Connect with us

Interviews

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.

Click to comment
Advertisement

Leave a Reply

avatar
Bren
Bren

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

Sarah
Sarah

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

Y&R best
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
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
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
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
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
Nancy Wizner

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

ethel
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
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
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
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
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
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

Y&R’s Hunter King Talks Summer’s Clash With Phyllis, Seducing Billy, ‘Life In Pieces’ & Being Newly Engaged

On The Young and the Restless viewers just watched the summer of …  Summer!  When the top-rated soap brought back two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Hunter King to the canvas, you knew it was going to be to stir up some major drama.  But, little did viewers know that Summer came back a vixen, ready to steal her mother’s man!

Last month, it became game on between mother and daughter after their epic showdown, where Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) got wind of Summer’s attempts to put the moves on Billy (Jason Thompson) and her plans to meet up with him in Philly! (And that spelled trouble for the couple known as “Philly” too)  Oh yes, and there was that well-deserved bitch-slap!  So, where will it all go from here?

Michael Fairman TV caught up with King where we discussed: Summer’s new attitude, if Summer will get her wish and have sex with Billy, her real-life engagement, and her upcoming return to the CBS sitcom Life in Pieces, and more. Check out what Hunter had to say below.

Summer is so pursuing Billy! When you came back to Y&R, did they tell you we need her to be really vampy and this seductress?  What has happened to her? (Laughs)

HUNTER:  Yes.  I understood where it was coming from, and I was excited to play the same character, but being able to play it totally different.  I get to sort of reinvent her.   I think when Summer went away she discovered herself, and kind of grew into Phyllis’ daughter … maybe.  But I will say, it has been very vampy, and you don’t even know yet what’s to come!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How is working with Jason Thompson?

HUNTER:   Working with Jason is great.  He is always so professional and prepared and always willing to collaborate on scenes.  Jason is just so creative, and so in it, and loves to work so much that he just exudes that the scenes.

Let’s just say when Summer and Billy “finally” hit the sheets … (Laughs)

HUNTER:   We don’t yet … we shall see.  The way this whole storyline unfolds you think it’s going one way and then there is a twist, and then twists on top of twists.  The more layers that come into play you start to understand why everything is happening the way it is.

Now, Summer had no idea that Billy had a gambling addiction, which put this whole spiral of his in motion?

HUNTER:  I guess not?  (Laughs)  It’s hard to know. I would say she evidently did not know about his gambling.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Viewers saw Phyllis slap her daughter in the face as the fight between them escalated; when Summer admitted she was going after her mother’s boyfriend!  How was it taping that scene, and working with Gina Tognoni?

HUNTER:  She’s amazing! Gina didn’t really slap me, but I will say afterwards they wanted to put red blush on my cheeks, and I said, “Oh, just pinch my cheek instead, and I wound up bruising my cheek.”  So Gina goes, “I really didn’t hit her!”  It was the funniest banter on set.  Gina was scary in those scenes, like a good scary.  I went, “Damn!”

On August 18th, you got engaged to your beau, Nico Svoboda.  Were you expecting him to propose when he did?

HUNTER:   I was so shocked, even though I had wanted it to happen, very much.  But, I had no idea when it was coming. It was amazing, and the best day of my life and, we are engaged!

Photo : HKingInstagram

And he got down on one knee for the proposal!

HUNTER:  Yes!  I thought it was sweet.  It’s something you dream about when you are a little girl.

What it is about Nico that makes him the guy for you?

HUNTER:  Besides the amazing qualities he has as a person – he’s compassionate, he’s caring, he’s driven, he’s loving, and just cares for others so much – I love the way that he loves me.  I have never felt so loved before, and so accepted, and he is very supportive of my career.

Courtesy/CBS

Are you excited to go back to your role as Clementine on the sitcom, Life in Pieces?  It is slated for a midseason premiere.

HUNTER:  I am super excited to be back.  We are back taping again   I am excited to do the sitcom and Y&R   As an actress, it’s so exciting to get to do different things:  a sitcom and soaps … why not?! (As noted in the press: King took a three-episode break from Y&R to film some episodes of the sitcom due to a scheduling conflict.)

Then speaking of “All in the Family,” it was just announced, your sister, Joey is coming onto Life in Pieces.

HUNTER:  Yes!  How crazy. She will be on for a few episodes, and it will be fun.  I think we will interact a little bit on the show, and we have never had the chance to work together before.

Photo: HKingInstagram

You and your sister have the funniest Instagram videos.  Do you plan those out?

HUNTER:  Joey is so funny.  It kind of just happens when we get together.  Sometimes we film something and sometimes we don’t.  But Joey is so much fun and my best friend. She is the funniest person in the entire world, and so it’s just easy to laugh when I am with her.

So, what did you think of the showdown between Summer and Phyllis?  Are you glad Phyllis slapped her daughter, or was it a mistake?  What do you think will happen next?  Will Summer ultimately sleep with Billy? Do you want Summer to end up with Kyle (Michael Mealor)? Will you be checking out Hunter on Life in Pieces? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

GH’s Kirsten Storms Chats On: The Emotional Impact Of Nathan’s Death & Who Could Be Maxie’s New Love Interest

2018 has been a difficult year for Port Charles’ beloved Maxie Jones. She became a widow and a single mom following the untimely death of the love of her life, Nathan West (Ryan Paevey).  Maxie’s portrayer, General Hospital fan favorite Kirsten Storms delivered in scene after scene, tearjerker after tearjerker, as viewers experienced the grief of losing a good man, a good cop and her husband, and the father of her child.

Complicating things was Maxie’s friendship with Peter August (Wes Ramsey), who came to town with an agenda and who was revealed to be Henrik Faison, Nathan’s half-brother. As Maxie soldiered on with life after-Nathan, she formed a bond with Nathan’s sister, Nina (Michelle Stafford). Through various (and one nefarious) twists and turns, the two women have grown closer always trying to have each other’s back, and to be there for one another in their times of need.

This past Labor Day, ABC and General Hospital aired the encore presentation of Nathan’s funeral, which reminded us all of great soap opera storytelling, and Storms’ powerhouse performance in this storyline.

Michael Fairman TV recently chatted with Kirsten where we found out: how she handled this 10-hankie inducing storyline, who she thinks the ultimate new love interest for Maxie will be – with Peter and Chase (Josh Swickard) in the running, and how she has stood up for herself on social media when she has had to set fans straight on their often misperceptions. There is no question that Storms contributions to making the character of Maxie come to life, make her one of the standout MVP’s of daytime drama.  Here’s what Kirsten shared.

Nathan’s funeral has been one the standout episodes of the year thus far in soaps. Every aspect of it was beautifully executed from the performances, the writing, the directing, camerawork, etc.  What were your thoughts of the storyline that followed with Peter (Wes Ramsey) being kidnapped by Nina (Michelle Stafford) and Obrecht (Kathleen Gati)?  Maxie did not originally have a clue as to what was going on to avenge Nathan’s death. 

KIRSTEN:  I have chats with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) occasionally about storyline.  He and I have a very good relationship.   He’ll talk to me about things I have coming up, because he knows I’m not the type of person who talks to other people about it.  I’m literally the last person on the gossip train.  I’m always the last person to find out about things.  It almost makes me feel stupid. (Laughs)   So, it’s nice because he’ll say to me, “This is going to happen: Nathan is going to die, and Maxie and Peter are going to become closer, and Nina and Obrecht are going to kidnap him and start breaking his limbs ….”   I thought, “Oh cool. We’re going back to crazy Nina,” who is one of my favorite characters.   I love that we always forget the stuff that Nina has done in her past.  It’s not brought up, but it’s there!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

They have balanced the character of Nina out since her beginnings of the show, which has made her a more fleshed-out character with many dimensions.

KIRSTEN: They have!  Nina’s job with Crimson really leveled that character out, and the relationship with Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), although he’s crazy himself so it works!  Michelle has built up such a great character, and Kathleen Gati always brings one hundred and ten percent.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I love the bond between Maxine and Nina, because Nina has been the grieving sister, and Maxie gave birth to Nathan’s son, and they were trying to help each other through their despair.

KIRSTEN:  Yes, it wasn’t too long ago that Maxie was following Nina around in steam rooms begging her to take her back with her jobs, and now they’re inseparable.  (Laughs)  She jokes that Nina’s transferred her love from Nathan to Maxie in a creepy way. (Laughs)

Maxie has worked for Kate Howard and Nina. Who does Maxie think is a better boss?

KIRSTEN:  Selfishly, I think she’d probably say Nina, because I think Nina takes into account her opinion a little bit more.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How did you get through the amount of crying leading up to, and following Nathan’s death, that was called upon for you as an actress to play in so many tragic and heartbreaking scenes?   Were you able to get through it, and not take the emotional toll that was hitting the character home with you?  

KIRSTEN:  It’s always difficult to have emotional scenes, but to have so many of them felt like it went on for a long time.  There was a good two and a half weeks where I had to be sobbing going into work.  I had recently been reminded of what it was like to lose somebody that you care about.  I remember when I was breaking down my dialogue (because there’s a whole huge process that I go through) thinking, “Oh! I remember what this felt like, and I have to remember to try to portray that when doing this.”  The moment when Nathan flatlines, and Maxie goes outside, and she hears it … he’s dead.  That unexpected turn, because they woke Nathan back up that’s what killed me.  Nathan gets shot, he has surgery, he wakes back up and starts talking, and then he dies moments later.  I remember thinking, “Oh, my God!”  Having Nathan wake up, and giving Maxie that hope and then just taking him away … from that moment on I knew I would have to be just crushed completely… while playing pregnant.  I felt that there were a lot of days after work when I would stay for an extra hour and just decompress, but I was happy when they started to move on from that a little bit, because it was a heavy couple of weeks.

Photo Ctedit: JPI Studios

Did you watch any of those performances back?

KIRSTEN:  I did, and I never usually do that anymore.

So, you’re going to submit yourself for the Emmy this year, right?  If you don’t, I am going to do it for you myself! (Laughs)

KIRSTEN: (Laughs) Yes, I plan on submitting.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Where do you see Maxie’s relationship going with Peter now?  Will Chase (Josh Swickard) be in her life?  How many cops can she have relationships with if she were to date Chase? (Laughs)

KIRSTEN: (Laughs) I know, right?  I was kind of hoping for that fact alone that she wouldn’t end up with Chase, but then I worked with Josh.  Not only did people like it, but I liked it!  I worked with him the day after I came back from two sick days that I took, and I felt terrible.  I was there pretty much because I didn’t want to let Frank down, and Molly Burnett (Maxie sub, GH) was working on something else, and she couldn’t work one more day for me.  I remember being on set and I kept saying, “Josh, I am so sorry.”  We had already had our scenes in the police station, but they were so brief.  This was the first real set of scenes with him that I had.  I just felt that it wasn’t the first impression that I wanted to make on him for who I am as an actor, but he was so supportive.  Josh didn’t let it alter his performance.  I could barely look at him and I could barely look into the lights!   I just felt like I wanted to be at home in bed, but he made those scenes fantastic.  They wouldn’t have been what they were.  If I had walked on set, new to a show, with someone who had been there for a long time… and now, knowing that he was a Zenon fan, he probably had all of these other expectations, and I’m like, “I can’t even look at you!”  (Laughs)

(Laughs) So you would be okay with a Maxie/Chase pairing?

KIRSTEN:  One hundred percent.

And as far as Peter goes?

KIRSTEN:  I have a soft spot for Wes.  I really do.

He’s been given a tough time by many fans of the show on social media.

KIRSTEN:  He has, and I think that’s unjustified.  I have really high expectations for my scene partner, because I know that when I’m going in there, I’ve prepared my dialogue, and I have a good sense of what I am going to bring to the table.  You should do that too as my or anybody’s scene partner,  because there are lots of soap actors out there who are not working anymore, who would be willing to put that type of work into this part.  With Wes, he respects acting so much that never in a million years would he not go to the set with that same mindset – if not more so than I have – and I think we have this mutual respect for each other on that level.  We are committed to our scenes, and kind of don’t really care what else is going on in the storyline at that moment.  For example, when he tells Maxie that he’s Henrik in the hospital and she is in a wheelchair, there were four or five other people in that scene who didn’t have dialogue, so there was chatting and laughing going on.  He just completely zoned in to what he was doing.  He was able to bring emotion and cry.  I texted him and was like, “I don’t even think I’m going to be noticed in those scenes.  Great job!  It’s good, because I didn’t like the way I looked in the wheelchair!”  I just adore him, and he and Laura Wright (Carly) could not be a cuter couple with each other.  She’s happy. They both are very happy, and they both are genuinely good people, and to anyone who has anything to say about the reason why Wes was hired, or his part in the show, I’ll say that he has a better work ethic than a lot of people who I have had the opportunity to work with throughout my career.   He’s earned his place on the show, and if people just gave him a chance and step back from what they know goes on behind the scenes as far as his relationship Laura, they’ll be able to see how talented he is.

Does Maxie give Peter a pass for what he’s done, and his lies and deception?

KIRSTEN:  So many people have given Maxie a pass for stuff she’s done.  I’d have to say, “Yes”.   I do like that he’s Nathan’s brother.  I feel like that has got a weird thing to it that I can understand Maxie’s draw to him, but he’s also a different person than Nathan.

Courtesy/ABC

You’ve recently been great at shutting things down on social media when fans make assumptions about what is going on in your personal life and explaining the situation.  Can you talk to me about that?

KIRSTEN:  I guess motherhood changed me so much.  There’s no time for the b**s anymore.  Going through everything I did last year, I had to really accept that I am human.  The things that I go through and experience, or that have happened in my life are no different from somebody who is sitting at home watching the show.  I’m a person, too.  I can’t be ashamed of the things that happen to me.  I just have to own it and move forward, because owning it is how you get better with something.   Last year was a very rough year for me.  I think a lot of things came to a head for me personally.  I’ve never been the type of person to kind of slink back and let that take me over.  I’ve always been like, “Nope.  I want to get back to work.  I love my job.”  As much as I love it, I take it that seriously.  I know the emotional and mental condition that I have to be in to be able to be prepared and work as well as I want to.  So, I don’t want anyone to be confused about what my time away from work has been for.  I pride myself on the work I have done on myself, and I want to be able to acknowledge that.

So, what have you thought of Kirsten’s performance throughout her storyline following Nathan’s shocking death? Would you like to see Peter, Chase, or someone else as Maxie’s new romantic interest?  Share your thoughts on this and other points and views shared in this interview via the comment section below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

  • Violet Lemm: “Well thanks to you Harry for enlightening me on something most people know, which had nothing to do with my…
  • Pam S: “Thanks Eric Braeden for voicing your displeasure of the actor changes in the past year especially long-term ones such as…
  • joe: “Sadly, Mr. Braeden's comments aren't going to change a thing. These are not the days of old. They…
  • Myra Wagner: “Don’t let Michael go
  • Sandy: “I totally agree with you.
Advertisement

Power Performance

Drake Hogestyn as John

Days of our Lives

Airdate: 9-8–2018

Advertisement

Popular