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THE JEANNE COOPER INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

jean-mainshot.jpgMonday on “The Young and the Restless”, Mrs. “C” took a husband! That’s right; the grand dame of Genoa City married the ever-faithful Murphy in front of friends, families and a schnokered Jill. Just another marvelous moment in the history of one of soaps most valuable treasures… the character of Katherine Chancellor.

For 36 years, Jeanne Cooper has played the “The Duchess” with spunk, spirit and humanity that has made her a daytime legend. And what becomes a legend most? Well, for starters plenty of accolades: A Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series in 2008, something many of us hope she may repeat in 2009. With the Daytime Emmy Award nominations a week away, and Jeanne in the running
for her spectacular turn in the Katherine/ Marge “doppelganger” story 2.0, fans and soap pundits are keeping their fingers crossed that her name is called in the finals. Jeanne had already been given a Lifetime Achievement Award Daytime Emmy in 2004. In 2009 Jeanne was honored with the AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Award for her contribution to American culture.

Now at 80 years old, and better than ever, Jeanne is at the top of her acting game. With powerhouse performances and carrying a front burner storyline for quite some time, Jeanne could not be happier… and neither can legions of “Y&R” fans. I had the pleasure to chat with Jeanne in this revealing, honest, funny, and heartfelt interview to share with you at “On-Air On-Soaps”. The two of us go back many years, and I have always had a very special place in my heart for Jeanne… which enables us to talk about a myriad of subjects! From her thoughts on Katherine’s new hubby… to flipping the Katherine/Jill mother daughter story on its ear… to working with Jess Walton and Brenda Dickson, as her two “Jill’s”…to the young talent in Genoa City…..to the state of the Daytime Emmys…and to her battle with addiction. As you will learn, Jeanne’s proudest accomplishment is set for May 15th when the Springboard Center opens its doors in Texas. Now to revisit the golden moments of Jeanne’s and Katherine’s life, I give you, “The Divine Mrs. C”!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

How has it been working with the other Michael Fairman (Murphy)?

JEANNE:

He is a dear and a good actor. He is very giving, and not a selfish actor at all. He has done a lot of things in his career. He is a pro and comes prepared. The thing of it is, when you work in daytime, and how confusing that is; it has now taken him this long to know that you don’t count on anything for sure. Your 30 lines can be ripped down to two, if we need to for timing. Sometimes, he is so sweet and naïve. It’s hysterical!

wedding.jpgMICHAEL:

Now that Katherine married her new hubby Murphy, do you think it has any staying power or will last?

JEANNE:

With Katherine’s history of husbands, you are bound to die or go somewhere. (She laughs) We just got married and she finds that Murphy makes her happy. Katherine is a person who basically, since her first husband and her original happiness, has never really been a content woman. She has tried to be fair in her power. Looking for happiness at this age and this stage of the game, she finds somebody who is a great deal like Rex, but he is a simpler soul than Rex. She is just grateful that he took care of her and helped her find her identity, and that he believed in her. And if she was Marge, it was OK. If she was Katherine, it was OK. He did things that made her happy. Going to the diner, being a waitress, these things from the other side of the track… Katherine was aware of this side of life. She had empathy for it, for people with middle class economic values. She always cared but she never lived there, but she survived through the kindness of this man. It didn’t matter if he was 22 or 120, and vice versa.

MICHAEL:

Are you glad you have a love interest? Or, did you not envision a simpler man pairing for the grand dame of Genoa City? To me, I never saw Katherine with this type of a guy.

JEANNE:

I agree with what you’re saying. This is like saying, “Your hand can reach across the track”, but it can’t. I don’t think someone who is bait and tackle and fish is what Katherine envisioned for herself. Katherine married him in a sense, to appease him.

MICHAEL:

You are portraying an older citizen having a romance at 80 years old. I think it’s important to tell. How do you feel about the telling of their story, and how are you playing it?

JEANNE:

I feel their differences will make problems. Murphy will realize he just doesn’t fit into that element of life, and that’s all right and it doesn’t hurt him. I think he realizes Katherine can’t do bait and tackle. She has a worldwide industry to run. It’s like Jill said, “Welcome to the world, Murphy. You’re running with the sharks now and you are a fish out of water.” He has got to know that, and he can’t come in with his country bumpkin mentality and settle every argument. Also, don’t forget I am not playing madly in love Katherine; that I found love at this late date in life. I want the audience to say, “She’s not a 100 percent,” but it’s a sweet thing to do. Katherine is not about to become part of a ‘darling’ little couple. She is too powerful for that. I have talked to Maria Arena Bell (Head writer, “Y&R”) about that. Katherine cannot be just satisfied with bait and tackle. I do not think Doris Duke in any way would be happy with someone who drove a cab.

MICHAEL:

You have had such amazing material! For instance, when the show decided it was going to revisit the ‘doppelganger’ storyline, how far ahead did you know about it? And, how did you carry such a heavy workload?

JEANNE:

I knew a month ahead of time. Now I have a week off for the first time in six months. I have been working four weeks in a row, 12 to 14 hour days. I was in the dental chair for five hours getting stuff done that I should have done three months ago!

MICHAEL:

The Katherine/Marge “doppelganger” story was so great! Did you know it was going to turn out this good?

michaelGregoryGang.jpgJEANNE:

Oh, I knew. I felt good about it, and they were recreating something that happened 20 years ago, and out of all of this, and the ‘funeral’ alone, take a look at all the people you had returning to the show. Michael Gregory (Ex-Clint), who has been absent from the show for 20 years, he has been a friend of mine. We have talked two to three times a month for the past 20 years. I would go to New York, and he would go to the Daytime Emmys with me as my escort a lot of times. He comes out here, and we laugh, and we are going to be meeting in Las Vegas next time.

MICHAEL:

Tricia Cast is back as Nina, and this time she is sticking around for awhile!

JEANNE:

Tricia has been flying back and forth from Tennessee, and next time she comes out to tape she is staying with me. She is such a pro. TV Guide’s Michael Logan said years ago, and we did not know how to interpret it back then, but he said, “Of all the actors who can never be identified as daytime divas, but are among the finest ever, are Jeanne Cooper and Tricia Cast.” But, we were not your typical actresses. He said, “How novel of “Y&R” to bring these people forward.”

MICHAEL:

Recently, you were the centerpiece of “Y&R’s” 36th Anniversary episode when Marge was front and center!

JEANNE:

We had Maria Arena Bell (Co-executive producer and head writer, “Y&R”) do the “Our Town” version of Genoa City; having Marge being exhumed and sitting on the couch that was our 36th Anniversary episode. They had so many calls from that.

MICHAEL:

It was an homage!

JEANNE:

Basically, Katherine is the center of the show and she is the color wheel and off of her anything can spin! I can go into anybody’s storyline and be accepted. They can come into mine, but they can’t go into each other’s and be accepted. Maria brought the audience in by saying, “This is Genoa City. This is what the people do and who they are, and it’s this specific group of people in the city.” Where Lynn Latham (ex-executive producer and head writer, “Y&R”) was trying to show breaking news on people you never heard or cared about. Lynn saved us. I don’t care what anyone says, she got us to the top, and then started to make the show it never was meant to be. The ship sailed out of the harbor, and it was a different show, and then made it into something that it wasn’t, and it went down the tube.

mariabell_jeanne.jpgMICHAEL:

How do you like Maria’s writing?

JEANNE:

You are talking about Maria! She trained under Bill Bell Sr. before she married Billy Bell. She has been a highly respected writer in magazines, and what have you. She is the best!

MICHAEL:

What is coming up that fans can look forward to
with Katherine?

JEANNE:

Katherine will be involved with a character coming back to Genoa City who has not been on the show. And, through that character all hell will break loose; business wise, relationship wise… you name it, it will happen. It will affect everybody, and it’s not John Abbott! It’s a real human being. (She laughs) It will shock the shoes off of you on how the person comes back, and why!

MICHAEL:

Jess Walton (Jill) and you…are you glad they split up Katherine and Jill as mother/daughter?

JEANNE:

I did not like it and Maria either. Maria never wanted them to be mother and daughter. I had explained that I never had been happy with it, because it happened in such a ludicrous way. It happened to accommodate others. First, there was Elizabeth Harrower (Ex- Charlotte). She started out as an actress and she was a writer for Bill, until they had a falling out. I wanted Elizabeth to have a last shot at being an actress. She was a brilliant writer. She wrote all the good material for Katherine that every happened. I said, “Isn’t there something?” to Jack Smith (Ex-head writer, “Y&R”), at the time. He said to Elizabeth, who was undergoing chemo at that time, “Do you want to do this?” He put his thinking cap on and this is what he came up with. It was feasible if Katherine was young and crazy and drunk, and had the affair when she was separated from her first husband.

jess_jeanne_knife.jpgMICHAEL:

But you were very vocal about not wanting Katherine to be Jill’s biological mother?

JEANNE:

I never wanted to be her mother, because I thought it would take some of the fire away from their arguments. It was amazing in the soap magazines. They would say, “Jess and Jeanne were televisions super-couple,” and we were. We go back and forth with this off- set in our dressing rooms, and it’s so marvelous to have that kind of fire again. It’s great to be able to create an attitude towards a scene, and that sort of thing.

MICHAEL:

What did you think about the recent cake fight during Billy and Chloe’s wedding, which signaled the reigniting of the Katherine and Jill’s feud?

JEANNE:

We had a fun time between the two of us, and the cake worked for us. It was the turning point and every one was emailing the studio going, “Thank God. Thank God, they are at it again, and they are on the right track!” People absolutely ate it up!

MICHAEL:

Many people want to know if you and Jess Walton are close?

JEANNE:

Jess and I are very close friends. I protect her back, and she protects mine. We are always there for one another, and there is no two ways about it.

MICHAEL:

What about your first Jill, Brenda Dickson, who has seemed to land herself in hot water with the law in Hawaii?

brenda.jpgJEANNE:

Look, I love Brenda and she loves my family. She has known my family for 35 years, and I adore her, but she has a penchant for bad mates. The thing of it is, when we are dealing with Hawaii and the good ole boys, they can gang up on you and you don’t have a chance. I mean, what a dumb thing to do over the house? In Hawaii, law is a whole different thing, and forget the court system. Brenda never did anything to me, but to love me and be a friend. I loved her and I was her friend. When any one had problems with her; there was always more than one side to anyone and any story. Of course, she was erratic, but that was Brenda and that made her Jill.  Bill saw that, and John Conboy (Ex-executive producer, “Y&R”) to this day will tell you, “That’s Jill!” However, Jess Walton has done a hell of a job of doing the part her way.

MICHAEL:

You turned 80 years old this past October, won a Daytime Emmy last June, was honored with an AFTRA award at the beginning of 2009, and the head storyline of your career on soaps. Quite a thrilling time for you! What do you want people to know about turning 80?

80thblowout.jpgJEANNE:

I wanted people to know that age is just a number. It cannot stop you and you certainly can’t do a sprint like when you were younger, but that’s not what you are all about when you are 80, either. If you are productive, breathing, talking, and have something exciting to look forward to every day of your life, or try to, that is a good way to live. But, if you think you were 39 one day, and now you are 80 and life is passing you by, that is not a good way to think of it. It is the date you were born. It’s not to celebrate how long ago you were born, but that you were born. That’s all a birthday means to me.

MICHAEL:

How did you celebrate your 80th birthday?

JEANNE:

Lee Bell (co-creator, “Y&R” and “B&B”) set something up and it smacked of Lauralee Bell (Ex-Christine, “Y&R), too. What they did was have a birthday party for me. It was business and loveable people that I like in the business. No one was invited for the sake of “they better be invited.”

MICHAEL:

The guys on the show… you have a special connection it seems with many of them!

JEANNE:

Don Diamont (Ex- Brad, now Bill, “B&B”) is my sweet baby, and Doug Davidson (Paul). They are like my other two sons! Michael Graziadei (Daniel), Greg Rikaart (Kevin), who is a dreamboat, and Billy Miller (Billy), are so reminiscent of our guys when they were younger. We have that mature younger group now. I love doing scenes with the kids.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of the younger set, you and Adrienne Frantz (Amber) sparkle together!

AdrienneJeane.jpgJEANNE:

Adrienne is probably one of the finest talents I have worked with. She has been a dedicated professional. She is prepared, and she knows what she is going to do and she does not change it, because it’s well thought out before she performs. She is typically of that group that is wild and woolly, and has a great time. I have to keep saying to her, “Make sure you get some rest.”

MICHAEL:

Do you think Amber is really related to Katherine?

JEANNE:

I have often wondered if Amber is my grandchild because of my affinity for her. I just fell in love with this kid and her work. She is so damn talented, and she is a redeemable character. They won out, because we had such good chemistry working together. Maria saw that and now totally writes for it. She has Katherine have her favorites… like little Kevin. Katherine likes slightly demented people, because that is the kind of person she was.

MICHAEL:

You know, Katherine Chancellor is more popular than any of the younger kids on the soaps!

JEANNE:

I will tell you, Maria Bell by integrating and putting an older person out there in a major role, delivered ratings more so than other great ideas that went south.

MICHAEL:

What have you thought of Greg Rikaart’ flawless performances during his storyline with “Stockholm Syndrome”?

greg_jeanne.jpgJEANNE:

Greg is consummate. He has the material to play and did an unbelievable job

MICHAEL:

What is it about Michael Graziadei that you think pops off the screen?

JEANNE:

Michael Graziadei reminds me of movie stars in the heyday, like a young Paul Newman… that’s where he would fall. Graziadei is poised and focused. He could have a small part in a scene, but he will have a beginning and middle and an end to it. I love to watch him grow on our show. He is a light-hearted, and a dirty kid. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Have you always wanted to be a successful actress?

JEANNE:

I never wanted to be a star! I wanted to be an actress. “Star” is so temporary, and an actress is a way of life. When you think of Glenn Close or Shirley MacClaine you don’t say, “Movie star”… you say, “actress”. A movie star has a hell of a chore to make sure she is botoxed, and stitched together right, and is terribly glamorous, and has “T&A”. After her time is gone, if they keep attempting it, they get laughed at. So, she better know how to act. An actress is a way of life. Being a star is a selfish and acheivabable way of life, temporarily

MICHAEL:

Who are Jeanne’s acting idols?

JEANNE:

Ava Gardner was a good actress. She was a very down to earth human being, it was no b**s with her. You would watch Ingrid Bergman. You saw how she knew what she was doing, and she just happened to be beautiful. She never, ever met the criteria of movie star, but that is what she was. I think that Simone Signoret was wonderful, and Olivia De Havilland was great, too.

MICHAEL:

You were honored by AFTRA! How cool is that?

JEANNE:

I am as old as AFTRA, and its true! They are 80, too! As an actress, you have to be protected by a union, fighting for the rights and upholding it. It’s important for pensions and things later in life, and a fair shake with all the new media that is emerging right now.

emmy.jpgMICHAEL:

You are up for a pre-nomination at the Daytime Emmys for Lead Actress, and we will find out if you made the final cut on May 14th. What did you submit?

JEANNE:

It was a combination of Katherine and Marge. It was a ‘dive’ scene. Marge was drunk. You know, they changed the rules and you are only allowed one show now.

MICHAEL:

What do you think about the fact that the Emmys were not going to
be broadcast at all, by any major network that carry soaps, before
the CW stepped in?

JEANNE:

I think it’s degrading. I think it’s unacceptable, and I am humiliated and offended. I will tell you why. Daytime kept the three big fat networks alive for so many years while they jerked around so many pilots a year that were never sold. They used up the tremendous revenue of the 70’s and 80s that we brought them, so that they could afford to jerk around. And that’s how I feel about it.

MICHAEL:

CBS did not want to air them and it was their turn this year, and they currently have four soaps on the air!

JEANNE:

How about that? It was CBS’s time and they did not do it. I can see why NBC would pass, and I understand that. I would much rather have a luncheon and let the Academy handle it, and it’s not televised, and the press and the nominees, and the presenters are there. I never approved of them of going nighttime, ever! They did it because it made them a fortune, and when it stopped, they did not want anything to do with it.

MICHAEL:

“Y&R” is doing better right now than it has in awhile. Why do you think?

JEANNE:

At a time when unemployment is like it is, usually entertainment prospers. We picked up some new viewers, and that is Maria’s hard work. We have picked up some new viewers and proved a point.

mf_queenfaces.jpgMICHAEL:

What was the point of Katherine’s Restless Style photo shoot?

JEANNE:

I don’t know and I don’t ask questions. It was about Katherine being the Queen of Many Faces, and that is because of her life, and her storyline. She is the Queen of Genoa City and The Queen of Many Faces.

MICHAEL:

Of the 36 years you have been on “Y&R”, do you have a favorite storyline?

JEANNE:

I loved it when Katherine got drunk and threw herself over the ship, and got picked up by Felipe and hauled off into the jungle, where she was very, very, happy. I thought that is whom they would find for me now, Felipe, but 20 years older and extremely rich. He came to Genoa City because when he took me to be picked up by the consulate, he was hiding from the Cuban people who wanted his skin! What a great thing that would have been for Katherine! And Katherine could have felt a little more intimidated by him rather than Murphy being intimidated by Katherine.

MICHAEL:

How much of Jeanne is Katherine?

JEANNE:

Katherine is a control freak, but I have taken a lot of her strength in my later years. Basically, I am very empathetic to situations and people. I feel for my country right now and pathos I have never felt. I am a product of the depression in many ways, and so is any one who is 75 years old and over.

facelift.jpgMICHAEL:

You broke new ground on daytime with the first cosmetic facelift. Looking back, what did you think of that decision to let the cameras see you so raw in real-life?

JEANNE:
It was probably one of the best things I ever did for people! So many people did not have the courage; not only to get their facial stuff done, but to have reconstructive surgery. I was doing it because gravity was yelling, and I said, “I’m coming. I’m coming,” and by doing so, it achieved so much good from it. It took the stigma away from saying you have to look like you are falling apart because you are getting older. I broke down barriers .

MICHAEL:

What are you most proud of?

JEANNE:

I think my proudest moment will be coming up in Midland, Texas, in the middle of May, where not even two years ago there was bare ground, and now there is a three million dollar structure called the Springboard Center, which is a center for addiction. I am the spokesperson for the center. To see a structure that has patients in it, and to try and restore human beings and give their souls back to them and become productive people, is so fulfilling for me. Hopefully, it will become a franchise. It’s important that you stay there to find out why you do what you do. Their website is www.springboardcenter.com. You know, I played the alcoholic and then they sobered up Katherine, and I started drinking!

MICHAEL:

It was life imitating art?

JEANNE:

I started drinking after I decided I was not meant to be married to the man I was with. I would have panic attacks and my guts tied up… and then brandy hit it, and it relaxed the muscle. Pretty soon the stomach started calling for the brandy, and it was not difficult to fall into it all. However, it was “Y&R’s” creator Bill Bell Sr, and my son who said, “You have to stop this.” Thank God, somebody knew I needed help.

MICHAEL:

Katherine’s granddaughter is back on air in the form of Clementine Ford. How do you think she is doing as the “new” Mac?

JEANNE:

She almost has it coming around, and it takes time to walk into a new role or a recast. She has a slight saltiness, which is good for Mackenzie. Clementine is delightful. I am enjoying watching her.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), who on-air is Katherine’s best friend?

JEANNE:

It’s like a soft glove, and a comfortable house, and deep respect… and vice-versa.

JeanneCooperFace.jpgMICHAEL:

What would you still love to do as Katherine?

JEANNE:

I would really like to see her open an orphanage stateside; rescuing the nine and the ten year olds, and for her to do something good with her money, and take in the boys and girls who are going to be in foster homes.

MICHAEL:

Katherine wrote a book. Would you, Jeanne Cooper write your memoirs?

JEANNE:

Yeah. I might. Telling on people is not my way of dealing with things, but some of the interesting stories might be good, so
there is a possibility. We will see!

READ MORE
Elizabeth Hendrickson Makes Another Return To Y&R

Interviews

Y&R’s Elizabeth Hendrickson and Greg Rikaart Talk On The Return of Chloe and Kevin

Fans of The Young and the Restless were overjoyed to learn a few months ago that Kevin and Chloe played to perfection by Greg Rikaart and Elizabeth Hendrickson were headed back to the CBS Daytime drama following the regime change at the top.

Rikaart had previously with the series for 14 years before he was taken off-contract, and then journeyed to Days of our Lives to take on the role of Leo, while Hendrickson went to General Hospital to take on the role of Margaux Dawson, only to eventually head back to Genoa City.

Michael Fairman sat down with the popular on-screen duo recently on the set of Crimson Lights at CBS Television City for a special conversation via The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

When discussing what happened behind the scenes that led them back to Genoa City, Liz expressed: “It was definitely a surprise to get the call. I wouldn’t say it came out of nowhere because I saw Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) was coming back and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) was coming back, and it looked like they were getting the gang back together.  I wasn’t sure if I was next on the list, but when I did get the call, I was really excited, and so I chimed in with my better half (Greg) and he was too, so then I was like, ‘Well, let’s do it.”  Greg related: “I had a conversation with Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) and expressed that it was nice being back in the building. and a little bit later, I got a phone call inviting me back.”

Photo: JPI

If viewers have followed recent developments on Y&R, Chloe and Kevin kidnapped Billy for is own protection (Jason Thompson) to a cabin, after he tried to kill Adam.  In the ensuing scenes, Kevin injects Billy with a syringe filled with a drug to knock him out.  Rikaart shared, “Doesn’t it make sense, that if anyone had something on them to knock someone out it would be Kevin .. on the ready!?”

READ MORE
Y&R's Mark Grossman Dishes On Tackling One Of Soaps Most Coveted Roles ... Adam Newman

Liz said of Billy’s deteriorating mental health state and working with Jason Thompson (and Billy’s revenge against Adam): “Chloe also knows that Delia would not want her father to take revenge.”  As far as working with Jason Thompson, Hendrickson shared: “Jason is really, really wonderful.  I have known him personally outside of the soap world from mutual friends.  And in getting to work with him, Jason is just great. He is a really solid guy, as well.

Photo: MFTV Inc

Later, Liz and Greg weigh-in on their favorite all-time scene together.  Greg admitted, “The first one to come to mind is our New Year’s scene, because that is when we first got together. and the build-up to that was a really long time coming. I thought it was so beautifully played where Kevin had finally given up on the idea of them being together, and he is out with spray tan girl and it’s New Year’s Eve and all he is doing the entire time is complaining about Chloe. Meanwhile, Chloe is home in her pajamas eating ice cream with Esther – it was very much a throwback to a John Hughes 1980’s rom-com.”

On their return to Y&R, Greg concluded:  “I think the fans are excited that we are back, and I think that fuels my excitement too, because when I was gone I really missed this place and knowing people missed having me here, I realized I wasn’t crazy …. this was something special.”

READ MORE
Elizabeth Hendrickson Makes Another Return To Y&R

So are you happy to see Liz and Greg back on Y&R? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. But first check out their video interview!

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General Hospital

GH’s Michael Easton Talks On Finn’s Hayden-Less Story, Finola Hughes & Favorite Soap Roles

It was a pretty wonky summer for General Hospital’s Dr. Hamilton Finn (Michael Easton), especially concerning the women in his life.  After proposing to Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) she exits to go deal with her twin sister, Alex, thus facilitating Hughes’ summer break from the series.

Meanwhile, another great love of Finn’s life, Hayden (Rebecca Budig) re-emerges on the canvas during Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco’s (Roger Howarth) wedding reception, and is now clearly involved in some story with Jasper Jacks (Ingo Rademacher).  But what about the unresolved feelings and story with Hayden and Finn? After all, she left him and Port Charles and had his child (who is apparently alive) but is not letting her ex know that little fact.

Meanwhile as a doctor, Finn has had to deal with numerous medical infectious disease crisis’, with the latest being what happened to Sasha (Sofia Matteson) at the hands of the evil Cassandra Pierce (Jessica Tuck), who Finn would love to put behind bars for all of her nefarious drug-related crimes and for what she previously perpetrated on him.

Michael Fairman TV recently caught up with one of our favorite gents in daytime, Michael Easton, to get his thoughts on the on-screen developments in Port Charles, what he hopes is ahead this fall, a look back at some of his favorite soap roles (from One Life’s John McBain to Port Charles’ Caleb Morley), why One Life to Live was such a gem of a soap and a special time for him and his enduring soap career, and much more.  So, here’s what Michael shared in our irreverent entertaining, and candid chat.

Photo: ABC

Hayden has been back.  But you and Rebecca Budig have not thus far shared many scenes together.  Do you think we will eventually circle back to their story?

MICHAEL:  First of all, it is amazing having Rebecca back.  I’d like to say that I had forgotten how beautiful and talented she is, but I didn’t.  She stays with you, and her performances resonate.  So, coming back to work with her is like falling back into it.  For selfish reasons, I am somewhat disappointed that I thought when Hayden came back; she would completely turn Finn’s life upside down.  So, to be honest with you, I don’t know much more than what you are seeing is going on.

I don’t understand why the show is keeping that apart.  That’s what people wanted to see when Hayden came back, because many fans loved them together.

MICHAEL:  I’ve taken a hit anytime I’ve run into fans because I think (any fans that follow that couple), when they left, are a little disappointed in what they are seeing in that the girl who left is not the girl who has come back.  I think that has been the difficult thing for Finn.  It’s almost like she has reverted back to a character she was a few years prior to that.  In terms of having his life upturned, it hasn’t been upturned because she has been rather cold to him.  So, it probably isn’t the way I would have told the story, but maybe they have some great stuff up their sleeve.  I think the stuff that we have had together has shown promise.  Hopefully there will be more, because I enjoy working with her so much.

So, there’s a baby.  Does Finn ever think the baby Hayden said died, could be alive?

MICHAEL:  I don’t think he does.  I think he (just from Finn’s nature) would believe that she would never to that to him.  I imagine his thought would be, “What did I ever do to you?  You would do this to me,” because he was clearly in love with her, and she broke his heart.  I don’t think he ever sees that coming.  I know it’s hard because the audience all knows that, and it’s hard to play the person who is not in the loop when everybody else knows the truth, but you have to play that.  You have to play that you don’t watch the show.  I think Finn has to come from that place that she would never do that, and I think that will probably take it to a place (if that is the case) that will just make the fall that much grander, but again it is incredible having Rebecca back.

Photo: ABV

Has Rebecca said anything to you like, “What’s going on?  I’m barely talking to you on the show?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Yes.  I don’t want to speak for her, but I think she probably thought it was going to be more the character that left who was coming back.  I think we’ve all been a little surprised, but maybe the writers have some great surprises up their sleeves, and this will play out.  It’s just different than I thought it would play out.

Finola Hughes had gone off on her summer vacation for awhile which put a pause in what’s next for the Anna and Finn romance, as well.

MICHAEL:  Well, you work with me long enough, and then you need some time off, right?  It’s like PTSD, right?  You need a three-month treatment plan to make it back.  So, I don’t blame her for taking some time off. (Laughs)

Finn proposed to Anna with this impromptu-at-her feet-moment at the Nurses’ Ball.  Did you like the proposal?

MICHAEL:  The only thing that I would have done differently is that I originally thought she said no, just because I love playing uncomfortable, embarrassing moments.  I would have had a lot of fun with that because being embarrassed in front of groups of people is something that I would like to play.  I do that quite often in my own life. (Laughs)  I didn’t watch it back, but in the moment, it felt really nice.  She’s lovely.  Who wouldn’t propose to her?  So, there wasn’t a great deal of difficulty in doing that.

Photo: ABC

Do you sense the on-screen magic between Finn and Anna?  

MICHAEL:  I hope we both bring each other out of our comfort zones a little bit.   I think Finola embraces that, and I embrace that.  I think we both sort of pull each other a little bit.  When the writers write it that way, especially early on, there was a lot of great dialogue and banter, it was like a very adult-type of movie for a while, and I really enjoy that.  It is like Sullivan’s Travels or something like that.  That’s a really dated reference.  Who else do you know that is going to pull out a reference to Preston Sturges movies?  (Laughs) How about Moonlighting?  Even that might be dated now, but it’s closer.  (Laughs)  I think that’s it.  She’ll go with it.  Sometimes just in the flow of it, stuff comes out, and nothing goes by Finola.  There is no ad-lib or gesture that you can make where she won’t go with you on it.  She’s such a pro, and she is so good at that.

Photo: JPI

You’re both smart actors, in a way.  

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MICHAEL:  She’s smart.  She’s really smart.   She’s extra smart, and I’m a little bit under, (laughs) and she balances us out.

Do you think Finn will finally help apprehend Cassandra?  How is it when you get to work with Jessica Tuck?

MICHAEL:  Yeah.  I would imagine.  I love Jessica.  I think she is fantastic, and I always like when the “bad guy” doesn’t know they’re the bad guy.  I know when I played Caleb on Port Charles; one of the things I liked about him was that he never thought he was the bad guy.  I think that is always the right way to play a bad guy, and Jessica certainly doesn’t play it that way.  She plays it like she is just really devious.  She is lovely. I sort of look at it like a team, and anytime you lose good players, your team is not as good.  So, anytime someone says something about someone coming back who is a really good actor, it’s great when they come back.

Photo: JPI

How does Finn feel now about his brother, Chase (Josh Swickard)?  He just can’t seem to get himself to show his affection towards his younger brother.

MICHAEL:  He does love him, and that’s right.  That’s the conflict, but it’s hard to be mad at Josh because he is the sweetest kid.  He looks at you with those big brown eyes, and you go, “Why am I being such a jerk to this guy?  He’s just too nice, but it’s good.  I think we’ve slowly developed a rapport, and it’s just one of those things that I think every so often, daytime gets right where you can almost tell something in real time.  It wasn’t rushed.  It’s taken a year, and they are sort of coming around to one another, but there are still a lot of secrets.  That’s coming up.

Photo: ABC

Where would you rate Finn in the scope of your characters?  I mean, for me, McBain will always be #1.

MICHAEL:  Is McBain 1?  (Laughs)  You and Steve Burton (Jason, GH).  I’ve never sat and ranked them. Obviously, I played McBain the longest, and it was probably the character who was the most like me I did ride-alongs with cops in New York City for like a month.  So, I was able to ground him in some reality for myself, and I was able to stick to that.  We had a great adviser on the show for over a year who was a former New York City detective, gold shield guy.  Someone once asked why the police department was so good at One Life, and that was it.  They really embraced it.  We didn’t have people sneaking out of the jail-cell with a bobby pin picking the lock. (Laughs)

It was a bit grittier on One Life.

MICHAEL:  I enjoyed that.  McBain not saying “I love you” for 10 years, being on daytime and being able to do that – now that is quite the accomplishment!

Photo: JPI

I remember when McBain FINALLY told Natalie (Melissa Archer) “I love you.” I lost it, but then again, I am sucker for soapy goodness like that. It was a big moment.

MICHAEL:  It was.  Then, he had to kind of retract it and said, “I was drugged.”

Yeah right, he had that “What did I do?” moment.

MICHAEL:  “What did I do?”  That’s right.  So, that was a challenge, and that was really interesting.  Port Charles’ Caleb was probably the most fun to play because that was just an incredible amount of freedom.  There was no grounding it in anything.  It was the biggest sandbox I’d ever played in.  If you wanted to walk over to the couch, you walked over to the couch.  You did whatever you wanted to, and obviously, getting to work with the lovely Kelly Monaco (Ex-Livvie, Port Charles, now Sam, GH) every day… it was just nice.  Caleb only had one intention.  He was in love with this girl, and he just wanted to be with her, and anytime you get one specific need as an actor, it makes it so easy. You’ll stop at nothing to be with this girl, and that’s so fun to play.

Photo: ABC

Right, and Kelly Monaco and you have amazing chemistry when you have been paired romantically together in story.

MICHAEL:  Yeah, I think those things exist in a special place, and they probably belong in that special place.  Although, I thought it was an interesting dynamic for a period of time, it would have been interesting to see where that would have gone on GH with McBain, and Jason, and Sam, because there was something there that they could have built on very slowly.  I don’t know what would have happened, but I think that dynamic was the only dynamic that could have worked for a period of time.   I don’t think Fin would work, but that one dynamic would have been interesting when you have the cop, the outlaw, and the girl who comes between them.

Photo: ABC

One Life to Live recently would have celebrated its 51st anniversary if it was still on the air.  Back in July, I posted these photos of major characters through the years.  I received so many “likes” and so many comments on social media such as, “I miss it so much. Bring it back!”  What can you say about those enduring One Life fans and being part of that one-of-a-kind show?

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MICHAEL:  They’re the most beautiful fans.  All of the daytime fans are beautiful, but I think it was a really nice connection with the One Life to Live fans, and we got to know so many of them working in New York on the streets, you came out of the studio, and people were right there.  So, you really got to know them.  You got to engage with people.  I love that show, and I miss it.  Otherwise, I still stay in touch with a lot of them.  I think that speaks to it.  I have lifelong friends who I met on that show, which never happens.  Usually, you walk out of a show on your last day, and you’ll never see anybody again.  You’ll all say, “Yeah, let’s exchange numbers.”  I walk out of there and I go, “Thank you, and I’ll never see you again.”  I don’t even lie to people.  Like, I know I’ll never see you again, and I never have except for that show, and I am still in touch with so many of those people.  So, I think that spoke to how close we were.

Photo: JPI

Were you and Roger Howarth (Franco/Drew) always close on One Life, or are you closer now because you do all of the personal appearance events you do together?

MICHAEL:  Well, Roger and I have known each other; it must be going on… 25-30 years now.  So, it was pre-One Life.  I think at some point we both had long hair, and both had done daytime, so we were pretty interchangeable.  I think one time they called him about a part I did, and one time, they called me about a part when he left.  I actually know Roger because I did a series called 413 Hope St., and Jesse Martin was the lead in it.  It was a Damon Wayans series for Fox.  So, I had known of Roger, but I really got to know him at a New Year’s Eve party in like 1995/96.  Obviously, I’ve become really close to him now because we never did appearances or that sort of thing, but I think we have both sort of gotten over ourselves a little bit now. (Laughs)

Because you weren’t very visible before.  That goes for both of you!

MICHAEL:  No, and that’s by default.  I don’t think we ever discussed it.

Photo: ABC

It wasn’t a conscious decision?

MICHAEL:  No, I just thought (especially when I came back to daytime to do Caleb) it was just more interesting if people didn’t know a lot about me because the character was that.  So, it took me a while to ease into it, and also, I just had to get over myself.  I had a fear of engaging with large groups of people for a while.  In a strange way, Roger and I have kind of gravitated to each other.  I think we are both similar types.  Between the two of us, we make up one real man, you know?  Each of us is like half a man. (Laughs)

Together you can conquer.

MICHAEL:  We are a good crutch for each other!  He picks up my half, I pick up his.  That’s the solution.

So what do you think GH viewers can look forward to coming up with Finn?

MICHAEL:  I’m assuming at some point he is going to get his world turned upside down when he finds out about Hayden and the baby, and how he is going to react to that will probably be interesting.  I hope that’s going to happen.

Photo: ABC

If he became an addict again, how would you feel about that?

MICHAEL:  I think him struggling and getting over that would be interesting.  I would hope that wouldn’t be his reaction, but I guess that always hangs over your head.  Certainly, him falling apart would be interesting.  I think your faith in the universe would be crushed in that moment.  I don’t know how he would react.  I’m just really curious to see how that would shake out and to play that.  I think it would be a challenge.  I think you’re always looking for some way to turn everything … and I invite that.  I always think that sometimes in daytime we play the gimmick, but you should always play to the heart of the story.  What’s going to make you feel something?  If you feel something as the character, as the actor, I think the audience will feel something with you.  I think it is maybe one of the things that we have gotten away from a little bit is that emotional attachment.  When I watch shows that really move me, it’s still that emotional attachment between two people, and at the end of the day it should still be a love story … no matter what it is.   I think that is the heart of what we should be doing.  I think every poem should be a love poem of some sort.  I know they have to weave the other stuff, the science fiction, and the memories, and the missing babies, and the twins, but at the heart of it, it should really be about two people finding themselves in love.

Are you working on graphic novels, movies?

MICHAEL:  I’m always doing something, Michael.  It keeps me balanced, and it keeps me from losing my mind.

Photo: JPI

Will you be producing and directing any new short films?

MICHAEL: Trevor St. John (Ex-Todd/Victor Lord Jr. OLTL) and I are always talking about doing a short film.  Every time we drink too much beer, next thing you know, we are going to be doing a movie.  We have many beers, and then we shoot a film.  Then, we call our friends like Kamar de los Reyes (Ex-Antonio, OLTL), and Sherri Saum (Ex-Keri, OLTL), and Dan Gauthier (Ex-Kevin OLTL), and we go, “Now you guys, drink many beers, and you will join us on this film.”

See, now I get how movies are made!  

So, are you hoping that GH tells more of the story between Finn and Hayden?  Are you hoping that Anna and Finn make it to their “I do’s? What would you like to see happen to Finn? And finally, of all Michael’s soap roles which has been your favorite? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Scott Clifton & Annika Noelle Chat On Liam and Hope’s Long and Winding Road To Their Reunion With Baby Beth

“The wait is over” were four of the happiest words for fans of CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful when they learned, and then watched, after agonizing months, how beleaguered parents, Liam (Scott Clifton) and Hope (Annika Noelle) finally were reunited with the baby girl they believed had died at birth, when they were victims of a heinous baby switch plot.  To make their journey all the more agonizing, Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) had ‘adopted’ baby Beth along the way and was also duped in the process.

In this story arc, several characters learned of the secret, but for one reason or the other chose to keep mum about it, thus not letting long-suffering Hope and Liam know the truth! Chief among them was now bad boy, Thomas (Matthew Atkinson), who is still legally-married to Hope and in wanting her all to himself, blackmailed others along the way to keep quiet, and even ran poor Emma (Nia Sioux) off the road because of what she might spill!

However, Liam, with a major assist from little Douglas, was able to figure out how he and Hope had been lied to and manipulated this whole time.  To think, this string of events all started on that fateful night in Catalina when Hope delivered Beth into the corrupt hands of Dr. Buckingham (Wayne Brady), who needed cash to pay off a gambling debt.

Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago, and viewers witnessed the emotional reunion between Liam and Beth, and then Hope and Beth, in a sweeping epic soap opera tale that delivered in so many ways.  But is there more trouble ahead?  From the looks of it, and with Thomas going over a cliff, we would say so! For now, B&B set a ratings record for the show during the big reveal, while Scott Clifton and Annika Noelle delivered gut-wrenching performances that will be remembered for some time to come.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Scott and Annika, who were at the epicenter of this exhausting, twisted, frustrating tale to get their thoughts on: playing out the key scenes, how they got through it month after month, what they think might happen next, and some behind- the-scenes insight on how several of those major moments came to life on-screen.

Photo: JPI

When you both went into play the scenes where Liam puts two and two together and is reunited with his daughter, and then Hope finding out that Beth was alive, did you feel added pressure that you had to get the performance, and the payoff just right, because the audience had been waiting so long for this?

SCOTT:  Annika had a bigger job to do there than I did.  I have been doing this long enough to know that to get in my head about it having to be just right, it’s not going to be, and so, I was pretty good about that.  It turned out pretty well, but I think Annika had a lot of pressure on her as well.

ANNIKA: I think the payoff was even bigger with Scott, because Liam was the one who figured it out and had that revelation.  It unfolds a little more slowly in regard to Hope finding out the news.  When she initially finds out she is not with the baby.  I was more nervous about the baby in the key scenes. They are not actors, and they’re teething right now, and they’ve been working so much lately, that sometimes by the end of it, they are kind of cranky.  The main thing I was concerned about in my head was, “I hope the baby really likes me today, so we can have that magical moment.”

Photo: JPI

The Bold and the Beautiful  is known for delivering the culmination of an emotional storyline on a large scale, but not before having plot point after plot point where none of the characters are quite figuring out what transpired, and thus the story drags out for a time, and thus can frustrate the audience.  For you as actors where you like, “When will this end?” or “Please end this! Now!” (Laughs)

SCOTT:  Oh, pretty early on. (Laughs)  It takes about a week of crying before any actor is like, “Let’s move on,” and I think Annika was crying for – what was it?  7 months?  8 months?

ANNIKA:  I think it might have been 8 total.  (Laughs)

SCOTT:  That is a sort of interesting kind of philosophical question you posed that I have been asking myself lately.  We have gotten so much pain and grief from fans on the story – not personally at us.  They understand and are very complimentary of our acting, but I get people coming up to me in grocery stores going, “When is this going to end?  My God, I can’t take it.  It’s just been months of this.  It’s the same thing over and over again.”  For a long time, we had no answer for them, and it was just, “Yeah, I know.  I hear you, but it’s going to pay off.  Trust me.  Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) knows what he is doing,” and he did know what he was doing, and he did pay it off.  It makes me wonder if we hadn’t made our fans suffer right along with the character for 8 months, would the exact same payoff that we got had been as profound?  I don’t know.  I wonder if… it needed to be that long.  It needed to drag, I think, for this moment, and here we are with the highest ratings we’ve had in forever!

Photo: JPI

Yes, and that is a fantastic news!  In fact, looking at the ratings on the strength of the ‘Phoebe is Beth’ reveal, B&B finished #1 of all daytime shows (that includes soaps, talk and game shows) in the 25-49 womens demo for the week of August 5-9, which was a first in the 32-year history of the series.  In addition, B&B finished #1 in the key womens 18-49 demo (ahead of all the other network soaps) for the weeks of July 29-August 2nd, and August 12-16th.  A big “congrats” to everybody at B&B, and of course, the two of you, who were instrumental in playing out the story on-air. That’s pretty amazing. 

ANNIKA: It is wonderful and amazing.   When fans would ask me, “When will the truth come out?”  I’d answer, “Trust me!  Nobody wants that more than me.”  They would tell me, “Oh, my God!  I’m going crazy, and I’m just so depressed watching this happen,” and I’m like, “I’ve had to live it.”  (Laughs)  I agree with Scott, though.  I do wonder, as well, if the reaction would have been as strong if it the reveal had been sooner.

I don’t think so, because I remember watching it, and I wrote about this.  It was such a heart-tugging moment when Liam realizes that Phoebe is Beth, and they have that first moment together as biological father and daughter. The payoff was so big with the slow motion of the scene, accompanied by the music underscore.  I think, you had to have the story drag out to get to that moment where it was so emotional and touching.

SCOTT:  I think that is probably true.

Photo: JPI

When you saw the scripts that contained within them that the truth was going to come out … did you call each other up, and go, “OMG! I think this is finally coming to a conclusion!?”

SCOTT:  It was kind of a slow burn.  There wasn’t any particular announcement or memo to the cast or anything like that, and it is not like it all comes out in one script, either.  At first, there were kind of whispers.  There were kind of rumors like:  “Sounds like Brad might be wrapping it up soon.”, “Really?  You think Brad might be wrapping it up?  Is this the light at the end of the tunnel?”  “I don’t know.  Maybe it is.  Maybe, it isn’t.”  Then at the wedding, when Liam overhears Flo and Thomas kind of arguing about it, to me, that was when I started to think, “This might actually be close to the end now.”  It still could have easily not been the end, but that was a qualitative change in tone and pace for the story that kind of tipped me off, but even then, it was still another month before the actual truth came out.  It just had to start somewhere.

Photo Credit: JPI

Annika, were you just done crying? (Laughs) I can’t recall such a long stretch for a character, or an actress, having to cry month after month, scene after scene!  And to top it off, you have this epic moment on the rooftop where Hope and Liam connect, and in a way, celebrate that Beth is alive against all odds.

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ANNIKA: The cinematography of that episode on the roof was beautiful, and I was so happy we got a drone up there to capture it, and the timing of when we got up to the roof … the sun was setting … and it was just a beautiful moment.  To get all of those shots, Scott and I had to do that scene – I don’t even know how many times, and there was lots of crying there!

SCOTT:  It was probably like twenty times that we had to do that wide shot with the drone, and we are used to doing one.  So, it took a lot out of us, but it was so worth it!

Photo: JPI

It was worth it, because it was that kind of spectacular, sweeping moment that The Bold and the Beautiful executes so well when they get to a climactic point their storytelling.  So, let’s talk about Matthew Atkinson who comes in and plays Thomas, and his character becomes unglued, and obsessed.  What has it been like working with Matthew in this story, and how Thomas’ character flipped from when the character was previously on the canvas?

ANNIKA: I was saying that we needed it, because he was a catalyst for all of the actions to unfold and all of these domino pieces to start toppling.  It’s been nice having a bad guy on the show again.  I’m just kind of curious now about what is going to happen to Thomas.  I’m also curious, and we will have to wait and see how this is going to unfold with Thomas, because Hope is still married to him, technically.

Scott, you had to have that fight scene with Matthew, as Liam was trying to tell Hope that Beth was alive!  How was that to pull off?

SCOTT:  That was really, really fun.  I think Matthew and I both really enjoyed that.  The show was really nice in giving us a lot of creative input in that.  I went into it having this idea that I really, really didn’t want it to be glamorous.  I really wanted it to be raw, and kind of dirty, and asymmetrical.  I wanted them to be on the ground, and tired, and sluggish; I didn’t want them to be Kungfu fighters.  I didn’t want it to look like a beautiful dance, like a lot of fight choreography does look.  We are not martial artists.  We are two guys, who don’t really know how to fight, just beating the shit out of each other, and that was my pitch.  I got a little bit of pushback on that.  They were like, “Well, it’s still a soap opera, Scott.  It has to look kind of sexy, you know.”  I was like, “Aw, man,” but Matthew and I got to kind of choreograph it along with our stunt doubles, who helped us and were amazing!

Photo: JPI

Scott, weren’t you glad that they didn’t make Liam a doofus and that he was the one that did put everything together and figure out the baby switch?  Sometimes, the guys on soaps are made to be not-the-brightest-bulbs in order to facilitate story for the female characters. 

SCOTT:  Well, (laughs)… I think a person in real life would have figured that out sooner.  I’m really glad Liam figured it out.  There were a couple of episodes where Liam was doing detective work and shining flashlights on old documents, and making phone calls, and asking questions.  All of that was really, really fun.  There was a period before that happened where, just the way the pieces were falling together, when I thought, “What if Wyatt (Darin Brooks) figures it out?  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Oh, my God! Maybe Wyatt is going to figure it out.”  I thought this because Wyatt and Thomas really hate each other.  Wyatt stole Ivy from Thomas.  So, I just thought that would have been kind of interesting.  Kind of the analogue to that is Arya killing the Night King instead of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.  You’re like of like, “Woah, I didn’t think she’d be the one.”   But I get it though, it had to be Liam.

ANNIKA:  In a way though, it was Douglas (Henry Joseph Simiri), which I love that they did from the mouth of the baby.

SCOTT:  Well one of our writers, Michael Minnis, said he really wanted it to be out of the mouth of the babes.

Photo: JPI

I got blasted on Twitter because I said, “Liam figured it out! He is the hero!” Fans pushed back and said, “No, he didn’t!  It was Douglas who figured it out!  You are wrong!”  I get it.  Douglas was key.  I was just trying to publicly give props to Scott for his outstanding work in those scenes.  (Laughs)

ANNIKA: Henry has been doing such a good job.  I loved the scenes, Scott, with you and him together when Liam was figuring it out.

SCOTT:  You know, I still haven’t watched those scenes. There is no self-consciousness or anything like that.  That’s never been an issue for me.  When we lost the baby, or when we thought we lost the baby in the delivery room, I never watched those scenes, and then I realized, I didn’t want to.  I don’t know if this is that situation where I will just never go back and watch it.  I don’t know what it is.

Courtesy: CBS

You should watch it, and I would certainly suggest that if you do submit yourself for the Daytime Emmys next year, that this is a great scene for you to choose for your reel.

SCOTT:  Thank you!

ANNIKA:  It’s hard.  I did watch it, though.  I remember watching the baby episode, I had to mentally prepare myself for it, and watching it, I was almost reliving it again.  I was crying right along with the episode because I had forgotten.  That episode came together beautifully as well.  There was something cinematic about it.  It almost felt like film, the way that they shot it.  I have to give credit to Cindy Popp, who directed that episode.  I get it.  It’s the same thing, watching yourself.  I’m my biggest critic.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  I learn from it, but at the same time, I can’t stand watching myself.

Photo: JPI

What’s interesting now is that we are seeing Hope taking control of the situation after learning of everyone’s part in the cover-up of baby Beth.  Last week, she even bitch-slapped Flo (Katrina Bowden).  Is Hope going to want payback and retribution on everyone who wronged her?  What is she thinking at this point? 

ANNIKA: I think the main thing was that she had to be so lost in her grief that she was making these decisions that were completely illogical and had to be in a place, where she felt so out of control in her life that this is now the moment where she is seizing that control back.  Hope has the strength to do that, and she has the renewed confidence to make the choices she needs to make.  So, it’s kind of like the phoenix rising from the ashes.  I really do hope this is a true moment of growth for her and she isn’t as naïve anymore; that she isn’t as prone to being gas lighted in a way.

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SCOTT:  Now, she will just be completely distrustful of everybody.

ANNIKA:  No babysitters.  Nobody is babysitting my kid!

SCOTT:  Never again.  “Can I hold your baby?”  “Nope.  No, you can’t.  Nope.  Sorry.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with your ‘Best Supporting Actresses’, who play baby Beth?  They are pretty cute, and the timing and the facial expressions they make works in the scenes so well!  

ANNIKA: I was saying that we have set baby goals.  We have set child actor goals.  What we have been getting, and the fact that we have captured them (because there are two of them, there is Madeline Valdez, and then, there is River Davidson) saying “Mama”, saying “Dada”, or clapping, and crawling over to my wedding dress, or pulling on my wedding dress, what we have gotten is so lucky for us.  I know for me, the scene where I was watching Scott as Liam finding out for the first time it really hit home, because Scott was crying, and she says “Dada” when he comes into the room.  Then, Scott is like bawling holding her, and she just reached up and touched his face at one point.  I have to give the parents credit, and the babies, who don’t even know that they are acting.

SCOTT:  Those kids are amazing.  The one you see the most is Madeline.  She was the one in the scene with me and in the scene where Hope is reunited with her as well, but we also have River, who is a little sweetheart too.  She also does some very interesting things.  They both just do something interesting in every single scene, and it’s an actor’s dream because it forces us to be present.  You know, we have to react in real time to whatever it is they are doing, and we were just very, very lucky to find them.

Photo: JPI

What do you think all of these revelations means for the future of Liam and Hope, and Liam and Steffy? 

SCOTT:  I don’t know.  I think we have got to be back-burnered at some point.  People have got to be getting sick of us (laughs) because it’s been Hope and Liam, and baby Beth all the time.    Brad knows that, so I’m guessing that there has got to be some break for Liam and Hope.  After that, there is no way they are going to live happily ever after.  We don’t want that.  We want more drama.  We want something to go wrong.  I don’t know what it could be, but if I value my soap career, I want something else to go wrong for Liam.

Annika, how were those scenes to tape with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood where Hope has to tell Steffy that Phoebe is Beth … and that she is taking her biological child and leaving with her, knowing how that would affect Steffy?

ANNIKA: Getting to play scenes with Jacqui is always such fun.  There is a beautiful give and take that happens, and in that moment, Hope is still very empathetic.  She understands what it is like to lose a child, but at the same time, there is no way that she is walking out of there without her daughter.  Also, it’s just a moment where you have to step back and go, “Aww,” and just watch Jacqui do some amazing work, and to let her have her moment to shine, because she did such a beautiful job.  Those were pretty stressful days because the babies were in every single scene, which means we have a certain amount of time to get those takes.  So, those were actually really difficult scene to shoot.  We had a lot of pressure to get them done, and also, having to hold a baby who is now, I think almost 20 pounds.  My arms just started going and I am thinking, “Wow! I need to go to the gym to work on my upper arm strength.”  At one point, I literally was like, “I can’t hold this baby right now.”  They wanted me holding her so that Steffy sees another woman holding “her” child.  You’re about to see Steffy go on a bit of a vengeance with all of this soon.  I hope they tie-up the loose ends before they move on with everyone’s story.

Photo: JPI

Hope is this long-suffering heroine, and last Friday, Thomas came to try to talk to her to explain why he did the things he did, and then he went over a cliff!  Is there any happiness ahead for Hope, really?

ANNIKA:  Hopefully, if she gets that annulment!

SCOTT:  When Hope is standing over Dr. Buckingham’s (Wayne Brady) dead body, then she will find her happiness.

ANNIKA: If we could just bring Wayne Brady back just for a scene, please! (Laughs) We can only hope for Hope. (Laughs)  I know Thomas certainly isn’t going to make it easy to get an annulment, and I hope that we solidify that Beth is legally Hope’s, and that the marriage is annulled and never happened.  Maybe she and the baby can get a few moments of happiness and joy, but I’m sure that a wrench will be thrown in.

Photo: JPI

What would you want to say to the viewers who were put through the wringer with this storyline, and yet stayed glued to the story?  What could you tease is yet to come?

SCOTT:  We put our viewers through hell.  We tortured them.  We tortured them for 8 months, and the fact that the ratings are what they are shows that our viewers are the exact gluttons for punishment they we hoped they would be. (Laughs)  They’ve stuck with us, and I hope they feel rewarded.  They certainly tuned in for their reward, but the payoff is not over yet, and we hope to keep making it up to them.

Photo Credit: JPI

Annika, you get the final word.  What would you like to say to the B&B audience?

ANNIKA: Thank you for joining on this emotional rollercoaster ride with me, and thank you for all of the support.  I’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback, and I think a few new fans from it along the way.  I’m just very grateful that they stuck with us and the story, and echoing what Scott said, hopefully now there will be a lot of beautiful, fun, juicy, awesome moments for the fans to enjoy after the fallout.  With a soap opera, the ride never stops.  Now there is a corkscrew instead of a loop de loop.

SCOTT:  That’s a good metaphor.

ANNIKA:  We’ll see what happens with crazy Thomas, and Flo, and now that Sally is back in town, what is Wyatt going to do, etc,  So there’s lots of fun stuff coming the audiences way, for sure.

So, what were your thoughts on the climatic episodes where Liam and Hope are finally reunited with their daughter, Beth? What did you think of the performances of Annika and Scott?  What do you think will happen next with Thomas, and with Steffy?  Can Hope, Liam and Beth have a respite from all the drama? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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