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The Hillary B. Smith Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

If you have been witness to the shenanigans and skullduggery being perpetrated in Llanview over the last several weeks, you know that everyone’s favorite couple, Bo and Nora, have been victims of a well-calculated series of events, thanks to Clint Buchanan with an able assist from the now deceased Eddie Ford and Inez Salinger!  Everything was orchestrated to drive a wedge and destroy the marriage of Llanview’s’ most loveable duo, after the couple had a lover’s spat about their past.  From kidnapping Nora, to bogus text messages, to blackmailing Inez to sleep with Bo, Clint pulled all the strings, but then some things went amiss, namely Eddie was found murdered!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with one of our all-time favorite actresses, Daytime Emmy winner Hillary B. Smith (Nora Hanen Buchanan) to shed some light on the machinations that has given her some frontburner material including scenes where Eddie almost raped her, and later, when Rex finds her tied-up, bound and gagged to a chair in a motel room. So where will the story go from here?  Will Bo and Nora have a Happy New Year?  Is what broke them up ten years ago (Nora slept with Sam Rappaport) going be the same thing that breaks them up now, even though it’s not true, and this time it’s Bo who believes he cheated on Nora?  Hillary fills us in.  But, we can tell you that right after Christmas look for some major developments in Bo and Nora’s relationship, when certain truths may come out sooner than later.

Hillary also chats about her scene-stealing role as Guya on Crystal Chappell’s hit web series Venice, and the opportunity to work with her on-screen love interest there, Days of our Lives star Shawn Christian (Daniel).  Plus, we get some more information and insight into Hillary’s beloved project to help pet owners and their dogs, The Willee-Coppee Fund.  Finally, we get Hillary’s thoughts on Nora’s Best Moments of 2010 and her hopes for her alter ego in the New Year.  Without further ado, here’s Hillary! 

MICHAEL:

Over the past week, you have gotten some great story to play. The scene where Rex comes to find Nora in the motel room, where Eddie Ford held her captive, was one of those great Hillary B. Smith moments.  Nora’s reactions to the situation were so right on, in lieu of the fact that Eddie almost raped her.  Did you see your performance?

© JPI Studios

HILLARY:

I saw it on the air and it was very real.  Here we are.  Nora is tied to a chair and jibber-jabbering. Then, when Rex goes to reach for the knot on her coat to help untie her, I thought, “Wouldn’t I bat his hands away?”  So Jill Mitwill, who is our director said, “Just do it and let’s see what happens.”  So we did it and it became this big moment.  It really grounded Rex, and it became a really beautiful moment between two people who have always cared about each other.  It was just was one of those moments you can’t quite put into words that would never happen between them ever again, and would not have happened between them, except under these circumstances.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the change to the dark side of Clint, played brilliantly by Jerry verDorn?  I mean, it is Clint that is truly Bo and Nora’s worst enemy and they don’t even know it yet!

HILLARY:

Well, thank God, because it’s really given all of us something to do! (Laughs) Jerry verDorn is so interesting because he says all these horrible things, and does all these horrible things pretty much in the same way as he says, “Good Morning” and “Would you like some coffee?”  I think its right, and at some point it had to happen because Clint was humiliated and he will never forget that.  And then Jerry jokes around the set saying, “Bring Kim back and everything will be fine.”  I think he is doing some great, great work.  It does give you a chill down your spine, doesn’t it, when you watch him?

MICHAEL:

When you found out that Bo and Nora were going to be manipulated by circumstances via Clint so soon after they had just gotten back together after all these years, what went through your mind?  “I can’t believe they are trying to break us up after all we went through to reunite.” Or, did you think, “Good.  Frontburner story.”

© JPI Studios

HILLARY:

Well they didn’t say, “This is what we are going to do.”  We sort of took it one step at a time and when they brought Inez in, I thought, we just got married and they are bringing someone else back in?  And, I think that is what the audience thought, too. Then my thought was, “Are we going back to the Georgie days where Inez would have this irrational crush on Bo?”  So, I think bringing Clint in, and that Nora is the one that pushed Inez and Clint together, I think is really interesting.  And then to have Clint turn around and use Inez against Nora is an interesting twist of the knife for Clint.  He would be thinking, “Oh, now Nora is trying to set me up with this girl?  Well, great!  I will use her.”  I think it makes more sense for Inez to come in and not arbitrarily worm her way into this relationship, and that Clint is actually using her kids against her.  I don’t know how they are going to redeem Clint, or deal with this, or if they ever will!  But we were not privy to any of this. We just opened our scripts and read it as we went along. Remember we shoot scenes very much out of order. We really jump ahead and jump behind.  You kind of have to go with faith.

MICHAEL:

You know what I thought when she went missing last week? (Laughs)  I thought what if Colin or Troy McGiver, and Lindsay Rappaport took her again!  Maybe it was a clever bit by head writer, Ron Carlivati, doing homage to that OLTL classic.  Nora is always disappearing at least once every decade!  (Laughs)

HILLARY:

(Laughs)  You will see why, and it’s very interesting the way they set that up. Nora does not remember where she was. All she knows is that she went off to get help and when she came to she had collapsed in the woods, and made her way back to the accident site. I think it’s important that the audience knows that there is this missing chunk of time.  Then, when I got back to the accident site, Bo is there and he knows something is not right, because he found my ring. Then, I am trying to piece together where I was and what I was doing, and to tell Bo about Eddie Ford.  And meanwhile, he knows that Eddie Ford is dead.

MICHAEL:

And he has yet to tell her his guilt over what he believes he did, which was sleep with Inez! Oh, poor Bo! Poor you!

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

You know, we are a very honest couple. Do you think he will tell me?

MICHAEL:

Yes I do, eventually!

HILLARY:

He should eventually tell me, but he doesn’t after the first opportunity to do so! So that makes everything worse.

MICHAEL:

And Nora will be rocked to the core, and then God knows, what she will do.

HILLARY:

First of all, she has just told Bo that Eddie tried to have her, and she says, “He didn’t rape me, but he tried to.”  Bo is just beside himself, and then when he says, “I have something to tell you,” I don’t think she has a clue where he is going with it.

MICHAEL:

So Nora still believes that after all those horrible text messages sent by Eddie, that Bo did not act on anything.  But, they were awful messages for any person in love with someone to receive!

HILLARY:

Why would you think if you sent somebody a text message that said, “Oh, by the way, I want you to sleep with that woman,” that they would?  That is where Nora is at.  She is in a fog and she has decided that all of this is a terrible nightmare, and that she really just wants to get away from it.

MICHAEL:

Do you think (A) Nora could be a prime suspect in Eddie’s killing? Or, (B) become involved in the court case as an attorney?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

I think it is really interesting there is a period of time that is unaccountable, and I think they have very carefully put that there.

MICHAEL:

Eddie Alderson (Matthew) now has a subtle turn to the dark side, too, thanks to the influence of Clint.  How do you think Eddie is doing playing this new version of Matthew?  I think he’s doing a terrific job!

HILLARY:

I think it’s great and makes sense, because Clint has been such a constant in Matthew’s life.  Clint was the great uncle before Nora and he got together.  Matthew loved Clint. Then when Nora and he got married, Matthew was there with thumbs up.  And, Matthew felt very much betrayed at first, when Nora and Bo got back together, because they were in love behind Clint’s back.  So Matthew has had this allegiance to Clint.  It’s very interesting to see as he is learning about his Uncle, and where he comes down on the issue.

MICHAEL:

So this is another little red herring dangling out there for Bo and Nora fans.  How will Matthew play into this?  He saw Bo and Inez making out, which led him to believe they were truly sleeping together.  And he could tell Nora at any moment before Bo does!

HILLARY:

That is an interesting dynamic too, and Bo does not know that Matthew saw Bo and Inez together. Bo knows what he thinks he knows, and Nora knows nothing, and they are all living under the same roof!

MICHAEL:

How was it playing opposite John Wesley Shipp (Eddie)?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

You know, we worked together on As the World Turns when I was Margo, and he was playing Doug Cummings.  It was so funny.  We ended up shooting out of order at One Life to Live because John got sick.  And all of the stuff he had with me in the motel room, we shot in one day, where he attempts to molest me, and has me in the closet, and all of that material.  It was his last day, too.  And, he was so out there and interesting.  He is the nicest and loveliest man in the whole world, and he is such a good actor.  He really was very thorough in his character development to the point where I am sure he was ready to shake this guy off… as that guy was pretty damn creepy.  At one point, he turned around to Larry Carpenter, our director, and said, “I have loved this woman most of my life and you are making her hate me on my last day?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

When you were Margo to his Doug Cummings on ATWT, he turned out to be a nut job then, too!

HILLARY:

Well, we did not know that.  He was acting then with now film star, Julianne Moore (Ex-Frannie/Sabrina ATWT). Then in that storyline, Doug became a whacko, and being the cop that Margo was, I had to go get him, and things did not end up well for him.  I think his character got murdered, too!  He is so much fun, because back then he had that beautiful little boy face.  Now he has aged into this really interesting character with those fabulous features and that prizefighter nose.  It truly is just fabulous.  The whole experience with him at OLTL was great because he committed to it.  He made the character and he filled every inch of that, and it made it easy to work with him, because he was who he was.  There was only one way to react to him!

MICHAEL:

How is working with Jessica Leccia (Inez) as your pseudo-nemesis?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

I adore her.  We have a good time and we both are on Venice. And even though I don’t get to work with her there, I was excited when she came on to One Life to Live, to get to work with her.  Jessica is a very subtle actress. Our scenes together have been different dynamics then let’s say my scenes with Lindsay.  It’s such a completely different thing because Inez is truly a victim, not like Lindsay, who just played victim.  It’s been fun.

MICHAEL:

Is that what prompted Nora’s psyche regarding Inez, a flashback to times with Lindsay?  She was already feeling the vibe that Inez was on to her man before anything happened.  Is Nora just a very jealous person?

HILLARY:

I don’t think she was jealous as much….well…. I think because of Nora’s past experiences with Georgie and Lindsay, the history is there.  But with Georgie especially, you learn from your history, so that the same mistakes don’t happen again.  I think there was just something about Inez.  I also remember Nora had people in her ear all the time saying “Oh, my God. They are getting very close. Oh, my God, I would not leave her alone with him.”  And then all the time Inez is bringing Bo cookies, and always running to him. You know, I am talking my real life now. I love my husband to death, I really do.  I have seen women try to throw themselves at him and he does not get it.  I think married men don’t get it. They think, “She’s so nice.”  You have to go up and say to him, “Honey, you’re not seeing it,” and my husband will go, “Well, what do you want me to do?”  And I go, “Just be aware so you don’t get caught in a situation where something can be misconstrued by her.”  And then you go to the girl, (which I would never have done), but Nora did, and go, “He is this way to everybody.  Don’t read anything special into his reaction.”  And I think Nora thought that was going to be the end of it, and then Clint started in, and then it was her saying to herself, “I knew it!”  So I am trying to say to Inez, “Stay away from my husband,” and to Bo, “Don’t let her in the door so often.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Robert S. Woods (Bo) is one of the finest and most understated actors in the soap game.  How has it been working with him again after all the years being apart on the show?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

It hasn’t changed.  Here is the thing: chemistry is trust and respect.  And, we both respect each other’s talents, and we both trust where the other one is going to take us.  So that high-wire act where you trust that the other person is there to catch you, it is still there.  I think the more we work together again it becomes very solid, because remember, we did not work with each other for ten years. And, I don’t know why it took them so long to put us back together again, but both of us are thrilled that we are.  It’s easy… it was like putting on your favorite pair of flannel pajamas and going, “Ah”.  By the time our characters got together, we realized that they were in love with each other, and a lot of it was we had to listen to each other and act off of that.  Also, the scenes were written well. Bob and I were lucky, and it was really easy.  We had forgotten how easy it is supposed to be.

MICHAEL:

So as we head into New Years Eve in Llanview, do you think there is hope for Bo and Nora?  Can they figure out that they have been duped?

HILLARY:

I think there is hope. You are going to see what works between Bo and Nora in the process, and see them overcome and work together.  I think this is the beauty of the story, and that is, when the forces go against them and everything seems like it’s falling apart, their trust and their love and respect will not let it go, and they fight for each other.

MICHAEL:

If you could take the writing reigns for the day, what would be your New Year’s wish for Nora in 2011?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

I want her to go back to being a defense attorney.  I think it’s a lot more fun.  I like the legalese and all of that, but being a prosecutor is very cut and dry.  I like being able to have to think fast on your feet, and when you are a prosecutor you don’t.  Everything is mapped out and you have to follow the course.  So, I don’t think it’s as good a fit for me as a defense attorney.

MICHAEL:

Well, here is what I would like to see…I would like to see Tea defend Nora for the murder of Eddie Ford!

HILLARY:

There is an interesting thought.  I like that.  Put it out there to our head writer, Ron Carlivati!  That is a good one.

MICHAEL:

What do you think were the Best Nora Moments of 2010?

HILLARY:

I think the kidnapping and the turn of events with Eddie Ford and Rex coming to find her. The wedding of Bo and Nora was fun. That was high comedy and I enjoyed that from the standpoint that I got to do my comedy.  And then for drama, I really liked being able to play the subtlety of what happened in the motel room with Eddie.

MICHAEL:

You know I am very pro-doggie.  So tell us what is happening with your Willee-Coppee Fund that you created to assist pet owners to help man’s best friend with medical costs when they become ill?  What do you want to tell the fans that you need help with?

HILLARY:

Courtesy/WCFund

Here is the thing: we have raised over $20,000 since last fall.  We are very happy about it since it is not a tax-deductible charity; it’s just a discretionary fund that my friend Lindsay Harrison and I started.  From that $20,000 we are now low again, because we have been helping out so many animals, a lot of strays and rescues that people have adopted that have been brought in. We have had to bring the dogs back from death’s door.  We have been doing all of that and it’s really wonderful because we have saved the lives of animals that otherwise would have died, or were going to be put down, because their owners could not afford the medical treatment.  My goal in 2011, and I am putting it out there for any fan that has a law degree or knows how to do this.  We are looking for someone who will help us do all the paperwork in California to help us turn this into a non-taxable charity.  But it costs so much money to do so that we would rather put that money into the fund. Other than that, I want to thank everyone for their contributions.  It’s been wonderful.  It’s changed owner lives and dog’s lives, and brought us joy to help out.  So anything that anyone can contribute is wonderful. What we are looking for is to take the fund to that charitable level, where we can start getting donations and things.

MICHAEL:

So we need a Tea Delgado at The Willee-Coppee Fund!

HILLARY:

She is a defense attorney, and you know I should be giving Bob Krimmer (Ex-Rev. Andrew Carpenter, OLTL) a call, because he is a lawyer in California and he sets up grants and all of that!

MICHAEL:

Venice is about to come to a close with its final two webisodes of season two!  It’s been great to watch what is happening to Guya.  How was your time with Venice this time around?  And especially, working with Shawn Christian as Guya’s boy toy, Brandon?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

It is a joy to stretch a different muscle because Guya is very different than Nora.  I love the experience of Venice. It’s a very close-knit group, and it was a lot of hard work in a very short amount of time. We all bonded very quickly and deeply, and if I could have brought Shawn Christian home with me, I would have (Laughs).  However, I don’t think my husband would have understood.  And I don’t think Bo would have understood either! (Laughs) Had I known that Shawn had been on One Life to Live at one point, I would have flown out to Hawaii myself!

MICHAEL:

You did not know that Shawn had been on OLTL as the original Ross Rayburn?

HILLARY:

He shot in Hawaii and I never met him.  So when Shawn said to me, “I was on your show for awhile. I played Ross.” I went, “Oh, my God!”

MICHAEL:

What did you think of Shawn?

HILLARY:

He is wonderful and adorable, and very easy on the eyes. I think when we first started working together he did not know what to do with me.  I think he was a little scared, because I was a lot more direct than he might have anticipated.  I look directly into people’s eyes.  So then I think he got used to me, and he said, “Wow, you are so there!” But I think I did scare him a little bit.

MICHAEL:

Guya is a psychic.  Did you get all of her metaphysical terminology?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

She is a spiritual guider.  I understand most of what she is saying and whatever is on the page, I just say it.  That it the beauty of being an actor.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what would you like to say to the fans of OLTL as we close out 2010?

HILLARY:

I would like to say to the fans thank you so much for watching us on One Life to Live. We work really really hard to give you the best that we can, and with these economic times that are tough, we all have had to be tightening our belts.  But, we are here putting it out there, and we hope you are enjoying it, and hang with us.  I think that we are learning that love triumphs all, and that you can have all the craziness of the world, but as long as you got love, you are good.  I think they are bringing more love and relationships into OLTL, and that sort of offsets this dark stuff that we were going through.  The show has a nice balance now.

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martha mcdadeAshleeJanDoeBrian Recent comment authors
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sara
sara

GREAT INTERVIEW …I LOVE HBS…AND I HOPE THAT OLTL WILL KEEP THE BALANCE AND LET THE VET BE ON MORE……

semaj
semaj

love nora on oltl and love bo and nora bo and nora endgame

Ceridwyn2
Ceridwyn2

LOVE the interview. Hillary is such a doll. I love both Nora & Guya/Jane. Very different, but Hillary knocks it out of the park everytime.

Thanks, Michael!

Brian
Brian

Yay Hillary–We Love You Madly! 🙂

Doe
Doe

This story with Clint buying off Eddie so Eddie can kidnap Nora, was so evil and more so because Eddie was a menacing character, done extremely well by John. He was really scary! I love Nora and Bo together so I hope that they will find their way back to one another. I’m kinda hoping that Inez killed Eddie, and that her conscience will get the better of her and maybe she will be the one to expose Clint. Or maybe Matthew will figure it out. It’s a genuine mystery at this point, but in truth, it’s quite a stretch to make Clint so vindictive. Jerry verDorn is outstanding! Looking forward to the next episodes. Happy you did this interview with Hillary, Michael.

Jan
Jan

Great interview Michael. Thanks for doing it. Hillary has been my fav actress for many years and I always enjoy hearing what she has to say. She’s very interesting and really thinks about the question. But you asked great questions!

Ashlee
Ashlee

The character of Clint Buchanan has NEVER been written, portrayed, or represented as evil. He had little use or concern for the Buchanan family ties, or legacy, or whatever. He had an unknown son, Cord, whom he immediately embraced. Now suddenly, due to a drastic rewrite, characters are CONSTANTLY talking about how Clint has ALWAYS been the one to preserve the “family” at all costs. The REAL Clint would NEVER deny Rex as his own flesh and blood. Between the Eli’s and the Eddie’s, OLTL has enough middle-aged male psychopaths running amok without changing Clint from a hero to a scumbag. Ron Carlivati usually honours show history, but he is making a dreadful mistake here with this character assassination of Clint. It is disturbing and disgusting, NOT entertaining.

martha mcdade
martha mcdade

love and Bo and Nora together

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Kevin Spirtas Chats On His Heart-Tugging Series ‘After Forever’ & Love and Life In Your 50s

Filling the void in the digital drama series arena, the eight episodes first season of After Forever (available on Amazon), tackles the journey of a two middle-aged gay men in their 50’s in a deep romantic relationship, and looks at it through its various stages of love, loss, and moving on with one’s life when suddenly your world is turned upside down, when one of them has died.

While the LGBT community has seen other love-centric and dramatic web series, none have really taken a deep dive into the difficulties of starting anew in your 50’s or even older.  Leave it to former Days of our Lives alum and Broadway producer, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley), along with another DAYS alum, writer, Michael Slade, and the two put their shared experiences, and dramatic ideas into this emotional series, that is not limited to anyone who is gay, but touches on the universal themes that anyone may have, or will experience, at one time in their lives.

Spirtas, brought along with him none some notables for his passion project.  First, none other than former Prospect Park One Life to Live EP, Jennifer Pepperman, to bring his vision to life, and some amazing co-stars: Mitchell Anderson (Ex-Party Of Five), MIchael Urie (Ugly Betty), Cady Huffman (Ex-OLTL), Anita Gillette, Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) to  name just a few.

While the series bowed a little over a month ago, if you haven’t taken a look, check out our interview with Spirtas for some juicy insight into the making of and the construct of, After Forever.  Following that, check out the teaser for the series, and the video for the theme song, “My Forever” by Lio Nicol which becomes available tomorrow June 4th on Amazon and iTunes.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

KEVIN:  Patrika Darbo, came to New York close to 7 years ago. She had called me ahead of time, and said, “I was asked to present at the ISA Awards, and you’re coming with me.”  She was getting very involved in the world of the web series. I looked at this amazing presentation of content that was being shown at the ISA’s.  I was blown away. It was better than half the stuff on TV, theater, or film. At that point, I made a mad rush for a gentleman by the name of Sebastian La Cause.  Sebastian had won several awards that night and his material was so well presented, and beautifully shot, and his acting was very unique.

Sebastian La Cause was the star of the web series Hustling, right?

KEVIN:  Yes, it was Hustling, the first season.  I went up to him and I said, “I’m Kevin Spirtas. I’m an actor, I did a soap …”  He goes, “Kevin, I know who you are.” I was starstruck, and impressed, and inspired, because he is exactly the kind of person I want to work with.  He is talented, and creative and I want to work with those kind of people. I said to him, “If you do a second season, I’d love to be considered for anything you might be doing.”  Wouldn’t you know? He wrote me in. I fell in love with the story. I was very clear to me, that you have to start creating for yourself, because creating your own content in this industry now is king.  The third season of Hustling then crossed me over to appearing in Winterthorne.  That was also the first year that NATAS opened up the judging to the digital world.  I got nominated for an Emmy. It inspired me to start thinking about, ‘What do I know?  What do I have in my life that I feel is worth sharing and putting out there to help heal, or inspire?’  I had been producing in New York City for 3 years at this point.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

It becomes every performer’s concern, as they get older, that they can still be considered for the roles they would like to play.  Sometimes, actors can grow into the types of roles, and sometimes they’ve expired past those types of roles. Was creating After Forever also a way to re-enter being part of the conversation?

KEVIN:  Well, I was hoping to write something for myself … because I just didn’t see the roles coming toward me anymore.  My name wasn’t on them as I imagined them or had seen them in the past. I was worried about that. I thought, “If I have a chance to keep working, I’ve got to keep current.”

And somehow, you and Michael Slade ran into each other, and thus, a collaboration began that would eventually turn into After Forever?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Then, I ran into Michael Slade at a gym… I had never met him before, he was a writer on Days as I was leaving the show.  And I remember saying to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to work with somebody, and see what kind of story we could come up with?”  Unbeknownst to me, Michael, at that particular time in his life, was working on the very same type of story and idea about what it’s like to be who he is, at his age, where he’s at, and what he knows.  I pitched him this idea: “I think there’s some really funny ideas I could express to the world about my experience as a single gay man at this point.” He said, “Call me.” In short, he was living life as a single gay man, and I was living life as a single gay man, and that’s how After Forever was born.  Michael had the experience of losing his long-time partner of 25 years.  There’s a part in the story where Brian and Jason are going along and they have everything in their life that they could possibly want, and then they don’t, because Jason is diagnosed with cancer and it takes him away.

Do we see Jason die in this?

KEVIN:  You just might! … It’s how we incorporated him in the story…

Courtesy/AfterForever

After Forever bounces back and forth in time, obviously, that was part of the unique structure of the storytelling?

KEVIN:  It does do that.  It tells the story through a lot of present, and a lot of flashbacks.  There is also the present with Brian, and his memory of Jason. As Brian is going through the next chapter of his life as a single man, he has to look at his life and learn how to continue to love even though the person’s not there.  When someone dies, the love doesn’t die, the relationship doesn’t die, it keeps growing on a certain level. So, if he turns around, and he sees him, is it real? Is it him working it out in his own mind? It’s a tool to tell more story …

Tell me about casting Mitchell Anderson?  He had retired and moved to Atlanta, and he ends up playing the love of Brian’s life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  When Michael and I were writing, we threw out, “Who do you think would play this part?”  One day, I just dropped the name “Mitchell Anderson” I said, “I just see him as Jason.” Michael said to me, “Kevin, he’s retired.”  I just knew Mitchell and I had great history in the business. We started off as actors together in class. He went one direction, I went another, then he left the business, but I just felt there was something about his persona – not to mention his talent – his unique humor, his sensibility, and style, so I said, “I think we should ask him.”  We did. Mitchell said, “Okay, Kevin. Let me read the script.” He called back immediately after receiving it, and said, “I would love to do this!” I have not stopped thanking him every day. He’s so good in it.

The main character of Brian goes on this journey: he meets other guys, some appear younger than others! (Laughs)

KEVIN:  It’s a year after Jason is gone, Brian is trying to settle into his new life, but he’s guilty that his partner has died.  He has sadness, grief, and so much love for Jason that he’s having trouble moving forward, and everyone is trying to push him forward.  Brian is not necessarily ready, but sometimes his body is ready, while emotionally, he’s not. It’s how we deal with all that navigation of seeing good-looking guys.  He meets a guy in the middle of the series, and it starts to open up the doors. That’s the beauty of what happens when he starts to let himself open up to the possibilities.  There are some great rollercoaster moments that you’ll see.

Would you do another season of After Forever?

KEVIN:  Oh, my God!  Michael and I have already started to script out seasons 2 and 3.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Middle-aged gay men do have it rough in the relationship department, if they’re not already partnered up by this point in their life.  Younger guys think they’re over the hill, older guys aren’t necessarily interested either, and unfortunately, the LGBTQ community is unforgiving to community if you’re not young and pretty, and not in your 20s or 30s. There aren’t a lot of LGBT-oriented shows out there like this.  On that level, I think the concept of the show is an important story to tell.

KEVIN:  We were absolutely committed to writing not just another gay story.  We’ve seen those. I think the beauty of After Forever is that it’s not just a gay story- even though it’s told through two gay men… but, it’s a story about love … it’s a story about loss.  Everyone is going to have to deal with this in their life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Dealing with loss is part of the circle of life, whether it’s a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or your longtime partner. Many in the LGBT community succumbed to AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was a pivotal moment in the gay movement.

KEVIN:  We lost half of our community.  We lost half of our brothers. To jump back to that history with Mitchell, he and I had so many mutual friends who aren’t here anymore.  We would look at the scene that was at hand, take a breath, look at each other, and they’d say “action” and we’d step into these people. Yes, it’s gay themed, because it’s told by two leading male characters who are gay.  But, I have heard more people in the last two months since this has come out, who have not only stopped and said, “Thank you for writing such a wonderful story about love and loss, and new beginnings, but also, what it’s like to have to confront that loss.” They also went on to say, “For so many years, gay people have had to watch the heterosexual world. People are trying to fit themselves into our world now, into our story, and how they would feel navigating it.”

Michael Urie is in it too? And you have some pretty accomplished people in your cast.  

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Yes, there’s Michael Urie, Cady Huffman who sings in one of the episodes.  Tere is a scene in episode 3 that it still floors me, I can’t watch it without losing it.  Then, there’s Anita Gillette, Lenny Wolpe, David Dean Bottrell. Everyone is perfect, and everyone was able to show up, and everyone delivered a million percent.

What’s the response you’ve been getting from people who have watched After Forever?  You mentioned it’s been very positive.  

KEVIN:  Everyone has been touched.  The majority who have seen this, are just moved to tears and full of excitement.

I saw that Jennifer Pepperman, ex-executive producer of One Life to Live, directed your series.  What was it like working with Jen?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  We had a lot of people who we could have pulled from.  Jennifer came up in conversation, because she had sent Michael an invitation to go see her new short film that she had done with Austin Peck (Ex-Austin, Days) and his wife, Teri Conn (Ex-Katie, ATWT).  I said, “Maybe if I go see the show and I like it, I can introduced myself to Jennifer.”  I called him right after and I said, “If we don’t get her, we’re crazy!” She’s so good. What she did is perfection.  We shot the whole thing like a movie. It was shot in 12 days. She knew everything she wanted to do and it shows in the edit.  And, this extraordinarily, talented girl named Colleen Kwok, who was the director of photography. She’s the real thing. She got it.  She got the style we were going for immediately.

So, we want to tell people to binge watch the series on Amazon.

KEVIN:  Binge it, or make it last for 15 days…

How many hankies will I need for this? 10? 5?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  I say Kleenex is not included … Anybody who has ever loved, anybody who has ever lost, must see this show, because it unifies all of us, it shows us that we are the same.  It shows us that we still have love in our lives, regardless of if that person is gone, the relationship never ends, it never dies. That’s what people are getting from this.  That’s what people are taking away from it. You and I were raised with the symbols of a straight world and how we had to fit into that certain way of life. That’s changed now.  We have Will & Grace … we have RuPaul … all these great things that are illustrating our diversity.  Now, people are going, “it’s just a story being told.”

What was Mitchell’s reaction when he saw the final product?

KEVIN:  We saw it together…We just sat there and cried.  It’s hard. Especially, the first two episodes and the last two episodes.  We served it up, Michael, we served it up!

Courtesy/AfterForever

I think you spoke to a greater issue, as you move through this career, you have to remain relevant as things change.  So, you’ve dipped yourself into this pool and now you can do more.

KEVIN:  I hope so.  You and I talked about this along time ago, when I first started on Days Of Our Lives, it was still a different world.

It was so different back then.  Actors couldn’t be out. There was still that stigma that if the audience at home knew they were gay, they wouldn’t buy into what they were portraying.

KEVIN:  That’s where I kind of worked it out, because I didn’t pretend not to be me, I just wasn’t very open about everything in my life.  Not that I still am. There’s certain things that I don’t talk about, because it’s not relevant, or it’s no one’s business.

So, do you get the obligatory question, “What’s a guy like you doing being single”? (Laughs)

KEVIN:  Michael said to me one day, “How come a guy like you is single?”  I made a joke out of it and said, “Have you seen me eat? Come on!”

So, intrigued to check out After Forever? What do you think about its central theme looking at what happens when one loses their partner at middle-age and more?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey Talk Their Love Connection & The Demands Of Daytime

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

After presenting for the first time together, at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmys since they’ve been a couple, Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter aka Henrik) of General Hospital have certainly been in the throes of a romantic, fun, and cherished relationship. The two former stars of Guiding Light reconnected last year at Emmy time. Now, sharing their over one year anniversary, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Laura and Wes to get some insight into what makes their relationship work amidst the hustle and bustle, and pace of both being on a network television daytime drama series, and with the pressures of Hollywood where often relationships between two actors seem to start hot and heavy but then fizzle out.

If you caught this week’s GH, you witnessed that the town of Port Charles has found out that Peter is the notorious Cesar Faison’s son, and the ramifications that will be felt for weeks and months and potentially years to come. Meanwhile, Carly is in all sorts of trouble, thanks to naughty Nelle (Chloe Lanier). Nelle is making Carly look awfully unstable and what happens next could change Carly’s life forever.

So, what do these two lovebirds have to say about their relationship and their passion for working on the soaps? Check out what they had to share below. 

Wes, you had met Laura originally years ago on Guiding Light.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

Wes: Well, I was smitten, but I had to keep it to myself.

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Uh-huh! But we would run lines in the green room and I would try very hard to make sure she didn’t catch me staring at her… too often. But we laughed, and had great conversation.

Laura: I would always say, “Wes, will you run lines with me?,” because I would want to run my lines.

Wes: We never had story together, but she always knew I was game to hang out with her for a moment.

It’s good when you’re in a relationship with someone and you can laugh with them. You seem to be able to do that a lot!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: Oh, gosh. I think that’s all we do.

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

Laura: Like, we belly laugh. It gets to the point where people would think we were ridiculous. We’ll say things and just think it’s the funniest thing ever and people would be like, “You guys have a problem …” and we’re like, “Yeah.” (Laughs)

Laura, and then he comes back into your life years later…

Wes: That’s right, it was Emmy weekend 2017.

Laura: I totally was not expecting it at all. Even when I gave him my number I walked away going “huh…”

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

Laura: No, I didn’t feel that… because he hit on me hard. He’ll tell you that.

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

Laura: I remember I walked away quick after he got my number. I was like, “Oh, my God … I gotta go.”

Courtesy/Instagram

Wes: There was an assertiveness on my part that was for sure 15 years in the making. I did not expect to run into her. I also did not expect for her to tell me that she was recently single. In that split second, it was one of those, “stop the presses!” moments. Like, you need to give me your number, I’m taking you to dinner.

Laura: I go, “Oh, be quiet! Are you like, 32, because I can’t do that.” (Laughs)

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

Laura: He’s like, “I’m getting ready to be 40.” And I’m like, “I can do that!”

Then, on top of all of this, Wes, you land a primo role on General Hospital. That of Henrik aka Peter, Cesar Faison’s son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

Laura: I’m going to jump in and say it’s a role that he worked all on his own for. He had to screen test against 8 plus guys, 3 different auditions, 2 different days.

Wes: That’s true.

Laura: I can’t say strong enough that the best actor got the role. Meaning, Wesley is so talented and has the ability to give this character the depth, and emotion, and layers that it needs to tell the story that needs to be told. I just think he’s incredible.

So, did you know from the get-go who you were going to be playing?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

Wes: I’m thrilled that the writers have been giving me such incredible material to dive into.   Each month that goes by, it becomes more and more complex, and more and more layered and intense. I love the depth… I love the conflicts… I love the humanity… I love the desperation… I love the psychology behind it. It’s a very interesting story and a great journey to tell.

Laura: I was getting ready to say, where you mentally have to go to be the son of Faison and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes)! To blend that together is amazing. It’s incredible to watch.

You used to run lines together on Guiding Light. Do you run lines together now on GH? It’s like a full circle moment.

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Something we were trying to manifest together. We thought it would be a lot of fun to work together one day.

Laura: The last week we worked, we didn’t. He worked all afternoon. I worked all morning. I was like, “Are they doing this on purpose?” I was so mad! I was like, “Why are you in the afternoon everyday?” (Laughs)

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

Laura: I did! He always drives us to work. I also love when we both have afternoon calls, because we love having mornings together. So, I didn’t get my morning, nor did I have my chauffeur!

So, two actors can have a good relationship? You see so many Hollywood relationships with actors and they go bust. But that’s not always the case …

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: I’m going to say this; I think I can see it being more difficult for daytime actors, because the work we do is so intense. I know the weeks he’s getting ready to go into, and I’m getting ready to go into. Where we go emotionally and psychologically to tell these stories, on the level that we tell them, as quick as we tell them, you kind of have to become really in a headspace. The fact that we can …

Wes: … the long hours …

Laura: Yes, and exhaustion! You really have to go, “Wow! It’s not about me right now. It’s about us individually as actors.” Thank God, we know the workload. I know what he’s getting ready to go through.

Wes: I have always had so much respect for Laura’s work. On Guiding Light, I’ve always been in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, the level of respect is obviously there. But also, the understanding whatever it is that you need from a personal assistant in one moment… or a life partner in another moment … or a best friend in moment … or whatever it is in order to get through the day-to-day and the week-to-week, so we can do what we love to do. We know we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love.

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

Laura was such a great co-host on my Soap Nation Live! Daytime Emmy Nomination Specials, in particular when she talks about acting. It’s so rewarding to hear the other actors who are guests on the show listening to what Laura has to say about her craft and respecting the hell out of her.

Wes: Without a doubt. You can’t watch her work and not be in awe. It speaks for itself.

Laura: I just love the journey of going to the places that we go; to bleed for it.

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

Laura: I know that process. So, when I see another actor that’s bleeding, I just bow to them, because I know what it takes to go there. I know the work that Wesley does. When I see that he’s spent at the end of the day, I’m like, “Babe, I so get it.” So, I can see where it could be really difficult for people that haven’t been there, because it’s a lot of work and you’re spent. It’s hard! For us, that works.

What do you think of Laura and Wes’ love connection? What do you think of the latest developments for GH’s Carly and Henrik? Comment below.

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Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: 45th Annual Daytime Emmys Winners & Backstage Video Interviews!

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmys are in the record books.  And as previously reported, it was a big night for NBC’s Days of our Lives taking Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing in a Drama Series Awards, plus top acting nods to James Reynolds (Abe) and Greg Vaughan (Eric).

Behind the scenes while the ceremony continued on-stage, and as the night’s big winners and several presenters were whisked away backstage following their victory, they took to the Winner’s Walk and chatted with Michael Fairman who got their reactions to winning the gold, or presenting important moments of the night during the live-stream broadcast.

From DAYS Deidre Hall (Marlena), Dr. Oz, The Ladies of The Talk, and GH’Chris Van Etten to DAYS head scribe Ron Carlivati, to Y&R’s actress winners: Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah), and GH’s Chloe Lanier (Nelle, Vernee Watson (Stella) and more now you can watch the complete backstage series of conversations on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Make sure to “subscribe” for these and more celebrity interviews.

After the jump, check out some of the winners and backstage interviews with Michael.  You can also go directly to the video you are looking to view, by clicking on the blue hyperlink on the interviewees name. (more…)

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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Jason Thompson as Billy

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-21/22-2018

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