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The Jacob Young and Karla Mosley Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Courtesy/CBS

Courtesy/CBS

Back in March of this year, The Bold and the Beautiful dropped a major bombshell, and even if you guessed the secret, you never thought the daytime drama series would actually go through with it … but they did!  It was revealed that the character of Maya Avant (Karla Mosley) was actually a transgender woman.  The shocker came when Maya’s younger sister Nicole (Reign Edwards) arrived in Los Angeles, and was armed with some information she was going to use to her own advantage.  Nicole confronted Maya about it, and informed her she knew that Maya was actually born as her brother, “Myron!”

Actress Karla Mosley, who for two years played Maya without this back-story of her character, learned back in December of last year that series EP and head writer, Brad Bell had this planned for her, and that the long running soap opera was going full force with this story of love and acceptance for this under-represented segment of our population on television … the transgender community.

But Maya’s story is so much more complicated than just even having all the people she knows, and or loves, find out the truth she took great pains to hide!  Maya is deeply in love with Rick Forrester (Jacob Young), and he is deeply in love with her.  However, while on a trip to Big Bear, Rick proposes marriage to Maya.  Before Maya accepts Rick’s proposal, she decides to disclose her truth so that there are no secrets between them.  Maya knows first-hand that lying to Rick does not sit well with the Forrester CEO. In fact, Maya blew up his marriage to Caroline (Linsey Godfrey) after his then wife was found out to be locking-lips with Rick’s arch-enemy and half-brother, Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with two of daytime’s finest actors, the recently Daytime Emmy nominated Young, and the engaging Mosley, to get their thoughts and a preview of what is to come in this on-screen love story that will continue to shed light, compassion, and understanding for those who have struggled, or faced prejudice when striving to be their authentic selves.    

MICHAEL:

Did you anticipate such fervor in the mainstream press when the secret came out on air that Maya was born a man named “Myron”, and was in fact, transgender?

KARLA:

Courtesy/CBS

I really didn’t.  I knew the work we were doing was important, but I really didn’t realize how big this was for daytime television in general: to have a character who is a regular series character, and who is not the butt of a joke, and who happens to be transgender.

JACOB:

Nothing really shocks me in daytime, but I thought immediately it was brilliant, and then I thought, “Oh crap!  What if they can’t execute this the right way,” and then I got concerned.  I wanted to make sure of the educational aspect of it, and that it was just coming across well.  When you have someone playing this, and someone as talented as Karla, she can probably make anything work even if they weren’t telling it right.  Karla has definitely put in her two cents worth, for sure.

KARLA:

It’s so interesting.  There are things I wouldn’t have stood up for, for myself, but because I knew of its importance for the transgender community, I was like, “No, we cannot do that.”   I have had to be more firm on things than I have been in the past, because you want to tell the story, and you want to tell it right.  We are all committed to that.

MICHAEL:

Was there a concern of, “Will we look like buffoons?  How will we make this story work, because this was not originally part of Maya’s story previously? “

KARLA:

Courtesy/CBS

When the first episodes aired, of course, I was holding my breath with the reveal, but it was really the follow-up episode, where we had those long four days in between, because we were pre-empted for March Madness Basketball … that was insane!  That was really the episode that I felt was so important, because everyone was waiting for an explanation.  I was thinking, “Please make this not be awful! (laughs), and in fact, let it be good.”   I think the writers really did a fabulous job, and the whole team, with the two key episodes.

MICHAEL:

What does Rick truly feel for Maya at this point, now that he knows her secret past?

JACOB:

He really loves her.  You will see … expect the unexpected!

MICHAEL:

Your characters are both so bitchy and awful to other people! (Laughs)

KARLA:

Courtesy/CBS

It has been great awful!

MICHAEL:

Did the two of you not laugh when doing these types of scenes, in particular where you literally have this takeover of the Forrester mansion, displacing people, and then taking down the picture of the matriarch of the Forrester clan (Stephanie Forrester) above the living room mantel, and replacing it with one of Maya?

KARLA:

Of course, there is this huge ridiculous portrait of me hanging over the mantel, and Rick is making people wash Maya’s feet, and that’s what I love about it.  Their love for each other comes from them both being victims in life.  They are such open-hearted people, who then have had to guard their hearts from being disappointed.  But, they are also connected, because they are assholes! (Laughs)

JACOB:

They value each other that way!  (Laughs) You know what I think is funny, that after all the antics they pulled; Eric (John McCook) comes in and says to Rick, “You should have the house!”  I read that in the script, and laughed, and laughed, and went, “What?”  Eric is like, “I will go live in the guest house, son.”  (Laughs)  Rick is being rewarded for being a jerk!

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Karla, what can you say about Jacob’s incredible performances this past year, in which he received a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category, and being his main scene partner throughout a good portion of it?

KARLA:

I think as actors you get something that pushes you to the next level, and pushes you even deeper to where you can go, and that’s what I see when I look at Jacob’s work.

JACOB:

We have good days, and bad days, and not with every material are you going to have that connection that Karla is talking about.  The episode I submitted for the Emmy, had where Maya busts open the truth about Caroline (Linsey Godfrey) and Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), and in that same episode, Rick also found out that Ridge was going to be made CEO.  It was a double-whammy that hit him, and so Rick was like an emotional basket case.

KARLA:

You saw the rage that was there, but you saw the years of their relationship, and his love for Caroline, and the betrayal by his father.  You saw all of that, and that is not an easy balance to find and yet make the character sympathetic.

JACOB:

Courtesy/CBS

It was just before the Emmy calendar year cut off, and thank God I got it in, where I had an episode that had all that emotional material in it.   I was thankful that I had it, and so grateful and honored to be recognized by my peers.

MICHAEL:

Karla, let’s talk about the interview you did with Janet Mock on her TV show, So Popular.  She was coming at you to see if you knew your stuff, and if you could handle her questions.  Being transgender herself, it was like Janet was putting you through your paces going: “You’re going to play this character?  Let’s see if you get it!”

KARLA:

She was so tough, and she was coming at me.  Janet is amazing!  I have her book up in my dressing room.  She and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) are my new idols.  I was so honored to be on Janet’s show.  It was really nice to have a conversation with her that wasn’t in sound bites.  So often we get a minute or two to tell our story, but here we actually got to have a conversation, and I had to think.  I knew I would have to show up and know my stuff, and speak honestly, because I knew Janet was not going to have it any other way.  I have to say afterwards I got a tweet from Laverne Cox who said, “I am watching Janet’s show and I really enjoyed your interview.”  And I said, “Thank you so much!”  I am jumping up and down, and my mother said, “What is wrong with you?  You never get like this!”  And I answered, “Because I feel I am sitting at the ‘cool girl’ table at school right now!”  Laverne said, she thought I handled it with care, and so to hear that from both of those ladies was a really shining moment for me.

MICHAEL:

One of the first things Janet asked you was that you, Karla, are not transgender, and why do you think B&B had you play transgender instead of hiring a transgender actress to play this kind of key role?

KARLA:

Courtesy/MSNBC

That was one of the first questions I asked, too.  I called my friends and I asked, “Why me?”  Like I said during the Janet Mock interview: “Why me?  Why this body?”  And I think there are plusses and minuses to both, but I think one of the assets is that people in the audience have known Maya, and they have loved her, or loved to hate her.  Now just like with any other disclosure or coming out process, there is another emotion that comes up from some viewers, such as, ” I don’t like her now.”  We are then forced to look at why?  What is causing that?  Is there some latent prejudice that I am not aware of?  And that is what has been so incredible on social media is to really process this with people. Why are you not wanting to look at this storyline … or … what nerve is this touching upon?  Even if they don’t understand, that it’s touching upon real things in them … we do!

MICHAEL:

Jacob, what did you think about how Maya went about disclosing her truth to Rick?  What did you  think of Rick’s reaction?

JACOB:

I think she waited too long, but at the end of the day she was still forthcoming and truthful.  I think Rick’s reaction was refreshing.  A step in the right direction.

KARLA:

Courtesy/CBS

She is the same ‘cuckoo pants Maya’ that we have always known, and so that doesn’t change.  It just deepens what we know about her.  But I did read in a chapter in Janet Mock’s book about disclosing to her then fiancé, Aaron.  I have some passages that I will go back to when I need a refresher.  Kate Bornstein is also amazing, so I have been watching some of her talks.  Thank goodness for the internet.   There is so much there, and just listening to people’s stories.  We don’t have to go very far to hear people talking about this subject.   People are waiting to be heard for years, and now they will be getting to be heard, and I hope this storyline on B&B will help with that.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about the ‘elephant in the room’ storyline-wise!  The fact that Maya supposedly had this baby with ex-boyfriend Jesse!  Weren’t you concerned as to how they were going to make sense of this?

KARLA:

Of course!  The baby makes sense to me.   Jesse (Ricky Paull Goldin) helped her to transition.  She was helping him raise his child.  It also made sense why they both went to jail, and in this mysterious unknown way; why she would have risked so much for him if she had his child.  That was always one of the things that sort of bothered me.  If she had this child that she was so in love with, why would she risk everything to do something illegal with Jesse?  But, if that was funding her transition, then that makes a lot of sense.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Remember Maya’s humble beginnings?  When Rick found her all raggedy at the mission in downtown Los Angeles? (Laughs)

JACOB:

From rags to riches!  Rick has had a history of that, like with Amber (Adrienne Frantz). She was from the trailer park! (Laughs)  She was also, at times, compassionate and lovely, and was all about him.  Rick needs somebody that is there supporting him.  He doesn’t view that he can be alone with his company …he has to have that person in his life that has his back.

MICHAEL:

What does Rick think of ex-wife Caroline at this point?

JACOB:

That she’s a liar, but there was definite love there.  If he wasn’t in love with her, he would not have been so devastated.

KARLA:

There is a part of Maya that worried that if Rick knew the truth about her, he would go back to Caroline, and that was scary for Maya.

MICHAEL:

Who has been the bigger bitch in your estimations … Caroline or Maya?

KARLA:

Courtesy/CBS

I don’t know if people remember how awful Caroline was to Maya, but they do remember Maya being awful to Caroline, because she did it in such a public way.  Caroline almost had Maya thrown back into prison.  I mean, that was awful.  Maya just broke up her marriage. (Laughs)

JACOB:

And Caroline never said Maya’s name correctly…

KARLA:

Uh-huh, she called her “Myrna”!

MICHAEL:

Karla, what can you say about working with Reign Edwards (Nicole)?

KARLA:

She is amazing.   I call her my 18-year-old teacher.  She is so good.  Both Karla and Reign, and Maya and Nicole, have a great balance.  Reign is so grounded and fabulous.

MICHAEL:

What did Lawrence Saint-Victor (Carter) do when he found out Maya was going to be revealed to be a transgender woman?

KARLA:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

He fell out of his chair.  We were all in the make-up room, and everyone was trying to guess Maya’s secret.  Lawrence actually guessed-it, and then we left the room.  I was not going to say it in front of everyone.  So I said to him, privately, “You guessed it!”  He said, “I did?”  He was then texting me all night.  People would guess that theory, but not actually believe it would be true, and that happened a lot.

JACOB:

I would go, “What is this secret?”  I was thinking … was she born a man?  Just as a guess.

KARLA:

I knew a few months before, but poor Jacob was one of the last to know.  It got around the set to everyone, but Jacob!

JACOB:

Ed Scott, our producer, at the end of a tape day came to tell me.  I looked at him and said, “You’re joking?”  I said that because I can never take Ed seriously.   He is so damn serious all the time, and so you never know because his jokes are as serious – you know two-bit comedy! (Laughs)  He then goes, “No.  I’m not joking!  It’s fabulous!”  I then said, “I guessed it!  I knew it!”  So I guess, somehow instinctively I knew.

KARLA:

I think most people who guessed it did not think we would really go there, but what else could it be?

JACOB:

Courtesy/CBS

The only other one that I kept thinking was that Nicole was Maya’s daughter.  That is so classic soap opera.

MICHAEL:

I thought that as a possibility, too!  But then I thought that Maya would have been way too young to have given birth to Nicole.

JACOB:

No, I did the math.  It would have been OK! (Laughs)  But that would have been too obvious, but everyone was shocked, but in a good way.

MICHAEL:

This reveal has been one of the best laid shockers on a daytime drama series!  But Karla, what was your family’s reaction to the news when you told them about the character twist?

KARLA:

My husband Jeremiah was like, “Oh, Oh OK.”  He couldn’t really wrap his head around it.  I told him the day that Brad Bell told me.  I thought, you know, maybe I should run this by my partner, and let him know.  He did watch the reveal episodes, which was great.  He has been totally supportive.  Now my mom first went, “Why?” (Laughs)  But, my mom has also been so supportive, and she actually went with me when I taped the episode on Janet Mock’s show.  Originally, I told my mom that she can’t tell anyone, because she is a talker, and everyone at church watches the show, so I told her she can’t tell anyone.  But I told her she can talk to Jeremiah!  So they have had conversations on their own, I know it.  (Laughs)  My mom is always skeptical at first, and then she comes around, and she is the biggest fan.  Now she is texting me all the time going, “I think this is great, Karla!  I think this is wonderful.”  I think that is the best thing about being a parent is that your kids can open your mind.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Karla, what kind of emails, tweets, letters are you getting from the transgender community who have begun to follow Maya’s journey on B&B?

KARLA:

Through Twitter people are saying, “You’re telling my story, and these are conversations I’ve had.”   I got a tweet the other week where someone said, “My friend’s mother hadn’t spoken to her in 20 years, because her daughter is transgender, and after watching B&B, she made a call to her.”  It’s amazing, and that’s why we’re here.

JACOB:

You can’t deny there is such an impact with some of these storylines on the soaps.  I can’t tell you when I did the cancer storyline on All My Children how many people reached out to me.  How many people said they had gotten through whatever it is we are going through at that time, because of watching the show.  Some families don’t know how to deal with it, and so they saw a family coming together, and being loving on TV.  It’s important what we do here.  We have a responsibility to tell these stories the right way, and to be compassionate about it.  I think it’s brilliant.

KARLA:

I think what Jacob is saying is so important.  It’s not only Maya’s story, but we are also seeing Nicole, Rick, and Carter, and the people she works with, and who she loves, and their responses.  So even if people have trouble relating to what Maya is going through, they might be able to see themselves in the reaction of the other family members, and friends.  Someone recently said looking at Carter’s reaction, especially initially, it was so emotional.  I think we can all understand all the varied reactions he was having, and yet he, and Maya are working through it, and are still in the same room together as uncomfortable as it is.

MICHAEL:

Final thoughts: Jacob, is Rick going to continue to be an asshole? (Laughs)

JACOB:

Courtesy/Pop

Yes, (pauses) but whom he is going to be an asshole to … that is the bigger question!

MICHAEL:

And Karla, where do you hope Maya’s story eventually goes?

KARLA:

I keep saying, I can’t wait till we get to the point where we are past the shock, and where Maya is just living her life as a model, or whatever career path she has chosen.  And, we get to just go back to the ups and downs, and the craziness of Maya Avant, who also happens to be a transgender woman.

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DEH
DEH

Jacob played today’s episode so tenderly and loving I forgave Rick all his transgressions. And damn right Caroline was nastier than Maya. I can’t wait to watch now as the fallout from $$$ Bill’s tabloid reveal.

The Substitute
The Substitute

So tell us all your bullying other family members is ok? The politically incorrect story makes me sick!

Eileen Hargis
Eileen Hargis

Jacob and Karla are knocking it out of the park! Emmys for sure!!!!

Rose
Rose

Jacob’s a long way from Lucky on GH. I think he and Karla are both doing a great job. The main detraction has been their asshole antics, I don’t care for what baggage reasons. Their characters, if any, should know how that feels.

tara
tara

Or J.R. on All My Children. He is so different and still gorgeous.

sarah
sarah

this storyline has been handled well I think they really I feel wanted to show respect to the transgender community & tell a beautiful love story. Thats what they are doing so well

Phyllis Scott
Phyllis Scott

Karla and Jacob indeed deserve the Emmy. The last time I cried over fictional material was Imitation of Life. I’m like: where are these tears coming from? I was witnessing what true love means: acceptance and value. And when Maya started out the door only to be drawn back into Rick’s arms by: “please don’t leave me”–why, how more poignant can you get?

sarah
sarah

thats exactly what happened for me when I was watching. Karla Mosley & Jacob Young were amazing & the dialogue just spectacular it was absolute soapy goodness

Patty
Patty

I totally agree ! I can’t remember when a storyline touched my heart like this one. I felt real pride when Rick’s love shined through. Bravo B & B !! I can’t wait to see what developes. Hopefully, this will cause Spencer Publications to crash and burn while Forester shines brighter than ever. Then Bill will finally get what HE deserves !!!!! Happy to hear that Steffy is returning. Love to see Steffy and Rick take Forester, along with Maya, to the next level. Still hate Ridge and Carolyn ! I don’t care how much of “mommy’s make-up”, you put on her, she still looks about 17.

elm51
elm51

wow – oh yes that scene had me in tears also – well written & phenomenally executed by karla & jacob!

Eliza
Eliza

Nothing against Karla or Jacob but this story was bad from the very beginning. Maya used recordings of Oliver against him, she showed up at a meeting and blindsided Rick about Caroline and Ridge. Rick turned into a major bully who walked over everyone including Aly who already had mental issues. The most insensitive part being when Maya had Aly rub her feet. Rick’s acceptance speech at the end of the Monday’s (the 18th) episode was a joke. All that about wanting to be accepted for who he is, not what his name is. Maya is a gold digging, manipulating liar who deliberately withheld the truth from Rick until she was sure he was going to marry her. And his name, who he is, the money and the life style was all that mattered. This story was suppose to build support and sympathy for Maya because she is transgender but BBell picked the wrong character for that. She is still a gold digging, manipulating liar.

It was and still is a badly written PSA that BBell can never do right. Had it not come out about Bruce Jenner, there would be no transgender story. Rick’s daily harping about Maya’s honesty and how she would never lie to him, yada, yada, yada one knew that something was coming. Then I read that it was decided early on that Maya would have a secret and the stories about Bruce dropped the idea in Bell’s lap.

I have nothing against transgender people. Had Bell brought on a new character with that secret of being transgender, it could have worked. But he backed the wrong character and expected everyone to suddenly like and sympathize with Maya. It didn’t work.

Diane
Diane

I agree 100% Eliza..

lisa from boston
lisa from boston

I absolutely agree. I no longer watch this show. Bringing a true Transgender woman on as a character would have been a breakthrough in daytime soap operas but suddenly deciding to make a lead character a transgender is just plain insulting. I’m sure Mr.Bell had to think of how to make the love scenes work between the actors……since Karla Mosley isn’t a true transgender. Anyone think of that? There was no past indications Maya could be hiding something like being transgender. Bruce Jenner took the headlines…so Bold & Beautiful had to hone in?. But the Transgender storyline aside, the other main characters are so idiotic. Who the hell is writing the dialogue for these characters? Mr. Bell, you are ruining a good soap opera. Go back to what you know best….living off your parents money

sarah
sarah

Correction it didn’t work for you & yes there are people who agree with you by a majority dont

Eliza
Eliza

You cannot say a “majority” because there is nothing to indicate either way. I know many people who don’t like this story period. And those who aren’t happy with the fact that it was Maya who was chosen as the transgender. And if anyone involved with the show were really honest, they would have to admit that they do get tweets or whatever saying how bad this story actually is. It’s all a bunch of PR to make people believe that it’s been widely accepted, well liked and received.

Transgender surgeries can cost from $50,000 to $100,000. According to Karla’s response, she suggests that Myron/Maya was breaking the law with boyfriend Jesse to get the money for the surgeries. It’s tied in with her response about the baby that wasn’t really her’s. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of people out there, stuck where Myron was at. They don’t have the financial means to get the surgeries but they aren’t out there breaking the law to get it either.

My point is that this story was a poorly conceived idea just as poorly written with the wrong character to play the part. It was taken out of the media in a knee jerk reaction and it’s an insult to anyone who has gone through it. Maya’s history on the show is that her every move was planned, including finding a rich husband and living the high life. Gold digging. Manipulating. Liar. And then they just threw in a transgender story on top of it.

rose
rose

Agree about Maya. But without making a list, Caroline’s not been angel either. And Rick’s just a first class jerk. I don’t care about his emotional baggage. This is something both he and Maya have in common, but it doesn’t make how they’ve acted right. Just the opposite, they should have been more sensitive as to how it feels. Think all three actors have been exceptional throughout, though.

AJ
AJ

I watch the Rick and Maya episodes only because I have watched Jacob over the years as Lucky, Jr Chandler. He is a superb actor. I never warmed up to him as Rick Forrester until he first got with Maya – they were cute. Rick and Caroline matured together until her betrayal with his arch enemy. I was all team Raya right up until the moment they started bullying Aly and Ivy. I am still a fan of Jacob, but I FF through his scenes with Maya now. And no, I find nothing moving and noteworthy about bullies finding love.

elm51
elm51

michael as usual thanks for another awesome interview………………….

Ms Red
Ms Red

I think the storyline of transgender is terrible I will stop watching B & B. Ive been watching for quite some time now. Y’all couldn’t find another storyline. Its terrible. Everything up to now I could deal with its disgusting. What’s the purpose its enough of that foolishness going on. Ok. It exists so what. I’m done. You all need to do better than that. It was cool but now. BAD TASTE.

Nikki
Nikki

I really liked the story until Monday. Rick who wanted children, Rick who had the truth with-held from him. This was a lie through omission. Maya getting her feet rubbed, that picture taking his grandmothers place & now Rick the bully wants sympathy. In real life that whole damn family would turn their heads on her and all of a sudden all this love PLEASE if the story was more to reality and less to B.S. it may be good. And Aly already having mental issues & lets not forget Caroline who because she kissed Ridge twice this little jerk put Maya up in a pent house & treated Caroline like dirt. I’m sorry I really don’t care for this pity Rick & Maya crap at all. Back to Y & R for me.

Diane
Diane

I agree 100% Nikki..

OB
OB

I can’t forget how she called Rick’s ex-wife a lier. She need to pay the piper for keep the true for Rick

omaoftwo
omaoftwo

Appears to be some prejudice and phobia towards the transgender community. Tsk tsk and shame on y’all. I’ll admit there are times I want to reach in the TV and choke “Rick” and “Maya”. More so Rick for how he treats everyone. Making Ally rub Maya’s feet, really?! Maya should have absolutely refused! As far as the transgender storyline goes I have to applaud B&B and the actors! And I stand up and applaud the fact Rick was so accepting of Maya for the woman she is and always has been. I just hope Maya and Nicole can move forward with their relationship. Karma is a #itch Wyatt lol. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…

Eliza
Eliza

There is absolutely no prejudice towards the transgender community. The injustice is the way Bell picked a manipulating, lying gold digger to play the transgender. It’s all about the shabby way Bradley Bell threw this story together without thinking it through.

There is a lot of prejudice against gays, transsexuals, transgenders and it is because most people don’t understand them or the whys. And Brad Bell picked the worst character on B&B to play that role. If his goal was to gain understanding and sympathy for those communities, he should pick someone who didn’t start out as a gold digging, manipulating liar such as Maya.

Transgenders are NOT gold digging, manipulating liars but Maya is. There is a huge difference.

LB
LB

I sincerely wish people would stop saying that those who do not like Rick and Maya aren’t accepting people , and are prejudice against the transgender population… WAKE UP !! people are disappointed in this storyline because they hate this coupling period! These characters bring out the worst In Each other . Maya became a self righteous big headed snob once she blew up Rick and Caroline’s marriage and Rick became a vindictive ,hateful loner of a weirdo. So after months of the same repetitive dialogue of how honest and full of integrity ,keeping it real Maya is we are all to believe Rick who has known this character of Maya and was intimate with her doesn’t blink or bat an eye to her Reveal??? Come on what a big heaping load of crap!!! Shame on Brad Bell and the what do you call them, writers? To take an important subject like being transgender and give it to characters to whom people feel no attachment or caring for. They lost their viewers attention because of the dislike of these characters , it clouded it all. Now are they going to throw a lot of characters under the bus so the viewer should feel sympathy for these two??? Good luck with that one. They should have kept it real! The viewer would have learned so much more. Before anyone immature comments on this and says “what would you have like to happen ?for Rick to hit or beat Maya… Of coarse not moron but for sure a huge disappointment in not being told such a reveal that could affect the person you care about. Also the endless comments how Ricks character hates to be lied to… ? The character of Maya thoughtfully choose to keep information from him even when she knew how he would feel , um I’d call it lying to save yourself … How fake was this story !!!Ugh what a disappointment of a show ..boo and a big thumbs down to the Bold and Beautiful :0(

lisa from boston
lisa from boston

May I ask how you derived at this opinion of what is being written is somehow prejudice and phobic against the Transgender community? The brass at B&B stated they wanted to raise awareness on social issues and decided to take on Transgender. 2 months ago it was a 7 day PSA stint on Alcohol addiction – last year it was mental illness. 2 years ago it was Cancer. These social issues are real and exist in thousands of people’s lives but B & B just scratches the surface. Whatever story is making headlines, Bell latches on and squeezes out an episode or two and just when you think you can get something out of the storyline, its over. No past, an unclear present, and no future. Keep watching B & B, this show has all the ear marks of prejudice and phobia. I would have applauded louder then thunder had Karla Mosley been a true Transgender.

Alice Langley
Alice Langley

Its easy for him to forgive a real woman playing a transgender but could he actually play opposite a real male to female transgender ? The answer is no ! So what are they trying to prove . Will that transgender nick hook up with brooke? The answer is no ! Kelly is not having it .

Nikki
Nikki

Nobody is being prejudice here omaoftwo. The two actors we’re nothing less than fantastic but the ending was extremely weak. Maybe you want to believe they all sat holding hands singing Kum-by-ah but the soaps are trying to hit as close to reality as they can bringing forth subjects that are happening in the world today. That said with all the games Maya has played remember how she told Carter how she would love to live on the hill & be a Forester & not a week ago her sister was telling her to not tell Rick because it was nice living the life-style they we’re living. Caroline (after kissing Ridge twice) wanted to make her marriage work. Rick humiliated her in front of everyone when he got the job by picking Maya to be by his side & Maya humiliated Caroline by outing her in a board meeting. I’m sorry I would like to see all three of them tossed out on their ass but lately Eric is a gutless wimp who should be out with them. Stephany’s picture should be put back up, Eric needs to take back his house, kick Brooke back to her lab. and let Ridge take over.

Frances
Frances

I like you Nikki!

Nikki
Nikki

I like you too Frances. I guess my views are pretty much to the point but O.M.G. What happened to Eric? He tells Ridge “I’m your Father” but he lets that little punk (Rick) tell Ridge over & over that he’s not a true Forester. Rick says he & Myia could adopt kids, well the way he treats Ridge shows he’s not to good with adoption they (kids) wouldn’t be real Foresters! As far as blaming Ridge for breaking up Brooke & Eric, Ridge was her first love, nobody twisted her arm and she’s been married to all the Forester men. Wow nuff said she needs to get back to her lab.

Betty Dean
Betty Dean

I think that it is a great story. It is what’s happing the world today. I think they are both great actors. I was disappointed that the story was changed, I wanted to see how far they would take a couple married to a black

Alice Langley
Alice Langley

This is soap opera fairytales . In the real world a real man wants a real woman . Theres no shortage of women in this world. No disrespect to transgenders but you cant trick strait people into being with you . The first thing to share is hi im a transgender and how do you feel about dating someone born of the same sex ?

Nick Heyward
Nick Heyward

I’m enjoying the storyline, and I do have many transgendered friends. Hardly any of them are following this for some reason, maybe you just already have to be a soap fan! But the writer’s have really dropped the ball on some potential dramatic moments. The speculation on the IMDb board has some better plot twists ideas than we’re actually getting! The slow build up was filled with filler dialogue, such as – “Have you seen the way that Rick is treating Allie and Ivy? Something’s got to be done about this!” repeated over and over again in different ways!

As to Maya being an unsympathetic trans character, well she has sympathy for her hard life but I like that they didn’t make her “with a heart of gold”, she’s mean and spiteful and flawed just like any other character, in essence, equal! But she needed a public revealing and comeuppance like she did to Caroline. The show is getting a little too “educational” when they could still do the same thing WITH drama. Ridge doesn’t tell Nick that Rick has used a gun on his wife recently? Nick and Ridge could have run to save Maya! But no, Nick came across as flat as Nancy Reagan stepping on the set to deliver an anti-drug message.

Right now Bill’s my hero for having the guts to print the truth as would happen in real life. This IS what happens when someone sets out to deceive others, Maya needs to pay for it. (Not with her life of course.)

sarah
sarah

I really like this storyline so of course I want to defend it because they have really done a great job of it so far this really could have been a mess used purely as a ploy to get Rick & Caroline back together but its not even in that direction. It seems to me that some people are purely disappointed with this storyline because Karla Mosley isn’t transgender and they didn’t use a typical nice girl character to tell this story with. Which is a problem for me as being legitimate criticism because no one is truly nice on this show yes Ivy is borderline that character but besides her not really they all have been bullies and hurtful at one point so for me that is just so whatever to criticize. As for the fact that Karla isn’t transgender the problem with that is it implies that people can only be characters that match up with there own gender identity either being cis or trans woman/man and sexual orientation. which is crazy so many amazing actors don’t follow that kind of logic when auditioning for different roles. Also need I remind people that whilst the role of Nick is at the moment being the support for maya and giving a better perceptive on being transgender to the rest of the character on the show it has been confirmed that this character is here to stay so when all is said and done we will most likely see a huge amount of character development and no doubt we will see a romance unfold (My money is on it being Ivy but who knows). So if your waiting for them to pair a transgender actor playing a transgender character with someone on the show it will happen eventually. Another point to add of course is the back story I always felt that this would be the biggest struggle with this storyline moving forward and I do wish they had spend more time on telling it from start to finish incorporating what we already know but we have heard bits here and bits there and it all totally fits but I want to see Maya sit down and tell her whole back story because it fits for me they explained it clearly but on a soap it does need to be repeated a few times because people can sometimes miss it and they haven’t done that with her back story really.

Anna
Anna

At least they are consistent.

Last one to know on the cast: Jacob

Last one to know in his family: Rick

davlestev1
davlestev1

LOL…AND THERE YOU HAVE IT…next major storyline….

Frances
Frances

Ok. Transgender storyline aside for a moment, what I can’t forgoet is that Rick was actually messing with Maya at the same time he was accusing Caroline of of infidelity with Ridge. Caroline and Ridge were only looking at each other. True they did have a couple of kisses when Rick started whining but Rick and Maya were already sleeping together. It’s hard to accept these “truths” not coming to light. Maya and Rick may love each other, but she is a manipulator and golddigger and he is a liar. Eric needs to get some spine. Didn’t have any when Stephanie was alive and still don’t. I miss Stephanie a lot. She was something else. What about Brooke breaking up Stephanie and Eric? I miss her. And her portrayer.

Patty
Patty

Here is hoping that Ridge is on the 1st jet back to Paris !!! Shame on Liam…will he ever man up ??? Always following the crowd. After what Bill did to Maya, Liam owes Maya and Rick —-big time !!!!

mariette
mariette

Maybe Caitlyn Jenner can visit Maya as an old bosom buddy…and they can have a cat fight over Rick. Something Dynasty-like for kicks.

jaime
jaime

I’m disgusted! Having watched months of bullying shameful behavior we get just shameful whitewashing of it all and now a reward for the two contemptible bullies. Add to that we now face denigration of the victim of bullying! This is not politically correct just a producer horning in on the Jenner story dispute how inconsistent the writing and characters are treated. Turning the channel and the dvr!

Kenny
Kenny

Have Karla and Jacbob been written out of their parts now that Forerester has a new CEO?

General Hospital

GH’s James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin’s Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

After all his bravado, machinations and lies to keep the woman he loves, and believing he was the rightful heir to the Cassadine fortune, suddenly it all came crashing down for Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) on recent episodes of General Hospital.

Payback can be a bitch, but for Valentin; who’s past has been fraught with numerous physical and emotional tribulations since his childhood, he now finds himself at the lowest point in his life; losing Nina (Cynthia Watros) who’s now taken up with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), realizing he is the biological son of the evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), and not Mikkos, and having all his best laid plans and misdeeds backfire.  (Remember, he shot and “killed” Nikolas, and set up the ruse that led Sasha to pretend she was Nina’s bio-daughter.)  Now, enter Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), who could very well hold the ticket, to Valentin’s rise to wealth and power all over again.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with James Patrick Stuart to get the lowdown on: those heavy and emotional scenes opposite Constance Towers, working with Cynthia Watros as his newest Nina, if Valentin might really kill Jax the next time he thinks about it, and what about a potential relationship between Anna (Finola Hughes) and Valentin?

Not many can play bad as good as James in this industry.  He does it so effortlessly and still brings out the humanity in the guy that has t-r-o-u-b-l-e written all over him.  Here’s what James had to share about all of Valentin’s recent dramatic moments, a tease of what’s to come, and much more.

Photo: JPI

Valentin’s world has imploded at the moment.  When did you initially find out that he was going to turn out to not be a true Cassadine heir?

JAMES:  Well, there were some clues dropped by Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) back when we did the gallery auction where Helena’s portrait went up in flames.  Frank looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jack Nicholson it up.  Have some fun!  You’re not going to be feeling pretty good for a while.”  (Laughs)  I’m like, “Oh … what are the plans?”  He pulled me aside and goes, “Yeah, you’re going to lose Nina, but you’re going to try to take over ELQ.  That’s when I started to go, “Wait a minute!  That sounds to me like Valentin’s losing his money.”  (Laughs)  With the character of Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) coming back; it’s pretty great.  I think the writing was on the wall there.  I put it out on twitter the other day.  I said, “Look what they’ve done to my boy.”  Somebody chimed in, “They gave him a storyline!” (Laughs)

Who doesn’t love to see you, James Patrick Stuart, play tortured soul?  They audience loves to see you get the opportunity to go to those depths in your performances.

JAMES:  It’s been really interesting for me.  I’ve had a lifetime of playing bad guys because the line was always shorter. (Laughs)  Everybody wants to be Tom Cruise, but the Alan Rickman’s of it all, to me, were what was so interesting.  Early on, you play one dimensional kind of twisting of the mustache, tying a woman to the train tracks.  After a while, you start to watch the truly great actors.  They start to take you on a ride.  If you’re paying attention, you start to feel what it would be like to be that damaged, and that’s why you do it.  Then you start to see the vulnerability. To me, I thought, “This is a great time in my life because I’m ready to do that.” A lot of people say, “I don’t understand.  I feel like that makes no sense. because why would I root for a person who behaves like this?” and that to me, I feel is the greatest compliment of all.

So much happened recently to Valentin in one fell swoop; he overhears Nina telling Ava (Maura West) she kissed Jax, then he envisions shooting Jax and then he is drinking himself into oblivion and he gets a “visit” from Helena!  But … the scenes between Valentin and Helena really summed up the bitter truth for him, wouldn’t you say?

JAMES:  Yes.  In the “Helena” scenes, it all basically is revealed.  It all comes down in a moment where he “sees” her.  I think he realizes with the DNA test; he’s not the person he thought he was, but he certainly had no idea that he had her blood in his veins.  The truly tragic moment of the evening is when it dawns on him that he has a daughter with Helena’s blood in her veins.  Now, he would kill her a thousand times over in that moment.  He can’t do it.  He’s fighting phantoms.  That’s the bottom below the bottom, and things got worse than he ever thought they would get.

Courtesy/ABC

Does Valentin have any idea then, who his biological father could be?

JAMES:  I don’t think so.  I don’t believe so.  I know I don’t.  I think once he realizes that Helena is in fact the mother, I think he’d rather just go into oblivion.  I think at that point, he’s out of answers.  Enter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) …which is wonderful because I think the world of Nancy, and she saves the day.   Alexis basically talks him out of hurting himself, telling him to count his blessings that he is not a Cassadine, etc, which was a really sweet moment.

I assume, when you have this kind of material to play, it must be exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time?

JAMES:  I think that’s exactly right.  As an actor, I think you want to do this stuff.  Maura West and I compare notes all the time.  I think it can be kind of emotionally draining.  You do feel it, and I felt it when I had spent a lot of time with Nina and Valentin, and when the actresses changed, and we brought Cynthia Watros in.  I worked twice as hard to make sure that Cynthia’s landing was as easy as possible, and I really grew attached to the Nina and Valentin connection.  So, when Jax steps in, Cynthia’s love life means nothing to me, I don’t care about that, but Nina’s love life means a lot to me!  And it bums me out, and I don’t know that I’ll actually be watching any future love scenes between them as much as I love them both!  I have a deep attachment to the Valentin connection to Nina.  So, the lines get burred because we just play these characters so long.

Photo: JPI

What was it like sharing those tough scenes with Constance? No one can play icy, evil villainess like her … and yet in real life, she is such a gracious and kind-hearted woman.

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JAMES:  In real life, Constance is such a sweetheart, and she’s so grateful to be there.  She was so ready to work, and rehearse, and play, and find the stuff, and she was great.  I’d been in scenes with her before.  Last time, we didn’t really talk to each other.  I was with the hump.  I was being Valentin pre-surgery.  It was some sort of moment in a graveyard, but this time we actually got to interact with each other.

You look at Valentin, and he’s not had the greatest life.  Do you bring his entire back-story into your performance; such as when he was deformed with the hump and how he had to literally reconstruct his life both in the physical and in emotional ways for many years?

JAMES:  Absolutely.  It’s the brokenness that he’s making choices from.  He was never truly and authentic person to begin with which is why his love fell apart.  He’s always been faking.  He’s always been putting on a show.  That’s not sustainable in matters of the heart.  It was unbelievably easy for Jax to swoop in, because it was inevitable that things were going to fall apart.  Of course, that anger and that brokenness were what lead him to want to kill Jax.  There’s no question.  He was prepared to do that.  If you look in the eyes in the fantasy sequence in the shooting, he just wanted to watch him die.  He wanted to watch the light go out in Jax’s eyes.  He was so furious … and even more tragic is … that was all he could think of, and somehow, he realized in that moment that wouldn’t work, because he’d lose his daughter.

Photo: JPI

Anna and Finn (Michael Easton) just kind of busted up.  Do you think Anna and Valentin will hookup? There is a connection and a history between the two of them whenever they seem to be in proximity of one another.

JAMES:  Personally, I’m waiting for that.  I hope so!  There is a finesse and elegance to that woman, and not only that, there is an effortless to the connection between Valentin and Anna, if one can say that about one’s own coupling.  I love to look at it!  I think we go together like a wink and a smile.  I just find that chemistry really great.  I think that’s mostly Finola, though.  She can probably have chemistry with most anything.

Valentin was going to leave Port Charles with Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), after Nikolas revealed all and the fallout began.  Interestingly enough, it was Anna who came to Valentin’s side and tried to talk him down from fleeing with his daughter and showed such compassion for him!

JAMES:  Wasn’t that great?  She was the one who got him.  She was the one who was able to calm the beast.  There was no one else he would have listened to.  In the moment in the police station, after Charlotte had been kidnapped, and there is that moment where Anna has that bruise, I thought it was such a tender moment.  I just said, “If I kiss my finger and touch your wound?” and she’s like, “Do it.”  It was just this moment where we had been bitter rivals and enemies for so long, but he just adores her so much it’s undeniable that he sees her wounded and wants to make it better.  It’s floating out there waiting to be done.  I know that everybody knows it.  It’s just a matter of what the right away to go about in the writing would be.

Photo: JPI

So, you’ve worked opposite two acting dynamos in the role of Nina – Michelle Stafford and now, Cynthia Watros.  Was the transition difficult for you when Cynthia came to GH?

JAMES:  It wasn’t.  It was scary because Michelle Stafford wasn’t just one in a million, I mean, she is one of a kind.  The last thing in the world that I would ever want to consider doing myself was recast that actress.  So, my deal was (and I’ve said this to Cynthia) I said, “I have no control over this.  All I can do is make the landing as easy as possible for Cynthia.”  We did a lot of photoshoots together, and I had flowers waiting for her, and I did everything possible to make sure that she knew that she had a friend and that she had somebody that was going to make it as easy as possible.  It was rough because a lot of the trolls on social media were just awful to her… just brutal, and she goes, “I have thick skin.  I can take it,” and then a week later, she goes, “I’ve closed all my social media accounts!”  (Laughs)  It’s been fun to watch those guys turn around and go, “You have a really special person.”  That wedding stuff was just incredible!  She came so prepared and she knocked it out of the park.  Cynthia has been wonderful.  I love them both.  I love her the reddest, and I love Michelle the bluest, and together I love them the purplest.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s interesting that all the women in his life such as Anna and Nina, all have a soft-spot for Valentin; even though they don’t necessarily want to be with him.  These ladies are just drawn to this dysfunctional guy.

JAMES:  Don’t you think?  Is it that you want to help him, you want to fix him, you see the potential, you want to help him despite himself?  I think that’s what it is.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Valentin’s still going to try to win Nina back, or is that done? 

JAMES:  I don’t know.  I do know that the Valentin I know will never shake Nina, and when he loves, he loves forever.  He can be simultaneously in love with Anna whenever she’s near.  I don’t believe he ever truly got over Nina hearing his story and his brokenness and still loving him twice as hard.  Years ago, there was a moment where he said to her the stuff that he’s never said, and Michelle beautifully kissed my tears away and said, “You’re beautiful” to me.   I think in that moment his fate was sealed.  I think he knew that this was his woman forever.  So, I just don’t think that that goes away.  I think he will always carry a torch for Nina, for sure.

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Do you see Valentin becoming darker and darker now that he had found out he is Helena’s offspring?

JAMES:  Well, yes and no.  I remember watching these scenes and we’ve done a lot of this stuff, and you know how easy it is to sort of go, “Let’s go dark, let’s go dark, let’s go more dark,” and after a while, I go, “You know, maybe he does learn something.  Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.”  Of course, more bad stuff will happen to him, and he will do more bad stuff, because that’s just who he is.  A leopard can’t change his spots, and those are his survival instincts, but there are some new colors, and it’s all a direct result of all of just these horrible things that have happened to him… mostly learning that he is part Helena and he can’t undo that.

Photo: JPI

We saw that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) called and then goes to see Valentin, because she wants to sell her shares of ELQ.  So, obviously he has the potential to become really rich here which is what would give him his power back.  How do you think that will go over with the rest of the Quartermaines? (Laughs)

JAMES:  (Laughs) A lot of the Quartermaine actors have been asking me that in the hallways of General Hospital!  Isn’t that interesting how he’ll just sort of switch families? (Laughs)

Of all the people, just as Valentin’s life is in the gutter and he is at his lowest, who should show up with a sort of lifeline, Nelle! How will he go about attempting to gain control of ELQ?

JAMES:  Valentin knows he has to get the majority shares to gain a control of the company, and he has to do it fast before people see that he’s doing it.  So, that’s where Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray) has been.  He’s gallivanting the states rapidly accumulating shares.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s been so fun seeing you and Michael Knight on-screen and on a daytime soap together again, as so many remember you as Tad Martin and Will Cortlandt on All My Children.  How has it been getting the chance to work with Michael?

JAMES:  My God, are you kidding me?  He taught me!  He’s the guy who taught me.  I didn’t know how to do this.  Nobody instinctively knows… this is a very unique art form.  It’s more Jazz than anything else, and he showed me how to do it!  Walt Willey (Ex-Jack, AMC) showed me how to do my hair, and Michael Knight taught me how to break down a script!  And, what’s so funny is he is still doing it.  In a scene on GH, when he threw in that line, “From now on, you pay in advance,” I just about fell on the floor!  I thought, “There he is!  That’s the Michael I’ve always known and loved.”

Photo: JPI

Who would have thought that you guys would get to share scenes like that again on soaps?  You just never know in this life who may be wind up back in your orbit.

JAMES:  It’s incredible.  That’s what we say all of the time… “Who would have thought?”  You could never plan something like this and that we’d still be doing it at this point.

Now with Lulu (Emme Rylan) learning that Valentin is not a Cassadine, and Nina apparently moving on to a relationship with Jax, what do you think it will mean for their relationship in raising their daughter, Charlotte?

JAMES:  I think in the short-term, Valentin’s shelved any ideas of getting her out of Charlotte’s life.  He’s sort of putting out the fires in his own personal life.  Charlotte needs a mother in her life, and he’s quite willing to share custody as they always have been.  She seems to be looking at this as an opportunity to paint him as an unfit father, and she wants full-time custody.  So, we’re back to that again.  It looks to me like Lulu is kicking Valentin while he’s down.

Photo: JPI

It was so nice to see you, and some of your GH co-stars such as: Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) show up for Y&R’s Eric Braeden’s (Victor Newman) 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS.  It was quite the event; speakers galore, and so many from our industry and beyond in attendance.

JAMES:  It was pretty profound.  Eric has always been kind to me.  I only worked with him on one movie, a western, called The Man Who Came Back, and that was probably 12 years ago.  He has been so complimentary of me in interviews and in his book.  So, if he does that with me, I can only imagine how many dear, dear friendships he has.  So, the fact that everybody showed up like that from the president of CBS Entertainment to local councilmen, and that they were willing to do be there for 2 hours was really proof of how much they love him.  Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I don’t even think was working that day, came in for it and spoke at the event. There was so much respect shown for Eric and what he has meant to this medium.

Photo: JPI

Your album The Apple Tree was so well-received, and everyone always loves seeing you get the opportunity to sing on General Hospital as well.  Will you continue to put out more music in 2020?

JAMES:  Yeah, that’s the plan.  I have another one that I’m working on.  I have a bunch of songs.  I’m in no rush to get it out.  Unfortunately, I lost Glen Roven, who wrote the cello part for Book of Love, passed away right after the Nurses’ Ball where I played Book of Love, which is really heartbreaking, and then, Michael Sherwood, who helped me with a number of songs on the record passed away right after The Apple Tree came out.  So, I’m a little gun-shy.  But, I’m planning on having something out by December for Christmas.

In closing, what would you say the fans should look forward to in the weeks ahead from Valentin?

JAMES: Look forward to that moment where Valentin is so low that there’s nowhere to go but up!  The comeback is going to be one for the books.

So, what do you think of how Valentin’s life hit rock bottom?  Do you think he will ever win Nina back? Do you think he will takeover ELQ? Share your thoughts on James’ recent performances and his thoughts contained in this interview via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Wally Kurth Talks DAYS Dramatic Twists That Gave Justin a Heartbreaking Story, a New Romance, and Unforgettable Moments

If you have been watching recent episodes of Days of our Lives, soap opera vet, Wally Kurth has been turning out the performances of his daytime career.  In one of the most heartbreaking weeks we can remember, DAYS took us back to ‘Mother’s Day’ one year ago, prior to their time jump, to show us how Justin’s wife, Adrienne (Judi Evans) died following a car crash, it’s aftermath, and assorted other key plots for the characters of Salem.

For decades, Wally Kurth along with Daytime Emmy winner, Judi Evans created the on-screen love story of Justin and Adrienne on DAYS, and while they were off the canvas for quite some time, they remained one of the most popular duos in the history of the show.  Saying goodbye to one daytime love story opened the door for another, and now Kurth has been paired with another Daytine Emmy winner, Mary Beth Evans (Kayla).  The romance of Justin and Kayla is really going to be tested with the recent return of Stephen Nichols who seems to have Steve’s body overtaken by the mind and soul of Stefano DiMera.   What will happen if, and when Steve, Kayla, and Justin enter into a romantic triangle?

But as daytime viewers know, Wally is not only recognizable for his role as DAYS Justin but that of General Hospital’s Ned Quartermaine.  Kurth has the distinction of being on two separate soaps (sometimes even airing on them at the same time), playing two different fan favorite roles.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wally about: being handed the ball in the emotional storyline on DAYS that has had him acting his heart out alongside Chandler Massey (Will) and Freddie Smith (Sonny) that could just land him a Daytime Emmy nomination in just a few months.  Plus, giving us a glimpse of what is was like to tape all of those tear-filled scenes, his reaction to his latest romantic pairing, and having the gift of acting on two soaps at this stage of his career.  Here’s what Wally shared.

Photo: JPI

Let me just say; I’m all cried out watching your performances now.  I can’t cry anymore. (Laughs)  Did you watch everything back from the week-long flashback to Mother’s Day that changed the course of so many lives in Salem, and in particular, with the death of Adrienne?

WALLY:  Oh, yeah.  It was hard to watch.  It was interesting because the show must have been long as there were a couple of scenes that I was actually looking forward to seeing and they didn’t air.  One was on the Thursday episode and the other was on the Friday episode.  I remember seeing something about Matt Ashford (Jack) not having his scene air with Jack and Adrienne, and I wanted to tell him: “Hey, it was all around.”  It was probably just a little too much material to get it all in.

What do you remember doing that didn’t air?  Was Justin in even more tears?  (Laughs)

WALLY:  If you can believe it! (Laughs)  There was one scene with Sonny at her gurney that I really broke down.   There was a scene on Friday after Will leaves.  It’s a scene between Sonny and Justin talking about what Will had done that I thought was pretty intense, but that’s alright.  It’s part of the deal.  Shows run long and they’ve got to make decisions.  It’s all good.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about the day you had to shoot those death scenes with Judi Evans?

WALLY:  It’s interesting.  I made a decision that I’m not going to go about those scenes with the normal method: thinking about something really, truly terrible in my life because first of all, I’ve never lost a woman I’ve been with for 30 years.  So, I decided just to use my imagination and use the words in the script, and just go there.  It was certainly a lot more fun.  I didn’t second-guess myself.  The words were beautifully written, and I just sort of played the scene; rather than try to regurgitate some kind of past memory and/or try to imagine one of my children dying or my wife dying.

You didn’t do “substitution”!

WALLY:  Yeah, I didn’t substitute.  I guess for people who don’t understand this kind of method in acting; you can substitute things in your real life, your personal life to help you feel something called upon to do in a script, and I’ve done that before.  I’ve done that a lot, actually.  I did that when I was first on the show with Judi.  But, on that day when Adrienne died, I didn’t.

Photos: NBC

It was so sad, and when they had the clip of a young Wally as Justin, meeting Adrienne for the first time, it was a sweet moment.  Justin sees her crying and is apparently smitten.  Did you see that flashback?  

WALLY:  It’s a famous one!  We got to talk about it, and the handkerchief in the scenes when she died.  I think in the scene that was cut, there was more about the handkerchief and that I gave her the handkerchief and that I needed a handkerchief now and Sonny gave me his handkerchief.  Years ago, I remember Al Rabin (Ex-director, DAYS) saying, “When you see her, she’s unlike anybody you’ve ever seen before.  That’s it,” and I went, “What?” and he said, “Yeah.  That’s it.”  So, I said, “Okay, she’s the one,” and I went in and just played that.  Like, “I don’t know who this woman is.  She’s crying on the bench.  She looks pretty miserable, but I’ll just try to talk to her” and that was Justin and Adrienne’s love story: coming in like a white knight and rescuing her.

You and Judi had worked together as Justin and Adrienne on and off for decades.  So, is there any sadness in saying goodbye to that on-screen relationship?

WALLY:  Yes, but in between it all we took like a 19-year break.  So, it’s not like John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena (Deidre Hall) who have been on continuously.  We fell back into that very comfortably.  It was 1987 when we were doing that scene at the park where she is crying.  Hello! That was 33 years ago!  And … oh, my God … the leather tie, the hair.  I had serious hair.  I remember that. (Laughs)

You had serious hair.  But … we all did!

WALLY:  It took longer just blowing my hair out than getting on make-up to hit the set.  I remember that little tweed jacket, and the black leather shoes.

Photo: JPI

What were we all thinking back then!? (Laughs)  It must have been hard for Judi on the day while you were grieving over her body?

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WALLY:  I remember Judi told me it was really hard for her, and I can understand it.  She’s such a good actress who really listens, so she’s always really affected.  We can be running lines in the makeup room, and if it’s an emotional scene, she can start crying.  So, she’s obviously really in touch with her emotions.  It was really hard for her to listen to Freddie, and me, and Matt and Mary Beth, and everyone tell her how much they’re going to miss Adrienne.  She was so good and professional.  She just kept her eyes closed all the way through the breaks.  She didn’t sit there and talk to us in between.  Probably, in her mind, she’s just trying to play dead.

She told me in the interview feature that I did for the DOOL app, that she intentionally didn’t want to see you and Freddie before those scenes.  

WALLY:  Yeah, that’s true.  I’m just thinking about that, and it really did help because we could just stay in that place and she never jumped up and went, “Hey!”   That’s just her professionalism.

Photo: JPI

When you originally found out that DAYS was going to kill-off Adrienne, and that they were going to do a time jump which paired Justin and Kayla, romantically, what was your reaction to all of that?  Was it like, “Oh, story for me!?” and/or did it make you feel bad about the character casualty in order to make that happen?

WALLY:  I guess, selfishly, you’re only thinking of yourself – when you’re selfish, and I did think like, “Wow.  That sounds like an amazing story,” and then I’m like, “Oh, well that sucks for Judi, and that’s going to be kind of crazy,” but then I also realized quickly (because I know Judi, and I know how much she loved playing Bonnie) that if they choose to bring her back, they could bring her back as Bonnie.  But yes, I thought about that as well, but mainly, I thought that this is something new.  As an actor and as an artist, you want a new challenge.  For Judi and me, we were just sort of playing the two greatest parents to Sonny.  Pretty much, that was our role.  We were happily married.  We hadn’t really had a story in about a year.  I mean, I’m mister lawyer in town.   At least for me, and it turns out, this has been an amazing story to play.  I have to say; never in a million years did I imagine Justin with Kayla.  So, it wasn’t like I was campaigning for it.

I know in daytime that sometimes actors campaign to be paired with certain actors on their respective soaps,

WALLY:  Yeah, so I think we were both surprised.  I worked with Mary Beth on General Hospital and of course, we are dear friends off set.  We thought that was probably going to be the hardest part, because we’ve been friends for so long, and it’s kind of nice that when you do a love story that you do have to kind of go there, and feel comfortable, and be excited, and it worked out.  I thought we both brought out qualities in our characters that really conveyed that a really good friendship morphed into a true love.  Justin and Kayla helped each other through this difficult, difficult time, and then…

… Then Stevano shows up in Salem!

WALLY:  Yup!   People fall in love.  That’s what happened, and then of course Stephen Nichols comes back, and all hell breaks loose.  I have to say, the audience is in for a really fun 6 months coming up.

Photo: JPI

What have you thought of Stephen Nichols portrayal as Stefano?

WALLY:  He has been amazing!   I told Stephen, and he appreciates it.   I don’t think anyone could do it as well as Stephen’s doing it.  I mean, when he blew up the other day in front of Anna (Leann Hunley), he sounded like Stefano.  He sounded like Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano)!  I think he’s done a really good job of pulling it off.  Only a really gifted actor could pull it off, and I believe it when he plays it.

You made a comment on Twitter to me about “the boys” (Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey), after I named the three of you Power Performance of the Week.  What can you say about Freddie in the scenes where he has to say goodbye to his mother, Adrienne, and then Chandler for his scenes with both Freddie and you in the aftermath, where he tells Sonny and Justin he was the responsible party that caused the crash that took Adrienne’s life?

WALLY:  Freddie went for it, and you have to.  He did, and I was so proud of him.   When Will tells Sonny that he was driving the car and he caused it, they were so in the moment.  They didn’t rush their emotions.  They took their time, and it was just totally believable, and not a false move, and then when I came in, it was just a really nice scene between the three of us, because I was checking in with Sonny, and then I was checking in with Will, and things took turn from there and it felt really solid.  I was very proud of it.

Courtesy/NBC

Then, when Justin tears into Will for the death of his wife, and Will goes, “I wish it would’ve been me.”  It was so intense; everyone was good in that scene.

WALLY:  I wanted to send out a tweet to everybody from that episode who were                       wonderful in it including: Stacy Haiduk (Kristen), Eric Martsolf (Brady), Paul Telfer (Paul), and Casey Moss (JJ)…

Oh, my Gosh, and then Casey was so heartbreaking learning of Haley’s (Thia Megia) death!

WALLY:  Good lord.  Three deaths in one day!

You’ve been on soap operas for a long time.   It was a lot to take in as the viewer, but it made for a riveting and can’t-miss week of episodes.

WALLY:  It was amazing that the show pulled it off.  It could have been really too much.  I thought that the production pulled it out.  It wasn’t too much.  That’s probably why scenes were cut, too.  It might have just been too much; all of that just grieving over dead bodies.

What is the reaction you’re seeing to all of this on social media?  The fans have been very favorable to the performances.  You’re in such an interesting position, because you’re on two soaps (DAYS and GH) and you’re able to have these two distinct and different characters to play. What’s that been like that you’ve been able to bounce back and forth for so long in your career from Salem to Port Charles, and back again?

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WALLY:  I couldn’t have planned it, obviously.  It just worked out that way; having created both roles, one 33 years ago and one 29 years ago.  I’m sort of integral on General Hospital because I’m sort of the lone patriarchal Quartermaine, and they want to keep that family going. So, that has been really kind of cool that I can keep breathing air into that legacy, and they’re recently brought in Amanda Setton as Ned’s daughter, Brook Lynn, too.  Then of course, with Days of Our Lives, they brought me back on as an attorney in 2009, and that was really out of the blue.  I hadn’t been on the show in 19 years.  So, to get a call to come back and be an attorney in town was just great, and at the time, I needed a job.  I kind of have to say, I owe Ken Corday (executive producer, DAYS) twice in my lifetime. He hired me as an actor when honestly; I could really use a job.  My first job was Days of Our Lives, and I was driving around in a moped then.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of Amanda Setton (Ex-Kimberly, One Life to Live) how do you think she is doing with the part of GH’s Brook Lynn?

WALLY:  She’s great.  She’s experienced, and nowadays you really have to be experienced on soaps.  We go so fast.  Unfortunately, the newbies take some time and have to get on track, but it’s a world of one takes and we go so quickly.  It really helps to have an actor who has done it before and isn’t daunted by the speed.

Speaking of keeping the legacy of the Q’s going, the one and only Jane Elliot recently came back to GH to reprise her role of Tracy Quartermaine. What was it like having her back on set to work with?  

WALLY:  It was great!  I hope she’ll make some future returns.  She had a good time.  The show is really much better with her.  I was just thrilled.

Photo: JPI

You must be grateful that Justin and Ned are still alive and kicking!

WALLY:  I love working on Days, and I love the crew.  I love the cast.  Both casts and crews from both soaps are fantastic.  I feel like the luckiest actor in town.  I don’t complain, and I won’t complain.  It’s interesting, when I was an actor on one show, I would complain, and I hear other actors on shows complaining about one thing or another.  I just don’t have a right to complain.  On my days off, I used to be the guy who would look at my lines the day before.  I probably could still do that, but I don’t want to.  I like spending a heck of a lot of time with my scripts so that when I go in there, I really know it.  I have a lot of different ways to play with it, and I get to be creative with it, and I pick that.  I don’t take that for granted.  So, every day when I get to work, I’m excited to be there, and I put a lot into it.

Photo: JPI

So, do you think we can foreshadow you winning a Daytime Emmy this year, or next year, or both for the performances we have seen and those yet to come?

WALLY:  (Laughs) I feel like I’ve already won an Emmy by having two jobs.  Honestly, I’m having the time of my life.

Do you think the audience will see Justin grieving still for Adrienne? With the time jump, in theory, we missed a year of that part of the mourning process.

WALLY:  You will see it.  But yes, you’re right.  You don’t see Justin the first three months, or the week after, or the weeks after.  However, more comes up for him that I think  will be very satisfying to the audience.  I know it’s been very shocking to the audience to see where Justin is at.  Most of the complaints I get are like, “Really?  It’s been three months, and you’re already making out with Kayla?”  People were kind of offended by that.  By the way, my wife is also offended by that.  (Laughs)  She was like, “You’d better wait longer than three months!

Photo: JPI

Did your wife watch your scenes when Adrienne died?

WALLY:  Yes, she did.   She liked them.   But she would say something like, “It’s hard to see you crying over another woman.”  I know she doesn’t really enjoy me making out with another woman and saying how much I love her.  I don’t usually show her all of the really romantic stuff, but I thought she’d be okay with the death scenes, and she was, but I am sure it was kind of strange for her.  She is a lawyer, not an actor.

Since she’s a lawyer, does she ever give you legalese tips for when you have courtroom scenes on DAYS?

WALLY:  She does, and I’m usually like, “Is there anything I can cut here?” and she usually goes, “Honestly, no.  You’d better say it.  I think it’s honestly pretty well-written.  You’d better say it as written. It’s pretty accurate.”

Courtesy/NBC

The other moment I wanted to bring up to you that was like the “perfect scene” is when Justin visited Will in prison and told Will to not give up on life. I think that was such a beautiful scene and performance.  I hope that is in your Emmy submission.

WALLY:  Thank you.  I was very proud of that.  I appreciate that, Michael.  I know you watch a lot of these, and, it is in my Emmy submissionIt was beautifully written.  I think the writers have really handed me just some wonderful stories to tell, and wonderful dialogue, and I used every word of it, and I feel very blessed.  As actors … you can work your ass off, but you really do also need stories to sometimes shine, you know?  I thought the writers really gave me a lot of great material to work with.

Photo: JPI

If they keep giving you more material like this every week you’ll be named the Power Performance of the Week, and then everyone will think something corrupt is going down! (Laughs) 

WALLY: They’ll think I’m paying you off, Michael! (Laughs)

So, what have you thought of Wally’s performances? Were you surprised at the Justin and Kayla pairing? Were you shocked at Adrienne’s death and what went down? Comment below.

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Eastsiders

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson Talk The Final Season of ‘EastSiders’, Their Journey As Thom and Cal, & The Impact The Series Has Made

It captivated the LGBTQ audience, expanded from there, and was a passion project and labor of love for series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with his husband and co-producer, John Halbach as they tirelessly brought the digital drama EastSiders to life.  Over 4 seasons (and 7 years in and of production) fans of the series were brought: riveting characters, real, witty, and intelligent writing, and beautiful performances that leave you either crying, laughing, or just plain in awe of their depth.

Williamson brought in As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, ATWT), from the beginning of the creation of EastSiders, to play his on-screen other half, Thom, and over four seasons we have seen Cal and Thom’s relationship grow apart, come together, have a very open sexual relationship, deal with addiction issues, and anxiety in the day and age we live in; while giving us a glimpse of a set of characters who all are struggling with something … or trying to love someone, or just trying to love themselves.

In four seasons, EastSiders went from a show on YouTube to now a popular series streaming on Netflix.  And as season four of the series was finally released back in December of last year, fans of the show were clamoring to know if Thom and Cal will have their happily ever after? Well, if you saw the emotional final episode, you kind of know the answer to that, or do we? But just when you thought EastSiders was a fait accompli, Williamson and company released a behind-the-scenes documentary of the season that is also a must-see! (Check it out below).  And this week, EastSiders scored nominations in the Queerties Awards for the Best in LGBTQ media and culture. Van Hansis scored a nod in the Digital Performance category along with EastSiders cast member, Stephen Guarino, and the series is nominated in the Digital Series category. You can vote for the Queerties now through February 21st here.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Van and Kit in a full circle moment for all of us.  We conducted the first interview these two talented gents ever did to publicize the series seven years ago, and we couldn’t let EastSiders go without one last look, one last goodbye, and to talk to the heart and soul of the story itself.  So here, we put a bow on it, and chat it up with Van and Kit in this very special EastSiders wrap-up.

Photo: EastSiders

So, 7 years ago, the three of us met at a coffee shop in West Hollywood, California and you had this little show called Eastsiders, and we do your first interview ever about the show.  Now, 7 years later it’s grown into what it has become.  What did you think of this whole journey from the beginning to the end?  Did you have any idea that EastSiders would take off like this, and did it exceed your hopes and dreams?

KIT:  Personally, I had no idea that the show could have this many lives.  I really just set out to make something cool and to put it on the internet.  At every stage of this, I wondered, “Is this it?” and it’s been wild to see how it’s grown.  As I’m thinking back on it, you are right! It was the very first interview that we did with the show … period.

VAN:  I was thinking the exact same thing.  It was!

Photo: EastSiders

When artists in any field create something, you never know how it’s going to be perceived by the public.  I think your perseverance and how you went about it was so smart that you garnered an audience worldwide.  So, what are your thoughts about how the series wrapped up with season four?  Because I had heard, Kit, that you extended the storylines.  Is that true that the season was longer than what you intended it to be?  

KIT:  So, we ended up having the penultimate episode be an hour long because I just kept writing new scenes for people and discovering things on set, and I think that kind of speaks to all of our desire to not say goodbye to the characters.  It’s a very long goodbye, you know?  Also, I can’t imagine getting to the second to last episode of a series that I was watching, and if I loved it, wanting the episodes to go by quicker.  So, it felt like something that I could tactically do at the end there.  Van, what about you?  I know in the behind-the-scenes documentary that we filmed, stuff like, not even knowing what a web series even was when we first started doing this, came up! (Laughs)

VAN:  Oh, yeah! (Laughs) When we started I was sent the script from an acting teacher.  I loved the script.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it no matter what. I had no idea what it would be.  To see what it’s become is amazing, and to be a part of what it’s become is amazing, and that is literally all mostly Kit.  He has done so much with this, and he’s put so much of himself into it.  I feel fortunate to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that sometimes you don’t get to see as an actor on a show.  We need more Kit Williamson’s in our lives, because it takes someone like that to make this happen and to make it go worldwide from literally YouTube.  So, as far as the ending …  I love where it ends off and where all of the characters sort of end up.

Photo: EastSiders

Kit, are you ready to do an EastSiders reboot?  Are we coming back to visit Thom and Cal 5 years later?

KIT:  I have said that I don’t know that I’m done with these characters yet.  Van and I have had conversations about that.  I think that the show is definitely finished is this format.  Trying to shoot and independently produce, 6 half-hour, ensemble events like this, and to do it right, and to keep growing and scaling it, is just not really sustainable, but it’s been a hell of a ride.  I’m glad that we went on it.  To speak to what Van was just talking about; I really think it’s just alchemy.  It’s a set of perfect circumstances coming together that we all met at the right times in our lives, and Van Hansis, in particular, is the spark that ignites the show.  I don’t think that the show would have had the success that it did if: we hadn’t had the chemistry that we had, and if Van’s fan base hadn’t gotten so excited about the show. To be able to kind of grow and create something that people are excited to see is really empowering.  Knowing that there is somebody out there who wants it, who is waiting for it, is gratifying.

Photo: EastSiders

Van, what did you think about Thom’s journey throughout season four?  The audience is like, “Please ask him already.  Pop the question,” and Thom is holding onto that ring!  Do you think he realized that he had what he wanted all along in Cal?  

VAN:  I think in the end he does, but I also think he doesn’t know where that journey is going to go.  Very much like … he knows that what he has is something golden and precious, but I think that he doesn’t know how to hold onto something like that.  Throughout the series, with Thom and Cal especially, they know that they love each other, but they don’t really know how to love each other in the best way.  I don’t know if that story is fully finished yet, but I think that they’re really very much on their way to figuring out what it means … and what it means especially to them.  I think especially as queer people, you don’t have a set of outliers that are given to you, especially, queer people our age.  I think the whole series has been not just about Thom and Cal, but every character in the show figuring out what is their relationship and to be able to create their own, and not give a care about what society thinks of them, which is really kind of fun.

KIT:  One of the most recurring themes of the show in terms of motif is cartography: drawing the map of the world together as a couple.  We had that Daniel Zaitchik song at the end of season 2, Map of the World, that also reprises this season.  There’s a lot of discussion of directions and destinations that I think is something I really wanted to get at because I think as queer people, we often don’t have the benefit of being able to just go down the road laid out for us by our parents.  We have to chart our own course.

Photo” EastSiders

I was watching all the comments on social media, and do you realize how many people said (including myself) that they were in tears and needed hankies at the ending of EastSiders? They just were a ball of mess at the conclusion of the show; which speaks to the investment we all had with the characters.  Did you see how people were so emotional and how they were reaching back to you? 

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KIT:  It’s been so cool.  I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of messages.

VAN:  Yes!  I also want to go back to Kit.  That’s his writing.  There are so many amazing shows that go out with a whimper.  I have followed so many shows that I absolutely love, and the final episode comes about, and I’m like, “Wait.  That’s it?  That’s what we get?”  Glen Weldon on Pop Culture Happy Hour, which is a podcast I follow, he talked about how well it stuck the landing.  Everybody gets a sense of an ending.  Most of them are happy, or all of them are happy actually, and for these characters, you’ve stuck around with them since we were on YouTube, and the audience deserves to see their favorite character have some sort of hope.

KIT:  Yeah!  I like to say happy with an asterisk.  An Eastsiders happy ending is a little different from a traditional happy ending.   They all have things that they still need to work through, but I didn’t want to leave any character in a sense of uncertainty.  I wanted to make sure that all of the loose ends of the story we’ve been telling the last 7 years were tied up.  I do think that there is definitely more story there, but I do think that’s life.  Everybody’s story continues past what you are allowed to see.

Was your final scene together that you taped the proposal in the club, or was this shot out of order?

KIT:  Van’s last scene was actually the scene with Richard (Bryan Batt) in episode 5, when they’re reflecting on everything.

VAN:  That’s a good last scene to film.  I had to come back last January to film just the material with him and with Traci Lords. So, no, our last scene together was not the proposal, it was the scene at the restaurant together towards the end,

KIT:  Yeah, the restaurant itself.  We did that out of order.  We had to shoot the bathroom scene where our characters have our big come to Jesus moment.

Those scenes were great.  Traci Lords was wonderful, by the way.

VAN:  Oh, she’s so good.  I love her.

KiT:  The scene that really gets me the most this season was Cal and his mother in the bed, and the discussion they had between them.

Photo: Eastsiders

When you watched back the ending with the proposal, what did you think?

VAN:  I thought it was great.  I posted something on Instagram like, “I get to be in a romcom!”

KIT:  It’s your Drew Barrymore moment!

VAN:  It was!  That’s what I wrote!  It’s my Drew Barrymore moment.  I’ve never gotten to do something that joyful.  Kit, I have a question for you.  Was some of that confetti in the final scene CGI or was all of that there?

KIT:  It was all there!

VAN:  Really!?  I don’t remember.  I was just so deep into your eyes that I don’t remember all of that confetti falling on my face.  It looks amazing.

KIT:  It was at the end of the night.   We only got one shot at that scene.  That was one take, and it ended up perfect.

Photo: EastSiders

 

In season four, you really expanded Jeremy’s role.  Matthew McKelligon was wonderful in the story you provided him.

KIT:  Yeah!  I really have tried with all of the characters to subvert expectations.  With Willam Belli (Douglas) and Stephen Guarino’s (Quincy) characters, their introduced as kind of the commedia clowns and then revealed to be the lovers, and with Matt’s character, he’s introduced as the “other woman”.  He’s literally called “Jezebel” all throughout the first season and then starting in season 2.  I think a lot of people were probably surprised that we are still following this character.  Jeremy doesn’t just disappear from the story when he stops sleeping with Cal and Thom.  I think to be able to follow his trajectory as he’s going on a radically different path than I think he even expected was really fun for me … and for Matt.

Photo: EaatSiders

Kit, a moment I recall on your social media posts, was when you said you’d just watched the sex scenes you were in and you were like, “I hope my mother doesn’t see this.”  Were you really embarrassed?

KIT:  Yeah, I did a reaction video when I watched it.   I will be honest.  You disassociate when you’re editing something because you’re looking at it as a frame-to-frame perspective, and then I had a little distance from it and watched it on Netflix for the first time, and that was the first time it really sunk in that I was like, “Oh, that’s a sex montage starring me.”

Van, when you were seeing the story of EastSiders progress through the years, and how Thom and Cal were sleeping around and with multiple partners, did you ever have a moment of, “What’s happening here?” Or, were you like, “Oh … cool!?”

VAN:  That started in the 2nd season, but I wasn’t like scandalized or anything by it.  What I love about the show, and what I love about the 4th season especially is that there are basically 4 narratives of gay male relationships, like queer all encompassing, but specifically looking at gay men.  Each one is different, and I think if you are in this community, I think you’ve seen these types of relationships, and you fall into one, or you don’t, or you fall between them.  So, I wasn’t like, “Oh, my God, you’re having a sex montage in the 2nd season,” no.  I’m not like some Victorian lady who is fainting on a chaise when someone is shirtless.  The thing that’s funny to me is that this isn’t shown more.

Photo: JPI

Van, you know from portraying Luke Snyder on As the World Turns, on a daytime soap, that as a gay character they often tap dance around so much in the writing!

VAN:  Yeah, I do.  I lived that, and that’s what honestly pisses me off.  That this program is afraid to show something.  It’s because they’ve probably done tests of what people are comfortable with, so it’s like, “Okay, we live in this society where people are uncomfortable with X and X and X and X,” and really, why?  People just need to live their lives.

Kit, do you have a favorite scene that you’ve written in this entire 7 years of the creative lifespan of EastSiders?

KIT:  I would say season 3 episode 5, the “What do you see when you look down?” conversation between me and Van as Cal and Thom.  To set the scene a little bit: it’s the culmination of days of talking on the road trip when you run out of frivolous things to say to each other and the real stuff comes out.  My character is asleep, and he wakes up to find that Thom is kind of drinking by himself in the camper, and they have this conversation to really get to the heart of what both of them are most afraid of, not just in their relationships, but in their lives. You sort of get to realize that this fear has been shaping their decisions from the very first season, that they have been leading with fear, and that is something that maybe they can work through as a couple, that they can maybe address together.  I think that moment for me is the moment that I knew that Thom and Cal were meant to be together.

Photo: EastSiders

That was the scene where you both were in tears inside the camper?

VAN:  Yep.  That scene is on my reel.  That is one of my favorite scenes that Kit has written also.  I would say for me, my favorite full-on episode is probably the first episode of season 3.  The bottle episode in Palm Springs.

KIT:  I love that episode, too.

VAN:  I think that what you do so beautifully is that it is just so funny and uplifting, but you do get those undercurrents of the reality in the relationship with Quincy and Douglas. I think that is where we see them go from sort of the clowns into the lovers, and I love the way that you put that.  We see them get a little bit more grounded.  So, that’s my favorite episode, but I love that scene in season 3, but I love so much from the series!  In season four, I love the scene with Jeremy’s foster daughter.  It’s not like a huge deep scene or anything, but the stuff that you brought out of that little girl … she is just incredible.

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KIT:  Scout was just so brilliant.  If she wants one, that kid has a career ahead of her.  I have every confidence that her family is supporting her in whatever she wants to do because they’re just incredible.

Kit, in EastSiders, you wore so many hats within it.  Would you ultimately want your next projects to just be acting in front of the camera, and not worrying about producing and writing it?  Did you like doing it all?  It’s a lot to take on.

KIT:  Yeah, they’re different itches to scratch.  I would like to have less responsibilities as a producer in terms of the day-to-day responsibilities and nuts and bolts of things.  I would love to never print a set of sides or stock ‘crafty’ ever again.  I would love to have those sorts of things taken off of my plate, but ultimately, my goal is to be a showrunner, and that means that I want the buck to stop with me.  I want to be the person who is ultimately responsible for not just the creative vision, but the execution of that vision from concepts to finished product.  But, I want to do all of it.  I find it really empowering to wear fewer hats.  I think a great career model that’s emerged for me in recent years is Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  I love everything that she does.  I love that she is creating shows that she’s not acting in, she’s acting in shows that she’s writing, she’s punching up the new Bond movie, and she is acting in projects that she has nothing to do with as a writer.

How do you feel the door had been opened for you because of the series?

KIT:  Oh man, I’m getting a lot of opportunities, and I’m really, really grateful for it.

In the LGBTQ community, what do the guys say to you, and how EastSiders has impacted them? Do they ever say, “Thom and Cal showed me this?” or “I’m so glad this was portrayed?” 

VAN:  Yeah.  I got something on Instagram about a week or so ago from a guy who was really freaking out about being in an open relationship, and he was like, “Thank God for this show.”

KIT:  Definitely anytime I’ve been outside of New York or LA and in a gay bar or a gay space, somebody has come up to me, and I definitely love it because the whole point of this is to get people to engage with your work.  That’s the reward; is knowing that people are watching.  I actually have a “gratitude folder” on my computer where I save some messages that people have sent to me.  It’s something I started recently, and I wish I’d been doing it since the beginning, because I always try to write back to everybody that writes to me about the show, and if I missed some, I’m so sorry.  It was an accident.  I can read you a few.  One says, “I live in a very conservative family, in a developing country, El Salvador.  Thanks to EastSiders, I understood that discovering my sexuality wasn’t something to be ashamed of and that all expressions of love are equally worth it.  You guys basically saved my life since I thought about suicide many times.”  In other messages, many people told me that the show gave them the confidence to come out to their friends or family, or that it made them feel less alone in countries where being gay is illegal.  I have a message from someone in Saudi Arabia, someone from Iran, Nigeria, Mississippi, where I’m from.  I get a lot of messages from Mississippi, because I’m so outspoken about how coming from the south shaped me.  It’s just really overwhelmingly satisfying.  As a kid there weren’t any openly gay people around me, so the first gay people I ever met were characters on TV, and it made me feel, like maybe, I could have a life worth putting on a screen someday.

Photo: Eastsiders

Let’s go back in time. Van, what was your first impression of Kit when you met him?

VAN:  I feel like I met him through his writing first, because I had never met him when I got the script.  I remember we met at a coffee shop in Los Feliz in Los Angeles.  Kit was very professional, and I remember there was a question if I was going to play Thom or was I going to play Jeremy? I think I was sort of gravitating towards Jeremy at that point, but you were like, “No, you’re a Thom,” so I was like, “Okay.”  (Laughs) I remember leaving. feeling that it was very much like a business meeting, but that went away really quickly when we just got to know each other.  You came across as a lot more serious than I thought whoever wrote the script would be.

KIT:  Oh.  Cool.  I love that.

Kit, what did you think of Van when you first met him? 

KIT:  Well, I was super nervous, and I definitely wanted to convey that this was something that I took really seriously.

VAN: (Laughs)

KIT:  So, I’m glad he got that.

Photo: JPI

I get that you wanted to come across very professional.

KIT:  Yeah, because it was my first time directing so I wanted to come ready, and the first thing I thought when I met Van was, “That’s Thom.”  Literally a sentence comes out of his mouth, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah.  Absolutely.  This is absolutely correct.  Thank God.  We have our lead.”

VAN:  I love the role of Jeremy, but I’m so glad I played Thom.

KIT:  Honestly, a lot of people were almost a lot of different people in this thing.   At one point, John Halbach, was going to be Thom.  John, at one point, was going to be Jeremy.  We didn’t have a casting director.  I was in grad school.  I had no clue what I was doing, and I keep on coming back to the idea of alchemy.  We accidentally made gold because we did not know what we were doing.

How did you know about Van?

KIT:  Through a mutual acting teacher in Los Angeles, and of course, I was familiar with As the World Turns and all of that, but I didn’t know him, and it never would have occurred to me that I could even reach out to somebody at his career level.  So, it was very, very fortuitous that we were connected.

Photo: Instagram

Kit, you have a gazillion followers on Instagram.  Do you ever have a moment with yourself like, “God, I have to do another post today to keep this going?”  

KIT:  It’s a hustle, and it’s a balance that John and I are both constantly doing our best to navigate, because we started it to bring attention to the show, and now, sometimes people will recognize us from Instagram and not from the series, and that’s not what we are going for. (Laughs)

You’re Instagram stars!

KIT:  It’s a balance that we are trying to navigate.  You know, how many shirtless selfies is too many shirtless selfies?  At what percentage of shirtless-ness will you no longer be taken seriously?  But as Van pointed out, I’m a serious MF with a master’s degree and multiple Emmy nominations. (Laughs)  So, I take myself way too seriously, but I know that you have to play the internet like a video game.  You have to do certain things and get a certain response, and attention begets attention, and a lot of people have told me that they found the show by following me on Instagram.  So, it’s mission accomplished I suppose, but it’s something that we have to be really careful about especially as I’m moving into phase two of my career.

Did you guys submit yourselves for contention in the upcoming Daytime Emmys?

KIT:  Yes.  Absolutely.

Photo: EastSiders

You both gave two of the most memorable performances of the year in Eastsiders and within the digital drama space.  So, we’ll see how it plays out for you when the nominations are revealed.

KIT:  Thank you.  It’s really interesting because historically it seems like the Daytime Emmys have gone with more traditional soap narratives, and ours is definitely the weird kid on the block, but I’m really hopeful that this season we will have a good showing because I really believe in Van’s performance.  I believe in all of the actors.  I believe that they’re all operating at their series best … to put it that way.  I think everybody is just sitting in their power and owning their characters in a way that was really, really cool for me as a writer to see.

It was amazing.  Congratulations.  I guess this is our wrap-up interview for Eastsiders … for now.

KIT:  Who knows… maybe this isn’t the end.  We’ll see.

So, will you miss seeing the journey of Thom and Cal on EastSiders?  If you watched the four seasons. did you have a favorite moment within it?  Share your thoughts on our conversation with Van and Kit via the comment section below.  Then check out the documentary of the “making of” EastSiders.

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