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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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GENERAL HOSPITAL: Will Franco Wake Up As Drew & Become The Next Victim Of Mind-Mapping?
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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.

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Right, and to have to fight for something…

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo” ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo/ABC

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/NBC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/NBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was that like doing that scene?

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

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  Kristen is a tiger.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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STACY:  You’re brilliant, Eric.

ERIC:  You guys are being very nice to me.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

STACY:  Yes … and very much so.

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI Studios

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

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

STACY:  It was a good fit!

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

STACY:  We are just like two cuddly bunnies.

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

Courtesy/NBC

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

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

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

Courtesy/NBC

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

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

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

Marlena (Deidre Hall) played the wrong DVD!

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

ERIC:  It’s scary.

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

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

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

ERIC:  You’re an Olympic swimmer!

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

Courtesy/NBC

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

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

Stacy, what do you think?

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

And intense!

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

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

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

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

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General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

William Lipton has been amazing as Cameron, right?

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

REBECCA:  We’ve not really established that.

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

  • Not too crazy about the storyline but I’ll keep wa: “Not too crazy about the storyline I think it’s kind of silly. I liked Franco’s character and that he and…
  • Lynda: “Waiting anxiously for storyline unfolding. Have loved Roger's acting since becoming familiar with him on General Hospital.…
  • Tam Taylor: “JI completely agree. Roger is Franco and Drew is Billy Miller. I also truly wish that Billy Miller weren't leaving…
  • Eileen: “I hope the Drew and Franco bit is just temporary although it is fun for a change. I myself I'm…
  • Becky: “I hate it because I’m afraid there will be as many Drew’s as there are Sonny and Carly weddings. And…
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