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The Heather Tom and Don Diamont Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

The Bold and the Beautiful’s Dollar Bill Spencer had certainly taken things way too far in the past, and has made some very questionable and unethical decisions when it comes to family, relationships and business.  But, this most recent power play took the cake!  In an attempt to keep his son Liam married to his former flame, Steffy, he cunningly made sure a fraudulent diagnosis was made about Steffy’s medical condition after her injury in Cabo!  However, Bill’s wife Katie got wind of the deception and was willing to blow Bill’s deceit sky-high, except he took drastic measures to make sure the info wouldn’t come out.  So what’s a hubby to do?  Lock his wife up in a tower!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with two of your favorite daytime performers, who you first came to know on The Young and the Restless, and then fell in love with all over again in their more recent roles on B&B.  Heather Tom (Katie) and Don Diamont (Bill) sat down with us to talk about the complexities of playing their feisty on-screen romance, and clued us in if Steffy would indeed be the ultimate spoiler in their relationship… or, could it be something else that could eventually tear them apart?

There is no doubt after talking with them, that as far as Heather and Don are concerned, they are having the time of their lives, and both concur that they have the best scene-partner anyone could ask for.  So read below as we go inside the minds of the explosive Spencer clan with the Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress, and one of soaps all-time heartthrobs!

MICHAEL:

B&B fans were in for a shock when Bill decided to lock up his own wife. It was sort of a twisted house arrest when he kept her prisoner in a tower to keep her from revealing his deception!  Female viewers of the show have always loved Katie, because she tells it like it is.   But what happened here?  She seemed to go right back to Bill after being in lock-down? (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

HEATHER:

I hope I am empowering women, except you’re right, she always goes right back to him!  I think that is the part of it … that these two have always had this push and pull and the appeal of that.  And even though it is stroking his ego, what is she going to do?  Go date the bus boy?  She is ruined, done!  (Laughs)  Honestly, she understands who she married. And it has never been about Katie “walking out”.  It was not about that.  It was to alter his behavior in some way.  I just feel like it’s going to take a lot for her to walk away from this relationship, but that does not mean she isn’t going to call him on his crap.

DON:

She knew full well who she married when she married him!  It’s like the ying and yang of who this guy is, and all that he is, that is so attractive.  There is the flip side of that where he is a very challenging personality, and she is going to try to manage that, and she loves him!  And, he loves her!

HEATHER:

There is a part of me after this whole tower incident that was concerned, because after it was all done, like five minutes later, we were having sex and everything was cool! (Laughs) So, hopefully viewers will catch the show where it is more about, “What can I do?  I love him!”  I have said this.  And, it’s more of, “What are you doing?  Do you really think Liam is going to be cool with this?”  It’s saving him from himself.  Hopefully, I can maintain that moral strength without looking like a doormat.

DON:

I think she has done that and shown enormous strength.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MICHAEL:

What about Steffy?  Doesn’t Bill still carry a torch for her?

DON:

That is a different kind of love.  In Steffy, as I have always said, Bill sees a reflection of himself and there is nothing Bill likes more than himself.  It’s that kind of attraction. Steffy feeds his ego and some his behavior as well.  Katie is the voice of reason and his conscience, and the angel.  She appeals to the goodness in Bill.

MICHAEL:

When you initially saw the scripts that had Bill imprisoning his own wife in the tower, what went through your minds?

DON:

I think initially when I heard about it I was concerned, because throwing her in the tower you walk a fine line with Bill Spencer, and anything that smacks of physical abuse or domestic battery.  He is not redeemable at that point and so we have to stay away from that.  So we called Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) who then said, “No Don.  It’s going to be romantic and hot, and it’s going to be great.”  (Laughs)  Then the script came and did say, “Bill grabs Katie by the arm…”  So, we worked all that out to make it all more Harlequin Romance than OJ Simpson! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Heather, did you have reservations on playing the material?

HEATHER:

We are always very conscience of going right up to the line without crossing it.  I think that’s what Brad wanted.  We still wanted it to be fun, even though it was heightened drama.  We wanted it to be fun to watch and I think it was. There were some light and humorous moments in the midst of the crazy drama, like throwing me over his shoulder and then he has a speech where there is just my butt   …

Courtesy/CBS

DON:

…  I am talking to her ass … (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Viewers did not know till the next episode where Bill exactly took her!  He just threw her over his shoulder and whisked her away… somewhere!

HEATHER:

Right, and we actually got to shoot at Brad Bell’s house, which is beautiful and gorgeous, and that is always fun.

DON:

My back was out to where I could barely stand.  I wanted to moon Heather, which I did, but I started to laugh and it dropped me to the floor!

HEATHER:

With his pants down around his ankles …

DON:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

… Then, idiot that I am, I got myself back up to do it again and I started to laugh again and it dropped me to the ground again!   You can see on the air shows when I come out of the house to chase her, you can see I am walking a little weird.  I could not stand straight and could barely walk!

MICHAEL:

What does Katie think now of Steffy?  Where is she at with that?

HEATHER:

I think Katie realizes that Steffy did not have anything to do with this one particular incident. (Laughs)  Listen, Steffy and Katie are never going to be friends, and she is never going to want Steffy in her life.  She is more than willing to have Steffy out of Liam’s life, and that is her ultimate agenda.  Ultimately it may back fire on her.

MICHAEL:

Sides are clearly drawn between Bill and Katie of where they see Liam and Steffy’s relationship!  How can Bill be OK with his son being with Steffy instead of himself?

DON:

We went through Katie’s heart problems, and it made Bill keenly aware of Katie and how good she is for him.  Certainly Steffy marrying his son makes her off limits to Bill.  So that is helpful.  Bill actually believes Steffy has the attributes to compensate for Liam’s weaknesses … the woman behind the man.

MICHAEL:

And Katie wants Hope with Liam, because Steffy is so appalling?

HEATHER:

Courtesy/CBS

Yes, but I also believe Katie believes that Liam and Hope are meant for each other.

MICHAEL:

Since you have known each other since Y&R, when the two of you knew you were going to be paired romantically on the show, were you nervous?

DON:

I remember the first time watching Heather on camera and going, “Wow. What a gifted kid!”   I also thought she was wonderful.

MICHAEL:

So, there was no trepidation that you would be playing on-screen lovers?

DON:

No.  In fact, they looked at doing it with us as Brad and Victoria.  Then when Heather left, I did that story with Amelia Heinle (the current Victoria, Y&R)!   So when I was coming to B&B, I don’t know if Brad Bell had any idea who he would pair me with, because initially it was going to be Donna, played by Jennifer Gareis.

HEATHER:

I was campaigning for it.  Jeanne Cooper, (Katherine, Y&R) was being honored by AFTRA and Adrienne Frantz told me that night that Don was coming to B&B!  So at the dinner I texted Brad, “Put me with Don!”  And I don’t know if that made any difference really or not…

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

Well as my story moved along, I saw that it looked like they were moving towards Bill and Katie, and I was so happy.  There is nobody I would prefer to work with than Heather.

MICHAEL:

We hope this will be a couple that will last and not break every ten seconds, like many couples on B&B!

HEATHER:

In B&B terms, we have been married for 25 years! (Laughs)

DON:

I think Brad does feel that way, and I know he likes Bill and Katie.

HEATHER:

I think its more interesting to try to struggle to be together.  Who knows whether they succeed or not, but in my opinion it is more interesting to watch the struggle and the fight than having them just cut and run at the first sign of trouble.

DON:

They are great real couple and it works in a visceral way!

HEATHER:

I also like that they have kept us together as long as they have.  I like the fact we don’t implode, then get back together, then implode.  I think if and when we do break up it’s going to have to be something really big, and the stakes are going to have to be really high. That is a more exciting path to be on than this circular pattern of getting married, divorced, and getting married, and divorced.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MICHAEL:

When you saw Heather do her outstanding work in the more recent heart storyline, what did you think?  It must have been amazing to be a part of those scenes and to watch her work in those?

DON:

I know what is coming with her!  When I watch the air shows I can be a viewer at that point, and it’s different than being in the scene.  She is brilliant, I will say that.

HEATHER:

I have to say likewise for Don.  He has been given some amazing material and he has just taken this material and run with it.  It’s such a testament to who he is as a person and an actor.  He has defined this character that is very unique and is a force!  I can’t imagine working with anyone else!

DON:

And it’s a testament to Brad also that he gave me the outline of who this guy was   He gave me the leeway to flesh him out and make him who he is.   I don’t know if this is exactly what he saw. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Bill and Katie have really become very integral to the show and now there are even  more Spencers being added to the mix!

HEATHER:

I like that they are building the Spencer family.  Now the niece is coming on the show, and anything that fleshes out the Spencer family is a really good thing.

DON:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

It’s my take and my belief, and I have built this in the subtext of Bill, it is that we have talked about Bill Sr., and the abandonment issues and the contentious relationship between them, and how that has affected him, but what we have not addressed what is at the heart of Bill’s womanizing nature and objectification of women into his forties!  Katie kind of reels him back in, but his tendency is to be dismissive and objectifying. Generally, with that type of guy, it’s a mother issue.  I have that story in my head of what she was like, and what made Bill angry, and a womanizer, and also where that anger that lives in him comes from.   I think that is important to flesh Bill out even further, and that will also, of course, give Katie insight into Bill, at least on camera that we have not addressed.  I think Katie has brought it up, but Bill has just shot it down.

MICHAEL:

If Bill cheated on Katie with Steffy would she actually leave him?

HEATHER:

I think that would be the bottom line, but you never know.  It might be interesting to watch someone battle back from that.  A lot of couples battle back from that, but I think it would be more interesting to watch them do that and fail than wipe out the marriage.

MICHAEL:

Ditto, Don?

DON:

I think somewhere in the back of her mind from the beginning Katie has thought, “This is going to be at times absolutely hellish, but I am not going to walk away.”

HEATHER:

Courtesy/CBS

She does not want to try to corral him, and for him to not be who he is.  She likes that he is a powerful, strong man.  She does not want him to be some whipped pansy.  That is not who she married.

DON:

Early on when I was on the show and Bill had scenes with Donna, a concierge came to the door and gave him something.  As she left the scene, and I put this in, I bend down, because she was kind of a cute girl.  I just watched her go, and that is not who he is anymore.  The Steffy pull is different than that.  Bill is not just “a dog” anymore.  That has changed.   He is not a dog, and he is not looking to get laid, and compromise their relationship over a piece of ass.  I think Katie is secure in that.

HEATHER:

Steffy just pushes every button she has, and every insecurity. That is just the way it is.  I like that dynamic.  I like when they play it and I miss it when they don’t have it on.  I think it’s fun to play and it’s fun to watch.

MICHAEL:

What would you say about working with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) and Scott Clifton (Liam)?

HEATHER:

I love the Spencers!  I love working with Jacqui, and the chemistry works both ways.  It works with chemistry between a man and woman sexually on a soap, and it also works between rivals.  I think we have really good chemistry together.  We go head to head and both of us try to win our points.  One person does not always have to be right and one person does not have to be wrong.  I think that one person does not have to be the winner.  I think as far as Scott Clifton goes, I think he is wonderful and a wonderful part of the Spencer clan.  When all of us are in scenes together, you know the ball is never going to get dropped.  It’s a great group.

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

DON:

The growth in Jacqui from two years ago when I started on this show is fantastic!  I would not have known two years ago if Jacqui would have had the chops.  She did the bitchy stuff really well, but the subtleties and the emotional stuff…

HEATHER:

… Lately, she just comes from such a place of pain and you just know it.  She is amazing.

DON:

It’s great!  That is why she can get away with being that bitch now, because you see the vulnerability in her.  It used to be, “I’m just bitchy.”  Now that she is bringing out that emotional depth to it, it’s taken it to a whole new place, because you cannot work opposite of Heather and not bring that to the table.  If you don’t bring that to the table you are chewed out and spit out, and it never works.  Jacqui’s growth has been astronomical over the last few years, and that is what made it work. As far as Scott, he is so great.  He makes great choices, and he has great clarity of who his character is. The dynamics between father and son and the contrast works.  The chemistry we had from day one was all very real. That is what I like so much about the Spencers.

MICHAEL:

They are one soap opera family that is never boring!

HEATHER:

We are not nice!

MICHAEL:

People don’t want to see nice on television!

Photo Creditl: Kathie Hutchins

HEATHER:

We are not nice, but we are not despicable.  I think there is somewhere between nice and despicable.  I think that is where we live, and I like that.

MICHAEL:

Don, if you were to tell me three words to describe working with Heather, what would they be?

DON:

She is funny.  She is together. She is gifted.

MICHAEL:

Heather your turn, three words or so to describe working with Don.

HEATHER:

I was going to say funny, too.  I think the one thing I admire is his loyalty to his family, and how much he is a family man and a father.  So, I would say, loyalty.  I would also say talented.  I feel we got so lucky with his character and what he has done here. I was at a point before he came on the show where I was like, “I don’t know where they are going with Katie.”   I truly believe the reason I am on the canvas is because he is here.

MICHAEL:

Heather won last years’ Outstanding Supporting Actress at the Daytime Emmys.  Scott Clifton won last year’s Outstanding Younger Actor at the Daytime Emmys, and, B&B won for Outstanding Dramatic Series.  Don, were you kind of thrilled that your show and your acting partners won some of the top prizes?

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

Let me tell you something, when I was fired the day after thanksgiving after 21 years on Y&R that was such a huge and traumatic and painful situation.  Then when Brad created this new character and told me right off the bat, “I really have high hopes for this character,” I felt this pressure.  It was like, “Whew! I got a job!  Great!” Then it was; “Now I got to make this character and bring this guy to life that Brad envisioned, or with within 13 or 26 weeks I could be moving on again!”  So having said that, Brad gave me the opportunity, and he won his Emmy.  And what I told him was; the year I started on Y&R your dad, Bill Bell Sr., won the Emmy.  The year I started with you, you are going to win the Emmy.  So you are going to win the Emmy and I will take credit for that one. (Laughs)  Of course, I am being tongue-and-cheek.  So we won and Brad yelled to me, “You are my lucky charm” as we are leaving the stage.   So I don’t know if I ever won an Emmy, if I would feel more elation than I did for him on that night, because the opportunity his father gave me in the mid-80’s was tremendous.  I lost my dad and my brother very early on during my time with the show, and Bill Sr. was very paternal with me.  That was not necessarily difficult, but it struck something in Bill and we had a beautiful relationship all those years.  Then Brad gave me this opportunity.  I fully understood that “Wow, what huge shoes to fill!  To be the son and take over the legacy!”  Brad’s dad has all those Emmys up in his office, and so just to get one it had to mean so much to him.  I really got that.  It was no different seeing Heather win, even though she has been nominated a thousand times before and won.  I said to Heather, “You are going to win.” I completely believed that and I completely believed Scott Clifton was going to win.   I also said, “If she doesn’t win, I want to see what does win”. I was elated and it was incredibly gratifying that that she won having been Mrs. Bill Spencer, and then Scott being my on-screen son.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of the Daytime Emmys, this year new voting rules have been instigated to try to level out the voting process and make it more fair with the actors having to submit only a short two-minute reel as an example of their work to get a pre-nomination.  Was it hard for you to find a two-minute gem, and what do you think of this new process?

HEATHER:

Oh Gosh!  It was horrible for me to have to find a two-minute reel.   I second-guess.  I sleep on it and I wake up the next day and I go, “No!”   So it was awful.  I think the new concept of voting may be an improvement.  I decided to put myself in Lead Actress because I said, “What the hell!”  What I will say is, I watched all the Supporting Actress clips, and Gina Tognoni (Kelly, OLTL) submitted a two minute thing that was unfreakin’ believable!  I would not have not seen that scene if it wasn’t for this voting process.  I would know Gina is a great actress, and I have always known that and she has done great work, but I would not have necessarily seen that and gone, “Wow”!   There is something to it.  But then you think, “Are you really going to be judged on 2 minutes of your work?”   We will have to see how this all works itself out.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

DON:

I am in lead actor category for consideration, and it was not hard for me to choose my scene.  I don’t know what the right system is, because again, I have never been nominated.   And this takes you back to the way the pre-nominations were previously with the show nominating the actors, because those people know your body of work through the year.  I also see where that can create a popularity contest, because if you are not liked, you won’t get in.  As Heather will tell you, I have never been known for shaking hands and kissing babies.  Would that come into play, maybe?  I think it can’t hurt if you are well known, and if you have relationships with people.  That is why politicians walk around and stop in cities doing what they do.  Having said that, I don’t know what voting system for the Emmys is perfect, and this one does at least says, “Ok. I am not familiar with this persons work, so let me see them.”  I think as in my case, people may know I play the cock-sure Bill Spencer on B&B, but they have not seen the work.  So this gives them an opportunity to check it out and perhaps change their perception on an actor and their performances.  If I got nominated this year, absolutely then, this is the best system ever! (Laughs)

 

 

 

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So_Superflous
So_Superflous

I’m interested to see how the Spencer’s come into there own as a family unit with Karen and Caroline coming in. I Love Bill and Katie but still want more of Steffy/Bill/Katie to kinda going their love.

BETTYEJ
BETTYEJ

After reading the first thing that HT said was enough for me. I see why the males run over these weak women on this show. Because they let them.

Leah
Leah

I’m a Bill and Steffy can myself, but I really enjoy this interview. Two phenomenal actors!

Leah
Leah

Ugh! I meant “fan” not “can” haha

sandy
sandy

I think Bill and Steffy have better dynamics, i love HT but they make the women in this show so weak, unfortuneatly, they have written Katie that way too…

Mandy
Mandy

Thanks! Love Bill and Katie! Don and Heather seem so down to earth have fantastic chemistry. “Batie” are definitely my favorite B&B pairing and I love reading that Brad Bell loves Batie as much as I do <3

Sheila E. Hollingsworth
Sheila E. Hollingsworth

I love Katie & Bill together, they are sooo goodlooking!!!!! He needs to stay true to Katie cause she can give him all he needs, what else could he ask for! I get sooooo mad at Liam & Steffy & Hope, why do they need to TELL everyone their business, just do it then they can know AFTER the fact!!!!!!! Love B&B hope it doesn’t go off the TV like others did.

Mitchell
Mitchell

Bill and Katie are by far my favorite daytime couple! What a delightful interview! Don and Heather have done a great job making me believe two such opposite characters can make a perfect couple. The fact that Bill and Katie are so different makes the couple more appealing.

Giulia
Giulia

They’re are horrible together and KILL is the worst couple of daytime

Toni D
Toni D

I agree! Not only has their chemistry DIED and NEVER been resuscitated, they represent the WORST kind of relationship! I’ve loved Heather Tom since Victoria Newman on Y&R, but COME ON! She comes across like a PATHETIC, WHINY DOORMAT! She complains that her husband does ALL this stuff then she turns around and FORGIVES HIM?! REALLY?! THIS is what a STRONG woman does… when a man puts his EX before at EVERY GIVEN OPPORTUNITY, but it’s not surprising that he shows her no loyalty since she shows him NONE!! She is who she accused Steffy of being when she was hassling her through the blood clot fiasco! A PATHETIC woman hanging onto a man who doesn’t love her!! PUH-LEASE!!
It would be one thing if she was DOING something to work on rebuilding what SHE initially helped BREAK when she kept running away when he would heel–I mean do what she thought he should! SHE SAID IT–she thinks she’s supposed to be saving him from himself!! Look at the “blood cot” situation, a REAL woman would have WALKED on him or if she STAYED, proven her loyalty by NOT telling on her husband… If I married to a man like that–which could ONLY happen if I was a soap character cuz I’d have beat that A$$ a LONG time ago and taken him for ALL he was worth–I would NEVER have STAYED with ANY man who could do that to ME… BUT if I DID STAY there is NO WAY I’d give him and his secrets up!! Loyalty to spouse… WHERE IS THE CLEAVING?! It’s like a game for her to see if she can keep her marriage AND get her neice a WIN against Steffy even AFTER she sabotaged his relationship between him and his son!! WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH HER?! She’s TWISTED!! Not as twisted as $Bill, but it’s expected with him cuz he always WAS… Katie’s just another HOgan family HYPOCRITE trying to play the golddigger game better than that SKEEVY big sister of hers!! I’m SICK of the HOgan Half Hour and am ONLY holding out for the Stephanies, and $Bill who at least are ENTERTAINING in their soapy insamnity!! HOPEFULLY, the NEW Caroline Spencer is NOT like the LOWgans just cuz she’s blonde!! Or it’ll be just ONE MORE REASON to fast forward… or skip the episode altogether!! Will Bell EVER get over his LOWgan obsession and show some BALANCE!!

Joanna
Joanna

I love Bill and Katie. They are such a powerful couple. They have the best chemistry and romance! I want to see more of them. They need more airtime and a new story! Great interview! Thank you Michael Fairman.

allison
allison

I love bill and steffy they are the best couple on the shower

Grand Hotel

Denyse Tontz and Lincoln Younes Preview Forbidden Romance & Intrigue As ‘Grand Hotel’ Premieres

When Grand Hotel opens its doors to its audience tonight on ABC (10PMET/PT), it will have a very familiar feel to soap fans for several of its series regulars and its executive producer all come from the world of daytime or serialized storytelling.

Executive Producer, Eva Longoria (Ex-Y&R, Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids, Telenovela) brought to the screens a provocative drama with Miami Beach as its backdrop of the last family-owned hotel (by the Mendozas) with a contemporary take of an upstairs/downstairs story of 2019.

Former General Hospital’s Bryan Craig plays Javi, who is joined by two other soap notables; former All My Children reboot star, Denyse Tontz (Ex-Miranda Montgomery) and Australian-born actor, Lincoln Younes (Ex-Casey, Home and Away) who’s characters are interlocked in some very sexy and mysterious ways.

Tontz, plays Alicia Mendoza the strong-willed daughter of the Mendoza clan, who is fresh out of business school… and who will make a huge discovery about her dad, but is also set to embark on a romance with a new staff hire!  And that staff hire is Danny played by Younes, whose character Danny is not who he says he is at all … and he has one goal in my mind which brought him to the hotel … but things get complicated for him when he feels a massive attraction to the hotel owner’s daughter … Alicia!

Michael Fairman TV took part in a press roundtable discussion with Tontz and Younes to get some teasers of what’s to come when Grand Hotel premieres.  Here’s what they shared in some questions posed by us and others below.

Photo: ABC

Danny and Alicia definitely have an instant attraction in the season premiere. Where can you tease that it might go?

LINCOLN:  Well, it can go in a number of directions, but hopefully towards a positive one.  They each have their own motivations for why they’re at the hotel.

DENYSE:  Alicia’s main goal, or at least from the beginning, is to prove herself, just having graduated business school and sort of step into her mother’s shoes a little bit. She’s had a lot of pressure on her for most of her life to sort of fill that role and keep the family together.  I think it’s really tough to have to juggle that and the desire to explore this potential romance with this person who is so intriguing to her.

LINCOLN:  I think with Danny, his reasons are kind of unknown as to why he’s at the hotel.  He comes in as a new employee, but there is something off about him.  It is complicated by the arrival of Alicia and the chemistry the kind of ensues between them.  I think that’s kind of the interesting thing to watch is them navigating their priorities and their initial motivations with the inevitable chemistry and dynamic that has appeared.

Photo: ABC

The main family in Grand Hotel is Hispanic.  And what is intriguing about the premise is that their ethnicity is not the backdrop of the story, it’s just who they are.  Would you agree?

LINCOLN:  Eva is kind of a trailblazer in that way because this is about the story of a family, and a hotel, and the guests, and the employees, and the employers, and all of the different things these people go through.  It’s not so much the color of their skin and their background.  I think as soon as you take away the magnifying glass of how a person appears and really look at what is going on inside, that’s a step in the right direction.

DENYSE:  I think that even though we are really a diverse cast and crew, that really has nothing to do with the actual premise of the show, and I think that’s really cool even to just see that.  To just play a character who happens to be Hispanic, and that’s not the central theme of this character, I think there really are no stereotypes that are perpetuated in any way.

LINCOLN:  It’s the perfect melting pot of culture, and the fact that it is set in a hotel where anyone from any part of the world can come into, it creates this show that I don’t see anything like this on TV, and that’s very exciting.

Do you see Danny and Alicia as a duo to root for with their dysfunction and all throughout the series?

DENYSE:  I think there is this sort of allure to the forbidden romance aspect of it all.

LINCOLN:  They have these obstacles in front of them.

DENYSE:  But you want it to happen. (Laughs)

LINCOLN:  You want it to happen, and it’s just against all odds.  That complicates things.

Photo: ABC

You have such a great cast to work with; chief among them Demián Bichir, Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids)!

DENYSE:  Oh man, working with Demián and Roselyn and Eva Longoria was a dream.  They’re each so special in their own way.

LINCOLN:  Three powerhouses.

DENYSE:  Yeah, three powerhouses and very different.  They each have their own way of approaching a scene.  Demián is mostly a movie actor, and it really shows in the way he approaches scenes, and the way he is not glued to the lines, and it’s kind of cool to watch him and learn from him in that way.  He’s so funny too.  He makes it a really comfortable environment, and you feel safe to try stuff.   Eva … same thing.  She has a clear vision for what she wants.  She can direct in such a way that I think a lot of directors can’t, because she has been on the other side of the camera, and she has got a really good perspective.  I think she’s really great at articulating what she wants you to do.

LINCOLN:  Yeah, she’s very meticulous.  I think the thing about all of the people who you’ve just mentioned is that they all have levity.  They are all very specific, but they are all very authentic.  That carries through in both their acting and how they carry themselves off set.  That was really great to kind of learn from them.

Photo: ABC

Many in the cast are from daytime dramas, or soap operas previously, including both of you!  Was that a coincidence in the producers casting choices, you think?

LINCOLN: I think, just knowing Eva so well now, and Brian and Ben, the creators behind it, they searched long and hard for the people they wanted to play the roles.  So, it might just be a happy coincidence.

When the scripts came out, how did the cast handle the twists?

LINCOLN:  There was a lot of speculation going on.  There was a lot of gossiping on set and off set.

DENYSE:  Lots of gossiping, stealing scripts… a lot of bombshells though.  There really is no shortage of plot twists.  A lot of these characters you think are going to start out a certain way, and then you find yourself completely changing your opinion of them halfway through the season. Without giving too much away, nobody is really who they appear to be.

Photo: ABC

How do you both feel about the fact that the wait is over and Grand Hotel is finally premiering?

DENYSE:  It’s super exciting.

LINCOLN:  It’s very surreal.  This is my first American show, so I have no idea what to expect.  I just go to Denyse for advice.  I’m like, “What do I do?”  (Laughs).  It’s all very exciting.  I think when you love a project; there is another element when it is released to the public.  Everyone on the show loves it.  Everyone is so passionate about it.  So, I just hope that the audience feels the same and that we get to keep doing it.

So will you be checking out Denyse, Lincoln, Bryan, Eva and more on Grand Hotel?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below. But first check out this promo for the kick-off tonight!

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General Hospital

GH’s Cynthia Watros Talks On Taking Over The Role Of Nina & Ingo Rademacher Dishes Jax’s New Love Interest

Today on June 3rd, Daytime Emmy winner, Cynthia Watros is set to begin taping all-new episodes of General Hospital as she steps into the role of Nina Cassadine, last played by Michelle Stafford, who has left the ABC daytime drama series and headed back to The Young and the Restless to reprise her signature role of Phyllis Summers.

Watros, best-known for her delicious portrayal of Annie Dutton on Guiding Light, and who was last seen on daytime on Y&R, is back to the grind of the soaps taking on the complex Nina.  Add to that, it is clear that GH is setting up a potential love triangle, or new love interest for her, now that Jasper Jacks is back in Port Charles with GH fan favorite Ingo Rademacher returning to the show.

Last month on the recent GH Nurses’ Ball episodes, we saw Nina (then Stafford) lock eyes with Jax, and the two demonstrated an instant attraction to each other.  Add to that in story; Jax was revealed to be the new 50 percent owner of Aurora Media, which Nina’s Crimson Magazine falls under, putting them in each other’s path in more ways than one.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Cynthia and Ingo along with other members of the media at last week’s ABC Summer Press Roundtable junket, and here were some intriguing and insightful moments from the conversations below.

When we asked if Cynthia had a conversation with Michelle Stafford on taking over the role of Nina, Watros responded: “I did.  We had lunch together, and I have to say, Michelle is an amazing, lovely, giving woman.  Just to be able to sit across from her and talk about Nina and to talk about the show, I was just in awe of her generosity.  I will always be a fan of Michelle’s.  She actually reached out to me and said, ‘If you ever want to call or text…’ and I said, ‘Let’s have lunch!’  So, we found and afternoon and spent like three hours just talking about it.”

Photo Credit: ABC

Since Watros has brought the cray-cray to her best known role of Annie on GL and is so adept as an actress to go from that to playing grave reality, Cynthia weighed in on how she sees Nina and the challenges of being a recast in a soap role: “Nina has all of this stuff that I can’t wait to play.  She’s got stuff that she hasn’t explored for a long time because her life is going pretty well right now.  What happens though when your life doesn’t go really well?  You start exploring those things that you thought were sleeping a little bit, you know, that weren’t necessarily bubbling up to the surface.  So, I like it all: when a character’s life is going well and when a character’s life is not going well. Because I’m playing Nina now, it’s going to be different.  It’s going to be challenging.  It’s the first time I’ve ever taken over a role that someone else has played.  I don’t want to totally go off, so people go, “Wow.  Nina’s totally different,” but of course, I want to make it my own.  Again, I’m an actor who likes to use all of the tools.  I like it all … the funny, the not so funny, the playful, and the crazy.”

As to the timing of Watros returning to the soaps at this time in her life … and how it went down that she landed her new gig at GH, she revealed: “It sounds not very dramatic, but I got a phone call.  Just a phone call asking, ‘Would you be interested?’  Guiding Light will always be in my heart because I had such a good time doing Annie, and I was on Young and the Restless and Another World for half of a second.  So, daytime has always been in my life and in my world.  My last show was in Atlanta, and my daughters were in high school in LA, and it’s hard to go back and forth for them, for me, and for my life as a mom.  So, I kind of took my acting and said, ‘Well, I’m going to slow it all down until they graduate high school.’  They graduate high school June 2nd and I start GH June 3rd.  So, it just seemed like it just made sense.”

Photo: ABC

As to what the future holds for Nina as she takes over the role, Watros shared: “I can tease that I get to play with this guy (Ingo) a lot, and Nina is trying to find a stronger role in the magazine where she is really going to step up in making that a success and her love for the magazine , and trying to navigate her relationship with Jax.”

Cynthia will also get to work with Nina’s present love interest, James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), which the actress is also excited about:“I have to say, I have not met him, but I have been watching the show, and he is just phenomenal.  I love his character.  I love how he is this sort of like bad guy, but it seems like the women really dig him.”

Watros says she is excited to work with Maura West (Ava), Laura Wright (Carly), and Billy Miller (Drew) from the cast.  She has previously worked with Laura and Billy in her soap career. As to her nerves for her first week at the ABC studios where GH is taped, Cynthia shared that she is: “Less nervous, more excited. I feel like a 20-year-old back in soaps.  I remember Kim Zimmer (Ex-Reva, Guiding Light) back in the rehearsal room, and I was off script, and she was on the show for a long time before me, and I was new. I was yelling my lines, and she goes, ‘Excuse me! Can you tell this actress not to act so early in the morning?’ (Laughs) I feel like I’m going to do that again.  So, I’ve got to tone it all down.” (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

For Ingo, he certainly has a view as to how Jax fits into the canvas of Port Charles: “Jax is to me, and I’ve only just been able to put it into words now that Captain America came out, but he’s ‘Captain America’.  He’s all about fairness.  If he sees a bully, he will stand up for the person who is being bullied.  So, that’s who he is.  He’s the white knight.  He’s the person who will always do the right thing.”

Now that Jax has big time ownership in Aurora Media and thus Crimson, does he see the sparks flying with Nina? Ingo reveals: “Yeah, basically he walks in, and she goes, ‘What are you doing in my office?’ and he goes, ‘Actually, it’s my office.’  When I heard about him doing that magazine, I was a little surprised because that’s usually much too small for Jax.  He’s more of a Richard Gere in Pretty Woman character, corporate leader, takes corporations apart, sells pieces … this is, I think really for his daughter, Josslyn (Eden McCoy).  He’s thinking about the future.  Also, to keep him busy in an actual job that he might be good at.   I think it’s a big change in lifestyle for him where before it was about businesses which were much more global.”

Photo: CBS

As to what is behind Jax’s attraction to Nina, Ingo summed it up by sharing: I think Jax is attracted to Nina the first time he sees her.  I have a feeling he already knew who she was the first time he sees her at the Nurses’ Ball, because he’s been studying Aurora Media before purchasing it.  He’s done his background work, and to piss off a Cassadine is just a bonus.  Also, I think what is interesting for Nina’s character is the two different guys.  She’s engaged to this more mysterious character, and then, you’ve got this jolly, upfront one going, ‘Hey!  How’s it going?  Everybody having a good day?’ (Laughs)  He’s very confident as well, but in a different way.  I think it’s nice for the story for Nina to be tugged between two completely different men.”

So, excited to see the debut of Cynthia in the role of Nina? Are you up for a triangle between Jax/Nina/Valentin? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first, watch Cynthia’s Emmy-winning moment as Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Guiding Light.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk & Paul Telfer Talk On Masks, Villainy & Their Wildest Storyline Yet

Take three great actors, add a prosthetic mask into the equation, and let them have at it! That’s just what NBC’s Days of our Lives is in the midst of serving up to its fans with this latest plot device and twist.  Last week, it was revealed that the nefarious Kristen DiMera (Stacy Haiduk) is alive and well and pretending to be Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) donning a mask, a voice alternating device, and some other body tweaks!  The goal …  to be with Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) and she will do anything to accomplish that!

Enter Xander (Paul Telfer) who has been in the thick of the plot being the only one we know of, so far, who knows that Kristen is parading around as Nicole.  They hatch their next moves inside a room at the Salem Inn.  They even went so far as to set it up to appear that Nicole’s daughter, Holly was killed, so she could blame Eric (Greg Vaughan) and cause a break-up of the long-suffering lovebirds and play it off as she needs to be consoled by Brady!

Michael Fairman TV chatted in an entertaining and wickedly funny interview with Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk, and Paul Telfer to get the lowdown on what happened when they learned they would be wearing or working with a mask, how they pulled off the emotions in the storyline twist, and what to look forward to from here.  Under the clever pen of head writer, Ron Carlivati looks for the hits and twists to keep coming as this storyline continues to rock the world of Salem for some time to come.  Here’s what Arianne, Stacy, and Paul had to say about their latest on-screen predicaments and schemes!

Ari, at what point did you know that you really weren’t Nicole … and that you were Kristen playing Nicole?

ARIANNE:  I actually didn’t find out until a little bit after the van went off the road in the storyline; thinking it was Holly who was killed.  Sometimes, the less I know makes it fresher, and I think if I had known before those scenes, and the scenes with Eric (Greg Vaughan), and when I first came back, I would have had a little too much Kristen on my mind, and I don’t know if I could have been as raw as I felt in those scenes.  So, anyway that’s my long explanation.  I found out after I started back on the show! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Additionally, did you have a conversation with Stacy about certain mannerisms hat Kristen has if you’re “masquerading” as Nicole?

ARIANNE:  Our co-executive producer, Albert Alaar had talked to me about watching Stacy because everything was happening fast.  Stacy and I really hadn’t had a chance to even talk to each other even from the last round of me being thereI remember Stacy was inundated with dialogue up the wazoo when I came back for that twelve-episode arc.  So, because of all of that, Albert said, “Watch Stacy! Watch her mannerisms, watch what she does,” and then I’ll throw a little Ari in it.  I just hope that I do as good of a job as Stacy does.

Paul, you and I talked about this on the NBC ‘Inside Salem’ podcast, when we played back for you (for the first time) the clip of Kristen taking off her Nicole mask.  Xander had the perfect set-up line for the reveal: “The part of Nicole Walker is being played by Kristen DiMera!”  Did you not have a good laugh doing that scene?  How did you get through doing that moment?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  Oh, yeah, I was laughing my ass off the whole time.  This is an insane storyline with masks and doppelgängers.  But, it looks great on-screen, and that way it’s edited.  So, I was really happy.

STACY:  There was one moment when Nicole would hold steady to unfold the neck.   So, Ari started that to the point where I’m pulling it off completely.  I think it’s cool.  It’s “Mission Impossible”.  How nice!

PAUL:  That’s what I going to say.  If Tom Cruise can make a hundred million dollars doing this stuff …

STACY:  … then, we can do it!

ARIANNE:  Right?  We can make a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of that.

STACY:  We’ll make it look good!

What is the real deal between Xander and Kristen?  They are conspiring and in cahoots, but there’s this underlying sexual tension between them.  I think Xander respects Kristen in a way, because she can one-up him!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  I think every character who Xander has interacted with who isn’t a member of his family, he’s trying to either get something from, or get into bed with, and he can’t really do either with Kristen, because she’s crazier and more dangerous that he is up until this point.  That’s certainly the way that it feels.  The way Stacy plays it, she is not to be messed around with. Honestly, I think that turns him on.

STACY:  Yeah, there you go.  That sounds good. (Laughs)

PAUL:  I mean, it makes sense.  Just like, “Wait a minute.  This is a bit spicier than I’m used to,” so, he’s excited, but at the same time he knows which side his bread is buttered on, and he doesn’t want her to murder him!  (Laughs)

STACY:  Well said.  I like that. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what does Kristen think of Xander at this point?

PAUL:  That, he’s a useful idiot.

STACY:  She actually needs him to go out into the world because she can’t leave.  When she does, she has to leave as Nicole, and then it becomes a whole other storyline.

PAUL:  It’s fun because Kristen is actually the boss, and Xander is convinced that they’re actually partners and that becomes our whole dynamic where she’s treating him as her lackey, but he’s like, “No, we’re partners, because I know your secret.”  Then, it becomes kind of a bargaining chip between the mask and all of that.  It’s so crazy because certain evil characters when they come back, they have to come back in disguise; whereas Xander’s always quite happy to be just jogging through town square with his shirt off after holding someone ransom or kidnapping a baby like, “Ah, whatever.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Arianne, it’s been awhile since you got to play the villainess side of Nicole, and with this return to DAYS you get to play that side of her as well, even though it’s really Kristen. Do you enjoy playing the bad girl?

ARIANNE:  Stacy and I were just saying today that you have these conversations about the villain character, (and Paul, I’m sure you’ve felt a lot of this too) people hate you or they love to hate you, and you’re like, “Hey, it’s a good thing because I’m doing my job if you hate me,” but in order for the storyline to move, you’ve got to have a villain.  Nicole used to be kind of villain-ish but playing someone like Kristen who is such a valued villain on this show is just … oh, my God!

Stacy and Paul, what do you think is the most heinous thing your characters have done so far?

STACY:  The most heinous?  (Laughs). Wow.  You know what’s funny is that she’s done all of these things, and I don’t think she thinks what she does is bad.

PAUL:  It’s so funny because you totally would expect her to be like, “The other characters are evil.  We’re the good guys!”

STACY:  I mean honestly, so she kidnapped Nicole, and took her baby.  There’s Marlena and the window.  I mean, it’s hard when she’s done all of these crazy, horrible things.  I’ve just really enjoyed playing her because she’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s this brilliant, deviant person who just wants one thing, and there’s one thing on her mind, and everything else gets in her way.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is the one thing Brady?

STACY:  Brady, Brady, Brady, and I think even Xander has to repeat it over and over again.  We were playing in rehearsal, and I think I had him do that.  I don’t remember the line, but I said something, and he goes, “Brady Black,” and I go, “Say it again,” just because I want to hear him say it again.  That’s her driving force.

What did Greg Vaughan and Eric Martsolf say when they found out about what the twist was?  Did you tell them?  How did they find out?

ARIANNE:  Well, Eric Martsolf always has a great chuckle.  He has a great laugh, and I think Greg Vaughan just stared at me for a minute.  Then, I told him about the mask process … about making the mask …. and how I thought I was going to pass out and die.  (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is putting on the mask an extremely weird experience?  How long does it take to put on? 

STACY:  About an hour?  It’s quick, and I thought we were going to suffocate when we were under that because I’ve never done my whole face before, but I’ve done body things. Make-up department is like, “You’re going to be fine.”  It was heavy too, really heavy.

ARIANNE:  Yeah, and because it’s so heavy, after a while, it starts to pull your skin down a little bit, and you’re like, “No, no!” (Laughs)

Did anybody else go running around with the mask on?

PAUL:  Oh yeah.  Everybody!

I knew it!

ARIANNE:  How could you not?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what is the relationship between the real Nicole and Xander, which we saw play out before her death?

PAUL:  She’s my wife!

So, Xander sees Nicole as his wife?

PAUL:  I’m happy to give Xander’s perspective on Nicole, and then Arianne can feel free to correct it.  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  Alright, that sounds good.

Photo Credit JPI Studios

PAUL:  The way I’ve tried to handle it over the years in our ins and outs of this failed romance is that they’ve saddled poor Arianne with: this psycho chasing after her, and kidnapping her and her baby, and whisking her off to foreign lands – and also to Nashville.  When Xander first came into town, before they decided to make him a total psychopath, it was all working nicely, and Nicole wasn’t really on the up and up with Xander, and she wasn’t really honest about what her intentions were.  Meanwhile, Xander was involved in all of this chicanery with Serena, so once that metastasized into full-blown evil, and Nicole was aware of this, it shifted from, “I just really wanted to take this girl to the movies,” to, “Well, I guess I have to kill her now.”  (Laughs)  So, I think he’s just been playing that out ever since.  “Well, if I can’t date her, and if she won’t love me, then I guess I just have to torture her for the rest of her days.”  I think now on the other side of her supposed death, I think Xander has probably reconciled that his twisted romantic notions, or torture, or whatever he was doing with Nicole, is probably over, and he’s moving on to greener, more alive pastures like Sarah.  To be fair, I do think they’ve purposely made it confusing.  Not just for the audience, but for us.  There’s a real sense of, “Am I playing this to Nicole as Kristen, or do you want me to play this just to Nicole?”  Very often they just go, “No, just play it to Nicole,” because it’s funnier if for Xander it just occasionally slips his mind because she looks just like Nicole.  I’m kissing her… like he’s just enjoying the fact that he can.  “I never really got to kiss Nicole much, but this is Nicole’s face, so I’m going to.”  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  That’s hilarious.

Ari, what would you say is their relationship?

ARIANNE:  Well, I’m certainly not as long-winded as that.  (Laughs)

PAUL:  He’s a creep!

ARIANNE:  He is a creep.  What cracks me up coming from Nicole is, “Ew, what a jerk.  He’s so gross.  Yuck, yuck!”  Like, really?  You’re not going to make that one work, huh Nicole?  When you reach that far back to the history of Xander and Nicole, it doesn’t have a lot of depth for the two characters because the next thing you know he’s trying to kill her and Eric.  It’s like that scary online dating when you go on one date and it didn’t work out because that guy is going to kill you.

PAUL:  Xander is like the ultimate bad Tinder date.

ARIANNE:  Totally. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

That is classic.  The bad Tinder date.  That’s basically it.  Xander also apparently feels bad for Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) as she is having her bout with alcoholism.  Is that correct?

PAUL:  Yeah, I’m actually excited to see some of that stuff.  It was great doing it because I love Suzanne to bits.  I was very afraid of ruining Xander by making him too nice, but at the same time when I was first brought on to Days, I wasn’t offered a villain role originally.  Xander morphed into a more severe villain than I’d been led to believe he would be, and it happened quite quickly.  So, I’m actually quite happy to right the ship a little bit back towards he’s bad but he has some occasional glimmers of goodness in him.  So, Maggie really represents that because she’s actually quite nice to him and nurturing in a way that no other character on the show is.  When she has her dalliance with alcohol, he’s one of the few people who doesn’t judge her for it, and we finally get a little bit of Xander’s back story.  I’m actually excited to see those scenes because they felt nice to do, so hopefully they come across well.

Stacy, how did you track this storyline, when Arianne would be playing Kristen as Nicole? 

STACY:  Well if I didn’t get the script, I didn’t know about it.  So, if I wasn’t in the script that time, then I would be looking at Paul going, “What are we talking about?” and then, Ari had obviously already shot those scenes, so they were written for me, so I’m like, “What did I do?  What did I do?” It’s just scenes between Xander and Kristen at the Salem Inn.  Occasionally, you’d get somebody knocking at the door, but then I’d have to quickly put on my mask. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, Ari did you ever have to go to Stacy to get tips about Kristen’s past or anything?

ARIANNE:  It was all about the future moving forward.  I think old, former Nicole had some crazy similarities with current Kristen because it felt kind the same as pulling some things from what she used to do … you know, just a couple of crazy chicks in one crazy character. (Laughs).

The other big part of this is Rolf’s diary that Xander has in his possession.  Is Kristen in cahoots with him on that?  Is she trying to get that from him?

STACY:  I think she is.

PAUL:  Yeah, that’s when she starts to get mad at him; when she realizes that he’s not just being her underling and he’s off scurrying around with his own agenda in the meantime.

ARIANNE:  He’s manipulating and doing his own thing.

PAUL:  I use it to start manipulating Eve (Kassie DePaiva).

So, what would you say to the fans to look forward to?  “You never know who you’re talking to on DAYS?” “Gird your masks?”

ARIANNE:  I definitely think fans know that’s not Nicole the way she is.  And, you never know who is going to give you a shot in the butt and turn you into somebody else.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Well, that’s true.  You never know.  One day they’re going to tell you that you’re playing Julie today! (Laughs)

ARIANNE: “Today the character of Julie will be played by…”

STACY: “… you will never guess by whom!”

PAUL:  This was fun.  This is a fun way to do it.  Let’s all do all of our interviews together moving forward!

So, what have you thought of the plot twist? What do you think of the Nicole mask and the performances and comments made here by Arianne, Stacy, and Paul? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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