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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?

Interviews

Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

So, just how did The Young and the Restless lure back one of the series most powerhouse actresses to take on a brand-new role? Mishael Morgan, who earlier this year was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her gut-wrenching final performances as Hilary Curtis, reveals in a new interview with Michael Fairman TV, what went down to bring her back to the CBS Daytime drama.

As fans know thus far, after appearing as ‘Ghost Hilary” through the late spring and summer, Y&R’s creatives worked behind the scenes to get Morgan back on screen without tainting Hilary’s ultimate demise.  That is when they came up with the role of the sexy yet tough lawyer, Amanda Sinclair.

So, enter Mishael in a new wig and style that defines Amanda as her own character.  Question is, since Amanda is a dead-ringer for the late Hilary, are they related? And, what will ultimately be proven to be in her DNA?  In story, Amanda entered the scene as the often-mentioned Chance Chancellor’s attorney.  She shows up in Genoa City to contest the legitimacy of the late great Katherine Chancellor’s will and the fortune she left to Devon (Bryton James).  With Devon directly in Amanda’s line of fire it sets the stage for potential fireworks down the line.

We sat down with Mishael backstage at Y&R for this informative and entertaining chat as we officially welcome back this truly kick-ass performer.  Here’s what Mishael shared below.

Photo: JPI

What transpired behind the scenes to make it possible for you to come back to Y&R?

MISHAEL:  Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) kind of gave me a little bit of a heads up.  They called me back to come in and do the ghost episodes as Hilary, and it happened really quickly.  It was like, “Hey, Mishael, do you think you can do this?  Yeah?  Okay.  We’ll work it out with your team.  Alright.  We’ll see you tomorrow.” (Laughs) It was really, really fast.  I was hesitant for a second about the whole Hilary ‘ghost thing’, because I felt good about how we wrapped up Hilary’s storyline.  I’d only left for a couple of months, and I still felt funny about it, but I was like, “I’ll do it.  She’s a ghost … so she hasn’t returned from the dead.  So, it’s fine.”

Originally, I was concerned that they were going to have you as Hilary keep popping up as a ghost to Devon for an indefinite amount of time; when the show has already done that with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and his father, John (Jerry Douglas).  Because of your previous performances, and Emmy-nominated performance for the final arc of Hilary’s story, I thought, in the end, it might detract from that.

MISHAEL:  Yes, and I think that’s how I felt too, but I agreed to do it because they said that it was going to be a max of seven episodes.  So, while I was doing that, Tony was on set watching the scenes.  Next, he just called me up and said, “Well, how do you feel about coming back?”  I was like, “Coming back?  Hilary is dead.  Like, Hilary is dead-dead.  Is this going to be an alternate universe?” (Laughs) He said, “Well, no.  You’d be coming back as a different character.”  That was really intriguing to me, because one of the reasons why I left was because I felt like creatively I’d played a character from beginning to end, and it felt like it would just be nice to go off and play somebody new.  I never in a million years thought that I could come back to Y&R and actually play someone new!  That was weird to wrap my head around when they said, “You’d play a new character,” but then when they said she was going to me a lawyer, my ears really perked up! I’ve always wanted to play a lawyer, because I have the background where I wanted to be a lawyer in real life.  So, then I’m like, “OK. Now I get to play a lawyer on TV.”  They really got their hooks in to me with that … and just hooked me in from there.  Then, I got open to the idea and the story that Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) wanted to tell.

Photo: JPI

Once you learned the idea of the story from Josh, it seemed that things happened very quickly!  We all found out about your return via a social media post where you got to tell the fans yourself that you were coming back … but as a new character.

MISHAEL:  It happened relatively quickly in terms of me tentatively coming back, but then they still had to write the story.  So, everything wasn’t really confirmed until a couple of weeks before I started taping again.  We were in talks for about two months, and we worked it all out.  I said, “I’d do it,” and then it was 100% confirmed around August of this year, and I was airing in September.  It was kept was very, very quiet.

Are you still figuring out what Amanda’s back-story is?

MISHAEL:  I am.  I feel like every writer is a little different, and I feel like Josh likes to keep things very close and tight to his chest so that you kind of don’t know what’s happening.  Josh gives you enough information to play a little bit of something that is coming down the pike, but he doesn’t really disclose everything.   I’ve gotten little hints, and I kind of know where we are going, but I still don’t know the whole back-story of Amanda.  I’m still trying to figure her out.  If she’d been the polar opposite of Hilary, I think it might have been easier, but if you read her description, she’s very much like Hilary: A-type, strong, driven, all of those things.  Hilary had this very malicious, unscrupulous side to her, but I don’t know if Amanda has that.  In terms of the general description of the character, they’re very similar, which I was happy about just because I like playing strong women on TV.  If they had said, “We’re bringing on this character, and she is homeless” … or somebody who was super quiet… that would pose a different set of things for me as an actress.  I think seeing strong women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes is so important right now on TV, and it is very relevant.  I am happy to be a part of that.

Photo: JPI

What was it like playing all of these entrance scenes as Amanda where your former and current scene partners had to suspend belief? There’s Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Jess Walton, and you, and Amanda walks in like, “Hey there!” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  We just laughed about it.  It’s one of those things that is so funny, and it can only happen in the world of soaps.  A lot of the fans said, “This is weird,” in the beginning, but the fans love the show, and they accept it, and they do suspend their disbelief, and then it becomes normal.   We just had fun with it.

You’re like, “Hi, do you like my new hair?” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  That was the thing too.  (Laughs) I don’t even think Christel even saw my hair until she came to set, and she was like, “Oh wow! I like your new hair.”

Photo: JPI

What happened when you and Christel taped the scenes where Lily sees Amanda for the first time, after the former contentious relationship of Lily and Hilary that ultimately changed the course of both their lives?

MISHAEL:  For me, it was super fun and easy because I don’t know any of the Hilary/Lily back-story.  I just play very oblivious like,“Hi, I’m just here.” (Laughs)  So, it’s very easy for me, but I almost envy a lot of the other characters who have to play all of these layers because Lily does have that back-story because she was charged for Hilary’s death, and the guilt associated with doing something like that, and also the hate that she had for Hilary.  Then overcoming that hate, and then going on that entire beautiful journey that they had together as women.  But now having that as a layer, and adding on top of it this woman who looks exactly like Hilary, but is a completely different person, is really interesting. Even for Bryton, I feel like he has a golden opportunity as well, because to have that love of your life, and then a new love of your life there in Elena, and then see a woman who looks just like your ex-wife is, I’m sure, really difficult.  Your mind would just be exploding!

READ MORE
Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

How did Bryton find out that you were coming back, and what was his reaction to the news?

MISHAEL:   Well, I came in for the ghost episodes, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I told him before we finalized this new deal.  He’s a friend of mine.  I wanted to get his opinion, and he was like, “You should do it!”  I was like, “Really?  It feels so weird because I just left a year ago, and I was so happy and content with leaving, so it feels weird to come back.”  He was like, “No, it will be fine.”  He’s like, “The fans will love you either way.  They’ll want you back.”   I was worried about how the fans would feel because it is such a quick return.

Photo: JPI

What is the feedback you’re getting from the fans thus far on your transformation from Hilary to now Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like it’s pretty positive for the most part.  There are always going to be a couple of fans who are skeptical … or who don’t like the storyline … and even if they don’t like it they say, “This is kind of weird to bring her back as a different character.  We miss Hilary, but we love that Mishael Morgan is back, so, that kind of makes it all OK.”

The story that brings Amanda to Genoa City revolves around the legitimacy of Katherine Chancellor’s (the late Jeanne Cooper) will, and she comes in and says there was a counterfeit will etc.  She’s the messenger at this point and her client is Chance, correct?

MISHAEL:  Yes, Amanda’s client is Chance.

Isn’t she starting to question the legitimacy of her client?

MISHAEL:  Yes, but I think she still believes that it was Chance.  She’s kind of wondering now … because she even accuses Jill (Jess Walton).  She’s like, “It’s your grandson.  He’s all out to lunch.  He’s not getting back to anybody.”  Jill is very much in the headspace where she is like, “Well, this is probably not my grandson.”  Amanda is like, “I’m pretty sure it is.”  So, I think Amanda still thinks that it is Chance, even if he is a criminal, and even if he is doing something tricky.

Photo: JPI

How did Amanda get contacted by Chance in the first place to take this case?

MISHAEL:  It was an email, and then Amanda spoke to him on the phone …  or at least to who she believed was Chance.  He signed the papers, he scanned them over, and he forwarded Amanda the retainer. She had no reason not to believe that it was him.

So, when Amanda came to see Devon and company, she had no idea that there was this lookalike of her that was intertwined with this family?

MISHAEL:  No, but then after Devon tells Amanda about all of this, she sees pictures of Hilary online, but this is all done off-camera.

Does Amanda now suspect that she could be a twin? 

MISHAEL:  I think so.  I’m kind of playing that or keeping that there.  I’m kind of playing that as part of the reason why I want to stay in town because Amanda is intrigued by this other person who looks like her.  This could possibly be family.  I think it adds an extra layer as to why she wants to stay on Genoa City.  It is not just because she likes this person, or that person.  I think it is because she wants to figure out her connection to this person who looks just like her.

Photo JPI

We’ve seen Amanda be a little shifty.

MISHAEL:  Maybe a little bit. (Laughs)

What do you think we, as the audience, should be feeling at this point about Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I think we just have to wait and see.  Hilary had a lot going on before I left, and this is a new character who is slowly building.

I think that one of the things that daytime shows often have done wrong is that when they bring in a new character, they shove them down the audience’s throats too fast that they get sick of them.  I don’t know if that’s the tactic for the emergence of Amanda, more of a slow burn?

MISHAEL:  I feel like they are definitely doing a good job of building her character slowly and adding layers.  It’s not all coming out right away.  I feel like people should be feeling excited to try and figure out who this woman is because that is what it is eventually going to be leading to.  Right now, we are all just together in trying to figure out who she is.  I feel like everybody is really excited (and I am too) to get going, but even when Hilary came to Genoa City, it took about a year for her to catch her stride.  I think it’s going to take a while to really understand the meat of this character and how she fits into everyone’s lives.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Amanda feels badly about what is going on with Cane and Devon with the will, and how it would change both their lives forever?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  I definitely think that she feels badly about that.  In the beginning, it was very much her job.  I think when Devon is contemplating giving over his fortune, it makes Amanda see him in a different light, and her empathy for him starts to increase because she sees that he is a good guy, and that there wasn’t anything that he did that was malicious.

I think there is an attraction brewing here between Devon and Amanda.

MISHAEL:  Possibly.  I mean … Devon was attracted to someone who looked like Amanda.

Photo: JPI

Will she like him if he has no money, though?

MISHAEL:  I don’t know… I mean, Hilary definitely wouldn’t. (Laughs)

What do you think about working with Brytni Sarpy (Elena)? I see a triangle or quadrangle brewing and I see catfights in your future!

MISHAEL:  I love Brytni.  I definitely see that because Elena is definitely in the state of mind where she can’t stand this Amanda character.  The second she walked through the door, she couldn’t stand her.  I’m sure there are going to be some catfights coming.  I’m sure that it is going to be very entertaining for everybody! We’ll see.

Because you were considering being a lawyer … wait until you get into the courtroom set for some scenes!

MISHAEL:  I know, I’m excited for that!

Christian LeBlanc (Michael) always loves the courtroom monologues because he says it’s like doing a stage play.  Will you be up for that?

MISHAEL:  I think it’ll be ready for it.  I had a little one already to kind of warm up.  I won’t tell you what it was about.  I was like, “I can do this,” and I think it would have been even more fulfilling if there were an actual jury there where it feels like you’re performing.

Photo: JPI

What kind of lawyer is Amanda?  Does anyone know? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  Well, right now she specializes in estates and trusts, but the one thing that I do know about attorneys is that technically with your license you can kind of do anything.  It is just that your experience will be in a specific area.  So, certain people may not want you to defend them, because you’ve never defended people in these cases.  I feel like it is not the same as a surgeon.  A surgeon specializes in the heart, and they don’t really do anything else, but as an attorney, you can kind of do anything.  You can defend anyone if the price is right and you feel confident.

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When you were thinking of being a lawyer, did you think of the kind of lawyer you wanted to be?

MISHAEL:  Well, when I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be an international human rights lawyer.  So, something very different.  I wanted to save the world.

You know what they should do?  Maybe Amanda could have a courtroom show.  Instead of Judge Judy, it could be called Judge “Mandy”!

MISHAEL:  Put people in their places.

That’s if Amanda doesn’t get a talk show gig on the side, like Hilary did with GC Buzz! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  With the courtroom cases, and the talk show, that would be a lot.

Photo: JPI

We talked about Hilary and taking her through everything she had gone through, and it really was the perfect ending when she passed.   Do you look back on that time and that work which we all loved so much?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I do.  I still look back on it, and I feel so blessed to have gone through that journey with her and to have created such a great character.  There are times when I’m like, “Yeah, coming back as Hilary would have been a lot of fun,” because I read the lines, and I know how Hilary would say everything, and now I have to figure out how Amanda says it – and it never feels the same, because I got so used to this being Hilary’s home.  I feel like Amanda is a little more like me, so there is a little less playfulness happening.

You want more of that which is reminiscent of Hilary, or not as much with Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like naturally there is not as much now with Amanda, but I do want more of the playfulness to happen. It’s fun to play that on camera.  I feel that’s the fun of acting and pretending in that you get to be less of yourself, and more like a character.  Hilary was so different from me that it was just so fun to play her.  I feel like I’ve got to find those things in Amanda that make her unique and different that I can indulge in.

Photo: MMorganInstagram

In real-life you’re now a mom of two.  When you leave your kids to come to work, is it hard for you?

MISHAEL:  It is, but it’s okay because my husband stays at home with them.  We bounce back and forth.  He doesn’t work when I am working, and the days when I am not working, I am at home, and I get to enjoy time with them.  Then, when I am working, he stays home, and he gets to enjoy time with them.  It sucks to leave them, but at the same time it’s great to know that they are getting to spend time with their father, and I’m getting some ‘me time’.  I think that is necessary, because being a stay at home mom was a lot harder than I thought.  It is exhausting, and you are always on call.  You feel like you’re a surgeon.  It is just too much at times.

You always have the best Instagram photos with your kids and their outfits.  Are you going to have them dressed for Halloween?

MISHAEL:  Oh, yes.  They are going to dress up.   My son is going to be a firefighter, and I am going to be the fire, and my husband is going to be the fire hydrant, and my daughter is going to be the fire dog, the little Dalmatian!

Were you thrilled that you had a daughter this time, after previously having a son?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  At the time, I was okay with whatever the gender turned out to be.  I know everybody says it, but as long as they’re healthy, that is the most important thing.  I even thought about if I did have another boy, there would be that brother bond.  I grew up with sisters so to give him a brother would have been great, too.  Everybody always wants to have one of each because you want to be able to see what a boy would look like, and what a girl would look like, and their temperaments and all of that.  So, it’s nice that we got one of each.  We are happy.  We are good.  No more kids in my future.  (Laughs)  I shouldn’t say that too much because what if I do get pregnant, and my kid is like, “I was definitely an accident, Mom?” (Laughs)

We don’t know who Amanda has ties to at this point, but would you like to see her in another romantic relationship with some guy who is not Devon?

MISHAEL:  I would like to see that just because it would be something that kind of defines her as her own kind of person with her own journey and her own likes and her own dislikes.  I even feel that if she just ends up with Devon, it would be kind of weird.  We don’t know if Hilary and Amanda are related, but if they are related somehow, you would not have the same experiences, you would not have the same connections as this person.  As far as who I would want to work with, I don’t know.  I don’t know how to judge.  Well, Sean Dominic (Nate) has been awesome.  It would be kind of cool to be with Sean character-wise, because if Amanda ends up with Nate, that’s a relative of Devon, so Devon would have to see that all of the time … so that’s interesting.

Photo JPI

How is working with Sean?

MISHAEL:  Lots of fun.  He actually has the same birthday as my dad.  He’s a really cool guy, and we get along great.  That is half the battle because every now and again (and you rarely hear about it) you can’t stand the person you’re working with, and every time you get into scene work with another character, you’re always wondering, “Am I going to get along with this person?”  I love Bryton because we definitely have a special connection when we are on camera and when we are working together.  We’ve known each other for so long, and we’ve done so many amazing scenes together, and I think there is a lot of trust there.  It’s easy to just work with him.  That being said, the challenge of working with another character would be great as well.  We’ll just see where the chips fall.  Either way; I’m going to have a blast.

So, Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and you obviously have this great relationship together on-screen.  Mariah was Hilary’s dear friend.  Did you ever see her performance after Hilary died and her heartbreaking monologue on the set of GC Buzz?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I did.  It was amazing.  She’s an amazing actress.  She’s an amazing person.  I was so happy to work with her, and I am so happy to be back, because we are such good friends.  My first day back on set when I walked in, Camryn was the first person I saw.

Photo: JPI

Did Camryn know you were coming back to the show as Amanda?

MISHAEL:  Yes, she knew I was coming back.  We had a big hug and everything like that, and we were laughing about the fact that she’d come back to Y&R too as a whole different character.  So, I was like, “What pointers can you give me?” I would really love to figure out how Amanda and Mariah can work together.

The big question … I wonder if Amanda will have friends in Genoa City? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  I think she would.  I mean, I know she is a little uptight, but I think she’ll have friends.  I hope so.  I don’t know who though. Guess everyone will have to stay tuned to see.

So, are you happy to see Mishael back at The Young and the Restless? What do you think of the character of Amanda Sinclair thus far? Do you want to see her with Nate, Devon, or someone else on the canvas romantically?  Do you think it will turn out that Hilary and Amanda were twins? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Talks On Thomas’ Vendetta With Brooke & Playing The Manipulative Bad Boy Of The Forrester Clan

Since coming to The Bold and the Beautiful earlier this year, Matthew Atkinson is making his mark in the role of Taylor (Hunter Tylo) and Ridge’s (Thorsten Kaye) son, Thomas Forrester.  But while Matthew was a recast for his predecessor Pierson Fodé, his Thomas is quite different.  The new Thomas is a bad boy capable of horrific manipulations to get what he wants, and a young man who has caused so much suffering already for the Logans, Spencers, and the Forresters  But is there a heart underneath that often volatile exterior?

After all, Thomas went to great lengths to keep Hope (Annika Noelle) in a relationship with him and for her to be a “mother” to his son, following the death of Caroline.  So, what did he do? He covered-up and blackmailed many people to keep their mouths shut to the truth – that his sister Steffy’s (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) little girl, Phoebe, was actually baby Beth, the child Hope and Liam (Scott Clifton) believed had died at birth!

Following the big reveal, and getting a bit of comeuppance, Thomas landed in the hospital with a questionable push from Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) after a fall.  After promising to change his ways, looks like Thomas is back to scheming and conniving – this time to make sure Brooke gets payback and that her marriage to his father blows up to smithereens.  Meanwhile, Thomas needs to be a better father to his little boy, Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri), but will the Logans and the Spencers come between father and son?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Matthew Atkinson to get his take on: the emotional make-up of his incarnation of Thomas Forrester, what his ultimate takedown of Brooke would be, and how he thinks Thomas can find a way back into the family good graces, and more.  Here’s what Matthew had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

Thomas really has a vendetta with Brooke.  The scene where Brooke slaps him illustrated just how deep-rooted his issues apparently are with her. What did you think about what Thomas said to Brooke that came to a boiling point with the slap, and what was it like performing the material with Katherine Kelly Lang?

MATTHEW:  Katherine rocks every chance I get to be around her.  She is such a sweet human being and so fun to work with and takes her job seriously and puts a lot of work in, and I think it shows.  As far as the scene goes, every chance that I get to work with her is fun.  She’s just a great actress.  Brooke basically had this vendetta against Thomas for a while now, and she was the one who unjustifiably went a little crazy about Thomas before anybody knew Thomas was off the rails.  So, it’s kind of this interesting culmination of having that where she has built herself up to hating Thomas at this point, and she is just scared of him and what he could possibly do.  Then you have Thomas, who has hated Brooke ever since she came in and destroyed his family.  There is so much emotion there and so many levels to it.  It’s just so much fun to play around with, and in those scenes especially, it is kind of like neither one of them really has a filter.  They are both just going at each other.

He is punctuating his plan by telling Brooke that she may, “Have his father tied around her slutty little finger, but her reign of terror ends with him!”  I was just like, “Uh-oh.” (Laughs)

MATTHEW:  Yeah, and that’s how Thomas sees Brooke.  He sees her as this slutty woman who came in and kind of giggles her way into his dad’s life and flirted with him and destroyed his entire family.  Thomas sees her and all of her sisters as these air-headed women who are kind of just family-destroying kind of people.  They come in, they do whatever they can to get what they want, and he doesn’t care about them at all.  I think he has kind of gotten to this point, especially with Brooke … considering what happened with Hope and that he has this genuine love for Hope.  Brooke won’t even accept that, or think about that as a possibility with how she views him.   It’s that crazy dynamic and those scenes were definitely an emotional peak for both of them.

Photo: JPI

Thomas seems to become obsessed, and laser-focused on people like Hope, and now Brooke.  What has happened to him?  How are you playing this behavior pattern of his that we are seeing established?

MATTHEW:  Some of the most successful people in the world are people who obsess over things.  I think Thomas is like that, but I think that since Caroline’s death, his obsessive nature has been so focused on things other than fashion.  They aren’t his job and what his talents are, which is where he should focus all of that energy, but instead it’s been on his son needing a mother.  So, getting Hope in his life was key to him, and with Brooke, it’s a woman who has destroyed his entire family.  He wants his dad to be better off.  He wants his entire family to be better off.  He honestly feels that they would be better off without Brooke in their lives, and so that is what he is focused on.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad attribute to have when it is focused in the right direction, but for Thomas, since the death of Caroline, his focus has been on things that are a little abstract and are not necessarily objectively sound decisions.

Photo: JPI

What was interesting was that I did not know how they were going to be able to save the character of Thomas on the B&B canvas after all that he has perpetrated.  But then, there were scenes in the hospital where he is recovering from his “fall”, and Thomas is having big emotional scenes with Ridge and Steffy.  In those moments as the viewer, you say to yourself: “Oh, they’re going to redeem him,” but then they don’t.  He goes right back to a new vendetta.  What did you think of those plot twists?

MATTHEW:  The interesting thing about this character is that I don’t think this guy is a bad guy.  I think he is a guy who is doing a lot of bad things, but I think a lot of people can relate to him and the struggles that he is dealing with: being a single father and having a rough childhood with his family being broken up.  This is a guy who wants his father to approve of him and respect him and he has never really felt that way.  I think a lot of people out there know what it’s like to have a parent who they just want approval from but can’t get it … couple that with the fact that he let his sister down.  Everybody knows what it is like to think that they are making the right decision and end up making the wrong decision and possibly hurting someone in the process … and the kind of shame that you feel from doing something like that.  I think this makes Thomas an interesting character where viewers could say, “Well, he is doing bad things, and I don’t agree with anything that he is doing, but I can relate to him, and I want him to be better, and I want him to get better and become the good person we all know he can be.”  Yet, Thomas just keeps making all of the wrong decisions.

Photo: JPI

I predict that in short order, Thomas will be in cahoots with Shauna (Denise Richards)!

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MATTHEW:  Okay, we shall see.  (Laughs)  They have aligned interests; especially at the moment, when it comes to removing Brooke from that situation.  I think with Shauna, it’s fun that Denise Richards has come into this role and what she has done with this character.

Denise Richards is doing a great job in the role.

MATTHEW:  She’s amazing, but I think that behind the thought process she has is this woman, Shauna, who is not so dissimilar from Thomas, and is willing to blur the lines of what is acceptable and morally sound to make sure that she gets what she wants.

Photo: JPI

When you were taping those emotional hospital scenes where Thomas admits he has lost his way, and reaching out to his dad to try to find forgiveness, how were playing those scenes with Thorsten Kaye?

MATTHEW:  I respect Thorsten a lot as an actor.  I just love having scenes with him because I feel like we play off of each together so well.  When we enter a scene together, we are both in it.  When you are both in it, something real happens from that, and those real moments are kind of magical in a way, and it makes you feel great about the work that you do.  Thorsten shows up, and he’s prepared, he knows what he is doing, and at the same time, there is this connection between father and son.   I think Thorsten and I have definitely done that as father and son, and Jacqui and I have done that as brother and sister.

Since the show usually has you shirtless or sneering in scenes (laughs), I was so happy that they finally let you have some crying scenes.  It was at the point that the audience was able to see you bring another emotional level and dimension to the character.

MATTHEW:  I think he is not a guy who breaks down and cries very often.  It takes something very serious (especially for him) to get to that point.  For Thomas, the most important thing in the world is family, and he has kind of destroyed his relationship with his own family with what he has done, and I think that from the inside out is what breaks him.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of shirtless scenes; in a short amount of time you have been with the show, I think you may have set a record there.

MATTHEW:  (Laughs) Yep.  It’s all the time because the wardrobe sends me mostly pants – no shirts (Laughs).

Obviously, there is the issue of Thomas’s son, Douglas … and will he lose him because Hope and Liam want to gain custody of him. Brooke wants Thomas out of Douglas’ life for good.   This poses a major obstacle for Thomas moving forward. Agree?

MATTHEW:  Sure.  However, Brooke has no legal right to stand on.  You can’t just take a guy’s son.  There’s no legal way to do that, but they can try their hardest to either sign adoption papers or sign over custody, or something like that, but there’s not a legal way they can go and just take his son.  There are a lot of people who I understandably think Douglas would be better off with being raised by Hope and Liam, but I think Thomas has a point of view too, and just because he is going through a bad part of his life at this time, doesn’t mean that he is unfit to be a father.  I think Thomas will prove that he is fit to be father and all the while, a great force to be reckoned with,

Photo JPI

But, Thomas hasn’t been so great to Douglas, either.  Hasn’t he yelled at his son, manipulated him for his own gain, etc?

MATTHEW: Right, this was kind of right before the truth about Beth came out, and Thomas was on this massive downward swirl where he wasn’t thinking clearly; he wasn’t himself. I  think in reality, you have a person who went off the rails, he wasn’t being himself, he found the person he wasn’t, and I think that the “accident” of Brooke pushing him off a cliff, the slip, kind of clarified his intention in life to be a good, standup person from here on out.  So, I think his priorities are straight now, and I think he is thinking clearly.  I don’t think he is in the same mental state that he was before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be manipulative and that he won’t get what he wants, because he will.  There was a time that he went through a headspace when nothing was really clear for a minute, and he didn’t really have any moral backbone, but I don’t think that moving forward you’re going to see a Thomas Forrester that would hurt his son.  You’re going to see a Thomas Forrester who will stop at nothing to protect his son.

How does Thomas feel about Hope now, especially since Hope wants to raise Douglas? 

MATTHEW:  Well, here is what I will say; I think that Thomas has always had a love for Hope. I think he respects her as a person, I think he has seen her be a mother to his child, and that is undeniable … how much of a connection that she has to Douglas, and she is incredibly important to him.  Thomas can basically discard any Logan except Hope.  Hope is kind of his kryptonite.  So, going forward, I think you’ll maybe see a guy who wants to discard Hope as a person who he cares for (her and the rest of the Logans), but he may not be able to do that, because she has got a place in his heart that he can’t compartmentalize and leave behind.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Annika Noelle, because you as Thomas had been terrorizing Hope for many months?

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MATTHEW:  Well, she’s a sweetheart, but also, secondly, she is a badass.  She could kick my butt any day of the week.  So, I just had to make sure that in between takes I said, “You understand that I wouldn’t do this to you.”  She’s so sweet, and she was actually one of the first people to talk to me about taking over a role on the show, because she had been one of the most recent people to take over a role, and that was something that was really hard for me.  Coming into a character that has already been there for 30 years, you have a lot to live up to.  She was amazing from the beginning just helping me through that process.

On that note, what did you think of the epic fight scene on the rooftop opposite Scott Clifton; right before all the truth came out to Hope that Beth is alive and Thomas was lying to Hope and up to no good?

MATTHEW:  So much fun.  The shots they got were incredible.  Shooting those fight scenes was so much fun and I love Scott to death.  So, every time we get to work together it’s fun, but just getting outside and literally pretending to beat the crap out of each other is a blast.  We got to go out to Malibu, and I got to fall over a cliff.  What else can you say about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

There is another interesting relationship Thomas has on B&B, and that is with his friend, Vinny.  How has it been creating the on-screen dynamic with Joe LoCicero (Vinny) as these two scheming dudes?

MATTHEW:  I like it, and I love Joe.  This dynamic between these two guys is really funny because you have this shrewd, alpha male, Thomas Forrester, who is extremely driven, and insanely smart, but also very manipulative and he has got a thousand things going on.  On the flipside, you’ve got Vinny, who is just this guy who he has been friends with for a really, really long time, who just kind of lives life.  He is living in his apartment in Venice, he sells some not so legal substances just to his friends, and he’s a decent guy.  It’s just fun when we have these scenes together, because essentially you’ve got him looking at me like I’m an alien creature, and thinking, “I don’t understand this guy.  I don’t know why he is acting this way, but who cares; I’m going to eat my Chinese food.”  (Laughs) I think it kind of grounds some of those scenes especially when you see Thomas going off that rails, and his friend doesn’t even seem to notice. (Laughs)

I know! (Laughs) Thomas has got his own sidekick.

MATTHEW: I think Vinny wants to give sound advice, but he gives all the worst advice.  He’s like, “Well, the way you described it Thomas, it sounds like a good idea, so yeah, go ahead with that,” but maybe doing a little behavioral cognitive therapy and questioning would be good for Vinny.  He just kind of goes, “okay,” (laughs) but I think that’s what makes those scenes so much fun.

Photo: JPI

Having appeared on The Young and the Restless previously you know how soaps go.  There is always this fear of: “Will they kill me off if my character has gone too far?” Did at any point in Thomas’ storyline, and as you got the scripts and read all the terrible things Thomas was doing, that the character might get murdered, kicking off a murder mystery, and you’d have to make an exit?

MATTHEW:  I’d had discussions with Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) and I kind of knew where the character was going, so I kind of knew that he was going down a rabbit hole, but that Thomas wasn’t a lost cause.  I knew that he would at least be present for the upcoming short future that I know of, that Thomas wasn’t going to find his demise, which was very nice of Brad to give me that insight into the character to not only know what was coming up, but also know where his head is at by this point.  It helps me with the character work that I do for each scene and prep for each day; because I know where Thomas’ head is going to be at two weeks from now.

Photo: JPI

Have you had any interactions with fans, or are you checking out on social media what the viewers are saying about Thomas?  Do they love him?  Hate him?  Is there a great debate going on?  What is your take on where Thomas sits with the audience?

MATTHEW:  Oh, yeah.  I definitely pay attention.  The fans are the reason I have the job that I have.  All the feedback that I have seen is positive, and by positive, I mean that it is emotionally effective.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are happy with Thomas because most people are not happy with Thomas.  They don’t like what he is doing, and that obviously gets them angry or sad or whatever, but that is kind of the point of the show.  If you’re watching a bunch of characters who are all great people and who all do nice things, then it wouldn’t be that much fun to watch.  You’d be watching 40 Liam’s talk to each other, and it would be like, “Yeah, it’s just another day in Happy World.”  (Laughs)  I think that Thomas especially has been such a driving force in the last couple of months and caused a lot of drama.  I think there are a lot of storylines that people have connected to in the past that are really making people enjoy the drama happening now. You have the people who hated Ridge getting together with Brooke in the beginning that are happy with what Thomas is doing now.  You have the people who are pro – Liam and Steffy.  Thomas has been a big advocate of that since the beginning.  There are some people who just can’t stand Thomas and don’t like him, and he makes them mad, but the reality of it is that there is a thin line between love and hate.  So, as long as they love me or hate me, I’m happy.

So, have you been enjoying Matthew’s portrayal of Thomas? Do you think he will rip Brooke and Ridge apart for good and succeed in his plans? Do you think he should somehow pay for his manipulations? Share your thoughts on the current B&B storyline involving Thomas via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Eileen Davidson & Vincent Van Patten Talk ‘7 Days to Vegas’, Their Relationship and Y&R, DAYS & RHOBH

Today’s the day for the highly-anticipated film, 7 Days to Vegas which bows in selected theaters. The motion picture which stars Vincent Van Patten and his real-life wife, two-time Daytime Emmy winning actress Eileen Davidson (Y&R’s Ashley and former Kristen/Susan Banks, Days) is a comedic gambling romp, centering around the character of Duke (Van Patten), an out-of-work actor turned poker player who makes a prop bet that he walk from the San Fernando Valley in California to Sin City, Las Vegas in 7 days.

There are some catches to this bet that make it even more challenging  … Duke has to wear a suit the entire time in scorching heat.  The events in the movie are loosely based on Van Patten’s Hollywood Poker game nights.  7 Days to Vegas features a fictional gang of betting entertainment industry bigwigs, who are hardcore gamblers and of course, jealousy strikes.  Davidson plays Duke’s wife, KC.

Michael Fairman sat down with Eileen and Vincent at their home, and at their famed poker table for the Michael Fairman Channel, to chat about the making of the movie, their relationship and some intriguing tidbits for fans of Eileen’s work on The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives and her time on Bravo’s hit reality franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In 7 Days to Vegas, Eileen says that Vincent fashioned her role of KC after their real-life relationship adding, “They are in it together. This is a lifestyle that they both enjoy.  That is what somebody does when there is a home game; you call people up, and make sure who is going to be there.  Van Patten said, “There is a host of the game, and that is her role in the movie.”

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As to the scenes where Duke is walking to Vegas, Van Patten shared, “We shot the film in Santa Clarita, California in the hills and the mountains and all of that, and then we out five days after with a second unit shoot and shot with drones in the desert.  So, I must have walked 10 miles a day, shooting, sweating, but you don’t feel it, because when it’s your baby, it’s a labor of love.”

When asked if she would go back to daytime, Eileen shared she would be back for more Ashley on Y&R: “I am supposed to go back to Y&R in a couple of more weeks. So I am popping in and out at this point.”  Davidson also shared she wishes nothing but the best to Stacy Haiduk who inherited her roles on Days of our Lives as Kristen DiMera and Susan Banks. Eileen said she does not watch the episodes of the show anymore, because it makes her feel sad.  The roles of Kristen and Susan were so close to Davidson’s heart.

In speaking of her time on RHOBH, Van Patten shared, “I think she (Eileen) did a great job. It went by real quick. I think she did like three years on it.  I was in the background carrying her purse, going, ‘Yes, yes, here I come.”  (Laughs)  Davidson expressed: “Listen, reality TV … it’s a crazy, wild, Wild West.”  When Michael asked about the time a drink was thrown in her face, Eileen explained:  “I think Brandi (Granville) felt she needed to be relevant to be on the show, and her role was to be a troublemaker. I understand more of it now.  At the time, I was a deer in the headlights for the first couple of years.”  Vincent shared, “People always ask if this stuff is scripted, and it’s actually not, but you can spice it up”   As to if ‘Housewives’ makes up the drama, Davidson elaborated, “Before the season starts they will ask, ‘What is going on in your life?’, and maybe there is some of that behind-the-scenes stuff.  It didn’t happen with me.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it is a reality show, but it is also entertainment, and if all we did was sit around, how fun would that be?”

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Watch the full interview below with Eileen and Vincent and make sure to “subscribe” to The Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interview features.

Now let us know, will you be checking out 7 Days to Vegas, which will also be available on iTunes and VOD come September 24th? Do you hope there will be more Ashley on Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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Y&&’s Eileen Davidson and her husband Vincent Van Patten chat with Michael Fairman about their new film “7 Days to Vegas”, her time on Y&R, DAYS, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and their relationship. Leave A Comment

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