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The Ilene Kristen Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

Photo Credit: Y. Perez/ABC

We all knew for the past decade that every time Ilene Kristen’s irrepressible and boozin’ Roxy Balsom would hit our television screens in a scene on One Life to Live, we were in for a barrel of laughs.  And then, over the years there have been times when the laughter turned to tears through Roxy’s drama and secrets, and attempts to help those she loves.  But nothing prepared us for the special Christmas present with a beautiful bow on it delivered to us by Kristen and the powers-that-be at One Life when they decided to pay homage to its loyal fan base, and mirror what has happened to its 43-year-old soap … its cancellation!

Over the past several weeks Roxy, played in a brilliant star turn by Kristen (that has Emmy written all over it) has led the charge trying to save Llanview’s own favorite long running soap, Fraternity Row!  After all, Roxy is the soap’s number one fan!  And in doing so Roxy, and we along with her, found out most of the members of the community of Llanview have a special hankering for Frat Row, too!

Next, in a spectacular episode that aired this past Monday, Roxy and David (Tuc Watkins) head to the set of Fraternity Row to try to save the soap, and when they get there they realize that the soap has filmed their final episode and the set has gone dark.  Roxy faints in horror and shock, and wakes up as Lorraine, the central character of Fraternity Row!  And what ensued from there was a laugh a minute spoof on the genre, and OLTL’s own storylines, magnificently played by the entire cast!  And then when the episode ended, there was not a dry eye among viewers nationwide.

On-Air On-Soaps talked to Ilene Kristen the day following the fantasy episode airshow to get her thoughts on this special love letter to the fans… the legacy of Roxy Balsom, the real-life cancellation, and then the devastation over Prospect Park’s initial decision to halt One Life’s move online, and what the future may hold now amongst all the circulating rumors and reports.  Here’s Ilene!

MICHAEL:

Monday’s Fraternity Row special episode was truly a remarkable episode with you at the epicenter!  It’s amazing that you were able to poke fun and jabs at ABC with what they did in cancelling OLTL with this entire Fraternity Row storyline … and the network never kiboshed it!

ILENE:

Courtesy/ABC

I think we got away with some major great things.  What a unique show!  We have done so many clever and interesting things from the Babes Behind Bars episode to the Live Week. I have to say these ten years have been creatively unbelievable and very bittersweet.

MICHAEL:

How did you first find out that you were going to have this whole fantasy episode centering around Roxy?

ILENE:

Frank Valentini (OLTL, EP) did come to me, and what he said was very beautiful.  He said, “For your reward for your great work, we are writing a whole episode for you, basically.”  And I went, “Oh, that’s nice.”  I had no idea really what he was talking about and had no idea of how it would come about. (Laughs) I learned not to ask too many questions. (Laughs)  Frank was an extraordinary producer and I think Frank and Ron Carlivati (OLTL, head writer) worked beautifully together.  I think the last six months of this show for me were fantastic. And once they did not have to deal with Brian Frons micro-managing everything, the show was beyond fantastic.

MICHAEL:

What did you think when you found out that it was Roxy that would be spearheading the movement to save her favorite soap  … Fraternity Row?

ILENE:

Oh, I was so happy about that, and so proud that I was really representing the fans.  I feel like growing up in New York and being on television for a long time… but also being out in the public, (I am on the subway all the time!) I kind of feel like I am a person of the people.  I felt very happy that I was representing the people, and so it was very profound to me.  And, it will always be profound to me that I got to represent all of our soap fans, who have been fighting so valiantly … and are still fighting.

Photo Credit; Steven Bergman

MICHAEL:

You were not only able to play the humor, but you brought the pathos and reality to your performance in the fantasy episode, and thus far in the entire Fraternity Row storyline.  The canceling of this fictional soap was so poignant and personal to Roxy, and almost everyone else in Llanview, and yes, it had plenty of laughs to boot!  There was such a heartbreaking and touching element to it.  Anyone that has watched OLTL on a regular basis, and/or knows what has happened, got the inside joke and satire of it all.   So when you taped the fantasy episode did the cast not laugh out loud?  How did you get through the taping?

ILENE:

First of all, our director that day, Larry Carpenter, wanted to do the whole first scene in one take!  That was the first laugh of the day!  I am like, “You want to do what?”  They had to break it down into pieces.  We are used to shooting two pages at a time in daytime now, because scenes are so short.  And, this opening scene was literally ten pages – the first people coming in, the first people coming out – it was kind of a long and crazy scene.  Actually, the day was well organized, and Larry Carpenter is very organized on how he does things.  It was hard not to laugh in certain places.

MICHAEL:

What did you get the biggest laugh out of?

ILENE:

I thought Erika Slezak (Viki) was hysterical when Gilda’s alter comes out … Matilde! That cracked me up!  I thought Roger Howarth (Todd) was funny.  I thought everybody was great.  And, we did not retake things because we were laughing; we would retake things because we would forget, like, “Where the hell am I?” (Laughs)  In rehearsals we would laugh, but I will tell you what?  The scene that was a little hard to get through, and it wasn’t the special episode day, but it was in the Blanca Morales show tape day.  That was so funny.  Tuc Watkins (David) was extremely funny, and I thought that was written really well.  I thought that was such an amazing episode.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Those were pretty fantastic special episodes!  I say, “Emmy!”

ILENE:

Yes, and if you put those two episodes together it’s an amazing submission. The ludicrous thing about the Emmys is; now for the pre-nomination process you have to pick a scene that is only 2 minutes, which first of all is so belittling as a judge, because I have been a judge many times.  You know, it used to be much better when you sit in a room with everybody and judge on these panels.  People have gotten so lazy.  I have been a judge many times, and even when I’m most busy, I have made the time to just sit and watch each person’s tape for however long it takes.  I want someone to respect me and my work, so I will respect your work.  And it’s gotten easier and more stupid every year! I don’t know who is making up these rules!  You can’t sit and watch reels anymore that you get in the mail?  It’s hard to take it seriously, and having said that…. I hope I get nominated! (Laughs)  For the Emmys, I gave them the scene where I go to Clint and Roxy tells him he should pick up Fraternity Row.  I did not use the Lorraine material, because it has so many people in it, and because it’s kind of an inside joke and she is reacting a lot   However, I had some very funny lines in it.  Believe me; I will put together a reel of the whole thing!

MICHAEL:

Well, you know what my favorite Lorraine moment was?   When she walked in and there were the three half-naked guys (David Gregory, Lenny Platt, Nic Robuck) all waiting for her, all wanting to bed her!

ILENE:

Oh, wasn’t that funny?  And weren’t those guys wonderful?  My favorite moment though was the play on the word “nepotism”, where Roxy thought nepotism is when you sleep with dead bodies!  And I go, “That’s disgusting” and Sean Ringgold (Shaun) whispers in my ear, and I go, “Oh, that’s what that means.”

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Can I tell you my favorite mangled word?  And, it wasn’t on the Fraternity Row episode.  It was when Roxy blurted out, “I am done.  D-U-N.”  I was drinking a glass of water at the time, and when you said that I found it so hilarious that the water spewed out from my mouth!

ILENE:

(Laughs) Oh, I know!  Sometimes they write them brilliant and sometimes they write something and I go, “Oh, I know I can come up with something better than that!”  And so I do.  D-U-N, I think was mine.  I spell “done” like that all the time because I wrote this song called, “I’m Not Dun Wit U Yet.”   It’s a jazz song, and that is how I spell it when I short hand it.  But they do write some great stuff.

MICHAEL:

Tell me how it was to tape the tearjerker final scene on Monday’s Fraternity Row special episode with you and Tuc Watkins, where you walk off the closed set?

ILENE:

Oh, that was so emotional for me.  I thought it was beautiful.  It’s funny; it looked like Tuc and I were walking sort of fast down the studio, in my estimation.  However, when we were performing it, it felt like we were walking much slower.  I wish there would have been one more shot where I turned around and looked back. 

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

When David grabbed Roxy’s hand, and you and Tuc were walking hand in hand … I just lost it!

ILENE:

Oh, I am so glad you could see that.  This is the thing… if you put together a bunch of those shows and you were to send them to Prospect Park and say, “Look what we created here.  We want to keep this quality,” because One Life to Live looks amazing!  All the Blanca Morales stuff, and the fantasy episode … it’s an amazing story with an amazing caliber of actors.  It was classically funny, and a goof on soaps and on the medium.

MICHAEL:

At the end of the day, you must be so proud of your performance as Roxy, and the ten years you have gotten to play this fabulous part …

ILENE:

…. And that, and a Metro Card can take me anywhere in New York City! (Laughs) Look, I feel blessed for so many reasons.  I got this job September 10th, 2001.  And the next day, the world blew up.  And then I went, “What does acting really mean?”  But by September 27th, 2001, which was Yom Kippur, (and I did not say to them I would not work on Yom Kippur) I think I was the only Jew in the building.  And then I realized the truth of the matter, which was; the audience needed to have some entertainment.  And by God, I was going to entertain them.  It’s been a labor of love, and not that Ryan’s Hope wasn’t.  I have never had a continuous job for ten years like this.  Ryan’s Hope was in bits and pieces.  It has been the most unbelievable ten years of my life, and I thank God that I had it.  I am very grateful to Frank Valentini.  He kept me on the show, when sometimes I felt like Brian Frons may have wanted me gone.   I am going to stand apart from myself and say that I am one of the most entertaining things on One Life.  So if you want to get rid of me you’re an idiot! (Laughs)  I know what I do.  I entertain people. That has been my goal since the time I was 8 years old, to entertain people.  I think it’s a lofty goal.  But it’s not to prove anything to myself, because I knew I was talented as a little kid.  I liked that I could bring smiles to people’s faces. 

MICHAEL:

You had the opportunity to work for years with Melissa Archer (Natalie) and John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex) as Roxy’s kids.  What has it been like for you working with this duo?

ILENE:

Courtesy/ABC

I love them.  I watched them grow up.  John-Paul was a young adult in a way when he started, and he became a man.  He has done great work, and I am sure there is a place in this business for him beyond One Life to Live and Melissa, too.  Melissa would memorize a HUGE amount of lines in record time.  I was very hurt that the show made the decision for Echo to be Rex’s mother.  They did not tell me they were going to make Scott Clifton (Ex-Schuyler) my kid!  Then they chose to get rid of him. That was upsetting for me, and I was never notified that they were going to let Kyle and Fish go.  So major storylines that I had, I had to find out on the internet that people were let-go!  So along with every great thing along the way, there were some disappointing things, but overall it’s been a banquet and a feast to be at One Life to Live.

MICHAEL:

And, everyone would love the banquet to continue!  Do you think after the “suspending efforts” announcement by Prospect Park there is still a possibility that this show will still continue and end up online?  Prospect Park recently came out with a news item that they were still looking to make this work and resurrect the show!

ILENE:

I think Prospect Park is determined to try and do something with the One Life to Live property.  And, they can do what they want with the property because Prospect Park does have the rights for a year.  And, if they get it done by January 2013, then they have the rights for the next ten years.  I do believe there are other producing entities that are interested in doing something with One Life to Live, too, because of its entertainment value, quality, and passionate audience.  I’m sure if you talk to me in a month or so, more will be more revealed.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that Prospect Park had any inkling of what they were getting into when they decided to pick up All My Children and One Life to Live from ABC and attempt to move them online?

ILENE:

Photo Credit: Broadway World

I think Prospect Park has underestimated us.  I don’t think they understand what it really takes to do this kind of a show.  And, I don’t think they did their homework the entire time.  We all know how difficult this medium is, but all the actors love it.  It has been creatively fantastic to be on this show.  In daytime soaps you have to think on your feet and make split second decisions.  If Prospect Park came and watched us for a whole week, they would see what we do.  They came to the show once, and as far as I know, they never watched us shoot.  They came and made a statement that they needed us, as much as we might need them.  And, that they want us to be the anchor for their new online network, and that they need a show such as ours with a loyal and loving fan base that would tune-in every day.  That was one of the most important criteria in starting a network, they said, that you have people who are addicted to something, and who would watch every day.

MICHAEL:

What went down on November 23, 2011 – five days after One Life finished taping their final network television episode?  You got word on Thanksgiving eve that the show is not going to launch online in January as planned, and Prospect Park was suspending their efforts.

ILENE:

I had just found out about an hour before I went to Lorraine Broderick’s (AMC head writer) house.  So it was a really happy Thanksgiving eve!  She has all this wonderful food and I felt like I had no appetite.

MICHAEL:

You must have felt utterly disappointed!

ILENE:

ABC had asked us to clean out our dressing rooms by December 9th, but being the optimist that I am, I went, “Oh, this is because they have a place for us to be shooting.  We have to get our stuff out because they don’t want to rent the ABC Studios any longer than they have to.  So of course, they are going to be making the announcement before the final date.  And it’s going to be surprise, surprise, surprise!”  It was a surprise all right!

MICHAEL:

When the cast and crew finished taping the final days at One Life at ABC Studios, was there any sense of closure with all this upheaval from the Prospect Park situation, while bringing down the curtain on One Life’s time at ABC?

ILENE:

Photo Credit: Y. Perez/ABC

There was no real feeling of completion. Even when we had our party on Friday after the final taping, it still did not feel complete.  It was kind of like we are all saying, “Well, I will still see you.”  I think we are all hoping that everything would come together, and we be working together soon.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what would you like to say to the fans of the series, as we get ready to say farewell to One Life as we know it on network television?

ILENE:

I love the fans to pieces!  I think they are sophisticated, and more sophisticated than anyone gives them credit for, than the networks give them credit for.  I think that when you have an audience of several million and treat them like, “We’re done with you,” I don’t think that is a good thing.  I think the repercussions of that for ABC … we shall see … more to be revealed.  I think you have taken an audience who wouldn’t want to miss an episode, and now if they miss an episode of The Chew…who cares?

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ricardo
ricardo

ilene kristin is a wonderful actress. enjoyed her work on ryans hope and one life to live. please someone pick up one life to live. its not to late, oprah winfrey are you listening. save the own network. please oprah i am begging get one life to live and all my children on your network it will improve your ratings. i heard rumblings that general hospital has 6 months to improve or they are cancelled. michael fairman you are great. love your podcasts and your scoop on soaps. keep up the good work michael. im you red this.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Oprah isn’t listening….. I wrote her the most thought provoking letter, detailed, and the pro’s of why she should place these shows on her network. This was a busines letter to the 10th power. What I didn’t know was when I sent the letter, she had already POST a video on YouTube telling WHY she wouldn’t PICK UP the shows. I can’t understand it myself. She definiely needs the viewership. The soap being cancelled in the same year Oprah went off the air and THEN needing a home to go to was almost like a gift to Ms. Winfrey’s network. (Along with talking about being a Hero to soap Fans). I use to watch the Gail King show, but since she is moving to CBS in the mornings and her show is no more, I dont watch OWN anymore, and I can’t remember to watch Rosie and I so want to, but can’t remember. With those soaps on her channel, I would remember to watch anything Oprah had on that channel.

Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON and POST it on other sites. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with soap from Fan’s across the United States.

Max
Max

Ilene’s a great actress, I loved the humor and variety in the role she played as Roxy. I don’t think another actress could have done it half as well. As for Oprah, huge disappointment in not helping to save the soaps. Her strategy with her new network is obviously not work, it’s not getting the viewership; she must be dumping a lot of money into a sinking ship. But, she’s doing so based on her current strategy. I think it’s time for her to take a 2nd look at reviving AMC and OLTL. The appreciation from the viewership to bring back at least one of these soaps for starters might get more people watching OWN overall, which is what she wants and needs to stay on the air long-term.

Doe
Doe

Michael, I loved your interview with Ilene. Her portrayal of Roxy has never dissapointed me. She is a unique actress playing a unique character. I was happy tro see her comments concerning PP and ABC, She was very honest and I liked how she was concerned about us fans. She has plenty of moxy. I would love to see her on a nightly sitcom. I think she would be an asset for any show. But, there will never be anyone better than Roxy….

david
david

If you love Roxy (and Lindsey and Nora), you will love her singing in parts 2 and 4 of the OLTL special episode Babes Behind Bars (July 4, 2001):

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q74g1FvTePI
Jailer sings Bad Girls.

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Lq3d5mOsI&feature=related
Roxy sings Set Me Free.
Allison sings Ben.

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWodzl0hODs&feature=related
Blair sings I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.
Starr signs The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrMdocmq1W4&feature=related
Prisoner Tilly sings How Can People Be So Cruel.
Jessica and Roxy sing Bad Reputation.

Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93VBEPpnEro&feature=related
Lindsey sings I Can’t Make You Love Me.

Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr6Antu7l98&feature=related
Cast sings We Are Family.

Rebelle
Rebelle

I told you prospect park was a hoax to keep fans quiet. They are OWNED by disney WHO CANCELED our soap

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

What?
Prospect Park made another announcement (after the Nov announcement) that they wouldn’t continue, THEN in December on the 7th and it was in print on this website and stated Prospect Park was still looking for buyer’s and was interested in going forward with OLTL. So what happened with that? I haven’t read any differently since that. It’s in print on this site (December 7, 2011
UPDATE: Prospect Park looking for partners to still bring AMC & OLTL Online) under New Soap Buzz, so what happened with that? Where are you getting your information from since the Dec 7th announcement?

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

How do you know that Prospect Park is owned by Disney?

Jason Eldridge
Jason Eldridge

Go Ilene Kristen for speaking for the fans!

Mer
Mer

I LOVE OLTL…this is one soap that will be a complete wrong thiing to get rid of…
The acting is phenomenal…the writing OUT OF THIS WORLD…
I have emailed ABC so many times….i have left voicemails….if everybody would do it…IT WOULD HELP…
I HAVE ALSO BOYCOTTED A B C PROGRAMS…
to all the OLTL cast…what a huge injustice you have been given, not to mention the writers, the crew & anyone else i may have left out.
I AM STILL HOPING & PRAYING FOR A SAVE….
Love alll of your work you have worked so hard to give us…

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Have you DONE THIS, since you have done everything else?
Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON….. and POST it on other soap sites, including abc.com. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with “soap” from Fan’s across the United States!

Eric
Eric

SO GOING TO MISS this whole cast and ESPECIALLY ROXY! She made me laugh EVERY time she came on screen!!

NORN
NORN

I’ve said before: The Viewer may ASPIRE to be VIKI, DORIAN or BLAIR, but The Viewer ★IS★ ROXY!

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

Go, Ilene, Go! We Love You & OLTL Very Much Here In Evanston, Illinois!! 😀 😀

granieharrison
granieharrison

I have boycotted ABC & DISNEY shows ,and products also. I cant believe OLTL was cancelled BEFORE General Hospital. GH needs to be The Sonny & Jason show.
I no longer watch it, OLTL has way better actors and storylines. I cant believe some other network , CBS or NBC didnt pick up OLTL. AS for Oprah, she rather have the “Judds” and “Shania Twain” lol which is why her network is failing, and I hope it continues to do so. she has more then enough $$$ to put OLTL on her network. I think us OLTL fans would even take it as a “late nite” show :-).. Please some network, any network Please pick up OLTL.

barbara t
barbara t

Id like to know why oltl was cancelled and gh is staying, for how long thats another story, and your right about everything ,except, I call it the sonny corinthos show.everything in port charlas evolves around him and the same crap every day,most of the time I leave the room ,go back and theres sonny or its franco and he is painting his crap all over town,john mcbain should throw him in jail for that.oh ,thats right anyone in the mob gets away with murder on gh.because there the good guys.

Heather
Heather

General Hospital had higher ratings than One Life to Live at the time of the cancellation notice.

barbara t
barbara t

heather,I dont believe that gh had higher ratings then oltl,abc wanted us to think that .they never counted the people taping at the time its on, they didnt count soapnet and they dont give a crap about me watching, Im in the over 49 group.Ive watched gh since the beginning and I have stayed with it , the writing is terrible,I know what I watch on one life to live and general hospital, and one life to live is far better than gh .So I dont buy the ratings crap ,abc is killing the soaps because of greed .and I hope there daytime ratings go to hell in a handbasket .

gloria
gloria

Oprah does not realize how big a hero she would be if she picked up these soaps & ran them in their regular timeslots. It would be a huge boost to her lineup! Her network is just reruns, reruns & more reruns-a few older movies thrown in. But I would watch my shows on any channel, any time, & gladly pay for the privilege!

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Oprah isn’t listening….. I wrote her the most thought provoking letter, detailed, and the pro’s of why she should place these shows on her network. This was a busines letter to the 10th power. What I didn’t know was when I sent the letter, she had already POST a video on YouTube telling WHY she wouldn’t PICK UP the shows. I can’t understand it myself. She definiely needs the viewership. The soap being cancelled in the same year Oprah went off the air and THEN needing a home to go to was almost like a gift to Ms. Winfrey’s network. (Along with talking about being a Hero to soap Fans). I use to watch the Gail King show, but since she is moving to CBS in the mornings and her show is no more, I dont watch OWN anymore, and I can’t remember to watch Rosie and I so want to, but can’t remember. With those soaps on her channel, I would remember to watch anything Oprah had on that channel.

Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON and POST it on other sites. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with soap from Fan’s across the United States.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Gloria, I wanted you to read my post that I posted with Ricardo (on top) at first and then I read your’s about Oprah being a hero, so I did a copy paste for you to read it….

Mernnna
Mernnna

I would watch if it was a late show

Valerie
Valerie

As so many other One Life to Live fans have stated in so many different ways, I’m BEYOND done with ABC. With respect to Ilene Kristin, I’ve been a fan of hers ever since Ryan’s Hope was launched in 1975. I find it most ironic that both RH and OLTL will go down in daytime drama history as having aired their last episodes on January 13, and that Ilene was on board for both endings.

Serena
Serena

I do remember Kristin back in the day of Ryan’s Hope and she’s hardly changed a bit. Beautiful then, beautiful now. I have to say there were some funny things about Roxy of course but I think she should have played a beautiful intellect instead. But alas, a diamond in the rough, never moving up like so many of the beginning of people like Nat, Rex, and the others who were no one then suddently they shine with brilliance…so many years kind of killed off the innocence of the character she played on Ryan’s Hope. Keep on shining Kristin!

Carol Painter
Carol Painter

I Love OLTL. I have watched for over 40 years. I have written many many posts, and letters. I never, ever in a million years ever thought anyone would cancel any of the soaps, especially OLTL. It was the most creative, well written, funny storylines…inside jokes..love EVERYONE. This is a very very sad event for me, and Millions of other people.Ilene( Roxy) is Sooo funny! David (Tuc Watkins) hysterical ! Love Roger H, Trevor too…..Everyone..Great stuff..and lots of silly storylines and a blast to watch….. The FR soaps last week were great! Sad at the end..i actually cried as Tuc and Ilene walked out…..(I DID!) My husband actually loves watching ,gets a kick out of roxy and david..we laugh alot..I have always looked forward to 2:00 Every weekday..I’m sad!!!!!
Honestly..I Hate Brian Frons and Disney for this..I really do..and Disney used to be (up until 6 years ago)my favorite place to go…but even the theme parks have suffered The GREED of Disney exec’s IMO…
I will never go to anything disney again , as long as I live.
I feel that Hundreds of ABC employees lost their jobs due to the Greed of Disney.
I hope everyone boycotts Disney…..I honestly do.
Very sad.
I can’t imagine OLTL NOT being on…or AMC..They have ALWAY been here..always.
And Now..?
Who knows.?
It’s just Sad.

gloria
gloria

Wow, you said it all! I feel exactly the same way. I cried like crazy when David & Roxy walked out, then she reached for his hand-it was just horrible-all too real. I love this show so much. I have watched every soap at one time or another & they kind of ebb & flow, I have had different favorites depending on what was going on at the time. But for the past 10 1/2 yrs. or so, really since Natalie, Rex & Roxie came on, I have never missed a second of OLTL. I was sick over GL & ATWT being canceled although was not watching them daily at the time. Someone ruined GL just like they did with AMC. I think they should have been allowed to turn around & get back track. I DEFINITELY don’t think ATWT should have been canceled & NO WAY should OLTL. It’s like they have been dragged down & out because of AMC’s crappiness at the end. NOT FAIR. I laugh out loud over OLTL every day & most days have a tear in my eye too. THAT is the mark of a good, balanced show. These holiday episodes have been so good & Rex & Gigi’s wedding was precious. What a thrill to see Viki/Clint, Bo/Nora, John/Nat, Rex/Gigi in one room. Probably the last time. I hate that every day you don’t know if that day is the last for a particular character, do you know what I mean? I am sure we’ve seen the last of several, Nigel, Mo, Noel, Aubrey (I really grew to like her!), Cutter, Kim, Alex-what a neat story that would have been, to explore that little family. Oh, I could go on for hours. I have been obsessed with this since April 14-really getting sick of it. Have been recording Soapnet on my poor dvd player all day long-getting the OLTL marathon & have also recorded every show since Nov. 23 when we got the devastating news from PP.

gloria
gloria

Forgot to say loved Roxy at the wedding too of course. I love how Rex & Natalie have stayed close to her & I love Viki’s relationship with Roxy.

Carol Painter
Carol Painter

Hi Gloria,

Yes, I agree with you as well……I also feel the same way about your comment regaurding OPRAH. When she made her statement , saying NO, to picking up the soaps..I have never watched anything she has ever done since she has made that statement……I tuned into Rosie’s program..it was NOT GOOD. I was sure Rosie would be able to boost her ratings..guess not..
9 days to go…..until final show. I may just tape “THE VIEW” on that day , even though I can’t stand watching them anymore either..But OLTL cast will be on , so I will tape and watch….Barbara Walters in nothing but a SUCK UP to Brian Frons and ABC. It was horrific what he did to these programs, and They hardly said a word. Everyone is Only out for themselves.
I also thought that the way FRONS, DISNEY/ABC treated PHIL CAREY, the last year of his life while battling cancer was also very disturbing. After 25, 30 years of being on OLTL…? They way they treated David Canary on AMC..? Awful…Not to mention the entire cast..moving them to CA. then fireing them?? Sick!

As far as OPRAH goes..Hope Her network TANKS!
Sorry for the Rant..But it’s about 3:30 a.m..woke up thinking about it all…and I guess I’m now MAAAD!! went from sad..to mad!..LOL!

It would have been nice if Judith Light did join the cast this week..but I understand why she wouldn’t..It will be nice to see her though..I wonder if she will mention Gerald Anthony? (Marco Dane)
I hope.
Anyhoo…I too have been watching/taping..re watching THE FW..Row stuff…it’s fun..I get a kick out of it…can’t bring myself to erase them..!LOL!
AHHHH!
I just plain HATE THIS!!
Oh well…….Later.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Hi: Oprah isn’t listening….. I wrote her the most thought provoking letter, detailed, and the pro’s of why she should place these shows on her network. This was a busines letter to the 10th power. What I didn’t know was when I sent the letter, she had already POST a video on YouTube telling WHY she wouldn’t PICK UP the shows. I can’t understand it myself. She definiely needs the viewership. The soap being cancelled in the same year Oprah went off the air and THEN needing a home to go to was almost like a gift to Ms. Winfrey’s network. (Along with talking about being a Hero to soap Fans). I use to watch the Gail King show, but since she is moving to CBS in the mornings and her show is no more, I dont watch OWN anymore, and I can’t remember to watch Rosie and I so want to, but can’t remember. With those soaps on her channel, I would remember to watch anything Oprah had on that channel.

Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON and POST it on other sites. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with soap from Fan’s across the United States.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

I feel for you.

kelly cook
kelly cook

hi my name is kelly c im going to miss the show i lookedforward to sitting down and just relaxing i cryed when i found it was going to end just when its getting good ihave one qustion what is desteny have a boy or girl i hope its a girl in fact i bet it will be a girl i just wish it wasent ending i would like to say good luck to all the good people that played on the soap im a big fan of all of you and i hope you all have a good life from this day on your fan kelly c

JIMMYOLTL
JIMMYOLTL

I AM VERY UPSET ABOUT OLTL..I GREW UP WITH THE SHOW ( THE CAST THE CREW ETC)) BRIAN FRONS RUINED ALOT OF LIVES HIM AND THAT THING ANN SWEENEY SHOULD BE IN STATESVILLE ITS A CRIME TO MESS WITH PEOPLES LIVES ..THANK GOD BRIAN FRONS IS GOING BYE BYE LETS PRAY THAT ANNE IS NEXT..CAN I GET AN AMEN

Carol moorby
Carol moorby

I so enjoyed the re-runs of Ryan’s Hope on soap net? I was very sad when they cancelled them. I would much rather see Ryan’s Hope re-runs Than some of the replacements. It is so enjoyable to see some of the other actors and actresses from that day on some of the newer soaps! Never realized that Anne Gillespie was in that old soap until I recognized her in 90210! Slao, the old Roger is now on G.H.. I have seen Ilene sing and she is great…….. Ilene is very good at playing ditsy roles….Does Ilene ever stay in contact with her acquaintances from Ryan’s Hope?

General Hospital

GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stacy Haiduk and Eric Martsolf Talk Kristen & Brady’s Twisted Relationship : The Mask, The Deception, The Sex

Last week on Days of our Lives, Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) was able to get the man she craves in between the sheets.  So, just how did that happen when Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) had no idea she was alive?  Well … he still doesn’t, really.  You see, Kristen returned to Salem disguised as another ex flame of Brady’s, Nicole Walker (who everyone believed died in the warehouse explosion).  And Kristen has been parading around town donning an incredible likeness of Nicole’s face – via a prosthetic mask – and some other tricks to sound and look just like her!

Kristen’s goal is to infiltrate Salem, remind Brady of the love and passion they shared, take over DiMera Enterprises, and who knows what else!  And everyone who stands in her way, better watch out as we have seen! We are speaking to you (the late) Ted, and (once kidnapped) Kate, et al.

Fans of the NBC daytime drama series have followed the tortured relationship between Kristen and Brady for years and through many plots; Kristen was first played and brought to life by Eileen Davidson, and for well over a year now by Stacy Haiduk.  Not only has Haiduk reprised the role of a frustrated, vengeful Kristen, she is also playing at times multiple roles: the wacky and often misunderstood, Susan Banks, Kristen playing Susan, or Kristen pretending to be Sister Mary Moira.

As for Daytime Emmy winner, Eric Martsolf, this latest story arc puts him front and center as viewers watch to see if what Brady senses, and the clues, and the feelings he is having, bring him to the conclusion that he has been duped by Kristen, and that her horrendous scheme – pretending to be Nicole (Arianne Zucker), and dumping Nicole’s longtime love Eric (Greg Vaughan) to be with him have a result that is unexpected or catastrophic!

Michael Fairman TV sat down with Stacy and Eric for this conversation about: all the plot twists, and playing the drama and the humor of the situations they find themselves in as actors in a wild story that only head writer Ron Carlivati could pen and keep the audience on the edge of their seats in the process. Check out this oh-so-fun, direct, and enlightening chat with two of DAYS most shining stars.

Photo: JPI

Eric, what has it been like working in this part of your storyline; where there’s the character of Kristen in its many forms: Arianne Zucker playing “Nicole” (but it’s really Kristen), Kristen as Susan, and the real Kristen, etc?

ERIC:  It’s been a nightmare Michael.  (Laughs)  I don’t know who I’m sleeping with anymore.  I’m at the point where I go home at night, and I just tug on my wife’s cheek just to make sure that she is not my ex-girlfriend from high school.

When you first heard of this storyline, and that it was going to facilitate how Arianne was going to come back to the show… and that it was supposed to be Kristen in a Nicole Walker prosthetic mask with a voice alternator, what went through your mind?

ERIC:  I think in the back of Ron’s Carlivati’s (head writer, DAYS) mind, he was thinking to himself, “This dude started his soap career on Passions, he’s okay with this kind of thing,” and honestly, nothing surprises me anymore.  When you’re thrown into that supernatural, crazy reality, doesn’t-live-here sort of atmosphere for you first soap gig, you don’t sweat a mask and a voice modulator.  That’s just par for the course.  My biggest problem was the body thing … that Brady is not able to distinguish one body from the other, because I would as Eric.  My God, I know every inch of my wife’s body.  So, it’s difficult to get my head around that, but at the same time, I’m going with the whole “love is blind” thing here. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

(Laughs) I was going just going to say that Brady would absolutely know Kristen’s body from how passionate their relationship has been in the past, as well, he would Nicole’s body from his relationship with her.

ERIC:  Since Kristen did finally just succeed – let’s use the word in “seducing” him, and using her wonderful feminine wiles as only Kristen has to get Brady in to bed, there was also another twist.  What plays after that is that he notices the tattoo that’s been removed, and she plays it off as scarring from the fire.  What’s going through his mind as he is making love to Nicole is a “Kristen train”.  He can’t get Kristen out of his mind, and the guilt that he feels about that is horrendous.

Right! Brady is thinking: “Why am I feeling this when I am supposed to be with Nicole!?”

ERIC:  Right!  Brady has been waiting for a relationship for God knows how many years now – at least a successful one.  He is so eager to have this work, even though he has been concerned about how Eric (Greg Vaughan) would feel about this.  In Brady’s mind, Eric is done with Nicole.  He’s good.  He loves Sarah (Linsey Godfrey).  This is fair game.  Brady and Nicole have always been close … they’ve been close before … so, for him, it’s, why not give it a fair try?   However, he finds himself now thinking about another woman the whole time.  That’s rough.

Courtesy/NBC

Do you think in the back of his mind, that this whole time, he possibly knew that “Nicole” was Kristen?

ERIC:  Well, you just have to wait.  There will be a reveal eventually, obviously, but until then, let the games play on.

So, once Brady and “Nicole” have sex, he keeps thinking about Kristen?

ERIC:  Constantly!  She just plagues his mind.  I think he’s realizing that his affection for Kristen is anything but dead and is very alive, and I think this is Kristen’s master plan from the very beginning.  She knows that she pervades his soul, and once she does reveal herself, I would guess he would probably be surprised, maybe a little angry, but in the end … you can’t deny what your heart and your body wants, right?

One of my favorite recent scenes had Brady half-naked and Kristen as Susan getting into his room, because she was looking for the MIA Nicole mask she so desperately needed.  She finds herself gawking and lusting after Brady under her disguise, and he tries to remove himself from the situation and says, “Susan, I’m going to get in the shower…”

ERIC:  Yeah! And, “It’s not going to happen, baby.”

What was that like doing that scene?

STACY:  I loved it!  I thought Eric was brilliant in it.  I watched it, and I thought, “Oh, my God!”  (Laughs) It is one of my all-time favorite scenes.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  Kristen is a tiger.

STACY:  She is a tiger.  She’s got a goal, and she is going to go after that.  She has obstacles that are going to come in-between her goal, but she will go after whatever she wants.

When Stacy comes in to Brady’s room as Susan, were you not laughing?

ERIC: No!  I thought she was hot. (Laughs)

STACY:  He did … he loved it.  You liked me, didn’t you baby? (Laughs)

ERIC:  I don’t think anybody can deny that Stacy Haiduk’s portrayal of Susan Banks is ridiculously good.  Everything from her delivery … to her facial expressions.  I think it is amazing.  I mean, it is corny, and it is fun, and soaps need characters like that once in a while to lighten the load of the heavy dialogue and the drama.  It’s a welcomed addition.  So, I love playing scenes with Susan.

Photo: JPI

Eric, you always have been able play the straight-man so well in comedic scenes with impeccable timing,

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STACY:  You’re brilliant, Eric.

ERIC:  You guys are being very nice to me.

STACY:  You are.  I remember on the day how much fun we had, but then, seeing it back and the crap that I was giving you, and just the stuff you were giving back was so beautiful, and innocent, and so alive.  It was so funny.

Does Kristen think that now that she finally got Brady into bed that she won … that she got what she wanted … even if she had to don a “Nicole” mask to do it?

STACY:  Well, no, because she still can’t be really Kristen.  I think she is grateful that she gets to be with him.  That’s one of her biggest goals: to be with Brady and she wants to have him fall back in love with her again.  But for her, now it’s all about, “How do I reveal myself so that he doesn’t get scared away?”  That’s the toughest part for her.  Kristen’s love is so deep that it goes beyond this mask.  So, how is it going to be when he sees her?   Is he going to freak out?  What’s going to happen?

ERIC:  Did you think Kristen would be a little pissed off and think, “Oh my God.  He did go for Nicole?”

STACY:  Yes!  I do, because she’s like, “Finally, I got him!  But wait a minute … did I get him because I was Nicole … or because I was Kristen?”  As Kristen, she always believes there is something deeper between them and a deep connection.  That remains a driving force to her.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  That’s why I love these characters so much, because of you and the history of Kristen with Brady.  She’s always wanted him as much as he has wanted her.  She’s always wanted to be loved.

STACY:  Yes … and very much so.

ERIC:  Kristen had always wanted to be a part of the DiMera Empire, just as Brady has always wanted to be a part of the Kiriakis Empire, and they’ve always wanted love.  They’ve never had it.  They believe in the back of their minds that anything is attainable.  So, I can see why Kristen would just forgo the Nicole disguise and just go, “He wants me.”

STACY:  Kristen wants to believe that Brady knows it.  She says to herself, “He knows it’s me inside and behind the mask.  When he finds out, he will fall back in love with me.”

Now that she actually had sex with Brady, wouldn’t that make Kristen even more insatiable to be with him? Like, “I’ve got to have him!?”

STACY:  The fear is still .. what happens she takes this mask off?  She always says, “I’ll reveal myself, but I have to do it slowly when it is the right time.”  I think there is that built up frustration now for her, absolutely!

Photo: JPI Studios

Arianne Zucker really has Stacy’s mannerisms down as Kristen.  It really comes into in scenes where “Nicole” goes off on someone or loses her temper.  Eric, you have worked with Arianne for years on this show.  What do you think about her performances in this storyline?

ERIC:  I have worked with Ari over the years, and I have enjoyed it a lot.  Ari did do her homework.  She did study Stacy’s tape, and she watched her mannerisms, and she took it very seriously.  I know that because she is a hard worker, as much as a goofball as she is, she does work hard, and she wanted it to be good.  I think my favorite parts were the Kristen meltdowns.  You have to understand though; Stacy and Ari get along very well!  They’re kind of two peas in a pod.  So, it wasn’t a big stretch for her to take on how Stacy would play those types of scenes.  They’re both animated, they’re both wild people by nature, and so, it was a good fit.  It was a smart idea from the writers.

STACY:  It was a good fit!

ERIC:  I’ve been out with the two of them, and it’s hard to tell the two of them apart. (Laughs)

STACY:  We are just like two cuddly bunnies.

ERIC:  They’re like flirting with each other, and hugging each other.  You find yourself thinking, “Are they going to start ordering the same food at the same time?  This is getting weird. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

In the recent scene that aired; where Kristen as “Nicole” turns off the light while having sex with Brady, is she worried her plan will now go awry?

STACY:  Yes.  I think she is worried about her body because it is burned.  You know, how they take a tattoo off, and it’s as painful as can be.  Not that I’ve had that done personally.  I like my tats, but I hear it is painful.  So, in the storyline, the burn is that pain that she has and the tattoo. There’s a part of her that thinks,  she has to cover it up, and turn the lights down low.

ERIC:  “Nicole” is sleeping, and Brady is rubbing his hands over her shoulder and touching her body, and as he goes over the burn marks.  He sees a flash of the tattoo!  That is a pivotal moment when he starts to put some pieces together.   He thinks, “Woah! That’s exactly where that tattoo was.”  It’s a slow little rollercoaster ride.

Courtesy/NBC

In the past, Kristen then played by Eileen Davidson, drugged and raped Father Eric.  Stacy, did you ever see that story arc?  Literally the sex scene is playing on the screen at Kristen’s wedding to Brady and then all hell breaks loose.  This to say Kristen is notorious for the ways and the lengths she goes to get her men into bed.

STACY:  Yes! I saw her Eileen do those scenes.

ERIC:  You also saw how close Kristen and Brady were to their dream, to their happiness, their goal, which was they were going to marry each other.  Brady is looking upon his loved ones in this town and thinking, “I know what you all think of her, but I’m going to show you our love on this screen, and once you see the connection that we have here as a couple, you all are going to be convinced that we belong together as well.  This is the happiest day of my life,” and the screen comes up and it’s his brother banging Kristen instead.

Marlena (Deidre Hall) played the wrong DVD!

STACY:  It was so good.  See, I try to find as much info as I can on the character’s past, because all of the time I’m trying to find where these characters have been in their dark and twisted past.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  You’re putting your own stamp on Kristen.  You got a direct call from DAYS casting department, didn’t you … when they were recasting the role?

STACY:  Yes.  You have to understand, I had two really separate characters to play when I was on Y&R.  One was a doctor, and one was this crazy passionate, wild, little minx.

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ERIC:  I will say to find the wild and the beauty in one package is not easy in any town, yet alone Los Angeles.  I’m glad they called you, because you have that.  You have that villainous nature, but you also are able to show a vulnerable side to Kristen that is going to be a lot of fun and interesting to see.

Stacy is one of those people that will leap off of the screen at you and you will remember her.  She is one actress that will have fans talking about their work, like when you played crazy Patty Williams on Y&R.  The audience was on the edge of their seats going, “Oh, my God!  What is Patty going to do next?”

STACY:  I never knew what she was going to do!

Photo: JPI

Eric, has Stacy come to you at any point where she been overwhelmed by the task at hand; playing Susan while playing Kristen, etc, and the two of you have a moment where you work through some of the challenges of complex scenes  … and ones where she is playing multiple characters?

ERIC:  We’ve had many moments  to speak of.

STACY:  I always come into Eric’s room, and am like, “I’m scared!”

ERIC:  It’s funny you mention it.  We have had some very emotional scenes, and Stacy – who cares so damn much about this job and portraying this character correctly – that she gets a little overwhelmed, and the material that they give her is overwhelming for any anybody on any level.  I have looked at her in the eyes, and said, “You’ve got this gig.  You are this character.  You are knocking it out of the park.  Just do it.  Just be you.”   I can’t wait for people to see some of the stuff we have shot recently and have been doing.

Photo: JPI

Stacy, do you think Kristen can be redeemed? Many characters on daytime … and on DAYS … have done horrible things and later turned over a new leaf.

STACY:  The thing is that villains are bad and all that other crap, but they’ve got a lot of stuff going on inside and insecurities, and they’ve got a heart.  I’m sorry, the villain with a heart of gold, can be very  true.  I never see villains (and I play them a lot) as bad.  You have to find where it comes from … how far does this go … where did that little seed change … and what made them go into the dark, but also, where is the good?  You want to bring the good to it, too.

ERIC:  Let’s face it!  Star Wars is all about Darth Vader and how he became that because it’s intriguing.

Because of the pace in which DAYS tapes its episodes; do the two of you find time to run lines together before you go hit the set?

ERIC:  We are running out of time to run lines.  It’s pretty wild.  Funnily enough, I was recently filming a movie and I was so underwhelmed at the pace of everything.  I’ve gotten so accustomed to moving at this militant style, that as hard as it is, it is preferable to me now.  I almost like it because you don’t have time to overthink what you are going to do, and you end up getting more visceral and natural reactions to the material.  You can overthink a scene, and you can come to a wrong performance that way.  When you burn your fingers on a hot stove, that’s the most natural reaction you are going to get.  You can’t have ten minutes to think about how you are going to scream about that pain.

Photo: JPI

But, would you like the pace of shooting the show to be a bit slower?

STACY:  I would like to, but I do think sometimes just jumping in, and going and seeing what happens is great.  I love that.  I do appreciate that.

ERIC:  It’s scary.

STACY:  It is scary.  I would love if we would get to do a rehearsal and then two takes just to see, and then they can mix  together what happens.  Sometimes I am hard on myself as an actress.  I’ve always been.  It’s that jumping in when you only get to do one take.  You have to just give it everything you’ve got.

ERIC:  You can have a second take.  Want me to give you a little secret?  All you have to do is screw up your last line.

STACY:  I can’t do that.   I don’t even need it to be perfect because nothing is perfect.  It doesn’t matter what I’ve done if I sometimes don’t feel it.  I need to feel it when I’m on that set.  I need to feel something because when I shut down, I close myself off.  It’s like an athlete who has just got to  train as hard as they can to reach their goal.

ERIC:  You’re an Olympic swimmer!

STACY:  You’ve got to do it as hard as you can.  You practice, and you practice, and you practice, and you practice, so that when you come to that day, you do the best you can, but sometimes you are disappointed because you didn’t get that one last thing you had hoped for.

Courtesy/NBC

How do you view what happened to Eric with Kristen, who disguised as Nicole, tricked Brady into bed with her?  Some fans commented that that they thought it was akin to a rape.

ERIC:  No, I would disagree with that theory.  I believe there is a high degree of deception in this, but there is a willingness on behalf of Brady.  He’s not drugged.  He’s not being forced to do anything.  Deception, yes.  Rape, no.

Stacy, what do you think?

STACY:  Total deception.  There is no rape.  There is absolutely no rape.  These are willing participants; he just doesn’t know exactly who he is dealing with.

ERIC:  I appreciate the context of how somebody could construe that, and the seriousness of the matter.  I don’t think it really has a place in this particular storyline.

Do you guys think that Brady and Kristen are each other’s star-crossed lovers in a weird, twisted, bizarre way?

ERIC:  I don’t know.  I think they’re magnetism can’t be denied.  I think the hurdles that they’ve jumped through are astronomical.  Will they end up together in the end?  Who knows!  Will there ever be an end?  Who knows!  It’s definitely been one of, if not the most, in-depth relationships Brady has ever had.

Photo: JPI

And intense!

ERIC:  Yeah.  They’ve just gone through so much to be together, and when you do that, anybody who is married knows that, that’s where the good stuff is; the wars that you win together and the battles that you go through.  When you come out of the war, and you’re still together, that’s the bond.  That’s what lasts.

What would Kristen do if she couldn’t have Brady in the end?  Would she find a new obsession?  What if she could not nab her man?

STACY:  Wow!  Hmmm. (Laughs)  She’s going to get her man.  She wants her man.  She wouldn’t settle.  She’d keep fighting.  I would say to her, “Kristen, keep fighting the good fight.”

So, do you think Kristen will reveal herself to Brady sooner than later? Will Brady figure out what Kristen has been doing to get to him?  Will Brady turn Kristen away if he knew she was alive and back in action  … or would he fall back into her arms? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Rebecca Herbst Chats On ‘Friz’, Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

Last week, Rebecca Herbst celebrated her 22nd year playing fan favorite Elizabeth Webber (now Baldwin) on General Hospital.  She made her on-screen debut on August 1, 1997.  And in those two decades plus in Port Charles, Liz has gone through many a rocky relationship, plenty of drama, and carried out some misdeeds of her own.  But one thing is for sure, Becky is loved by the fans of the long-running ABC daytime drama series who always want the best for her, and for Nurse Elizabeth.

Recently, ‘Friz’ fans got a moment they had long been waiting for when Franco (Roger Howarth) and Liz, and their friends and family (and some enemies) shared in their wedding reception.  But can their happiness last?  According to two psychics, Sibley Gamble (Veronica Cartwright) and Chelsea Lambas (Jen Ray) that Franco has run into in recent weeks, he better be careful.  That has made Franco concerned, while Liz is trying to get her family all on the same page, and it looks like her boys are coming around to loving and accepting Franco, too, despite what Liz’s ex Jason (Steve Burton) may have to say about it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Rebecca  at the GH Fan Club Weekend, where she made a welcome appearance, to talk about: how she sees Elizabeth’s relationship with Franco, her talented on-screen sons, and how Liz has grown-up since she started on the series, and more.  Here’s what Becky shared with us below.

What did you think of the long-awaited wedding reception of Franco and Liz?  The show finally gave them this joyous moment; after their jailhouse nuptials. Did you feel like the way the wedding actually went down it felt like it cheated the relationship, or did you like it?

REBECCA:  I felt the jailhouse wedding was a bit of a cheat, because they had tried two different times to have a really glorious wedding, so to do it in a jail cell was not the most desirable place. (Laughs)  However, the fact that the characters did actually get married and nothing came in between was a plus, and so, hey, they’ll take that.  Later, when I read in the scripts that there was going to be the reception, I was shocked, because I really didn’t think it was ever going to happen.

Photo: ABC

Do you think the fans were getting to the point where they thought this was never going to happen, also?

REBECCA:  For sure.  We all thought they Franco and Liz were never going to have their moment, or their honeymoon or any of that. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that not only did they write it, but it was beautiful!  It was also visually beautiful.  They put a lot of effort and thought into the show itself, and nobody died, and nobody fell through the roof.  Well, it was kind of funny that Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) got pushed off the ‘Haunted Star’, but according to Elizabeth, that’s just fine that Obrecht got pushed off the boat. (Laughs)  She didn’t die, so everything is good, but all in all, it was a really wonderful party.

What did you think when they had all of Elizabeth’s sons performing a song for the happy couple.  It was so cute, and touching.

REBECCA:  Oh, my goodness.  Those were real tears I shed.  That was so sweet.  So very, very sweet of them.

Photo: ABC

The show is growing the boys, so now you, as Elizabeth, have some young actors to play off of in your scenes.  How do you feel about that?

REBECCA:  Oh, I love it!  For so long, Elizabeth would only talk about her kids, “My boys, my boys, my boys, my boys in the attic.” (Laughs) Now, she has relationships, and very different relationships with each one of them.

I think that echoes real-life too.  A mother has distinct relationships with each of her children.  That’s what I like about Liz with her sons.  And as a mom in real-life as well, I am sure you can relate to this.

REBECCA:  Yes, my relationship with all of my kids is completely different, and I really love that it’s true for Elizabeth’s kids.  I attribute a lot of that to the writers, because they definitely write our relationships differently.  Aiden (Jason David) is still this baby who Elizabeth coddles and protects.  Cameron (William Lipton) is expected to be the man of the house and take care of things, and sometimes Elizabeth feels like she puts too much responsibility on him, but he is going to protect his mom no matter what.  Hudson (Jake) is so wonderful, too.  The fact that I have been blessed with three beautifully smart little actors is just a win for me.

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about Aiden, who had been bullied at school by the other kids.  Do you think that story will be fleshed out?  It seems it may have been put on pause, because it would be an important story to tell for parents with LGBTQ children, if that is how GH ultimately chose to tell the story.

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REBECCA:  It is an important story.  I would love to tell the story.  There is a great message.  I don’t think we touched on it enough.   I think, for now, the best way to put a button on it is to send the message that we should accept our children with all of their wonderful attributes and personalities and whatever their interests, and let’s not label children, and listen to them and support them.   We should just all be kind.   I was sad when I would read some of the tweets about the story.  It saddened me to read people’s harsh opinions towards Elizabeth’s acceptance of her child.  Some people said that we should not be doing a story like this, and then there was the other half who said, “Just because he is a baker, doesn’t make him gay,” which is 100% true.

True!  TV viewers have certainly seen a lot of straight chefs on foodie or cooking shows, for example.

REBECCA:  Absolutely!  All three of my children in real-life love to cook.  There is nothing wrong with that.   I think we need to just continue to love Aiden no matter what, and he is not different than any of the other kids.

Photo: ABC

William Lipton has been amazing as Cameron, right?

REBECCA:  Amazing.  I know!  He is not only a great little actor, singer, and performer, but he has this beautiful little face, and he is such a grounded young man.  He’s a really sweet person.  You can tell he’s been raised in a really great house, and he has an amazing mom.

Because you are such a “mom’s-mom” in real life, do you think that helps you in how Elizabeth reacts to her children?

REBECCA:  I think so.  I always ask permission from my on-camera kids before a scene: “Is it okay if I kiss your little head?  Is it okay if I put you on my lap here?  Is it okay if I put my hands on your face?”  I’m not their mother, but when I think about what I would do with my real-life kids,  they’re always getting kissed and hugged and held by me, so I want to make it look as real as possible.  I have to think, “What would I do if this were Emerson?”  He’d be on my lap, and I’d be kissing his little neck.  So, then I have to ask Jason, who plays Aiden, “Is it okay that I kiss your neck, and if I kind of just like snuggle you?”  All three of my on-screen kids are so great, because they’re like, “Yeah, sure.  We don’t care!” and not all stage kids are like that.  They all are receptive of my love, and they just let me do it.  I think that is what is so sweet.

Photo: ABC

What do you think of this whole pairing of Elizabeth and Franco, and that you were paired with Roger Howarth?  Elizabeth has had many relationships on the show, so where does her relationship with Franco fit into her list of romances/relationships?  Do you think Franco is one of her great loves?  Over her life, Liz has had a lot of ups and downs, and at times, has not made the best choices for herself, or the choices she made just haven’t worked out in her favor.  I think we all can relate to somebody whose choices don’t work out the way they envision them to be.

REBECCA:  For sure.  I think each of Elizabeth’s relationships have been so different. Just to talk about a timeline: she was a little girl when she was with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson), and as she’s matured, so have her relationships.  However, I think the relationship she has with Franco is her first real adult relationship; in that she not only does respect him, but she respects herself.  She is not afraid to stand up to anybody for the sake of herself, or her children.  I think that is the difference.  In the past, she has been a little so head-over-heels in love that she would do anything, and now, she knows who number one is, and that’s her children, and she puts herself first now, too.  Before, Elizabeth did not matter to herself.

Photo: ABC

I thought Elizabeth treated herself badly.  Is there a self-loathing?  Did you ever that figure out as an actress where that comes from?  Do you think it was from when she was raped years ago?

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REBECCA:  I think it went deeper than that.  I think it was because her parents left her at such a young age, and although they were doing great work for whatever they were doing, she was left as a child.

So, she felt something was wrong with her if they left her behind?

REBECCA:  Yes.  I think that’s where her lack of self-esteem came from.  She just didn’t have that support at home when she needed it the most, especially when she was a teenager.  You need your parents around you to tell you that things are awkward and weird, and you’re changing, but you’re going to be okay.  She didn’t have that, and so, she kind of had to figure it out on her own.  She did it through her relationships with men, and she didn’t have men in her life who were telling her, “You’re going to be okay,” except for Lucky, but that was a younger relationship in her life.  Now, as more of an adult with Franco, he tells her she is going to be okay.  Franco believes in her as much as she does now.

Photo: ABC

What’s the best part about working with Roger … and what’s the most challenging part?  Is it some curve balls that might come from when you are going live-to-tape?

REBECCA:  For me, I know I can totally work around whatever comes out of his mouth. (Laughs)  I’m good with that. (Laughs)  The most challenging thing about working with him is that he is constantly losing his glasses, so he can’t see his scripts.  It’s always at the end of the scene.  It’s like, “Where are the glasses?” (Laughs)  So, if losing his glasses might be the most challenging thing, then I’m a pretty lucky girl!

Where does Jason (Steve Burton) fit into Liz’s life at this point? 

REBECCA:  We’ve not really established that.

Courtesy/ABC

Since Jason has been back on the canvas, not much has been played between them.

REBECCA: They had a relationship, they have a relationship, and they have a friendship.  It should be played.

What would you love to see happen to Elizabeth story-wise, that perhaps you have not gotten the opportunity to play?

REBECCA:  I would love to see Elizabeth be happy with Franco and just explore whatever that means for her in a long-term, adult sense (because she doesn’t really know how that is yet), an adult happiness, while trying to navigate the kids’ lives, but also having a friendship with Jason.  I think that would be interesting, because she has always held a torch for Jason.

Photo: ABC

Viewers are currently alarmed that Franco has been receiving warnings from two psychics.  On last Friday’s episode, Franco is clearly afraid to take a drive and in Cameron’s new car (the one Oscar gave him) due to the psychic, (Chelsea) telling him: “Don’t take that drive!” Does Elizabeth have something to be worried about? 

REBECCA:  Yes, but she’s going to hang on to Franco, and make sure nothing happens to him … until he doesn’t come home (laughs) …  and then she’ll be calling Jason! (Laughs)

So, what did you think of the sentiments shared by Rebecca?  What did you think of the Friz wedding reception, and Liz and Franco’s relationship?  What do you think of Liz’s relationship with her children?   What are your hopes for Liz moving forward? Comment below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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