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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

WATCH: The Cast of ‘Studio City’ Talk On the Latest Five Episodes & The Making of the Critically-Acclaimed Digital Drama

It’s one of the most talked about digital dramas out there, with a look and feel all its own, containing smart, witty, and dramatic plots and dialogue, and stellar performances abound.

In Amazon Prime’s Studio City, the story about life on a soap in front of the camera juxtaposed with the often harsh reality of life behind the scenes, will have any fan of the genre getting a kick out of some of the very familiar soap tropes contained within balanced with the five-hankie moments throughout  And now, Studio City has dropped their latest five episodes picking the story back up from where it left off.

Michael Fairman chatted with the cast of Studio City in his latest interview for The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube. Those taking part in this virtual conversation included: Sean Kanan (Sam), Sarah Joy Brown (Laurie), Tristan Rogers (Doc), Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria), Scott Turner Schofield (Max), Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene), and Justin Torkildesn (Jacob).  Ronn Moss, who also appears in the series playing a version of himself, was filming a movie during the scheduling of this chat, but his presence is felt when some hilarious moments featuring him and Sean Kanan were discussed.

Soap fans know these actors very well.  Kanan, Brown, Hennesy and Rogers have all, or are presently appearing, on General Hospital.  B&B fans recognize Torkilden, Horsford, Moss, and Schofield along with Kanan from their work on the CBS Daytime drama.

Getting a show up and running and then taped during the Covid-19 pandemic is no easy task as Kanan shared in the group interview.  As well, Anna Maria Horsford and Sarah Joy Brown share how they came to their parts and the rapid-fire pace in which their scenes were shot.  Tristan Rogers, who won a Daytime Emmy last year for his performance as Doc, gives another heartbreaking turn, and reveals his thoughts on the work he did, plus shares his remembrances of his late friend and GH co-star, John Reilly.

Scott Turner Schofield talks about how Sean and his wife Michele Kanan, two of the creators of the show, have given him and the transgender community a space with Max’s storyline in Studio City.  GH favorite, Carolyn Hennesy shares how she crafted her role of Gloria, the executive producer, after Jill Farren Phelps, and Daytime Emmy winner Justin Torkildsen shares how he wound up with a part in the digital drama and the scenes he shares with Hennesy.

You can check out the full Studio City cast interview below.  Then let us know, have you checked out the series? What have been your favorite moments and performances in it? Let us know in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Mishael Morgan Talks Amanda’s Gut-Wrenching Scenes With Her Mother, Romance with Devon & Vice-President Kamala Harris’ Historic Moment

Since Mishael Morgan returned to The Young and the Restless as Hilary’s twin, Amanda Sinclair, it’s been a slow burn for the character.  However, recent revelations of Amanda’s childhood past have exposed the emotional wounds and the inner fight of this legal eagle, who is now poised for a romance with her late sister’s husband, Devon Hamilton (Bryton James)!

And who better to take on the challenge of trying to make Amanda and Devon a couple to root for then the talented Morgan.  In recent scenes, viewers watched as Amanda learned the harsh reality from her biological mother, Naya (Ptosha Storey), that she gave her and her sister up at birth and never really regretted it! Mishael played those scenes as you would expect for all they were worth and then some.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the Trinidadian-Canadian Morgan, as the United States marked Martin Luther King Day on Monday – a holiday that holds a special place for her – and then the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice-President of the United States on Wednesday and its historical significance.

 

While Mishael shares her thoughts on these moments of our time, we also do a deep-dive into how she created a second life in Genoa City and the challenges of playing a twin and making her unique and different, plus what fans should look forward to in the months ahead, which to us looks like it could be a love triangle between Elena (Brytni Sarpy), Devon, and Amanda.  And, as the second anniversary of the death of Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) is fast approaching, Morgan opens up about the impact her former co-star had on her daytime career.  Here’s what Mishael had to say about it all below.

Photo: AP

Yesterday was such a historic day watching the swearing in ceremony of Kamala Harris, as Vice-President of the United States.  She is the first woman, first Black woman, first Indian woman, so many firsts to hold this office.  I just wanted to get your thoughts from watching it.  What was it like for you?

MISHAEL:  For me it was such a beautiful moment, and such a defining moment because now there is no person in America who can feel like they can’t do it all, that they can’t make it to the highest level of office, or at least one of the highest levels of office.  I think that is going to transform this country and the world in many ways because the rest of the world really does pay attention to American politics, and to what goes on in America.  I think it will really have a ripple effect throughout the entire world.  For me, it was so exciting to see this moment actually come to fruition because I think that the impact is even greater than we all could imagine.  You never know who you’re inspiring.

Photo: Hustory.com

It was really amazing, and this was also right after Martin Luther King Day and I know you produced your “I Have a Dream” Project.  How was the holiday for you?

MISHAEL:  It was funny because even though I did the MLK project, I didn’t really think that it was something I could really explain to my son.  Then, yesterday my son really wanted to know: “What was Martin Luther King Day about?  Why was it a holiday?”  It was so interesting because I had to come up with a way to explain it to a five-year-old, and what I came up with was so basic but so true.  I just said, “This was a day when Martin Luther King, a very famous man, who was famous because he stood up for everybody’s rights, and he marched to make sure that everybody can do the same things in this country as everyone else no matter how they look,” and that’s what he was.  He wasn’t just a champion for just Black lives.  I think he is a champion for equality, and he is a champion for making sure that we always remember to see each other the same.

Is that what inspired you originally to do your project?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  100%.  I remember being inspired by Martin Luther King as a child when I was learning about him for Black History Month and stuff like that, and then when all of the social unrest happened, I just remembered him again, and it was something that I wanted to explore.  When I started reading about him again, I just became so inspired by him all over again that I wanted to do something, and that’s what really inspired me to do the “I Have a Dream” Project.

Photo: Getty

I just hope that we will make strides in our country in stomping out systemic racism – it’s such a deeply-entrenched issue in our society.  A lot of people talk, but we need action to bring change to the system.

MISHAEL:  That’s the thing, I think that this moment, you can’t stop – like the moment when Kamala Harris got sworn in as our Vice-President – you can’t stop the train now because strides will be made that the next generation will look at as normal, and of what it means to be a Black woman or a woman in this country is going to change forever.  It’s the next generation that is really going to continue to move it forward.  So, I think that at the end of the day.  This will always be something that’s remembered.

Courtesy/CBS

Now on to Y&R, I wanted to tell you that these performances that you gave that recently aired were just great.  I always love it when they give you the ball.  How did you feel about the scenes and the storyline, where we learn the deep pain and hurt of Amanda’s childhood and the truth from her mother?

MISHAEL:  I was so excited to play it because for me, I really love telling human stories.  I love diving into that part of myself, and I really know that a huge part of why I am an actor is because I just have this outpouring level of empathy for every life that’s lived.  When I talk to people, and they tell me their stories, I want to take it on because I want to show that beautiful side of humanity.  So being given this story, I wanted to be very careful with it, because I knew that this is a reality for a lot of people.  I also thought about the fact that twin stories have always been done before, paternity stories have been done before, but I have to make sure that it comes from a truly honest place inside of me and a truly empathetic place.  I was excited to take on the challenge to be true to myself, and be true to my artist, and just find the beauty and the honesty in this real human story.

Courtesy/CBS

Ptosha Storey, who played your on-screen mother, Naya, was amazing in the scenes with you.  What was it like working with her and the gravity of it, where this woman is basically unapologetic that she didn’t want her children and she gave them up, and she did not sugar-coat it.

MISHAEL:  Ptosha was amazing.  I loved working with her.  We really got to kind of know each other a little bit.  She has such an interesting story about coming to LA to pursue acting, taking a break from it, (and I don’t want to speak for her), but then really going full-throttle right now when Black, female characters are being played, and she’s getting an opportunity to get back out there and do what she loves to do.  Just listening to her story was so inspiring to me. We had a true respect for each other when we got on the stage, and I think we made some art.

Photo: JPI

It was almost like watching a two-person play in those scenes.  What did Amanda feel at this point?  Was she hoping that her mother would say, “I loved you.  I wanted you?”  Was she hoping for a different outcome in her head?

MISHAEL:  I think anybody who goes into a search for their parents is hoping for a positive outcome.  I think for her, it was heartbreaking to hear that if Naya could go back and do it all over again, she would have made the same choices, and also knowing that those choices really impacted Amanda’s life in an incredible way.  I don’t think that all of it has come out yet.  I think a lot of the pain and hurt that she had to go through as a child, and the loneliness that she had to go through as a child, and hearing from a mother that she would put you back in that situation because it was more comfortable for her, and the level of selfishness is hard to take. Then there is the anger and everything that would come out of hearing that from your biological mother.  It’s funny because the way that those scenes were scripted, there was no stage direction, which to me, I love, because a lot times it will say like, “in this moment she is going to get a little angry,” or, “in that moment she is going to be sad,” but for those scenes, for some reason (and they were really juicy scenes) they really didn’t give much direction. I appreciated that because then it really allowed me to really just make the scene what I thought it was and just really live in the moment.  I know this was a roundabout way to answer the question, but yes, it was very heartbreaking because nobody expects that somebody would say that to them.

Photo: JPI

It was just so heartbreaking.  I kept thinking, “Maybe she’ll…” but no, Naya just stood her ground on it even though Amanda grew up in a foster home.  She wasn’t the “chosen” twin either!

MIHAEL:  No, and she was never chosen, and I think that’s an interesting thing that you said because she was never chosen, and I then even to this day, as a grown woman, she still isn’t chosen, and that I think is heartbreaking.  It’s an interesting thing because I do happen to have a bit of a personal experience with this.  My father wasn’t in the foster system, but he was raised… kind of farmed out to two aunts as a young child and didn’t really get to have a relationship with his parents until he was older, and with his mother, until he was in his 20s.  So, it was so fascinating watching my father.  I just remember always looking up to him and thinking he was so strong, and so powerful, and never cared about what anybody thought, and because of his upbringing, it made him a very driven person, very much like Amanda, but there was a weird sense of wanting to be good enough when his father was around, or when people talked about his father.  It was very fascinating for me to watch that.  It was like I would see my father almost turn into a child again, just wanting that love.  I think it’s because that is so organic to who we are as human beings that it just never goes away, that need to know that your parents love you, that there are two people in this world who no matter what will be there for you, and they will love you.  That’s a hard reality to come to when you realize that’s not true.  I think that’s something that’s really hard for the human spirit to let go of.

Photo: MMorganIG

Yes, and I think what you are saying is also true that you realize as an adult that we are so deeply affected by our childhood and how it plays into our choices, or how we perceive things that happen in our lives.  So, when you think of that, and because you’re a mom, doesn’t it make you feel even more that you want to do right by your kids? That you don’t want to do anything to screw them up in their later years?

MISHAEL:  Yes, it’s true.  It does make you want to be the best person for them and the best example, especially the best example for love.  You want them to feel accepted, and appreciated, and proud, and you want them to know that you’re proud of them.  You want to do everything you can because you think of every single person you may have met who felt like their parents didn’t love them enough, and you want to do every single thing to make sure that your child doesn’t feel that way.  I talked to one of my friends, and they’re like, “My parents never told me that they were proud of me,” and I’m like, “Alright!  Well, Niam, I am so proud of you!” Every day, “I am proud of you!  I am proud!”  It’s like every day I better make sure to tell my kids that I am proud of them, and that I love them.  I was talking to Bryton James about this because I had a disciplinary moment with my son, and you wonder if they are going to take it the way that you take it, but at the end of the day, that might get burned into his memory as “the worst thing that my mom ever did to me,” and meanwhile I thought it was a life lesson that I think he learned.  You kind of have to get rid of that fear that you are going to screw them up because I think it doesn’t matter.  You’re either going to love them too much, or you’re not going to love them enough, and you just have to do the best that you can, and you just hope that it’s good enough.

Photo:JPI

Now, you were brilliant as Hilary on Y&R and had this amazing story send-off, and then you came back to the show as Amanda, a new character.  How has it been to try to define Amanda as her own character without the ‘Hilary-isms’, or does it not matter anymore?  Do you feel you have made the distinction for yourself that they are two very different characters?

MISHAEL:  I feel like now they just are different.  It was active choices that I was making in the beginning, and it was important for me in the beginning.  That’s why, for me, when I was bringing Amanda in, I was trying to stay very steady in my tone and how I spoke because Hilary was very, very up and down, and everything was all over the place.  So, for me, that was my beginning moment, just really focusing on how Amanda spoke and how she conducted herself. I can’t change the way that I look, but I feel that the way that I speak and the way that I carry myself will naturally start to define the character.  After a while, when that becomes more second nature, I feel like more of the character comes through … more of how she is and how she takes things in.  That’s just sort of explaining a bit of my process. It’s just the weirdest situation that I never thought I would ever be in, but I definitely feel like a different character for sure!  I do feel like I know who Amanda is now.  In the beginning, when I read the script, all I heard was Hilary.  I really had to think about how I was going to say things because I didn’t want it to sound like Hilary, and now when I read the script, I see Amanda.  I don’t hear Hilary anymore.  It’s become easier for me now to lean more into the role and get more comfortable with it.

Photo:JPI

Amanda had said to her mother that she was also robbed of her sister.  How does that play into her whole psyche?  She does know that Devon was deeply in love with her sister, and now she has feelings for him too.  Did she want to meet her sister?  Does she feel robbed of that?

MISHAEL:  She feels very much robbed of that.  For me, it was very important that the time when she discovered that Hilary was her sister and that Hilary was gone, that I’m playing that loss properly.  It was important for me because if you couldn’t believe that Amanda’s heart is truly breaking for her sister, then you can’t believe anything else that’s coming afterwards.  This is a really defining moment for me as an actor playing two characters on the show.  It was really important, leaning into the fact that I had a twin, and I’ll have a connection to a person who doesn’t exist anymore, and really letting that break my heart, and break Amanda’s heart.  Once the audience believes that, then they can really believe that Amanda is a different character.  Then, our amazing fans will start to just buy into it, and they will figure it out, and they will work it out, and they will wrap their heads around it, but for me, it was that they had to believe that Amanda’s heart is truly broken for Hilary, otherwise we can’t hook them.  Amanda and Hilary have to become two separate characters in people’s minds.

Right.  So, after the confrontation with her mother, she runs to Devon, and she is torn up, and he consoles her.  This week he asked her out on a date.  She likes this guy, right? 

MISHAEL:  Yeah, I think she does!  He’s the first person that she met when she came to town, and I think she’s always been impressed by how he treated her even when he hated her, and the more that she learned of him, the more she became impressed by who Devon was, and his patience with all of this. In seeing his vulnerability with Hilary, and everything that he went through, and then seeing his heart being broken because of Elena and Nate, I think all of it together is starting to give these two characters reasons to be okay with exploring something that may seem strange to other people, but you can’t control who you love sometimes.

Photo: JPI

Hilary and Devon were such a hugely popular couple.  Do you feel pressure to hit lighting in a bottle, twice?

MISHAEL:  It’s really hilarious because we’re the same people!  Yeah, there is a little bit of pressure because you do wonder if you’re going to be able to create the same magic, especially because Bryton and I have known each other for so long, and we know each other so well now.  Looking back at some of the Hilary and Devon scenes, there is something that is so interesting about it and fun about it because I think Bryton and I were just getting to know each other at the same time.  So, wondering if we are going to be able to recreate that and just make it feel fun and fresh, I think is the worry or the challenge.  I think we will figure it out.  Bryton and I were talking, and the one thing that is missing, or the one thing that we have to get to in terms of the underbelly of Amanda and Devon’s attraction is that Amanda is more like Devon than Hilary ever was.  It’s almost like Devon realizing that the whole journey with Hilary was meant to happen just so that he could meet Amanda.

Isn’t Amanda going to be kind of worried that he was so in love with Hilary and the way that she looked…

MISHAEL:  Well, she doesn’t need to worry because Hilary is dead anyway.  It’s not like she’s coming back!  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Since the last time you played an on-screen relationship, Bryton is with Brytni Sarpy in real-life, and Brytni is on the show now, and there is all of that.  What has that been like working with Brytni?

MISHAEL:  Oh, I’m so Canadian!  As soon as I got back to the show, I was like, “I’m so sorry,” and she was like, “Why are you sorry?”  I said, “I just feel very sorry that I’m here.  You guys have your real-life love thing going on, and your on-screen love… I feel weird.  I’m happy to be back on the show, but I’m like breaking up the party!”  She’s like, “No!  It’s fun!  It’s fine!  Maybe we’ll be rivals!”  I’m like, “Yeah, okay it’ll be fun!”

I can see a classic soap bitch-fight on the horizon on Y&R!

MISHAEL:  Brytni has been awesome about it.  That’s been great.  We don’t know where it’s going to go, but it’s going to be fun.  They’re also playing with Devon’s love for Elena still.  They still have a pull.  Devon is still looking at Elena.  So, I think it’s going to be interesting either way.

Photo: JPI

We are going to have the fan wars again for the couples!

MISHAEL:  That’s even more fun!  I always said I’d rather people be fighting for me to be with this person and that person as opposed to just always with one person because then to me, I kind of wonder, “Is it just this one actor who makes me better?”  I want to be an actor who makes everyone better!  That I can work off of anybody and get that chemistry or that thing that audiences are looking for, that’s what I really challenge myself to do.

Photo: JPI

On February 3rd, it’ll be the second anniversary of Kristoff  St. John’s death, which is hard to believe that it will have been 2 years already.  I keep remembering when I first met you.  Kristoff and you were on The Price is Right, but it was also a crossover for your characters, and you were the new girl on Y&R.  Do you still feel his presence at Y&R?

MISHAEL:  A few days ago, I had asked Bryton, who is s actually in Kristoff’s old dressing room, “Do you ever feel Kristoff in there?  In your dressing room?” and he’s like, “No, not really.  Definitely not in my dressing room, but on set sometimes.”  Even though he’s not here, it’s like he’s still with us because you still see him in pictures and sometimes that happens while you are on set doing a scene.  One time, I was on set doing a scene with Christel Khalil (Lily), and I saw a picture of Kristoff in the background, and it’s just kind of a reminder that I think he is always going to be here in terms of his impact on me and my time on the show.  He means a lot to me because I think I am the artist I am largely because of his influence, and how he really took me under his wing and made me feel so comfortable.  He was such a light, and he made acting so fun, but he always had your back as an acting partner and as friend, and I miss him a lot.

Me too.  He was just a wonderful actor too, when you look back on some of the work.

MISHAEL:  Oh my gosh, yes.

Photo:JPI

What does Amanda think of Naya’s other daughter, Imani (Leigh Ann Rose)?

MISHAEL:  She’s just irritated by Imani because she basically got to live the life that Amanda should have had essentially. To watch her be up on her high horse to Amanda, it’s laughable because the amount of hoops and obstacles that Amanda has had to go through to get to where she is standing today, somebody like Imani is just a complete joke to her! In Amanda’s mind, she is who she is just because of the opportunities that she was given and because of the family that she was born into.  It was complete luck, and it had nothing to do with hard work.  In Amanda’s eyes, everything that she is and every ounce of who she is, is because of her determination, and the choices that she made, and the obstacles that she overcame.  So, the way that Amanda looks at Imani is like she is just a person who she doesn’t even think could fathom how insignificant Amanda thinks that she is.  There is a deep-rooted resentment for Imani because I just think that Amanda has been through so much.

Would you like to have more scenes between Amanda and Naya and Imani?

MISHAEL:  Yes.I want more scenes with both of them!  Both of them are so amazing.  So, I’d love to work with both Imani/Leigh-Ann and Naya/Ptosha again.

Photo:JPI

What can you say to the fans to look forward to?

MISHAEL:  I think I would say that Amanda coming to Genoa City was a really big surprise, and I think that those surprises will continue … ff we want to be as vague as possible! I think there are a lot of things to look forward to because this relationship with Devon is definitely going, and I think it will be interesting to watch how Bryton and I figure that out, which will be fun!

Photo: JPI

Big surprises? Hmm.  Are you going to tell me that there are four of you? That Naya really gave birth to quadruplets … and you are about to take on two more roles?

MISHAEL:  Well, you never know!  That’s all I’ll say!

So, what did you think of Mishael’s recent performances where Amanda met her birth mother? Are you rooting for Amanda and Devon to wind up together, or Devon and Elena? What have you thought of Amanda Sinclair vs. Hilary Curtis Hamilton?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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