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The Jack Wagner Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

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He’s on the world’s most watched soap opera, and has had multiple successes in daytime and primetime television, theatre, and recording.  Not to mention, he is one hell of a champion golfer.  We can only be talking about The Bold and the Beautiful’s cantankerous former seaman now turned fashion business mogul, Nick Marone, played to the hilt by Jack Wagner.

On the storyline front: With Nick dealing with a lung cancer scare and facing his own mortality, plus dealing with the inconceivable pairing (to him anyway) of his mother Jackie, and her much younger boy toy husband, Owen (Who had a baby no less with his then wife, Bridget) it has not been smooth sailing for this captain of the ship.

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Wagner in his dressing room to discuss Nick’s bold and beautiful 6,000 episode intervention; why Nick and Brooke should still have a chance at recapturing love, his recent amazing trip to South Africa, and the revelations that came from it.

Also, we get the low down on his upcoming 5th Annual Jack Wagner Celebrity Golf Classic, to help raise awareness and funds to benefit Leukemia Lymphoma.  And, we learn why teeing off stretches your mind, not just your body!  Here’s the witty, ever so charming and talented, Mr. Wagner!

MICHAEL:

Nick was integral to the special 6,000 episode of The Bold and the Beautiful due in part to his cigar smoking.  The show featured real life cancer survivors talking with Stephanie to create a support group, since Stephanie has been battling stage four-lung cancer.  Nick is along for the ride since the episode serves as sort of an intervention for him to come to terms with what he is doing to himself via smoking. Did you watch back the episode?  What did you feel performing in it?  And, did you think it was effective and accomplished what it is set out to do?

JACK:

© JPI Studios

I did like how it turned out.  I thought it was kind of groundbreaking to have no script.  I have done improv and all of that, but never worked without a script.  To be in character and to have Susan Flannery (Stephanie) be in character, with the guests giving their testimonials (who are cancer patients telling their story) was interesting to see them being who they are and me reacting to it as Nick and this sort of denial he is in.  His denial about smoking only one cigar a day, or every two days type of thing, was interesting.  It was interesting to be in the reality of it, and then play the denial.

MICHAEL:

Part of Nick’s character from the beginning was that he was this crusty seaman who drank and smoke cigars.

JACK:

Yes, that was very apparent at the beginning of my time as Nick.  He was heavily smoking cigars. And then, CBS Standards and Practices had enough of the smoking on the show, but they decided to bring it back and allow it for the telling of this storyline.

MICHAEL:

Working with Susan in this special episode, you were reactionary and we the viewers, would watch your eyes and watch things unfold in your eyes, especially when the opera singer, Zheng Cao, sang her aria and your look was of,  “Oh my God!” Hankies! Very touching.

JACK:

It was very emotional and I was tearing up and just letting it go, and it was very unexpected. We asked Zheng Cao to sing right there on the spot. Brad Bell was right there on the set and came up with that.  So it kind of felt awkward when she did it, but it worked.  She is so good and it was poignant.  I think Nick was touched by it.  What a gift with her voice, and to tell her story and have it end on the guy who they are trying to reach, who is Nick.  Add to that, Stephanie, who has already gone through her cancer treatment and is still going through it.  So yeah, I think it worked, I really do.  It was different and groundbreaking at the same time.  I am glad I was picked to do this storyline with Susan, because you have two people who have been around for quite awhile, and if you are going to have two people who are going to be available for a different feel of a show, Susan is really the best at that.  I loved working with her on this!

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MICHAEL:

Now that B&B Executive Producer and head writer, Brad Bell, has tackled social issue after social issue recently, is there any issue you would love for him to touch upon, using your alter-ego Nick?  We have to say, you have sort of been in several of the issue-driven stories of late!

JACK:

When I reflect back, Nick has uncovered his childhood through this and had some great scenes with Lesley-Ann Down (Jackie) through that.  And, then I realized with the Aggie story, there was a rape that had to do with her, and Nick was kind of heroic and helped her though that. Then there is this baby with Nick’s mother’s husband coming up along with the cancer!  I am like, “Wow. We have done a lot of stuff here.”  You know what I would like to see is, I always liked the rivalry with Ridge and Nick. That seems to have been replaced. Now Jackie M. has its own world, and Forrester has its own world and they used to be rivals.  Now it seems it has gotten away from that.  I like mixing it up with those two families with those two characters.  I really do!

MICHAEL:

What about Nick‘s love life?  Sarah Brown (Aggie) had been dropped to recurring as Aggie.  And Bridget, played by Ashley Jones, is on recurring and barely on the show at all.  So, who could be next in line for Nick’s heart?

JACK:

Nick is like the recurring stud for hire!  (Laughs)  I don’t know about his future love life.  I think its kind of a sailboat without a sail right now and it’s floating out there.  And, if you look at your pieces of the puzzle, if we are going to work a romantic storyline, it would have to be a revisit with someone… unless it’s with some younger girls, which I think Nick’s available for! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Wagner Golf LLS

You have a very big golf tournament coming up for Leukemia Lymphoma.  It’s your annual Jack Wagner Celebrity Golf Classic. Tell us the information on it and how long you have done it?  And, what other celebrities will be participating?

JACK:

It’s April 18th, and a one day event out in Los Angeles at the Valencia Country Club.  This will be the fifth year for the event, and it’s actually a long time for a golf tournament when you think about it.  We are hoping to get to one million dollars in the five years after the golf tournament this year. And this is a small event with celebrity friends of mine, and with people who buy groups to play with the celebrities.  So we get anywhere from 15-25 groups, and then there is a silent auction and a live auction with a banquet afterwards.  It’s a day of golf with athletes, actors, golf pros, etc.  For example, Marcus Allen and John Elway, former pro football players, have come out and television and motion picture stars, Tim Allen, Joe Pesci, and Heather Locklear are there every year. Also, hockey great Wayne Gretsky comes out.  I just called a bunch of other guys today to participate.  It’s usually a who’s available mix of celebrities, and it’s a fun day.

MICHAEL:

Any one from B&B play?

JACK:

Kyle Lowder, who played Rick, and Brad Bell plays every year, of course.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/UPI.com

Why did you decide to do this and start your Celebrity Golf Classic?

JACK:

I lost my father to blood cancer known as multiple myeloma in 1990, and then my brother was diagnosed with Leukemia in1999. And strangely enough, I was asked to do Celebrity Week on Wheel of Fortune in 2006.  I just won this golf tournament in Lake Tahoe that NBC airs and it’s a very big deal every summer, and I had never won and I finally won.  And when I won the Wheel of Fortune, my partner on the show was incredible. We broke the record and I gave the money to Leukemia Lymphoma and they were like, “Didn’t you just win a golf tournament?”  And that is kind of how it came together; the germination of golf and fundraiser and me.

MICHAEL:

Why are you so good at golf?  You are “thee” guy in the celebrity ranks!

JACK:

I am from a little town in Missouri.  I picked it up because my father played this little nine-hole course.  I did not take lessons and I was not a country club kid.  I sort of just picked it up.  And, I was a natural at it.  I stuck with it as I grew up, and when I got General Hospital, I had already quit golf while I was in drama school for three or four years. Gloria Monty, who was the executive producer at the time of General Hospital and her husband, were members of Bel Air Country Club.  She came up to me and said, “Darling, I hear you play golf?”  And so I went out there with her husband and he sponsored me to join the club.  So I have been a member of Bel Air since 1986.  That is how I started playing again.  Then, I played in the AT&T and The Bing Crosby tournament in 1991 and won it.  So I started slowly playing a lot more visible tournaments and started winning a lot of them.

MICHAEL:

I can’t watch golf because it’s like watching paint dry to me.  However for you, what is it like playing?  What is it about the game that fascinates you?

JACK:

It’s like life… You just wake up one day and you just never know what is going to happen.  You can be prepared, but stuff will happen and you go,” Well, I wasn’t quite prepared for that to happen!”  You can eat right and sleep perfectly, but you never know what to expect, and that is kind of the challenge with golf.  It is unpredictable and always tests your emotions.  It’s physical, but it’s really about your mind.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Back to B&B for a moment with Nick’s mother Jackie and her much younger hubby Owen.  Where’s Nick at with the relationship of his mother and this young guy?  After all, he did preside over the wedding, even though he doth protest too much.

JACK:

I think this is such a great example of this character, Nick.  He can roll his eyes at what happens around him. It’s like the breaths I take, and the eyes roll, and the scowling and the frowning; that I think is so perfect for “my” mother and this guy.  It is just a bit bizarre!  He is my step-father. “Owen six-pack,” is my stepfather!  And so you’ve got to look at that as they are always making out and pawing each other.  So it’s this running underlying joke of, “Could you just go get a room somewhere!  I am trying to run a business. Hello! Our overhead is like one hundred thousand dollars a month.  Could you keep your clothes on?”  That is my attitude with every scene. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

We had spoken in the past that you would be interested in reigniting the Brooke and Nick romance.  Do you still feel that way?

JACK:

I always thought those characters had great chemistry.  But I don’t know how that would happen now.  Their lives are so far apart now and separate, but that is the magic of soap operas.  You can bring people back and you can reconnect people.  That relationship has not been revisited for so long.  I think that has been since there had been a baby with Taylor, and the In –Vitro storyline about two years ago.  So then there was this baby, and Brad really kept to keeping two people together for a long time with Ridge and Brooke.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Which he had not been doing!

JACK:

Yeah.  I mean, how many times can Ridge and Brooke break-up?  I guess a lot. (Laughs) But I guess what Brad decided to do there was to have these two stay together for a while.  I have always loved working with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).  And with Bridget not being there right now, it always felt to me that Brooke was Nick’s real rooted fire and his real flame when he first came on the show.  He was always fighting very hard for Brooke to have her back and protect her all the time.  So I think at the core of Nick’s life has been his love for Brooke.

MICHAEL:

What is it like working with Katherine? You joke around a lot on set, because you can be quite the prankster, we hear.

JACK:

I don’t joke around all the time, but we have to be able to do that.  It’s a kooky business and we are kooky people. We have our laughs but we are very serious too, because there is a lot of dialog to know and you have to be very focused.  It’s always about that and having a good time.

MICHAEL:

Are you worried about the eroding canvas of daytime soap operas?  The ratings are dropping; shows have been cancelled, etc?  What are your thoughts on this as a daytime veteran?

© Gilles Toucas

JACK:

I don’t think you can ignore what is happening on the daytime landscape right now.  There are too many shows with numbers that are down, and others soaps have been cancelled. We have lost a generation of viewers because there are so many more options in entertainment right now.  People are on the Internet, on their cells phones, and there are 600 channels.  Everything is suffering, not just soap operas, but also all of daytime programming.  How do you go about getting an audience when you can’t show nudity or use profanity?  We can’t shoot shamelessly or what they shoot on HBO. We have a lot of rules and have to answer to Standard and Practices, and it makes it tough. We are then limited.  So the question becomes, how do we get a young audience that wants to tune-in to MTV and watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and all that stuff, or tequila shots off navels?  How do you get them attracted to tune-in from 11AM-2PM in the afternoon, when they are in school?   Well, the way we used to do that was generational.  There were about four stations to watch, and you would sit there and watch with your grandmother and mother, period.  And now it is the other way around, where the mother and grandmother watch what the kids watch to have some contact with them because there is so much distraction in life.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the new opening sequence of B&B?

JACK:

Flashy! Very flashy and contemporary!  Yes, we were in front of a green screen to do our looks but you know, I hit my mark and do what I am told.  I used to battle everything, but I am older now. (Laughs)

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Remember the old “bad boy Jack Wagner” days?

JACK:

I do…my hair changes…my look changes….battling… script changes…. all of that and that attitude was fun at the time, but now its like, “Ok, where do you want me?”

MICHAEL:

You recently appeared on the TV Land hit comedy sitcom, Hot in Cleveland working alongside Valerie Bertinelli.  How was it going into that realm?

JACK:

It was a great experience.  I got to chat with Betty White and we hung for quite awhile. Valerie’s son and my son were in the same class together at school, and so we saw each other at functions. So we knew each other. The sitcom is such a different medium, yet when you have some seasoned veterans you are able to adjust to it.  I had a lot of down time, but when it was time to work they are pretty intense, and as an actor you have to be pretty on it.  The notes are very different than a soap opera, in that they are very specific, and very specific about what they want for the comedy and how they want you to play it.

MICHAEL:

Are there a lot of last minute script revisions and joke revisions?

JACK:

Yeah, there are, and that’s OK.  But for me, it was about breaking everything down and doing so much less than I would normally do on B&B.  Less animation, less forcing something, less trying to make a moment out of something, it’s about just being exactly how you are and letting it be.  It was quite an exercise for me.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

So, after whetting your appetite on Hot in Cleveland, does it make you stop and think, “I want to do more of that?  More sitcoms!”

JACK:

I would love to do more and I love the sitcom format.  I try to play it Nick with sarcastic wit and humor, and if you look at what is happening from a realistic viewpoint on B&B, there is a lot of kooky stuff happening.  There is the camp, and that harkens back to the part of our discussion about Owen and my mother, Jackie on the show.  I want Nick to be grounded and let the audience sort of live through his reactions.  That is why I love the sitcom.  It’s really a craft.  It’s not like soap opera or live theatre. In Hot in Cleveland, Valerie had to be more animated and giddy and thrown, and the more grounded I could be the better.  I had to trust the director and be the man at the door.  So in that scenario, I am the guest-star and it is really about them, the stars of the series.  So I played it the way they wanted me to.

MICHAEL:

So if someone said let’s do a Jack Wagner sitcom, you would be up for it?

JACK:

Oh, I love that stuff!  It’s fun to mold comedy material.  And, what is fun for daytime does not read correctly in a sitcom.  It’s a different medium and a whole different performance.  And in sitcoms, it’s all for the joke.

MICHAEL:

Jack, you just recently returned from a personal appearance trip for The Bold and the Beautiful to the country of South Africa.  How was it meeting the fans there and being in the environment?

JACK:

Courtesy/Qwest Records

If I could go back to Jack Wagner circa 1985-1990, and the fan hysteria of General Hospital and back in those days, that is what it was like in South Africa.  I was there with Brandon Beemer (Owen) and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy), and it was like when the Beatles landed in New York to do The Ed Sullivan Show!

MICHAEL:

Wow. When that happened to you were you like, “Oh, Cool?” Or, were you like, “Oh God… No!”

JACK:

I knew how to handle it, and for the other actors there is an adrenaline and a pump that happens, which requires you to be cool, because the fans are the ones that are getting stirred up and crazy and so the cooler you are as the artist or the actor, the easier things go.   What was great was going back to the vans and the rooms of the hotels.  Because of that experience, to have hysteria from ten thousand people all in one place, not many performers or actors will get to feel that, and these two younger actors got to feel that.  It brought me back to the days when I had hit records, and was touring around the country and on General Hospital, which was number one at the time. It brought me back to the feeling of that whole teen idol thing.  So it was really great for me to re-experience that in South Africa, and in particular, with the black people who were just so amazingly open with their feelings and available and loving.  It was not really about shaking hands and signing autographs. When we were around the staff at the hotels at the restaurants, you hug and hold people, and it’s very real.  In America and other countries, we are very guarded and jaded, and driven for success and finances, and especially when we get older with children.  I just found there in South Africa, that at any level, be it the wealthy or the poor, they were very free and expressive with their feelings.  It was a gift for me to be available and to just give back and say, “hello” and hold them.  And, as an artist to be that famous or popular to them and to give that gift, and I was very grateful.

MICHAEL:

When you look back at all the successes you have had in your career, you must have some “pinch yourself” moments where you think how cool some of your accomplishments have been.  Not many performers can say they have had success and dabbled in all forms of the entertainment medium like you have had!

JACK:

© JPI Studios

It’s really never like that, because my kids are like, “Did you get the Oreos?”  You see, I came home from South Africa and they say to me, “How was it in South Africa?”  And I go, “Pretty crazy.”  And they go, “Did you get the Oreos?”  So it kind of puts it in perspective. (Laughs) When I look back, it is kind of like defined to me this way; the 80’s were the All I Need era and General Hospital. The 90’s was going to a nighttime series like Melrose Place from daytime, which was really a big jump, and then doing like 10 movies of the week, which was another big step.  And then, for me to go to Broadway and perform in Jekyll and Hyde, is always something I will pinch myself over.  It is just thee role for an actor to get to perform live on stage.  Then to come to B&B, which is not just a domestic hit but an international hit, and experience this now back in daytime television, I have to ask myself, “How am I going to recreate myself back in daytime television and not feel as though I have gone backwards?”  I am sustaining myself here, and it is about how can I do my best.  And as I have gotten older, that is the transition for me… to be grateful for what I had, and say today, how can I do my best today?  Or, what can I bring to the table today that not only gives my best as a performer, but brings my best as a human being to other human beings?

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Doe
Doe

Love your interview, Michael. I first became aware of Jack when he was Frisco on GH. I think the scenes with Susan have been really powerful. She has been at her best.Personally, I don’t want Nick to be with Brooke. She is used goods and has to be stopped sometime. Bring on someone new and exciting, like Heather Locklear. Hah! We need a new face! I have watched Jack on the celebrity golf tournaments and enjoyed his efforts and interplay with the celebrities. It’s fun to watch. Even better his support of the Lymhoma charity. I would like to know if Jack’s sons play golf with their father. Just a side line. Will be watching B&B and Jack…Loved the new opening, It’s very smart and classy……

mmc
mmc

oh what a great pairing…Jack and his RL gal Heather Locklear.I actually like KKL, but not for Nick either!

mmc
mmc

a handsome man and underappreciated actor.Maybe one day TPTB will let Nick find a good woman and be happy but just for a while.We can’t have Nicjk get boring!

Stephanie
Stephanie

I hate Nick and Aggie pairing. Actually I was one of the rare few that actually liked Nick and Bridget as a couple.

diamondgirl
diamondgirl

I love you Nick!

kay killgore
kay killgore

I think Brad Bell is making a big mistake by focusing on the younger actors actually I think they need to revisit the story with the baby he had with Taylor and have her be the real mother not Brooke.

red and vanessa forever
red and vanessa forever

i would love a nick and taylor reunion

mmc
mmc

I don’t like Nick and Taylor together, actually I don’t like Taylor at all anymore.i did at one time.and I can’t stand the Steffy character….I wish she’d go away and take Amber with her!

Ekaterina Gustavsson
Ekaterina Gustavsson

lIKE all av you!Have a nice time!Take a care my friends!Hope we can have yours,,B&B longng time jet!Manny hugs!

Ted
Ted

Michael, this was a great interview of a daytime legend who I’ve been an admirer of for over 25 years. You seemed to penetrate his usually guarded nature and elicit more than the stock, and cliched responses he has been known to give. Would love to hear more music from this 80’s hitmaker. I’ve heard he still performs in concert from time to time. Thank you Mr. Fairman.

Tony
Tony

Jack go back to GH……Port Charles needs Frisco!

birdie
birdie

Fantastic interview, Michael! I hope B&B finds a storyline that challenges its most dynamic and compelling character: Nick.

birdie
birdie

P.S. – LOVE all the pics too!

debbie silverman
debbie silverman

I hope they bring back Bridget. Of all the women on the show with whom Jack has worked, it is Ashley with whom he had the best chemistry. Since she left, Jack has been left hanging. He is too good for his efforts to be wasted and I don’t want him to leave the show, but he does need a love interest. Ashley and Jack are the only reason I started watching B&B and the only reason I continue to watch it as I continue to hope they bring back Ashley. Please bring back Ashley, get her on contract and give her the “outs” she needs to do her extra work, so she can have the best of both worlds and we can have the best of her.

Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

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

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

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

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

Do we see Jason die in this?

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Would you do another season of After Forever?

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

Courtesy/AfterForever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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General Hospital

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

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

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

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

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

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

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

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

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

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

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

Courtesy/Instagram

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

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

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

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

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

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

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

Wes: That’s true.

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

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

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

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

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

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

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

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

Wes: … the long hours …

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

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

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

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

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

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

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

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

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

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Interviews

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

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

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

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

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

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

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Video du Jour

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

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Joshua Morrow as Nick

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-14-2018

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