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The Jacob Young Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Courtesy/CEG

It has been over eleven years since Daytime Emmy winner, Jacob Young, has appeared on his original daytime stomping grounds, The Bold and the Beautiful. Now, one of soaps favorite “bad boys”, (as the former JR Chandler of AMC), comes home to reprise the role of Rick Forrester! After all, who doesn’t remember all the twists and turns of the Rick and Amber relationship back in the day? In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Jacob reveals “not so fast” about going back to revisit history, and that Rick has a lot to prove this time out!

Now as many longtime daytime fans know, Jacob just completed an amazing eight year as JR Chandler on All My Children. AMC had its network television conclusion on ABC last month on September 23rd. Shortly before that time, Jacob and B&B had announced that he struck a deal to come over to the international hit, and thus would not be continuing with AMC when it moves to the Internet in the early part of 2012 in its new home, The Online Network. Jacob fills us in on his difficult decision to leave Pine Valley, his thoughts on the controversial network TV finale which saw JR aiming a gun at the citizens of Pine Valley, and how he is ready to turn the page on life as a Chandler, and embrace life again as a key member of the Forrester clan.

We have always found Jacob to be one of the most endearing, honest, and refreshing actors to speak with in the genre. And so, On-Air On-Soaps is thrilled to bring this one-on-one chat with Jacob to you, as we welcome the original Rick home!

MICHAEL:

Jacob, you decided to come back to The Bold and the Beautiful instead of staying with All My Children with its move online. Why the decision to make such a BOLD move?

Courtesy/CBS

JACOB:

The issue with leaving AMC was about the uncertainty. Is there going to be a future? How serious are they about the online venture? How is it going to work? And I had just recently heard a rumor that they are actually moving all the sets out of the studio. Now I know with One Life to Live their team is signed and their people are pretty much ready and gung-ho. But I knew there was going to be a little resistance with AMC. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing, but with The Bold and the Beautiful it was my first job. So there is this sort of romanticism about my first break into Hollywood.

MICHAEL:

I remember interviewing you back in 1997-1998, when you were first at B&B. It seems so long ago, but look at where things are now! The old adage proves true, “Never say never”!

JACOB:

It has gone full circle. I am lucky to be one of the actors in a diminishing market to have some place to go, especially now with the way the economy, and jobs, and the uncertainty of our future, and the new great depression upon us. So, it’s nice to just be able to have a job and be a wanted.

MICHAEL:

Did you talk with Brad Bell, the executive producer and head writer of B&B, about story before you decided to sign on the dotted line? B&B has proven tricky sometimes when big name actors come to the show, because of the focus on main characters and that the show is only a half-hour long … so you can only pack so much story in that amount of time.

JACOB:

Courtesy/CBS

Thirty minutes certainly does not allow that much time for storytelling, but I said, “Brad, it really does not matter to me where you want to put me right now. I just want a chance to have everybody warm back up to him, and be worked into the story somewhere so people will start seeing Rick, and becoming use to and comfortable with me again.”

MICHAEL:

Seems like an excellent plan, so Rick is not shoved down the audiences throat!

JACOB:

Right. I have totally taken a different approach on this. The writers have caught on, or are just on the same page with me. Rick is going to stand up for what he believes in, but his approach is a little more tactful. He wants a fresh start. Now, obviously all those old rivalries will pick up and probably blow up in his face, but at least Rick is making efforts to try and mend relationships with the damage he did in the past.

MICHAEL:

You are not telling On-Air On-Soaps fans that you are going to be a complete good-guy are you? Soap fans have come love you as a badass! (Laughs)

JACOB:

(Laughs) I am sure there will be a time when I go straight for the throat. I know there will be that dichotomy with Thomas, because he is fighting for his position in the family. Rick is still a little older than him and wants to make sure he settles down a bit.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Do you ever look at Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) and go, “You play my mother?”

JACOB:

Every day! (Laugh) She is my mother, but she is absolutely beautiful and dateable! She is more than dateable! I find myself stammering on myself when she is talking to me. She is being genuine and I am like, “Uh-Uh-Uh.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And then John McCook (Eric) plays your dad! That must have been very cool for you to come back and get the opportunity to work with him again.

JACOB:

Well, I really bond with John on an almost a real father/son level. We always had that relationship even back in the days. He is the guy that takes everyone under his wing and makes everyone feel comfortable. If we could all aspire to be that kind of person and say, “hello” and embrace and hold and be friendly, I think the world would be a better place.

MICHAEL:

Rick finds out that his former flame, Amber, and Marcus had a child immediately upon arriving back on the scene!

JACOB:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Yes, that was right off the bat at the beginning of my return. Rick found that out, and he says to Marcus, “So, you and Amber are an item?” And Marcus tells him they are absolutely not together. And then there is some small talk and that opened up a little story arc that is happening with that. This was one of the things Brad and I talked about.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Rick would really forgive Amber for all she has done to him in the past?

JACOB:

I think he can forgive, but you never forget, and that I think is going to be the barrier. Amber is very supportive of Rick taking an active interest in the family.

MICHAEL:

In addition, Rick came back to town and instantly wanted to help Hope with her relationship mess with Liam.

JACOB:

Yes, absolutely. He wanted to help Hope. You see that caring side of Rick that was not there that much before. He really loves his sister. He wants her to be happy with Liam, because that’s what she wants. However, Rick thinks Liam is a dirt bag, but if his sister loves a dirt bag, then that is how it’s got to be. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

So if there is an open playing field for Rick Forrester, in terms of a romantic interest, who would you like to see him paired with on the canvas?

JACOB:

There are very few women on this show that are in my age range. Brad and I were talking a little bit about that. Maybe down the line we will recruit in someone new.

MICHAEL:

Yes! Maybe there was a woman from Rick’s past while he was away in Paris whom they need to bring in.

JACOB:

John McCook said maybe there was someone he met down in shipping and maybe she is someone who is European. That would make for an interesting storyline. We will see how the cards fall. Right now, he is really just trying to figure out if he wants to stay in town, or go back to work for the International Side of Forrester Creations.

MICHAEL:

Now Rick is going to get involved with Thorne and Taylor as they maneuver their takeover of Forrester Creations!

JACOB:

Yeah, it is sort of everyone coming together going, “OK. We have really got to make a run at this, because we are falling short as far as the fashion is concerned. We have got to put our heads together and rise above.” I think Rick’s intention is to work with Thorne and Taylor. Now it may be to stick it to the other Forresters, but I think it’s mainly about the competition and putting the brand back out there. Rick wants to be the guy to help bring that together.

MICHAEL:

What does he really do for Forrester? Do we know? Or, should we make it up? (Laughs)

JACOB:

Courtesy/ABC

(Laughs) He was running the international team from a business perspective, because Rick is not a designer, although they recently have hinted that maybe he is designing a little bit. And, I can’t draw and neither can Rick, apparently! (Laughs) I would say, Rick takes an active role internationally in sales and business, and works on some creative ideas. I think he agrees with Thorne and Taylor right now; that there has to be change and has to be a movement that happens that puts Forrester back on the map!

MICHAEL:

Will we see Ridge and Rick at odds again? Remember; while you were away from B&B there was that “balcony” drama story point.

JACOB:

Yes. absolutely. There is always this “tread lightly” kind of attitude between him and Ridge, because you know at any minute they could blow up at each other. Rick is trying to resolve that stuff and come in with a fresh slate.

MICHAEL:

OK, but would you say the fans should trust that?

JACOB:

No. Absolutely not! (Laughs) There is definitely a storm brewing.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about the controversial ending of All My Children and the finale episode, which has been all the buzz for the last several weeks. There you were in the closet with a gun in the final episode. And the talk is, “Did JR shoot himself? Or did he shoot somebody?” What did you think about how it ended?

JACOB:

I will tell you this, the way they had written it was not the way they had edited it. It was definitely changed in the editing and I can tell you now. Originally, JR was supposed to unload a bunch of rounds of fire. He was basically going to take out everybody he was at odds with. And then, I got a change in the script like a day before the taping, saying that there is just going to be one shot fired. So then they taped the show with my gun out as if I was shooting somebody, and there was a billow of smoke and the whole thing. So it was definitely not JR that got shot. But now with this, they could change it that JR did kill himself, especially with editing. And actually, it was one of my ideas to begin with, where I said to them, maybe we should leave it to where maybe he killed himself.

MICHAEL:

What many are speculating is, since AMC already knew you had signed at B&B before the final episode was taped, that perhaps they changed the original scripted ending because they knew you were not continuing on with the online.

JACOB:

I was already in talks with B&B, but they did not know that. I don’t know how much that has to do with the decision of the ending, because they had written that before all of this happened. But keep in mind; JR still had that plane ready to fly out of town.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Originally, ABC had been planning a two-hour finale for AMC, before it was going to continue online with Prospect Park. Did they shoot a second hour of the finale that is in the can, that would further explain what happened if that were to be put up online as the premiere episode?

JACOB:

No, unfortunately not. Now they could re-edit from that point of what we shot, where JR makes a run for it. I was not satisfied myself. I just think the ending was not clear enough. The gunshot sounded muffled and I felt like it should have rang out, but maybe if it was a close-range shot to himself… who knows? The Prospect Park team did come to me and make me an offer, and it was not the offer that I wanted. So I passed softly. But I just don’t see how the show will be the same if not everybody agrees. I know everybody is still emailing each other, and we have an email chain where we talk about the negotiations. So I have some insight on those things.

MICHAEL:

Talking with your former castmates, it would seem that most people on the outside truly don’t understand what they went through and the toll it took on them. The cast was moved from coast to coast, they were promised many things and were disappointed, and there were constant cancellation rumors. Right now, they don’t know who is going to be producing and writing the show …

JACOB:

…We had so many days cut back, and instead the network would air historical episodes. It was just not a good year for All My Children. We were hoping there would be enough momentum to carry us through another few years, but ABC pulled the plug. So absolutely, there is a lot to think about. Because you have to understand from the actor’s perspective if that could happen there, it could happen again with a new team as well. There is also consideration of where is all their funding coming from? How much are they going to be able to raise? How long will they keep it afloat? But, I can tell you personally for me and my career, to come to B&B was the right move. Regardless of the terms of how I left B&B years ago, Brad and I have a great relationship. He is one of those kinds of guys that I can just talk to about anything, and its vice-versa. With other executive producers, that is your boss, and you need to tiptoe a little bit. But with Brad, I can talk to him on a one-to-one level. So he is excited about it, and I am excited about it.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

So, did you come in with a laundry list of storylines for Brad Bell to consider?

JACOB:

No, I really didn’t. I knew he was going to get cracking on it and wherever it’s going to land, it’s going to land. Then, it’s really up to me now to put the emphasis on particular scenes to help control things a little bit. And, that was always my intention with JR … which was to make him emulate and become more like his father, Adam Chandler, every day. And so by manifesting and bringing it into the story, the writers had nowhere else but to go there. But it was the best thing for JR.

MICHAEL:

Five-time Daytime Emmy winner, David Canary (Adam/Stuart Chandler) came back for the final week of All My Children. He was so riveting to watch, and every time he is on-screen he commands it! It must have been such a nice button on the AMC experience to have some final scenes with him.

JACOB:

David makes other actors, better actors. He is fantastic to watch. When I found he was coming back, I welled up with tears. I was just so excited to be able to see him. You spend so much time with somebody on such an intimate level, and it’s so cliché, but it becomes family. I will tell you this … every day David Canary would compliment me. He would say out loud to people, “You know, Jacob is very talented.” I am like, “David, are you serious? You should be looking at yourself!”

MICHAEL:

What did your castmates say to you when you decided to leave AMC and come to B&B? I know AMC creator, Agnes Nixon had some very choice, but humorous words for you on that.

Courtesy/ABC

JACOB:

They were all excited for me and they said it was the right move. They were happy that I was going to an internationally successful show. Michael Knight (Tad, AMC) called me right as the story broke. He said to me, “Jacob, are you going over to B&B?” And I go, “Yeah, and it’s hard for me to let people know.” And he said, “I am so happy for you. It is the right move for you.” So that felt good coming from my peers that they had the same sentiments.

MICHAEL:

In a way, there had to be some emotion tied to your decision to leave AMC. I am sure there were moments of it being a “hard call”. What will you miss most about playing JR?

JACOB:

A lot of people feel without the Chandlers what is All My Children? So I was tossing around new title ideas, “All My New Children.” (Laughs) Some of the things I will miss most about playing JR is what came out of his mouth, and even making him a homophobe at the end! (Laughs) I would read the scripts shocked, but also at the same time, this is who he is. I will miss his spontaneity and getting a bit vulgar. I mean, there was no edit button on him. As far as his drinking at the end, that storyline seems a bit recycled. I wish he would have recovered a bit from that and been a responsible drinker.

MICHAEL:

So are you good with putting JR to rest and moving foraward to play Rick on B&B?

Courtesy/ABC

JACOB:

The only thing I was upset about was the ending of AMC and how cryptic it was. I wish there was more of a through line on that. But, I do feel like a page has turned and not to be cliché, but it has. It is behind me now. It is weird for me to be back at B&B in the sense that it has been so long, and so much has happened in between. For myself, it is about the uncertainty within my abilities to rejuvenate Rick and bring it back. But at the same time, it is challenge and I love challenges. I have different days where I feel gung-ho and other days where I feel, “I hope this is the right place.” But this is natural, and with anytime in life that you make a change, there is that transition period. They say: uncertainty is what normally brings about the right decision.

MICHAEL:

You are scheduled to meet the fans at the end of October on the east coast in the personal appearance series, A Tribute to Pine Valley. How were you able to get time off to do that while you are taping another soap? What are you going to say to people when they come up to you at the fan events and tell you how much they miss JR, and you have some very emotionally-charged moments with them? Are you going to tell them to check you out on B&B?

JACOB:

Well, that is the thing. I told production I had this previous commitment. I said, “Here’s the deal. I think it’s important number one for AMC, because it’s only a core group of actors who are doing it. And secondly, if people don’t watch CBS and want to know what I am doing, I can absolutely plug in B&B. I can also tell them that B&B is only thirty minutes, and to help them make the transition to decide to watch it. It is hard to do, but I am always proud of the decisions I make, and hopefully the fans will feel that as well. And I think if they truly care about Jacob Young and are interested in following my next career move, they will do that. Some of the soap fans network hop anyway. It was interesting. I was at a Bold and Beautiful autograph signing, and I had not even aired yet on the series. A lot of fans I saw there were the fans I see at a lot of All My Children fan events. So I think fans will move around a little bit.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

In closing, what do you want say to your fans, and fans of B&B, that they should be on the lookout for from your revitalized Rick Forrester?

JACOB:

He is going to surprise you. He is going to bring back the core of what Rick is about and stood for back when we first knew him, but with an edge, and without being a complete jerk. He is going to be fighting for his position in the family again. He has learned a lot while he has been away working for the international side, and he is ready to put his stamp on the company. I always say there is a big main difference between JR on All My Children and Rick on B&B. Rick has nothing to prove, he came from a loving family that cared about him, and he could always talk to them, whereas JR had nobody and especially at the end! It’s going to be a very exciting time for me and the viewers over at The Bold and the Beautiful that is for sure.

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Bren
Guest
Bren

This is great! I appreciate his candor. I think he made the right decision going back to B&B.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

We’re with you Jacob! can’t wait to see the original new Rick in more action.

Y&R best
Guest
Y&R best

Jacob Young is the one and only Rick Forrester. So glad to see him back. I hope we will see less Liam and the youngsters and more about Eric, Stephanie and Rick.

ellen
Guest
ellen

this was fabulous. Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to interview Jacob. I always love his interviews, and I’m enjoying him as Rick.

ethel
Guest
ethel

jacob was very candid and most of all seemed very satisfied with his decision to go back to b&b –
this was the most down to earth interview i have read from an amc actor since the online ending of amc & maybe it’s because jacob has pretty much settled somewhere else……………i was already watching b&b because i followed don diamont there y&r – lol
thanks michael for posting this interview

Marley
Guest
Marley

thanks for the great interview.
I admire Jacob’s honesty and insightfulness and I look forward to seeing more of Rick in action on B&B.
´
jacob’s comments on AMC’s ending are very interesting. I wonder if he’s still working on the documentary that he was shooting about AMC’s last days?

Nancy Wizner
Guest
Nancy Wizner

I’m sure Jacob made the right decision for himself in returning to B&B. My only question is “WHY THE RESISTANCE WITH AMC?” Millions are waiting for AMC to start up in January and now there is a rumor that it won’t? Even PP can’t stick to their word!

Nancy Wizner
Guest
Nancy Wizner

Is AMC a go with PP or not? Jacob seems to be hinting that it is not.

ethel
Guest
ethel

in what part of this interview did jacob seem to be hinting that amc is not a go with prospect park?? are you referring to the section where he talked about where pp will be getting their funding & the amount of the funding??

Nancy Wizner
Guest
Nancy Wizner

Very first question. Why did Jacob decide to go back to B&B rather than stay with AMC. He made a few statements to make me think and everyone is already wondering what’s going on with PP. Two of the cast has resigned. Haven’t heard anything lately. Only dead silence!

Ina
Guest
Ina

Kinda in aw about it watched it for 40 years off and on. Hope they all have something to do like old suzan lucci. Maybe she can revamp the show? They come and go like the rest of us. Will miss the show though

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Does anyone know about Young just signing a short contract with B&B and then going back over to PP for AMC?

Angelmi
Guest
Angelmi

I fell in love with Jacob as Lucky on GH, and really loved him as JR on AMC, I am so excited to have him back on B&B, since I missed him the first time as Rick, he is doing a great job back there, and made the right decision not to wait for AMC on the internet.

Thanks for this interview.

annie
Guest
annie

jacob young is one of the best actors ever , he could pass for brad pitts brother, i am an avid fan, good luck mr. young

Interviews

B&B’s Scott Clifton and Don Diamont Talk on the Plight of Liam & Bill and Their Cover-Up of Vinny’s Death

If you are watching current episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful then you know that Scott Clifton (Liam) and his on-screen father, Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) have been spending plenty of time together in scenes in very dramatic and intense fashion.

In story, Liam is guilt-ridden over running down Vinny Carter (Joe LoCicero) by accident when he was driving Bill’s car.  Since the moment that Vinny was killed, Bill leapt into action, destroying any evidence tying the two to the scene of the crime and continually demanding that Liam let this go and move on with his life, or the implications for the both of them could certainly be a long jail sentence, or worse.

Photo: JPI

Now as Liam is finally making headway in a reconciliation with Hope (remember his last secret – sleeping with Steffy – was quite the doozy), this new secret of what he has done, and hiding, could up the stakes even more and take him away from his family for good … or would Hope (Annika Noelle) after finding out what Liam did be the nail in his coffin that ends their relationship once and for all and kicks him to the curb?

Courtesy/CBS

Both, Scott Clifton and Don Diamont chatted virtually with Michael Fairman exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel to offer up for viewers and fans of The Bold and the Beautiful: an inside look at what goes on when they tape their scenes, how they see their characters motivations, and they serve up a preview of what may lie ahead in this tangled web that Bill and Liam have unfortunately weaved.

Photo: JPI

Check out the humorous, candid, and enlightening conversation with two of the leads and mainstays of this CBS Daytime drama series below.

Then let us know; how do you think Liam and Bill can get out of the mess they find themselves in? Will Liam crumble and spill the beans? Will everyone in town get on to them and figure out the secret they have been keeping? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section after taking a look at the virtual conversation.

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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