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THE HILLARY B. SMITH INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

This week on “One Live to Live”, fans have been witness to drama at its best, as Nora and Bo’s son is in a tragic car accident that leaves repercussions and a ripple effect across many lives of the citizens of Llanview.

It also affords long time viewers and new ones an opportunity to see one of daytime’s greatest actresses, Hillary B. Smith, as she takes front and center stage as a guilt-ridden mother dealing with her son Matthew’s paralysis, and seeking justice for those who caused it…which means her friend Marty’s son, Cole!

Many fans of the show are hoping the writers and producers may use this storyline as a vehicle for Nora and Bo to finally get back together. But will that happen? I chatted with Hillary about her current storyline, the upcoming return of Nathan Purdee as Hank Gannon, the
re-cast of her on-screen daughter Rachel,
and Nora losing every trial involving
Todd Manning!

Here’s Hillary…

hillarymain.jpgListen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

There has just been a huge moment on-air, where Nora learns of the car crash involving Matthew. How is Nora going to hold up through all of this?

HILLARY:

I think how any parent would be. First, there is the “Oh my God”, and then there is “OK. Everything’s OK. We just have to go through this process. What do you mean he’s numb?” And then there’s thee “What? Cole was driving under the influence? What?” And then, there is the complete loss of control because it all could have been prevented. She goes through her own anger and blame. It’s so easy to blame Cole, but basically he was still living in her house, and she didn’t notice his drug problem. In the past, Nora had dealt with her own daughter Rachel’s drug use. So there is all this stuff going on with her.

MICHAEL:

Then she finds out the tragic news of Matthew’s condition.

oltl.jpgHILLARY:

Yes. Then she finds out he is paralyzed and it enrages her and intensifies her feeling of guilt, because she was not there for him. Every mother wants to protect her child; even if it isn’t something she had no control over. You feel guilty. You feel guilty when something goes wrong with your child and you could not have prevented it, even when you have a hand in it. The guilt is overwhelming, and it eats at her, and eats
at her until she finally
explodes and arrests Cole.

MICHAEL:

Nora is all about law and order and justice, so naturally she is going to go for the jugular in this case against Cole.

HILLARY:

She is all about law and order and justice, and what is right, and making sure he does not do it again, and she is enraged. She is going to throw the book at him and nail him to the wall. But at the same time, she has these scenes with Marty when she goes to arrest him and Marty says, “Well, he is not here,” and Nora says, “You’re hiding him!” Finally, it kind of comes out in these scenes with Marty, where she says, “You know, none of this would have happened if you would have just stayed dead.” And, that’s a moment where even Nora goes, “Are you hearing yourself and what you are saying?” She finally breaks down and has this complete meltdown and she says, “I am sorry. I did not mean that.” That is when she is realizing she feels guilty and responsible that she did not notice Cole was on drugs. But she has to arrest him.

bo_nora1.jpgMICHAEL:

Does Bo feel guilt, as well? Perhaps, for letting Matthew go to the dance even though he was grounded? It was so awful seeing the kids set Matthew up at the dance, too!

HILLARY:

When you have parents that are divorced, and something tragic happens to your child, the first thing you do is look at each other and go, “Ok, I heard that. Did you hear that?” And the next thing is you absorb it the way you absorb it, and you go through your own personal process. Then you come together as a process and you function as a team. I think Nora and Bo are still trying figure that dance out. For Bo’s part, letting him go to the dance does not have anything to do with drugs or knowing someone is on drugs.

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MICHAEL:

Eddie Alderson (Matthew) has been so great; do we need “hankies” for upcoming episodes? The last couple of days on the air shows, I have been so upset watching it. It’s heavy material and very sad!

HILLARY:

I think there are no heroes and many victims. Not only does Eddie do beautiful work, but also Brandon Buddy (Cole) is spectacular because of his guilt. This was just tragedy for everyone, and Matthew is paralyzed from the legs down, and is a paraplegic.

brandon_matthew.jpgMICHAEL:

Have the actors or the show’s producers guided Eddie into how to portray this type of story, when you have no use of your legs?

HILLARY:

Everyone has given Eddie exercises and hints telling him, “Eddie, You don’t know how much you use your legs and your feet, and nobody understands how much you use them, until you can’t. So here is what I want you to do. Sit in a bathtub and hold yourself by your arms and you will get the feeling of weightlessness in a pool. Also, make a decision as to where your paralysis comes from and really try to do things by isolating those muscles.” Eddie is an athlete, so he knows how to use his muscles and I have to say he is doing a great job!

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MICHAEL:

Who do you think Nora loves? Clint? Or, do you think there is still any chance for her and Bo?

HILLARY:

This is going to be very interesting, because when you are pulled into a tragedy like this, it pulls you in different directions and aligns you with the strangest bedfellows, as they may say. I think she loves Clint. I think she has had awakenings that the man she fell in love with is not there now, so she has had to say, “Wait a minute.” But, he is still good and kind to her and her son, and I think she loves him.

clint_bo_nora.jpgMICHAEL:

But, one would hope Nora and Bo would be drawn together because of the tragic circumstances surrounding their son.

HILLARY:

I think this whole situation, with Matthew and bringing Nora and Bo back together in this realm where nobody will understand what they go through except each other, will be very interesting to see what happens. It could make them fight, because when Nora and Bo thought Matthew was doing drugs, it put them at odds. Nora had dabbled and Bo hadn’t. It just pointed out the things they didn’t know about each other and set them at odds. So, when you get down to the basics, when something you love is going to be taken away you go primal. You don’t think in the terms of you did this, and you did that. And, I think whatever hurt came between Bo and Nora gets shelved. It just comes down to Matthew needs them and they need each other.

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MICHAEL:

Fans of Bo and Nora have been rooting for a long time to get them back together. I know I have!

HILLARY:

If there ever was a chance for them to get back together, I think this scenario would be the ideal way to do it. They are both so preoccupied with the hurt of what’s going on with their child that they can’t hang onto the pain they caused each other. So, if there was ever going to be a door open to that relationship, now would be interesting and now would be the time they would be most open to it.

MICHAEL:

Now I know Nathan Purdue (Hank) is coming back and a new recast for Nora’s daughter, Rachel!

nathan.jpgHILLARY:

Yes, Daphne Duplaix. I screen-tested with her.

MICHAEL:

And what did you think?

HILLARY:

All the actresses were beautiful, and they were all talented. I had a ‘sneaker’ for her and she was just right. She had Ellen Bethea’s (Ex-Rachel) earthiness, which is a very beautiful quality and a hard one to come by.

MICHAEL:

I loved Ellen!

HILLARY:

Well, Ellen Bethea was my Rachel, and Ellen had a very centered and grounded quality and a presence about her. Then I find out Daphne has three kids and “duh”, that’s why! So, now I understand why she’s got those qualities. She’s there and present, and there it is. I have to say, I have worked with her a couple of times and I have to say, “Wow. She is a pro!”

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MICHAEL:

Will you have story with Nathan?

HILLARY:

Nathan is Nora’s guy, and he is one of all the ex-husbands she stays in touch with. I am sure she scratched her head and said, “And Why?”

MICHAEL:

Remember, she’s Nora Hanen Gannon Buchanan Hanen… and wasn’t there a Colson thrown in there at one point? (He laughs)

HILLARY:

And who knows? Maybe we can add another Gannon or Buchanan to it!

MICHAEL:

hillaryda.jpgIs Hank coming back for Matthew?

HILLARY:

He comes back to help out, but he is a professor at Georgetown now. He is a very smart man!

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MICHAEL:

Now, let’s talk about all the court stuff against Todd! Nora can never win a case involving Todd!

HILLARY:

No, not ever. I love the writers; they gave me a nod in the script: “It doesn’t’ matter how or what evidence I have. He still walks away.” That was my favorite line. At least I got him to confess, which is one of the most important things.

MICHAEL:

How is doing the courtroom material after all these years and the legalese that comes with it?

HILLARY:

It’s not as much fun as being a defensive attorney because she is now the DA. When you are the prosecutor there is a modicum of just presenting the facts, and not to elaborate or embellish. I learned this in my little research, district attorneys are very dry because they don’t want to seem that they have to embellish facts. So they are usually just presenting the facts, and the colder and more straight-forward they are, the more powerful it tends to be. Defense Attorneys can be flamboyant: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit, “and all that type of stuff.

trevor.jpgMICHAEL:

How about the dynamics between you and Trevor St. John (Todd)?

HILLARY:

I enjoy working with Trevor. He can be unpredictable. But my work with Trevor… he makes me think and he makes me work at it. He makes me step back and watch a scene from different directions and then come back to it, and we had these in his jail cell. I basically try to get him to plead guilty for Marty’s sake. Trevor got me thinking about it in an exciting way, and he made it a much more exciting thing to play.

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MICHAEL:

Do you miss Catherine Hickland (Lindsay)?

HILLARY:

Oh, I miss my “puss, puss”…yes.

MICHAEL:

I have to say I miss some of the Lindsay/Nora scenes, such as fighting in a trash compactor!

HILLARY:

Not having her there has been sad for me personally, and I know it’s a loss for the show, for sure. I am just hoping at some point, it’s allowing for a good set-up for her to come back and it will be more powerful.

hickland_hillary.jpgMICHAEL:

How hilarious were the recent episodes where you and all the Buchanan’s got rip-roaring drunk when you realized David Vickers knew that he was a Buchanan, and was going to kick you out of your house that Asa left you?

HILLARY:

I loved the whole Buchanan scenes with David realizing he is a Buchanan. It was a blast! The funniest was this: “Alright now, who’s DNA and we believe in this guy, because?” Man, he is a bad DNA analyst, but it was Ron Carlivati’s (head writer, “OLTL”) nod to the 1968 storyline by having Rex put in there. Did you catch that?

MICHAEL:

Yes, I did.

HILLARY:

It was his little nod to Rex, as Bo, from the ‘Time travel’ piece.

MICHAEL:

You won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1994 for the amazing courtrooms scenes at Marty’s Rape Trial. As you look back, what moments or storyline are you most proud of?

HILLARY:

There are a couple of things, like the rape trial and we did that for six weeks and it was hard work. There were many nights I would stay in a hotel, near the studio rather than go home and take care of my little kids, and then have to be back at work in the morning. That was tough. It was a lot of work, and I was very pleased at how it came out. I loved the blind story, and believe it or not, I did not enjoy the coma, but I did enjoy the paralysis and the stroke. I tend to be a very technical actress, so to have my mind have to deal with technical aspects, really makes me happy. I liked playing the paralysis and the aftermath of it. But I did not get a chance to do it much.

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MICHAEL:

What can we say for One Life to Live fans to watch for in March with Nora?

hillarysmith.jpgHILLARY:

I think I would have to say watching a mother trying to be there for her son, and do her job, and face the realities and that juggling. That is what I am playing. This is a woman who the odds have turned against right now and she is trying to keep a modicum of normalcy in her life, for her son sake. She wants to make sure she is doing her job and doing it well, and catching herself when she finds herself getting emotionally involved and not being a proper DA. I think the uncovering of Matthew’s condition and how it happened, and then the aftermath of that is a great journey for me, but others have a journey. Marty has a journey. The kids have a journey. It’s a terrific story!

MICHAEL:

Finally, how is working with Susan Haskell (Marty) again after so many years?

HILLARY:

It’s like getting back in your comfortable shoes. It’s like, “Oh, yes.”

Interviews

Y&R’s Amelia Heinle Talks What’s Next For Victoria & Returning To Work With The Newman Clan

Fiftteen years, and two Daytime Emmys later, Amelia Heinle has become a mainstay of CBS’ The Young and the Restless as Victoria Newman; the on-screen daughter of the iconic Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).

In Genoa City, Victoria has certainly had her share of issues in the love department, and has battled back time and time again for respect as a formidable power player and businesswoman.

Now with Y&R being back this Monday with all-new episodes; following the production shutdown caused by COVID-19, viewers can expect to see a tougher-stance from Victoria as she fights for what she rightfully believes is hers … and she may just to it by any means possible.

Michael Fairman TV caught with Amelia to get the lowdown on: what’s ahead for Victoria, working with her co-stars, Victoria’s future in business and in affairs of the heart, and much more.  All we can say is “Better watch out Adam (Mark Grossman) and Victor!”  Here’s what Amelia shared.

Photo: JPI

How has it been going back to work at Y&R during the coronavirus pandemic?

AMELIA:  The first week was an adjustment.  There were a lot of different protocols to follow, but now I think we are in week five or so, and things are kind of normalizing a little bit with all of the precautions that we have to take and trying to get used to them.  So, it’s not much different than what’s going on in real life and how all of us are taking precautions to stay safe.  We are kind of coming back a little slower because they aren’t having a bunch of people at the studio at one time.  It’s nice.  It’s been a lot of two-person scenes, and it’s good.  I think it is going to be well-received by the fans when we start airing new episodes Monday.

Did you feel any hesitation going back into production? 

AMELIA:  No, I was glad to go back.  I was really missing everyone and missing the show and working and just the whole thing.  So, I was very anxious to get back.  It feels good.

Are the actors far apart in the scenes … as in six feet apart?

AMELIA:  Yes, I even think the first day we were back; we were like ten feet apart!  (Laughs)  They were very careful, and I respect that.  It’s not easy to do what they’re doing, and they’re pulling it off beautifully.  I’m proud of them, and I’m proud of all of us, because I think everybody wants to be back so badly and to make it work, so they’re just doing what they have to do.

Photo: JPI

So where we pick back up in story; Victoria is pretty upset with Victor and Adam.  How is she feeling about Adam after we learned he supposedly killed a guy when he was a child?

AMELIA:  It was so funny when we came back, I forgot where we were.  I couldn’t remember.  I just was like, “Wait… what happened?” because it was so long ago!

You were like “Who is AJ Montalvo?” (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah!  I totally forgot about that.  I was like, “Was that where we left off?”  (Laughs) We all just kind of just jumped back into the story … and Victoria was pissed off with her father because he, again, gave Adam her position at Newman Enterprises, and made an excuse for why he did it.  So, she is mad again.   I think they thought about my character over the break and made her a little tougher.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Victoria will want payback and be a little more vindictive than we’ve seen her?

AMELIA:  Oh yeah, for sure.  She seems to be channeling Victor more and I am more than happy to play that.  Since I’ve been back, it’s been a lot of fun because they’ve given me a lot of material.

Glad to hear that Victoria will have more of an edge.  At times through the years, the various writers have waffled with her.  Isn’t Victoria supposed to be the most like Victor of all his children?

AMELIA: Yes, she’s supposed to be, and I really like it when they write her to be strong with her father, which sometimes I find that they don’t.  Sometimes, I find she is not as strong with him, and it just depends on the writers we have, or the executive producer at the time, but now they’ve written her holding her own with Victor and passionate about Newman Enterprises.  I’m hoping that they keep going in this direction.  I like playing her A-type personality.  It just makes me laugh.  I get a kick out of the character being so tightly wound and just all about business because it’s fun to play.

Photo: JPI

What does Victoria think about Adam?  Doesn’t she want to strangle him?  What is her modus operandi where he is involved?

AMELIA:  I find her to have this daddy issue, and she is highly jealous of Adam, because he’s always getting a second chance.  What Victor has done to Victoria is really cold-blooded.  He does really keep dissing her business-wise.  She’ll have an opportunity, and we had this great scene a long time ago where he finally gives makes Victoria the CEO at Newman, and it was really nice, and six months later, or whenever, he gives it back to Adam.  So she gets stabbed and then he just gives the position to Adam.  Victoria is always just getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the company.  I think that in several of the new episodes that are coming out soon, Victoria is going to fight for what she wants … finally.  She’s getting a lot wiser to her father and what he does, so I think that’s what you are going to see.

As we come back into the story, Victoria is the CEO, correct?

AMELIA:  Yes.  She is the CEO, and Victor is actually retired.  Before the break, I couldn’t remember who the CEO was when I got back then I realized… it’s me!

Will Victoria use the ammo that Adam supposedly killed somebody as a child, to get rid of him once and for all?

AMELIA:  I don’t know if she ever wants Adam to go to prison.  I don’t think she hates him that much.  I know they write that, but it’s her brother, and I think she is just super jealous of the relationship that her father has with him. Victoria wants to get Adam into trouble, and I think she wants to demoralize him a little bit, but I don’t think she wants him to go to prison or to leave town.  I think there has to be an element of love.  There’s got to be a little bit of love there because they’ve had moments; that is her brother.

How do you think Mark Grossman has been as Adam?  It’s been over a year now since he’s taken over the pivotal role.

AMELIA:  I think Mark’s done such a wonderful job, and he came in like most characters like that, with all of the dialogue, and all of that workload.  I really like him.  He’s a nice man.

Photo: JPI

Where do you think Victoria’s relationship is with her other brother Nick (Joshua Morrow)?  Are they on good terms at this point?

AMELIA:  They;re still in love!  Come on! (Laughs)  I’m just kidding.  We always joke and say, “Nick and Victoria … they’re in love.”  It’s very Game of Thrones.  I haven’t had a scene with Joshua in a while, but they’ve been on good terms for many, many years.  I don’t think they’ve had them be at odds in a while.

So, you don’t think Victoria might get into cahoots with Nick to bring down Adam?

AMELIA:  I don’t know.  That’s a good question.  I haven’t seen any scenes with them together.  I’m sure the show will find a way to loop in everyone when they tie together this story with AJ Montalvo.  But there are some very interesting family dynamics coming up.  There is something Victoria does with her mom, Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), that I’m not going to say, but something happens with her, and I like what they’ve written so far!

What about a man for Victoria?  Can she be okay without a guy? 

AMELIA:  She’s going to have to be; because I’m going to be six feet apart from whoever! (Laughs)  I don’t know how they’re going to do it.  I can’t wait to see.  They’re going to probably try some new loves, but not with a new character.  There might be some interaction with somebody coming up that I only know about, because I shot it last week. I think it is going to be cool. There’s some romance in Victoria’s future.

Photo: JPI

Okay, so it won’t be a loveless next six months for Victoria?

AMELIA:  No, I don’t think so.  I don’t think they’re going to do that to me.  I thought that too, but they’re teasing something right now, and I find it interesting.

What did you think of Jason Thompson (Billy) winning the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series back at the end of June?  I know you were in some of the scenes with him that won him the gold.

AMELIA:  It’s about time!  He’s such a great actor.  I can’t believe Jason hasn’t won one till now. It was long overdue; in my opinion.

Do you enjoy the Billy/Victoria dynamic? It can get very messy between them when either they come together or grow apart in story?

AMELIA:  I like it a lot.  Jason is great whenever we have scenes together.  He’s super easy to act with.  He is so natural.  Right now, we are not romantically entangled on the show, so we had scenes a couple of weeks ago that were really nice.  Victoria involved Billy in her business with Newman, which you’ll see later, but now they have a new dynamic, and they have a kid.  I like playing us co-parenting.

Photo: JPI

But they could end up back together at some point, I would think.

AMELIA:  Oh, for sure, 100%.  You know we’re going to go there … forever and ever.  It’s an endless loop.

Y&R just aired a classic episode of J.T. and Victoria’s wedding.  Did you happen to see it?

AMELIA: People were sending me GIFS, and I was like, “Holy crap!  I was so young!” and so was Thad.  He looked like a baby!

Photo: JPI

Do you remember taping those scenes? 

AMELIA:  Yes, I remember wearing Melody’s old dress on the show, which was supposed to be Nikki’s old dress.  I remember that I had just had my son, Rowe, so he’s twleve now, so that was almost thirteen years ago, and I remember back then I was trying to lose a little baby weight.  I also remember laughing because my hair looked like I was going to a quinceañera, and I had bows in my hair.  It was so cool to see that.  It felt like it wasn’t that long ago, but it was.  Looking back, it was fun, but I still just can’t get over how young we looked.  Twelve years really ages you!  Maybe it’s the kids, I don’t know!

It’s so interesting, and I was saying this the other day to someone, that in daytime, we’ve all grown up with each other – the people who have worked in the medium, and the fans.  In no other medium can you truly follow an evolution of a person the way you can on daytime.

AMELIA:  It’s so true.  There’s nothing else like it in the whole world.  It’s so cool.

Speaking of Thad as J.T., they ultimately resolved the story of J.T.’s abusive behavior towards Victoria in that a brain tumor was the culprit. How did you feel about that?

AMELIA:  I liked that they did resolve it.  Actually, looking back, Thad did such great work he should have submitted himself for the Daytime Emmys in the Guest Performer category.  I know the wrap-up of the story was a little silly, but the way that it turned out was good because with the brain tumor, he can still come back.  J.T. went to prison for a little bit which is a hell of a lot better than him being buried in Chancellor Park!

When Thad was off the show, did he know that Victoria, Sharon, Nikki and Phyllis buried J.T. in Chancellor Park? (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah, he knew that he was buried there.  We laughed about it.  When he came back, it had to be resolved somehow, and sometimes on daytime you have to suspend disbelief a little bit.

Do you know what was really good about it?  There was still great Victoria/J.T. chemistry.  It was still there through all of the craziness.

AMELIA:  I don’t know if they’d ever have him Thad back, but it would certainly be cool.  It would be nice to just have regular J.T. because he is such a good character.

Photo: JPI

The fans are very much looking forward to all new episodes of Y&R this week.  They’ve been so patient.  I think Y&R did such a great job of coming up with these classic episodes, many of them that people hadn’t seen in such a long time, instead of defaulting to more recent episodes and just re-airing those.  I’m sure you’re hearing that from the fans that they can’t wait to see you guys.

AMELIA:  I thought people would be super excited to have the classic episodes, and I think they were to a certain point.  However, it was also nice to hear that they wanted us to come back because my thinking was, “If they see the classic stuff, I wonder if they’re going to want us back,” and they do, and it’s nice.  They want to see the development of the storylines continue.  They had their fun with the reruns.  They were well-received.

Let’s talk about being part of the iconic Newman clan of Y&R.  Do you enjoy working with Eric Braeden (Victor)?

AMELIA:  If I see that I am working with him (I just thought about this the other day because we hadn’t seen each other), I know that it is always going to be good even if it isn’t the way I want it to be written.  It’s always good.  Eric is just fun to work with, and he usually brings his A-game.  Sometimes we laugh and make fun of the material if it’s silly, but he’s just always on point with being there for you, and being in the moment with you, and supportive of you, and offering ideas respectfully; because he still really cares after all these years.  You can see how much Eric cares about the show, and his character, and making it good.  It’s just always nice to work with him.

Photo: JPI

Has Eric given you advice while on set with him throughout your time together on Y&R?

AMELIA:  We’ve talked about things every now and then.  Sometimes, I’ll just go talk about what’s going on in the show, and sit in his dressing room, and shoot the breeze about stuff.  He’s a really insightful guy, and he’s done a lot in his life, and it’s always interesting to hear his stories.  There’s just no one like him.  Eric is just such a unique man, and I respect him a lot.

And… your on-screen mom, Melody Thomas Scott has got her memoir, Always Young and Restless coming out in less than two weeks!

AMELIA:  I know!  I’m so excited.

Are you discussed in the book?

AMELIA:  I think so, because Melody said she needed a picture of me.  I can’t wait to read it!

Photo: JPI

Is this true that the Newman acting troupe knows their lines like nobody’s business and gets their scenes done quickly?

AMELIA:  It depends on the day.  Sometimes we are.  If people want to get done and get the show going and keep the ball rolling, everybody is on their A-game, and some days, we just come back from lunch and nobody can find their script or their lipstick, but it’s fun either way.  I love it.

Would you say that the Newmans can be an intimidating group on set; especially for newcomers to the show who have their first scenes with them?

AMELIA:  I would say that we are.  I’m not going to lie.  When we are all there, and it’s Eric, Melody, Josh, and me, and then there is somebody new it can be hard for them.  We’ve all been together for so long now that we have our inside jokes and everything.  When someone new comes in, and they’re just thinking they can kind of ease right into it with us, it can work or not work.  Mark Grossman was one that it worked with.  He held his own, but we are always kind, and we always make people feel comfortable and are always complimentary of new actors.  We really are.

Photo: CBS

So, a tough nut to crack those Newmans, but if you crack it, you’re good to go?

AMELIA:  Oh, once you crack it, it’s cracked. You’re “in like Flynn”.

So, excited to see what happens for Victoria in the coming months on Y&R? Who so you hope she is linked with romanitcally? Share your thoughts on our interview with Amelia via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmy Preview: Patrika Darbo Talks On Her Nominated Performance in ‘Studio City’

In Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST) former Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, Ex-Shirley, respectively) is one of the notable nominees of the night for her powerhouse performance as Violet in Studio City.

Darbo is always working on projects in Hollywood, and her resume is long … whether it is in sitcoms like Seinfeld, series like Desperate Housewives, daytime dramas, the hottest digital drama, commercials, and more.

Having a complicated history with the Emmys; Patrika has won a Primetime Emmy for her work in Acting Dead, had her previous Daytime Emmy for The Bay rescinded, and now has a shot at another one when the winner is revealed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category in which she is nominated.

Studio City was nominated for 8 Daytime Emmys this year including for Darbo, and series creator and star, Sean Kanan (Ex-GH, B&B, Y&R).  The show tells the tale of the cast of a fictional daytime drama as they navigate through the chaotic world of soap operas and their own very messy personal lives.  In it, Darbo delivers a tour de force monologue which just might have sealed the deal for Emmy voters.  She has already won, along with Studio City castmate, Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), an Indie Series Award for her work, when the two actresses tied in their category.  They are both nominated together again for the Daytime Emmy.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Patrika to talk playing those heavy emotional moments in Studio City, longevity in Hollywood, and Emmy night.  To watch the first season of Studio City via Amazon Prime Video click here, and to watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys click here.  Now here’s what Patrika shared with us.

Photo; JPI

We all knew that your memorable scene in Studio City was so strong.  Your performance is really such a standout that I just thought, “Of course she is going to get nominated for this,” and you did!  How did you feel about this nomination?

PATRIKA:  I have been through the many ways that Sean Kanan has put this show together.  I mean, he has worked on it for a long time.  I read for it with him, as his mom, being a comedy, and now we’ve gone all the way to the dramatic. I think Sean did some pretty good rewrites and gave me some great, meaty material. I so appreciate the fact that he recognized the fact that I am not just a comedic actress, that there is a dramatic part of me.  

Photo: StudioCity

The big moment in Studio City for your character was just so heartbreaking.  Did you deliver that performance in one take?

PATRIKA:  Yes, and then of course I had to do it a couple of times because we had to see it from Sean’s side for his reaction shots to what I was doing.  I come from the school that even though the camera is on my back, it is now on my partner’s front.  So, I tried to give Sean as much to react to when the camera was on him as when it was on me, and I got the same from him, so it was a very nice collaboration.

I watched Sean in that scene.  He was so good in it.  So, whatever you were doing, it triggered such honest reactions from him.

PATRIKA:  I think just as far as actors go; it is not that we always have to remember that it is not about us as an individual.  It is about the end product, and the end product is about who you are working with.  I got from Sean things to work with that made Violet’s emotion’s there, and then I wanted me to be able to take my emotions and give them back to him.

 

Photo: StudioCity

Was it hard to go there for you, to that deep emotional place; that Violent had been traumatized in her not so humble beginnings in Hollywood?

PATRIKA:  You know, I have great admiration for all of these women who have come forward in the whole #MeToo movement.  I have always been a short, round, fat, little character woman, who was never approached in those ways.  So, there were things I couldn’t relate to.  I had to go to my own personal darkness, which is mine to use when I need it, but to try to be sure that I made sure that women who had faced what I was talking about could appreciate that I was showing tribute to them, because that is a horrible thing, and any kind of situation when you are bullied into something that you don’t want to do or taken advantage of, those kind of situations.

For Violet, all of this stemmed from her desire to be in show business; that at an early age she found herself in a horrible situation with a scuzzy show biz type.

PATRIKA:  Yes, she got into town and it was like a dream come true. She got invited to parties, and everything was wonderful, and “Oh, he’s going to put me in the movies,” you know.  I think that’s what happens: Hollywood is so glorious, and kids come in and get off the bus to be a star, and the first thing you have to do is wait tables … and the second thing is sometimes when you are very pretty, and thin, and attractive, and bad things happen, and I’m not just saying it happens just to women.  It happens to young men as well, and it can happen to some older people.  It’s just a thing that we have now identified, and I think people are being made aware of it.

Photo: JPI

It almost seems like you get nominated for all sorts of things in you career: primetime, daytime, stage etc.  Have you ever figured out in your own mind, why you think you get the recognition? 

PATRIKA:  I think because people know me, and I try to give out what I want back.  You know, I treat people the way I want to be treated, which means that if there are a thousand things you’ve got to watch, and you go, “Oh, there’s Patrika, let’s see what she is doing now!  She’s always so nice to me,” they take a look at my work.  Do you know what I am saying?  It’s a numbers game.  We think about how many are in primetime at this moment, and even though there are only four soaps left on the major daytime calendar, there are still the new digital shows that are coming up.  I think I am very fortunate that people know my name, they know me, and they want to take a look and see what I am up to again, and the young actors and actresses that I mentor, and kids who I’ve work with, the most important thing, I always say, is to be nice.  No one should have to tell you that, but sometimes you have to reinforce it and say, “You know what?  The casting assistant today is the casting director tomorrow, the assistant director today is the director tomorrow.  The kid over here is the writer today, and tomorrow he is the show runner.”  I don’t think you should approach your life like “What’s in it for me?”

Photo: wireimage

What did you think of the whole of Studio City?  I think it’s a little gem.  I loved its look and feel, as well.

PATRIKA:  As we go along in this digital world, it is becoming more film-like, more real life looking.  We’ve kind of gotten away from the flat, three-camera take.  It’s bringing more things to life, and people are just enthralled with it. This is the new genre of the hour-long soap.  I think with the attention span of people these days; digital drama they may wind up enjoying more and because it looks more real, they will enjoy it more.

You were in a middle of a firestorm, in 2018, when your Daytime Emmy win for your wok in The Bay was revoked.  Did you at all think about that when you found out you got nominated For Studio City?

PATRIKA:  At first, you kind of go, “Are they giving me this nomination for this reason?” but then you kind of go, “You know what?  It really has nothing to do with NATAS.  It has to do with my peers appreciating my work.  So, I know even though I had some problems in the past, NATAS was so apologetic and they’ve made a lot of changes to try to make sure that things like that don’t happen to anyone else, which I am so appreciative of, but this nomination came from my peers.  So I feel I earned it, and I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened in the past except for the fact that there are changes that are for the good.

Photo: Studio City

Now, you are nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category along with your Studio City co-star, GH’s Carolyn Hennesy.  You both tied in this category at the recent 11th annual Indie Series Awards as well.

PATRIKA:  Carolyn is wonderful in anything that she does.  I wish Sarah Brown had been nominated for her work in Studio City, too.  She is a wonderful actress. You kind of go, “Oh, they didn’t acknowledge her this time,”  but it’s like she is still in the show, the show is going to keep going, so she will have another opportunity for people to recognize her work.  Listen, Carolyn and I could cancel each other out this time, because people know us and like us and appreciate our work.

Photo: JPI

As a working actress in Hollywood, how to you feel about production starting back now for several shows, and concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the show business community with the loss of so many jobs over the last several months?

PATRIKA:  I think there are still going to be concerns.  Listen, my husband has a heart problem.  He’s had a couple of stints, so he is going to be a high-risk.  So, if I am asked to go to work, I want it to be very safe where I am going, so when I come home, I don’t bring something to him, or I don’t get anything.  I think we are all going to be a lot more careful, but I think what people have to realize in general is that it is not just the actors who did not have work.  There are the camera people, there’s the director, there’s props, there are the electricians, there are a lot of people involved to make a show, whether it’s a daytime show or it’s a film.  So, things will be a little different.  There are going to be a lot of changes, but I’m hoping that we will at least get back, and are safe, and that we take care of each other.

On virtual Emmy night this Sunday, will you be participating and watching from home?

PATRIKA:  I’ll be at home, absolutely.  I’ll be trying to figure out how to push the Zoom button or the what button, and trying to figure out the computers. I’m a dinosaur in a digital world, but I’ll be doing my best!

So, will you be rooting for Patrika in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category on tomorrow night’s Digital Drama Emmys? Did you see Studio City and if so, what did you think of it?  Do you hope Patrika comes back to daytime soon? Comment below.

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Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmys Preview: Graham Sibley Talks On His Nominated Performance In ‘Dark/Web’

In one of the hotly contested contests on Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Graham Sibley is going for gold for his riveting and tense performance in the 7-time nominated series, Dark/Web. Sibley’s work had been recognized in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category.

In Dark/Web, Sibley plays Leland, a ride share driver who’s just trying to make it through the night when the app on his phone takes on a frightening intelligence and tells him he has to make the world a better place, even if it means he has to kill to do it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Mr. Sibley to get his thoughts on: playing a ride share driver, being given this tour de force role in such a unique series which landed him an Emmy nod, and much more.

And, don’t miss the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys beginning at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST here, and you can watch the entire Emmy-nominated season of Dark/Web via Amazon Prime Video here.

Now here’s what Graham had to share with us below.

Photo: Dark/Web

In Dark/Web, you were in the first installment of the season, correct?

GRAHAM:  Yep, so it’s an anthology show, and there is a narrative through in that goes through it as well. I’m in the first episode.  It’s called, “Rideshare,” and it sort of explores this ride share driver named Leland Adler.

What can you share about your interpretation of what happens in your Emmy-nominated performance?

GRAHAM:  First, I have to say, Boman Modine, Matthew Modine’s son, is a real talent.  He’s just a really adept storyteller, and he wrote a fantastic script for “Rideshare”.  In Dark/Web, each one of these anthology episodes are written and directed by different people. There is an overarching narrative that goes through that, and there are these individual episodes which are directed by other artists, guest writers, and directors.  So, Boman wrote and directed our episode.  He wrote a really complex character who is a new husband and father, who loses his job and is forced to get into the ride share business, and he is kind of desperate, and he needs to provide for his family, and there is sort of dark web that starts to infiltrate this app.  Leland starts hearing a voice through his earbuds, and you don’t know if he is going crazy … or if he is really hearing these things.  You’re assuming he is really hearing these things.  This character is sort of victimized by this presence.  Over the episode, he starts to give into this because the messages he is getting through his earbuds, through this voice, through the dark web, is information about who these people are who are his passengers, and the terrible things that they have done.  He starts to get messages that he should maybe start to get rid of some of these people, and so he takes the leap and does, and that causes this reaction in him.

Photo: IMDB

Dark/Web in its totality is about a genius programmer whose disappearance leads to these strange stories that are interconnected.  When you speak of the ride share theme and episode, it harkens me back to the character of Travis Bickle played by Robert DeNiro in the classic, Scorsese film,Taxi Driver.

GRAHAM:  Oh yeah, of course.  I think as you go through the journey of “Rideshare,” at the beginning of it, you don’t think Leland is troubled.  He is okay, and then by the end of it, you’re like, “This guy is okay, but something is happening, and now he is on this mission, and now he has done these things that he can’t ever go back on.”  It’s interesting, and it’s interesting that you’re making a parallel with Taxi Driver because Travis was convinced what he was doing was right.  I don’t know if my character at first is.

Photo: Dark/Web

You have not been a ride share driver in real life at some point … or have you?

GRAHAM:  You know… I haven’t.  But, I did sign up when I booked this job.  I went through the process of it just so I would know what it was going to be like.

When you submitted your reel for the Daytime Emmys, did you submit a few scenes, or how did you put your submission together for the competition?

GRAHAM:  I had so much material to choose from.  I was so fortunate to be the lead in this episode, and the episode I think is 25 minutes. It was really hard to pare it down, but I got it down to about 9 or 10 minutes that I felt told the arc of his story.

It’s always important to tell an arc because it does feel like, for the most part, the winning reels are the ones where somebody who doesn’t know the show or your character, could literally follow from point A to point B, if they’re a judge.  You have some solid competition in your category as well! 

GRAHAM:  There are some really amazing performances and some really great actors in the guest performer category, so I’m just honored to be in with their names. Rene Hagler had a couple of different episodes in Dark/Web, so we did not share any scenes together, but he is great.  Lin Shaye and I did a movie together a couple of years ago called Grow House, and then I’ve seen Scott Turner Schofield’s work in Studio City, who is amazing, and Mary Beth Pell, … she’s a legend!

Photo: GSibleyInstagram

Of course, you end up nominated the year that it’s the virtual Emmys. So, what will you wear to the virtual Digital Drama Emmys?

GRAHAM:  I don’t know!  I’ll send you a picture! (Laughs)  If you look on my Instagram, my wife. Marilyn and I staged a picture, because we were like, “Well, we are never going to be able to go to the Emmys,” so we staged a picture with our boys in our backyard with a kiddie pool and us lounging with drinks, and I was in a tuxedo, and she was in this beautiful yellow dress.

What are the names of your boys?

GRAHAM:  They are twins, Lyon and KP, and they just had their first birthday on July 2nd.

Photo: GettyImages

Now, let me ask you this. If they say, “The Emmy goes to Graham Sibley,” what would it mean to you if you were awarded a Daytime Emmy? 

GRAHAM:  I think what it would mean to me is that it would sort of be a pat on the back to say, “You did something that made someone else feel something.”  I hope that’s what we are all aspiring to is to either, be in our own lives trying to make someone feel something, or in cinema or in television or the web.  I’d just be like, “I was honored for being truthful, and that’s cool!”

So, intrigued to see Graham’s performance in Dark/Web?  Who do you think will take home the gold in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series on Sunday night? Comment below.

But first check out this promo for the Dark/Web series featuring Graham which has been nominated in multiple Digital Drama categories for the Daytime Emmys.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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