  Do you think fans can look forward to a Colleen/Kevin/Jana triangle?

GREG:
Yeah.  As much as I love working with Emily and the Kevin/Jana relationship, I think happily ever after is mind-numbingly boring… “Tumultuously ever after” is what I like to call it or say.

TV SOAP
But it is so twisted, considering Kevin’s past with Colleen!

GREG:
Jana tried to kill me, and I am in love with her.  Then I tried to kill Colleen, and then if she falls for me, the whole thing is warped.  I hope there is a triangle.  That would make wherever the Jana/Kevin relationship goes, that much more complex.

TV SOAP:
Has there been a scene where the two of you thought, “Gosh we were good.”?

EMILY:
A few.

GREG:
We are not a modest bunch over here. (He laughs)

EMILY:
They write such beautiful scenes for us.  There was this one in particular… the water
tower scene….

GREG:
Let me explain this.  We leave the coffeehouse and in the next scene we come back.  But, we had this wild adventure where we climbed a water tower, and all this stuff happened off camera.  We didn’t go climb a water tower, but we were really clear on our moment before, and what we did the moment we climbed the water tower.  I was making fun of her accent and stuff, and it was real.  There was that, and I loved the stuff when Jana was missing and Kevin had Michael take him to the site where the blood was.  Kevin was convinced that she was dead, but then found her, and then getting trapped in the freezer with Colleen. The whole gamut of emotions we went through, I thought was great.

TV SOAP:
What about the recent scenes where Kevin is holding Jana at gunpoint?  That was so intense.  Did you feel it came across the way you wanted it to?

EMILY:
I think seeing it live,  personally, you would have seen it differently.  Seeing it on a small TV screen, you don’t capture as much.  I did expect it to be bigger.

GREG:
It was really intense.

EMILY:
It was.

GREG:
It was intense.

EMILY:
You could see it on screen.  I was so overwhelmed, being back.  I was playing it into my character. When you see it, it’s always different then when you are feeling it.  It’s like a stage play.

GREG:
Lynn Latham (exec. prod. and head writer, “Y&R”) came down to the set to say that she was angry, because we were distracting her so much that she was unable to write.

TV SOAP:
Kevin gets to that quick-to-anger place that is riveting to watch.  Is that a part of you, Greg?

GREG:
Yeah, sure.  I read something once that said, by the time you are six months old you have experienced every emotion, like being angry… all that stuff.  It exists within me.  But tapping into it, I don’t know.   I remember when I first came here to the show; it was easier for me to tap into the anger because I had upheaval going on in my personal life. But now that I am sedate and content in my life, it was a bit more challenging, but I found it and I got it back.

TV SOAP:
Emily, in speaking with you, we do not hear an English accent.  But, you are from England and Jana has a thick accent.  Does that get tricky when playing this character?

EMILY:
No.  I can switch in and out of it very quickly.  I forced myself to lose the accent when I came to the US.  I got teased a lot.  So, it’s ironic that a lot of things I go out for, they want me to bring the British dialect.  I mean, my father still has a very strong dialect, and when I go back to England, I can pick it back up within a week.  I can switch in and out.

TV SOAP:
Do you catch her accent when acting with her?

GREG:
Well, I will make fun of it.  Sometimes in the scenes, I will do it on purpose.  As for me, I grew up in New York and I had a really thick New York accent.  I always found when I brought it back for an audition, (I tried really hard to lose mine, also) that I would be the guy from the Midwest trying to do the New York accent.  Because once I lost it, I couldn’t get it back.  So, it’s good that Emily has that in her arsenal.

TV SOAP:
What’s up next for Jana?

EMILY:
I don’t know.  Hopefully, it’s uphill for now.

Go to the GLOBAL section of my site to listen the snippet of this interview

So, are you looking forward to happy times between Jana and Kevin?

EMILY:
Of course, he is the love of her life.  I hope there is one day when she is back to normal.

GREG:
I want the scenes where Kevin is hogtied to the bed or something. Then the next thing you know, Kevin is off to the hospital because whatever we were doing has gone too far. That is the happily-ever-after for us. (He laughs)

TV SOAP:
All the crying and emotional scenes must take a toll on both of you, as actors.  Is it tough to leave the work behind at the studio, once the cameras have stopped rolling and you are heading home from a days work?

GREG:
I am better at it now; I used to not be able to.  It’s still hard, but I try and stick with it.  If it was something that was challenging and difficult, I will go, “Wow, I think we did it well.”   Instead of moping around and staying in that difficult place, I will say, “Wow, we just did some good work.  Now it’s over and let’s move on.”

EMILY:
I can just let it go after it’s over.  Greg and I can usually make a silly joke.  However, there was one scene, and it was the surgery scene.  I felt like the environment was so real and heavy, when I was lying on the operating table.  I had recently been in a hospital myself and gone through it myself.  Being there was really freaking me out, because there was a real doctor behind me, and a real paramedic on set.  I was lying there and I could not control it.  No one could see it at all, and it was scaring me.  It was fine once I got off the table.  I could not see anyone in front of me, and all I could see was all the medical devices.  I told Greg afterwards, “My hair is soaked.”

GREG:
She was crying.  It was funny at one point, because she was supposed to be unconscious, and there is this tear streaming down her face.  It was really sweet.

EMILY:
It’s easy for me when it’s rooted in reality, and that was the one scene where I left and thought it kind of freaked me out.  The rest is easy for me.

TV SOAP:
Greg, what should “Y&R” fans look forward to from Kevin?

GREG:
I think it’s funny that Kevin manages to grow and evolve and still stays the same at the same time, if that makes any sense?  I am sure we can look forward to more relationship trouble in the future, and more dirty deeds with Gloria, and more sibling rivalry with his brother.  It will be more of the same, yet it will be new, but with some of the same battles.

TV SOAP;
Greg, when TV SOAP spoke with you earlier in the year, you were adjusting to working in scenes with both Judith Chapman (on-screen mom, Gloria) and Christian Leblanc (on-screen brother, Michael.)  Has it gotten any easier for you?

GREG:
It’s one of those sink or swim things, where you have got to put up and then deal with it.  I think I have managed to stay focused in the moments where it can be challenging.  That being said, too, it’s the “eye on the prize”, and when the cameras roll, we all do good work together.

TV SOAP:
What has the fan response been, to Kevin and Jana being back together?

EMILY:
I went to a fan event and they all said they were enjoying this. They were all looking forward to Jana and Kevin getting back together, and being more normal.

GREG:
“Normal” they mean “abnormal!”

EMILY:
Yes, “abnormal together.”

Go to the GLOBAL section of my site to listen the snippet of this interview

What do the two of you do for fun together, when you hang out off the set?

EMILY:
Eat!

GREG:
We are both “foodies”. We have this big joke with these plans, that Kevin and Jana will become daytime’s first morbidly obese couple.  (He laughs) We are “foodies” together.  We go to movies together.  We saw the motion picture “Ratatouille” this week.

EMILY:
We have dinner parties.

TV SOAP:
But, you guys really pig out together?  What do you eat?

GREG:
Celery.

EMILY:
Hominy beans.

TV SOAP:
Oh, c’mon!

GREG:
We eat… trust us.

EMILY:
We won’t go to Dominos or Pizza Hut and eat something extremely greasy …

GREG:
It usually a night of dining with Emily, which is followed by a weekend of purging and celery! (He laughs)

EMILY:
Oh, man!

GREG:
Everything in moderation!

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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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Lead Actor Nominee Red Carpet Interviews

Tonight on the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards five talented actors will vie for the gold in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category during the Emmy broadcast, which airs on CBS and streams on Paramount + beginning at 8 p.m. EST.

During the Daytime Emmy Red Carpet event featuring nominees and presenters, four of the five nominated actors were able to make the festivities, missing was daytime favorite, Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) of The Bold and the Beautiful.

Michael Fairman chatted with GH nominees: Maurice Benard (Sonny), Steve Burton (Jason) and Dominic Zamprogna, plus Days of our Lives nominee and also a GH cast member, Wally Kurth (Justin, Days and Ned, GH) to get their thoughts on what this nomination for their work means to them, what performances they submitted for Emmy judging, and what it has been like to be a part of the collective daytime community.,

Check out our red carpet Lead Actor nominee interviews below, and make sure to check out more nominee and presenter conversations on the Michael Fairman Channel.

Now, let us know, which actor you are rooting for in the Outstanding Lead Actor category? Let us know your pick in the comment section.

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

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