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The James Franco Interview – General Hospital

Courtesy/ABC

Yesterday on General Hospital, James Franco made his heralded return to daytime for round two of his performance as the artist whose canvas is murder, Franco.  This time, the crazed killer is about to unleash more terror on the residents of Port Charles, and continue his strange fixation with soap opera’s favorite mob hit man, Jason Morgan.   Actor, James Franco, who has been just the perfect pick-me up for an ailing genre, has been favorably writing about, experiencing and promoting the soap genre through his exciting and innovative performances that will hopefully draw new eyeballs to soaps, and give those legions of soap fans some tantalizing moments.

On-Air On-Soaps spoke with James Franco on Wednesday, about his second time to the Port Charles party, and how his performance art and love of art plays into this second go-round for his off-kilter character.  James’ relationship with MOCA, (L.A.’s, Museum of Contemporary Art), comes into play with an interesting exhibit created by fictional Franco, or is it?  And that is not all.  On Friday’s episode, James real–life mother, Betsy, will join her son in some interesting and shocking antics and plot twists, when she portrays Franco’s mom.

Here’s a little chat with motion picture, and now daytime drama star, James Franco.  And don’t forget to check out James’s latest movie with another soap alumnus, Julia Roberts, Eat, Pray, Love.

MICHAEL:

So, Francophrenia?  Perfect name for an art exhibit by Franco! Who came up with the title? You?

JAMES:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, Francophrenia! (Laughs) GH head writer, Bob Guza came up with Francophrenia: Dissolving the Boundary Between Illusion and Reality. Here is the thing; being on General Hospital has been such an interesting collaboration.  Half of the project for me has been putting myself in touch with these people, and then allowing myself to come up with some amazing stuff.  All I told them was, I wanted him to be an artist and I wanted him to be crazy, and they ran with that and gave me more than I ever asked for.

MICHAEL:

Did you have any hand in writing this new arc for Franco’s return?

JAMES:

Well, the first time I went to them, they planned it out. But the second time it wasn’t planned.  I was just planning on being on the show for one arc and that would be it.  But, the second arc starts airing this week and after I talked to Jeffrey Deitch, who is the new head of MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Art, we talked about a very special event that would be filmed at the museum.  I then went to GH with that.  I said, “This is how I think this new big arc should culminate. We will have a real art show, in a real space in the real world.  It will be Franco the character’s art, but in the way the show will be art.”  We knew that is where we were going.  So Bob Guza, and GH exec prod, Jill Farren Phelps and I, all discussed how we would do it.  So I did have some input.  But Bob is an incredible writer, and he writes the character of Franco so well.  So I want to let him always do that, because he is so good at that stuff.

MICHAEL:

How many episodes will you be on this time?  Last time, you filmed three days and were in over 21 episodes, and you whipped through all that dialog, and ran with it.  I heard through several of your GH cast mates, that your work load and the amount of lines you had to memorize was staggering!

JAMES:

Courtesy/ABC

My schedule this time around was a little more normal.  Last time I was in school, and so they piled all my material on those three days, and it was a ton of stuff.  So this time it wasn’t as crammed into the shooting schedule, but I think I will be on fourteen or so episodes.

MICHAEL:

So MOCA is the backdrop for some pivotal moments?

JAMES:

We shot the final special episode last Thursday at MOCA, and that is the culmination of the arc. It airs later in July.

MICHAEL:

I loved your article, Limits of Control, that you had written for Laphams Quarterly and that you spoke of soap acting.  What made you decide to write that and have it posted on the web?

JAMES:

One of the things this project and being on General Hospital has shown me more clearly, is that there are all types of entertainment, and the audience has certain ideas about what a good performance is, and what good acting is and what isn’t.  But, it’s like it all connects with everything, and soap operas have been on for decades, and they are delivering a very specific thing.  This is what has developed over all that time, and it’s entertaining for many millions of people, for a very good reason. This is what has developed for this audience.  And so you can’t take that and compare it to another form of entertaining because it’s a different animal, and in addition to that, when you take a performer from one end of entertainment, like say film, and say put them in this form of entertainment, he is going to be transformed by the context.  The actor on film or on television has so many factors that are mediating between your performance and the final product.   You know there is music, dialog, costume/wardrobe, and the editor, and everything that has gone into this that is transforming what an actor does.  So as an actor, I found first of all you have to surrender to that process, and that is just the way it is. But I also saw, depending on where I am performing, whether it be a movie, a soap opera, or on stage, the performance is going to look different and its going to come out differently, just because of the vehicle I am in.

MICHAEL:   

Courtesy/ABC

Did you watch your work back on GH?

JAMES:

I have seen a bunch of the episodes. I am very happy with them.   For me, one of the things that happened is it’s not so much about is this working, because I went into it thinking whatever happens is going to work because I am surrendering to this process. Essentially, I am offering my services as an actor and I am going to act as well as I can, and they can do with my performance what they will and I will be happy.   Fortunately, they have written such a great character for me and I love where they have taken him. And, I would have been fine if Franco just sat around the house all day and did nothing. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And so would all of America! (Laughs)  How is working with Steve Burton (Jason) and Dominic Zamprogna (Dante)?

JAMES:

They are great guys and they are pros.  They have been doing it for a while and it seems like it’s easy for them, but it’s nice to see that they take it so seriously, even after years and years of work. The day that I worked with them, I had seen them putting in the time to get it right and in order, and that was very, very impressive.

MICHAEL:

Your upcoming film Maladies, that was how this whole scenario started of you even having the notion of coming on to a soap, let alone General Hospital, correct?

JAMES:

Maladies kind of started the discussion, and in Maladies, which will be a feature film, it will be a very unusual feature film. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And that is a performance art piece, involving your collaborating partner, Carter?  

Courtesy/ABC

JAMES:

Carter is an artist, and we did a movie together called Erased James Franco. But, I think he wants to look at Maladies just as a feature film. (Laughs)  Although, I will say he can think that all he wants, because I will say it’s going to be a very unusual feature film.  But in that, I do play a character that was formerly on a soap opera.  And that was how the discussion started about, “What if I was really on a soap opera?”

MICHAEL:

So you thought it would be funny at that time to be on a soap opera?

JAMES:

I thought it would be a little funny.  When I went on General Hospital, a lot of people were surprised.  So I thought, yeah, it would be very funny and surprising, but I also thought the more I talked about it, and the more I thought about it, I thought, ‘You know this would actually be a great opportunity to try something new and have a new experience, but also a way to hopefully get audiences to look at entertainment in a different way.’

MICHAEL:

Did any of your motion picture star/friends go, “What the hell are you doing?”

JAMES:

Of course, that is usually the reaction and that is exciting to me.  The fact that people are having a reaction is great, and it gets a little boring after awhile if all your decisions are the same.  Also, a ton of film actors have been on a soap.

MICHAEL:  

Courtesy/ABC

What can we look forward to from artist/killer Franco in the coming weeks on GH?  Will he be more insane?

JAMES:

In a way, what we have done in this last arc, I think generated some material that will hopefully transcend the show in a way, where when we shot at the Museum of Contemporary Art and what I hope it does, I hope it gives people a second to step back and think about what art actually is.  You know, people can say, “What are you doing? That is crazy, that is not art, because it is hanging in a museum does not make it art.”  At the very least, I hope people will then question what they believe art to be, if they don’t think this is art.

MICHAEL:

Your mother Betsy is coming on the show and making her Port Charles debut on this Friday’s episode.  Truly, how did this all come about?

JAMES:

Yes, that was incredible.  That idea kind of developed over time. When I was on GH the first time, Bob Guza had seen my mom’s Funny or Die sketch, and he said to me, “Your mom is really funny.” And I knew that my mom wanted to act professionally.  She is a writer and she has written many children’s books that have been published, but she has taken acting classes for the last three years.  When Bob told me he thought she was funny, I told him he should put her on GH.  So, all the episodes had been written for the first arc, but when I came back this time, it was kind of a given to bring mom on, and so she plays my mother.

MICHAEL:

Do you actually have scenes together?

JAMES:

Courtesy/ABC

We have a ton of scenes together. (Laughs)  My character Franco, turns out has another name.  I guess he has an alias, and she calls me by the other name, which is actually Robert Frank.  The great thing about Bob Guza is that he brings in all these cultural references.  Robert Frank is actually the name of a photographer and filmmaker who made the film The Friends of Allen Ginsburg.

MICHAEL:

Was mom not a soap fan?  Or, did she watch soaps before?

JAMES:

She is a soap fan now!  (Laughs)

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Starling
Guest
Starling

Oh, look. Smirking, pretentious movie star returns to GH.

Darcy
Guest
Darcy

Great great interview, I read that he wanted his character to be dark but a serial killer? I’m sorry I’m a huge Franco fan and I didn’t expect a Harlequin romance but I wanted to see him at least “like” women. I found the writing the first time very misogynistic. I thought the 1st time around with Gillean (his agent) was soo hot and then poof she disappeared for the most part. I wanted a crazy but a more “romantic Franco.” He’s friggin gorgeous..I know its his art and all and I will watch him but sex is performance art… Read more »

Anna
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Anna

Bad guys on soaps are by far the most interesting characters to play. So of course if JF has the choice (and he has !) he would want to play a villain. Actually it is the flawed characters the most interesting to play but on soaps it is rare and for a short stint a bad guy is a good option, he can always play grey, flawed characters on movies. Interesting his art project, JF is pro-active with his smart movie choices or his studies in order to be a writer as well as his art projects tied with his… Read more »

Doe
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Doe

Well, Mr Franco is a very intelligent man to be sure. He is still educating himself in the art of film and someday I believe he will make a great movie. He can play any role, for example the life of James Dean whom he has quite the image of. In this interview you can see the brilliance he brings to any project such as “Franco” on GH. His continuing search for knowledge impresses me very much. I saw his mother in her role last week and they certainly have a strong family resemblance. I say, drag this story on… Read more »

mas
Guest
mas

The “FRANCO STORY SINKS GH LOWER & LOWER, it is soooo “BAD” it makes you lol at the “HORRIBLE” writing James Franco looks like a big smirk as he talked the Man Guza into another debacle.Mr Guza and Mr Benard said the viewrs did not what Sonny to be “normal” so they brought Sarah Brown back how did that work out?? She jumped ship and is now on B&B and saying and acting like the actress she is. Megan Ward get’s pushed aside for LLoC and what a “Mistake” that has been, the rating continue to dive and what does… Read more »

All My Children

Kim Delaney on All My Children Primetime Reboot: “All They Have To Do Is Ask, and I’m There”

While Kim Delaney is currently appearing on General Hospital in the role of Jackie Templeton, and she just appeared in her new Lifetime movie, The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt of Justice, the actress revealed she would be up for appearing in the upcoming primetime revival in development of All My Children.

Delaney became soap-famous in the role of AMC’s Jenny Gardner from 1981-1984 before she was killed-off the show in the now iconic jet ski explosion.

Now even though Jenny died, Kim would be up for figuring out how the character could be resurrected or how she could take part in the primetime reboot of the ABC soap opera called, Pine Valley.

In an interview with Soaps.com, Kim shared on being part of the reboot: “All they have to do is ask, and I’m there.  Sure, Jenny died, but someone asked me the other day if we ever saw her body. So maybe she’s out there, somewhere… ”

Former All My Children stars and real-life duo, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos are executive producers of Pine Valley along with Andrew Stearn.

So, would you like to see an alive and well Jenny Gardner, or some other role for Delaney, in the All My Children reboot? Comment below.

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All My Children

TONIGHT: Kim Delaney Stars in Lifetime’s ‘The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice’

Make sure to catch General Hospital and former All My Children and NYPD Blue star, Kim Delaney (Jackie, GH, Ex-Jenny, AMC) tonight on Saturday, February 20th when her highly-anticipated Lifetime movie debuts beginning at 8pm EST/7pm CST which marks the cable network’s 400th original movie.

In The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice, it tells the story of Mari Gilbert’s search for the truth behind what happened to her daughter Shannan, a sometime escort who disappeared after a ‘date’ on Long Island.

After Shannan (Katharine Isabelle, Hannibal) fails to come home, her mother Mari (Delaney) knows something is terribly wrong. Pleading to police to take her concerns seriously, she keeps pushing the police for answers. Mari’s insistence that her daughter not be overlooked eventually leads to a horror hidden on Long Island for more than a decade – 19 bodies of young women discovered buried in shallow graves along Ocean Parkway in the area of Jones Beach State Park. Though the search for the killer is still ongoing, Mari’s passionate dedication to giving her daughter and other forgotten women a voice, and the attention they deserve, has kept the case alive with hopes of a breakthrough soon. The movie not only follows a mother’s tireless search for the truth, but it also digs deep into the murders, including Shannan’s, that have gone unsolved for so long.

Delaney’s film, executive produced by Deborah Norville, is based off real life-events that transpired in the early 2010’s where the crimes were never solved.

In an interview with 98.1 WOGL Radio’s Glenn Kalina, Delaney shared: “There is hope in the film… but you also want an answer… what happened to all of these girls?  My character just was relentless trying to find her (daughter) or find answers where she was.  They found a bunch of other bodies, and what they learned was that they were all escorts… and then they learned there was a possible serial killer.”

Check out a promo for the movie below.

Will you be watching Kim in her starring role in The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice? Let us know in the comment section.

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All My Children

‘ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway’ Raises $130,565 For Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS In Four Day Streaming Event

Last week, ABC Daytime fans were thrilled to see some of the archival footage and performances from the ABC Daytime: Salutes Broadway Cares benefit concerts by those who were once in the mighty soap programming block that included: All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital. 

While only GH remains, viewers still loved seeing many of their favorites perform in the streaming event, ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway, from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which featured footage from those events that ran from 2005-2011 in front of a live audience in New York City.

The 2021 online event, which kicked-off on February 11th and streamed for four days, featured new content with daytime favorites including: Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Anthony Geary, Kelly Ripa and more, plus performances from the past benefits, and an original dance performance from Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) on the set of GH.

John Dietrich, who directed each of the ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares concerts, wrote and directed the stream. It was presented in partnership with ABC Owned Television Stations’ websites around the country with support from Good Morning America and The View.

According to Broadway World, in total, the ABC Daytime Back on Broadway event raised $130,565. The streaming total includes a matching donation of $50,000 made by Broadway Cares supporters The Dream Alliance.  Now, when combined with the seven-year run of the annual concerts, the ABC Daytime stars have raised $2,020,565 for Broadway Cares.

As part of the event week, Michael Fairman chatted with former One Life to Live star, Catherine Hickland (Ex-Lindsay Rappaport) about her performances over the years at the event, her role of Lindsay and her on-screen feud with Nora (Hillary B. Smith), and more.  You can watch it below.

What did you think of the ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway streaming event? Did you enjoy seeing the performances? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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