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The Jeff Giles Interview – Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live

Courtesy/IMDB

Courtesy/JGiles

In a time when fans are awaiting to find out the fate of the beloved One Life to Live once again, writer Jeff Giles just recently released his un-authorized history of the series in the book titled Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live.  The self-published book is available at Amazon.com and via a kindle.

Taking a look back through four decades of the series on ABC and its often quirky, heartbreaking, shocking, dramatic, or even at times, non-sensical storylines, Giles speaks to countless producers, former and current cast members, and behind-the-scenes crew to learn some of the untold story about what went into making the series, the backstage drama, and how the show often times struggled to find its own identity in the early days sandwiched between ABC Daytime heavy weight brands, General Hospital and All My Children.  

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Giles after reading the book ourselves, where we were stunned at some of the admissions he related that some cast members told him, and never before heard backstage tales.  So if you are a long time fan of the series, buckle up and read below at what Erika Slezak (Viki), Nathan Fillion (Ex-Joey), Hillary B. Smith (Nora), Brandon Buddy (Cole), Anthony Call (Ex-Herb), and many more had to say on a myriad of topics!  Jeff clarifies to us that his intent to write the book was to share his passion and love for the series, and give credit to the hardworking men and women who have worked tirelessly to bring Llanview to life for now 45 years.

MICHAEL:

How long did it to take you to write this oral history of One Life to Live, which seemingly contains quotes taken from many interviews with people in front of the camera, or behind the scenes, during OLTL’s ABC days?

JEFF:

Courtesy/IMDB

It took me a year and half to write it.  I think it helped by the fact that I was talking to people who were not on the show, and had not been on the show for a very long time, and did not have a stake in One Life to Live, or were even acting anymore.  The first person I spoke with was Tony Call (Ex-Herb Callison), and then I went to Marilyn Chris (Ex-Wanda Wolek), and Michael Storm (Ex-Larry Wolek).  I also spoke with Bob Woods (Bo Buchanan), who has still been part of the show, whose phone number I got from Marilyn Chris.  That was another way that it happened.  People would talk to one another and suggest other people for the book, for the most part.  Nobody seemed very concerned that it was un-authorized.

MICHAEL:

When you read the book there are some jaw-dropping moments for One Life to Live fans that they may never have heard about before.  For instance, I have not heard Erika Slezak (Viki) talk this candidly before, either.  So then people call into question the validity of the book.  What would you say to that?

JEFF:

There were people, and she was part of the group, that told me things that were off the record, and it did not make it in.  There were things people told me that did not make it into the book, actually. A lot of the conversations were even more candid then what ended up in the final book, because I didn’t want it to be a dirt-digging expedition, because that was not the point.  I did not want anyone to grind any axes in here, with the exception of Ellen Holly (Ex-Carla Hall) because I knew it was already public record, and that is why I sought out Arthur Burghardt (Ex-Dr. Jack Scott) to ask for his side of the story.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Ebony

Speaking of people from the past, one of the more heartbreaking things in the book is kind of following the downfall of actors who were being phased out, or were just written off, after years on the show!

JEFF:

Steve Fletcher (Ex-Brad Vernon) and Michael Storm (Larry Wolek)  are a powerful example of how brutal daytime can be!  In theory, it’s an open-ended gig; the show never stops.  It’s such a weird thing for an actor to assume a character that is supposed to go on and on.  And you often don’t get to have closure; especially guys like Michael Storm.

MICHAEL:

So, why did you decide to write Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live?

JEFF: 

I am fascinated by the medium in general.  I think it’s loaded with possibilities that are often, for whatever reason, left untapped.  I am concerned for a number of reasons for the way it’s dwindled for the last decade in change.  When I interviewed Paul Glass (current musical director at GH), that was my in, and if it hadn’t been for his stories, and more importantly his encouragement, I don’t think I would have had the gumption to do it.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought somebody should do it, and it did not seem like anyone was going to do it.

MICHAEL:

Who shocked you the most when speaking to them?

JEFF:

Probably Joe Stuart (executive producer OLTL 1977-1983).   I was terrified to talk to him after all the stories I had heard about him.  In the book, there are a lot of stories about what a tyrant he was on set, and that he kept a punching bag in his office, and he fired people for inscrutable reasons.  Everyone lived under this terror of being called into his office.  When I talked to him he was this sweet, good-humored older man.  We had a warm conversation.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

At the very beginning of its run, OLTL was about a diverse group of families of different social and economic backgrounds.  You had the blue collar Wolek’s, the Jewish Siegels, the wealthy Lords, and an African-American family in the Halls.  It almost seemed that after Judith Light left the show in the early 80’s as Karen Wolek, the show got away from what made it originally groundbreaking, and at times it looked like it was fighting so hard for an identity.

JEFF: 

I am guessing, much like me, you saw every ten to fifteen years they would have a new little pocket of token minorities kind of bubble up for a little bit, and then fade away.

MICHAEL:

So many producers changed up One Life to Live in the early days; that if they had kept it to what it was at the beginning, it would have been a defining show in the ABC lineup instead of the least known of the ABC Daytime brand fighting for recognition between General Hospital and All My Children.

JEFF: 

You are absolutely correct!  And, I think a whole other book could be written about how everyone grossly misunderstood what Gloria Monty was doing at GH, and how deeply it affected every other show in daytime. And as far as getting away from its original identify, all OLTL had to do was go back to what they had at the beginning.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/YouTube

There was a really interesting moment in the book where Tony Call admits to a director’s note he was given on how to play the classic courtroom confession, where D.A Callison is grilling Karen and breaking her down bit by bit!  Apparently, Tony hated his performance!

JEFF:

I was fortunate to speak with him right after the OLTL Marathon on SOAPnet, shortly before they went off the air on ABC.  So his performance was fresh in my mind, and I remember thinking,” Oh, my God. This is so over the top.”   My clear memories of Herb are from the 80’s, and not that period.  And I remember him being a much more naturalistic actor.  So, I wanted to ask him about that.   He was very funny.  I really enjoyed hearing how he would go to real courtrooms and watch lawyers at work, and try to emulate what they were dong, and how ashamed he was of his own performance in this really iconic moment in the show’s history.

MICHAEL

“Solaramite and the Big 80’s” is the name of a chapter in the book, which harkens to the ridiculousness of some of the story arcs and themes at that time!

JEFF:

That storyline in particular reminds me of that weird interlude in OLTL’s history where they were kind of fumbling about, and it was mentioned in passing in the book, how Asa had a western bar and people hung out there, and they dabbled in country singing for a little bit   Bo owned a football team for awhile, and there was a period in the early 80’s where they did not know which direction they wanted to go.  But, that was an inadvertant prelude to all the stuff Paul Rauch (former OLTL executive producer (1984-1991) got up to with the Wild West, Heaven, and Eterna storylines.  I wish I had gotten more people to talk about Eterna, because that is the one that really is ridiculousness to me.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ErikaSlezak.com

I love when Erika Slezak talks about working with props like the papier-mâché looking rocks in the underground city of Eterna scenes!  She said in your book, ” So here were these two grown men, respected actors and directors, digging a hole in the studio floor to find the entrance to Eterna behind little papier-mâché rocks.”

JEFF:

I was lucky with that too, because those scenes were also on the OLTL SOAPnet marathon, and Erika was in scenes with the actor who played the Native American spirit guy called “Bright Eyes”.  My question to Erika was, “What is your approach to carry a scene like that, because it was obvious that the guy was not an actor, and you are surrounded by all of these very fake-looking props (I mean it looks fake on the TV screen.  It has to look ten times faker on the set.)  How do you sell the material?”  And that was her response, and she told me the director of that scene had to read “Bright Eye’s” lines to him one by one from off-camera as the scene was being filmed … he was that bad!

MICHAEL:

So in your book, Clint Ritchie’s (Ex-Clint Buchanan) drinking problem is discussed. Erika Slezak seemed to have a good perspective on the situation, though.

JEFF:

There was no judgment from her at all.  That story from her in the book, where he accidently throws a chair at her and she ends up stopping the scene, I left it in the book because she told it as part of the story, that the main condition for him re-signing with the show was that they needed to buy Erika a director’s chair, or he was not going to come back.  I thought that highlighted what a complex guy he was, and how complicated it was for everyone else who had a relationship with him.  Michael Storm talks about how he did not like working with Clint.  There were a couple of other people who talked about how belligerent he would get on the set, and how kind of mean he could be.  But, he was not always like that.  He was talented, and I thought Erika seemed to have a clear picture of who he was.  I never was of the opinion that he was judging him for his behavior   Linda Gottlieb (Former OLTL executive producer 1991- 1994) tells a story about showing up to the set on a Monday morning and the cast is in the middle of filming this dinner scene.  Clint showed up with bandages on his face, because he had gone out and done what they call “getting a little work done.”  She flipped out and was livid, because they had to change the storyline completely because his appearance had changed.

MICHAEL:

Out of all the producers that you discussed with former cast members, or behind the scenes personal, was there one producer who stood out as the most favorable?

JEFF:

Courtesy/ABC

No one said a bad word about Frank Valentini, and no one said a bad word about Jean Arley, either.  But everyone loved Frank Valentini, and how he earned his stripes under Paul Rauch.

MICHAEL:

In the book, there is a point where Hillary B. Smith (Nora) talked about one of the grossest moments in the shows story, involving Roscoe Born (as Mitch Laurence)?

JEFF:

She said, “She was so turned off by her own show, because she was so turned off that he was trying to rape his daughter, while spouting bible verses!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How was Roscoe Born to talk to?  Mitch was such a heinous character, but the series always found a way to bring him back!

JEFF:

Roscoe was wonderful to talk to.  I think he is funny.  He will say things and contraindicate things – such as: he did not really care for the daytime stigma, but then talk about how it affected his career, and all the roles that it cost him, and the personal embarrassment of how people treated him because of it.  He was very open about that.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/YouTube

One of the things mentioned in the book that is fascinating is that during the closing arguments in Todd’s rape case, (that Hillary B. Smith won the Daytime Emmy for) she related to you that she overstepped her bounds and re-wrote a lot of the closing argument from the original dialog given to her, by then OLTL head writer, Michael Malone.

JEFF:

I can tell you that Michael Malone and Hillary are still friends, because it was Michael who put me in touch with Hillary. 

MICHAEL:

You also reveal how a beloved favorite, Marilyn Chris (Ex-Wanda Wolek) decided she was done with the show.  I remember watching the show back then.  All of a sudden, Marilyn was gone!

JEFF:

She did not want to do it anymore.  Marilyn was so afraid they were going to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse, so she begged them not to give her any financial figures.  She just said, “No, I can’t do it anymore.”  I think she saw the way the show was changing, and I don’t think she was really one of the actresses that had an allegiance to daytime.  I think like for a lot of other actors, it was a terrific way for her to subsidize her theatre career, and then she did not need the money anymore.  She was not working as much, and the landscape of the show had changed to such a great extent, it was easy for her to let go of the character.

MICHAEL:

Where does your book end … because right now, there is a huge cliffhanger for fans if One Life to Live will see a second season with Prospect Park?

JEFF:

It ends after the first season of the revival of One Life to Live, and interestingly enough the way that Prospect Park constructed their sets.  At ABC, the actors would come and go all day long for block/ taping schedules.  At Prospect Park’s version, the actors would have to be on set mostly all day long.   Both Erika and Hillary said it had the effect of restoring some of the theatre and repertory feeling to the company, and restored some of the comradarie they had in the old days.  I thought that was a nice way to bring it full circle.  I was really struggling to end the book on a happy note.  Since the “shelving” news came out just before I thought I was done.  So I ended it on a question mark … rather than a period.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Castle star Nathan Fillon (Ex-Joey Buchanan OLTL) also participated in the book?

JEFF:

Yes, he was wonderful.  The sense you get from him is he is a passionate defender of daytime.  He tells a great story of Bob Woods in the book where Nathan credits One Life to Live with giving him all the tools to become a successful actor, and how they gave him an acting coach.  He was green, and he picked up all these skills. Towards the end of his contract Bob Woods set him down and said, “You are going to leave.  No matter what, you are going to tell the network you are leaving at the end of your contract.  And, you are going to go to L.A. and do whatever it takes to get your career off the ground.  And if you try and you fail, you can always come back to One Life to Live.  But if you try and you stay, you are going to find yourself trapped in what Woods called, ‘Golden handcuffs’.”  It is his way of describing the soap actor’s lifestyle.  You get locked into that role for so many reasons; some of which are the steady work and money. You build a lifestyle, and you have mortgage payments to make, and you can’t get out to do other productions because you are always on the soap.  Then sometimes casting directors don’t want to see you because you have been on a soap.  For someone like Woods, it gave him a good life and lifestyle.  When Nathan Filllon told that story, and he looks around and sees everything he has, he knows he owes it to Bob Woods.

MICHAEL:

You also had a great story about Brandon Buddy coming from Texas and landing the role of Cole Thornhart.

JEFF:

I spoke with Brandon and how he got the role.  His manager told him, “You are not going to get the part, but go out to New York and have fun and treat it like a vacation.”  Brandon said he went out and tried out with all these other guys in the room, who were trying out for Cole.  After the auditions, somehow Brandon ended up ferrying all of these guys back to the hotel they were staying at.  And as he is driving them back to the hotel, they are all telling him how sure they are that they got the role!  (Laughs) Brandon seems very self-effacing and down to earth.

Courtesy/ErikaSlezak.com

MICHAEL:

The AIDS quilt storyline was one of the most emotional and remembered storylines in the history of OLTL, and so important for its time.  Roy Thinnes did a remarkable job at playing Sloan Carpenter, who dealt with coming to grips with his own son being gay, and also falling in love with Viki, and eventually dying.  But what went down behind the scenes, according to you in the book, was also intriguing!

JEFF:

Linda Gottlieb and Michael Malone lured Roy Thinnes back to play Sloan, after he played his other role on the show of Alex Crown.  He talks about how Alex was killed, and then they called and asked him to come back and he said, “My character’s dead!” Linda woo’d him back, because first he wanted to work with Erika Slezak and second, the story of the crusty old military guy who learns to accept his gay son, appealed to Roy. Unfortunately, it did not end very well.  They were playing him against Clint Ritchie, and Linda wanted to make a triangle on-screen.  Clint got hurt with a tractor accident and they had been meaning to get rid of Sloan.  But then when Clint got hurt they knew they needed to keep him around, and so they signed him to another deal.  And then when Clint got better, they decided to get rid of him.  And Peter Miner (Director, OLTL) said in the book, Roy was miserable because they would not tell him what Sloan was dying of, and he had no idea what was happening.

MICHAEL:

As someone who watched the show for a big chunk of time, went away from it and then came back to it years later, what are your favorite storylines or characters of all-time?

JEFF:

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

When those three characters; Todd, John and Starr went over to General Hospital after One Life to Live ended on ABC, I was excited about the idea of it, as I wanted to see the characters continue, but seeing them in a different context really drove home for me that my fondness for OLTL was never really about any particular character, or couple. For me, it was the sum total, and all of those characters in that place of Llanview. And part of what was so gratifying about me coming back to One Life to Live after not watching it for so long was that sense of place.  I mean, obviously, it wasn’t completely the same, but a lot of it was. That felt good.

MICHAEL:

When you watched the final two episodes of One Life to Live on ABC, and the sheer brilliance of the writing, production and acting, what was the most moving moment for you as a long time fan of the show?

JEFF:

The really moving moment for me was in the final episode when Bob Woods turned to Hillary B. Smith and said, “I love you, Red.”   He said it in such a way that you could tell that he meant it.  He was in tears, and I told him how much I loved that scene.  There are a few moments from the last few years of the show on ABC that also were so emotional impactful to me, and one of those was when Viki and Jessica (Bree Williamson) are together and Jessica remembers that her baby died.  Instead of going over the top like a soap might, it was so quiet.  They just held each other.

Courtesy/JeffGiles

MICHAEL:

What is the picture on the cover of your book supposed to be?  Fans have been inquiring!

JEFF:

Well, I knew I couldn’t use any logo, or any still from the series, so I had to improvise. So I went to a stock photo company, and used a picture from the Philadelphia Town Hall, because it reminded me a bit of the opening credits of OLTL from the 80’s.

MICHAEL:

When, or how were your interviews with Erika Slezak (Viki) conducted?  Why do you think she wanted to talk with you about all things OLTL?

JEFF:

There were two interviews with Erika, actually.  She called me, and we talked for a while, and she invited me out to her place in Vermont.  And, we spent an afternoon doing follow-up stuff.  It was wonderful.  Erika made me quiche!  It was surreal.  I think the other thing people might want to take away from this, is often soap actors don’t have a chance to talk about the craft of acting in the context of daytime.  There is an incredibly unique thing they do of inhabiting one character for gross quantities of time, and using the character to traverse these insane emotional landscapes.  I think she was maybe glad for the opportunity to talk about all of this stuff.

MICHAEL:

What is that you want fans to takeaway from your book?  Was this a project done out of love for OLTL?

JEFF:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, this was a project of love, and that is all it is.  I tried to write in such a way that even if you did not see the show, it’s still an interesting read.  I never really understood how deeply the odds were stacked against the people that worked on the show, from the actors, to the writers, to the producers.  They were always barely on the edge of the whole damn thing falling apart.  I think that is what carries through in the book, that as much as people may want to make fun of, or laugh at soaps, there is a lot of profound emotional drama that comes out of those shows.  It’s the only type of drama you can get out of a long form narrative, and that is on a soap opera.  The fact that it works as often as it does is a real testament to the skill, and the craft, and the dedication, and the effort that went in to those shows.

 

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Sean
Sean

Thank you for this interview. I got the book on my kindle as soon as it came out and now i’m in the process of rereading it. A book like this takes a few readings to get everything to sink in…it’s so great! a Must-have for all OLTL fans!

louisa
louisa

Thank you for the interview! Fascinating. Reading the book now.

Eric Henwood-Greer
Eric Henwood-Greer

This is a must own book for ANY soap fans, even if they never watched OLTL. *Finally* truly candid remarks, and the whole he said/she said format helps let the viewer make their own mind up about what happened. Especially thrilling to hear so many stories of the early years of the show–there’s always been so much mis-information (ie just how involved was Agnes during the 70s? Again, from a few different comments you’ll have to decide for yourself.)

I bought the Kindle edition when it first came out–even though I have no Kindle (I used the free computer Kindle reader) but a few pages in, knew I wanted it to be kept with the few favorite soap books I have (Schemering’s 1980s Soap Encyclopedia, Dan Wakefield’s All Her Children) so finally bought the on-demand print edition. Can’t recommend it enough–it has gossip about actors, insight about the struggled of putting on the show, details on storylines and writers… Just brilliant. I wish other soaps had a book like this.

Daniel
Daniel

Thanks for letting us know about this book a while back. It is fascinating – I can’t put it down! Brings back lots of memories of beloved actors and storylines.

Fran
Fran

I am half way done with the book it was written well not a tell all vibe , Ms holly seems to have issues. It would be nice if Erika would write a book about OLTL / her life she a classy lady and would not scandalize thing s, but I read somewhere that she wouldn’t write a book , but she did say she wouldn’t be on twitter their and she is on twitter , she tweets sometimes . so maybe u should ask her michael.

Patricio
Patricio

Hi Fran –

I have been hoping Erika Slezak writes a biography that would have OLTL at its center . It would b a fascinating read for any soap fan as her view of over 40 years on the sam show would be a unique and thoughtful read.

mgb357
mgb357

Thanks for writing this book. Hope to pick it up soon.
Will read it every day at 2:00pm, turning off the tv.
Maybe PP will see the sales and realize what they are missing out on.

Alan
Alan

Ordered this book the day Michael posted about it and couldn’t put it down. Well worth the money and a must have for OLTL fans.

Iakovos
Iakovos

This books is a delight and so entertaining and written with meaning. I ordered the Kindle edition as soon as I heard of the project. I am greatly enjoying it. Grew up with OLTL and hung on through all the shifts. The original premise of living in a diverse community with its class and economic struggles is the golden age for me. Loved it then.

dawnhaze
dawnhaze

Thanks Jeff. One Life to Live is my favorite soap and I enjoyed the excerpt above and mention of all the past characters. I didn’t know about your book until I read it in the interview but I immediate went to buy it. I know I will enjoy it since it is about characters that filled an hour of my day for so many years. I surely hope PP puts OLTL back on soon. I just hope it is soon. Thanks again for the book Jeff and to Michael for telling us about it.

jaybird369
jaybird369

Hmmm…I wonder…I wonder if Jeff Giles’s, um, book includes the following tidbits:
1. When Linda Gottlieb was OLTL’s executive producer in the early 90’s, Phil Carey tried (more than once) to undermine her authority. At one time, he even tried to get her fired.
2. Basically EVERYONE on the OLTL set HATED working with Barbara Luna because she was too difficult and demanding to work with. Clint Ritchie ESPECIALLY hated working with her.
3. BOTH Joe Stuart and ESPECIALLY Paul Rauch treated Ellen Holly like dirt.
4. Paul Rauch VERY CRUELLY fired BOTH Ellen Holly and Lillian Hayman will little or no explanation.
5. James DePaiva (when he was married to that Hee Haw chick Misty Rowe) kept bringing his marital drama to the OLTL set. Constantly.
In short…D-A-M-N!!!!!

dmr
dmr

I loved the courtroom scenes from when Judith Light confessed that her character Karen was a prostitute. I was too young to watch when these scenes first aired; but, I have seen them since in reruns; and what fantastic scenes! That’s what I miss about daytime, cliff-hanger Fridays, great, diverse storylines, like when Tad was sleeping with Marion and Liza on AMC, Erica was having an affair with Travis’ brother, Jack on AMC, old-style Luke and Laura on GH, the adventures of the WSB on GH and all of the 80’s icons, dramatic heat from Sonny and Brenda on GH, etc. Now, it’s a lot of recurring actors with hardly any talent (newbies on GH) or attempting to resurrect a character (OLTL characters on GH). I watch daytime for drama and romance! It’s an escape for me!

Charles E.
Charles E.

Does the book mention ANYTHING on Jacqueline Courtney and George Reinholt? I wonder if it touches on her affair with Joseph Stuart or how Robert S. Woods wasn’t that thrilled with her. Also, from what erika has had to say about Clint Ritchie, it seems that he was VERY much like George Reinhol, an emotionally tortured person who ALSO threw a chair on the set (that was during his “Another World” days- he threw it at AW director Ira Cirker in rage over Pete Lemay’s scripts- it’s been said that this particular incident led to his 1975 AW firing). OLTL picking up those two was a turning point in the show’s history, and then George made the now-ludicrous decision to leave the show only after two years! Was George Reinholt interviewed?

jaybird369
jaybird369

Charles…honestly, I forgot about Jacqueline Courtney. Dude…that DOES NOT surprise me at all that she had an affair with Joe Stuart. I once read somewhere that (when she was alive) Jacqueline had affairs with SEVERAL soap opera executives over the years. And, Jacqueline was downright MEAN AS HELL to other soap opera actresses and MOST soap opera actors TRULY HATED working with her because of her snobby, demanding and diva-like ways. Most of all, I wonder if Jeff Giles interviewed Jacqueline’s daughter for his book? Supposedly, Jacqueline’s daughter knows ALL of Jacqueline’s deep, dark secrets. Every last one of ’em!!!!!

Charles…take care, dude. Peace.

Avatar610
Avatar610

Well, I do know that for her last P&G contract on AW in the mid 70s she demanded her own dressing room with a toilet- and she got her wish!! This reminds me of how Joan Crawford had her own private toilet in her dressing room at MGM in the 30s, a fact that impressed Greta Garbo during the filming of “Grand Hotel”. George and Jacquie were very seemingly exclusive members of their own club on the AW set, so to speak, and apparently openly critized the work of fellow performers- just one reason why the rest of the cast didn’t mind saying goodbye to both actors when they were fired. Just before Paul Rauch came to produce OLTL, Jacquie’s contract wasn’t renewed, and according to her she was to be Dorian’s rival for David Renaldi’s affections instead of Jenny Wolek Siegel Vernon Janssen. Obviously ABC didn’t want a repeat of the Rauch vs. Courtney war from the 70s at AW- they valued Paul Rauch more than one of their biggest stars!

jaybird369
jaybird369

Avatar, check this out…back in the day, when she was on both Another World and (especially) One Life To Live, Jacqueline Courtney (over the years) did SEVERAL interviews. Interviews openly criticizing and OPENLY BASHING fellow co-stars from AW and OLTL, writers, producers, directors, crew members, etc.. One time, she even did an interview bashing BOTH NBC and (especially) ABC (aka the networks). Well, eventually, Jacqueline was pretty much forced into retirement because NO ONE in the soap opera community wanted to work with her anymore and (after a while) basically EVERYONE got tired of dealing with her. Period.

Take care, Avatar. Peace.

jaybird369
jaybird369

Avatar…check out these, um, other tidbits about Jacqueline Courtney:
1. When she was on BOTH AW and OLTL, Jacqueline used to annoy and irritate directors with her so-called and “helpful” suggestions. One day, it all reached a boiling point when a now former OLTL directer had enough and TOTALLY WENT OFF on her…including dropping the F-bomb SEVERAL TIMES in front of SEVERAL people on the OLTL set.
2. One time, on the AW set, Jacqueline VERY RUDELY walked into and interrupted a private meeting between some of the AW writers.
3. After a while, cast members from BOTH AW and OLTL had enough of Jacqueline’s snobby, insufferable and diva-like ways and each told producers of BOTH shows POINT-BLANK, “It’s EITHER her or us!!!!!”

Bottom Line: Over the years, Jacqueline Courtney burned A LOT of soap opera bridges with her unreasonable, demanding and awful behavior. STUPID WOMAN!!!!!

Fran
Fran

just finished book great book . thanks .. someone needs to write A tell all book about OLTL the above comments sound juicy . Hey this sound like a drama within a daytime drama I would buy that book in a minute too.

jaybird369
jaybird369

That does not surprise me (at all) that Michael Storm did not like working with Clint Ritchie. Back in the day, on the OLTL set, ONLY Erika Slezak, Robert S. Woods and the late Phil Carey enjoyed working with CR. That was because all 3 of them knew how to deal with him and knew how to keep him in line. As for the rest of the OLTL cast (overall), they all either “cheerfully” tolerated working with CR or they flat-out HATED working with him. Period.

Kat Hilderbrand
Kat Hilderbrand

This is a must-read for any OLTL fan. I read it once and am reading it through again. The stories for behind the scenes of 4 decades are so interesting for the fan to read. It is fantastic that Jeff Giles tracked down so many different people from the show for this book. Bravo!

Interviews

Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

So, just how did The Young and the Restless lure back one of the series most powerhouse actresses to take on a brand-new role? Mishael Morgan, who earlier this year was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her gut-wrenching final performances as Hilary Curtis, reveals in a new interview with Michael Fairman TV, what went down to bring her back to the CBS Daytime drama.

As fans know thus far, after appearing as ‘Ghost Hilary” through the late spring and summer, Y&R’s creatives worked behind the scenes to get Morgan back on screen without tainting Hilary’s ultimate demise.  That is when they came up with the role of the sexy yet tough lawyer, Amanda Sinclair.

So, enter Mishael in a new wig and style that defines Amanda as her own character.  Question is, since Amanda is a dead-ringer for the late Hilary, are they related? And, what will ultimately be proven to be in her DNA?  In story, Amanda entered the scene as the often-mentioned Chance Chancellor’s attorney.  She shows up in Genoa City to contest the legitimacy of the late great Katherine Chancellor’s will and the fortune she left to Devon (Bryton James).  With Devon directly in Amanda’s line of fire it sets the stage for potential fireworks down the line.

We sat down with Mishael backstage at Y&R for this informative and entertaining chat as we officially welcome back this truly kick-ass performer.  Here’s what Mishael shared below.

Photo: JPI

What transpired behind the scenes to make it possible for you to come back to Y&R?

MISHAEL:  Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) kind of gave me a little bit of a heads up.  They called me back to come in and do the ghost episodes as Hilary, and it happened really quickly.  It was like, “Hey, Mishael, do you think you can do this?  Yeah?  Okay.  We’ll work it out with your team.  Alright.  We’ll see you tomorrow.” (Laughs) It was really, really fast.  I was hesitant for a second about the whole Hilary ‘ghost thing’, because I felt good about how we wrapped up Hilary’s storyline.  I’d only left for a couple of months, and I still felt funny about it, but I was like, “I’ll do it.  She’s a ghost … so she hasn’t returned from the dead.  So, it’s fine.”

Originally, I was concerned that they were going to have you as Hilary keep popping up as a ghost to Devon for an indefinite amount of time; when the show has already done that with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and his father, John (Jerry Douglas).  Because of your previous performances, and Emmy-nominated performance for the final arc of Hilary’s story, I thought, in the end, it might detract from that.

MISHAEL:  Yes, and I think that’s how I felt too, but I agreed to do it because they said that it was going to be a max of seven episodes.  So, while I was doing that, Tony was on set watching the scenes.  Next, he just called me up and said, “Well, how do you feel about coming back?”  I was like, “Coming back?  Hilary is dead.  Like, Hilary is dead-dead.  Is this going to be an alternate universe?” (Laughs) He said, “Well, no.  You’d be coming back as a different character.”  That was really intriguing to me, because one of the reasons why I left was because I felt like creatively I’d played a character from beginning to end, and it felt like it would just be nice to go off and play somebody new.  I never in a million years thought that I could come back to Y&R and actually play someone new!  That was weird to wrap my head around when they said, “You’d play a new character,” but then when they said she was going to me a lawyer, my ears really perked up! I’ve always wanted to play a lawyer, because I have the background where I wanted to be a lawyer in real life.  So, then I’m like, “OK. Now I get to play a lawyer on TV.”  They really got their hooks in to me with that … and just hooked me in from there.  Then, I got open to the idea and the story that Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) wanted to tell.

Photo: JPI

Once you learned the idea of the story from Josh, it seemed that things happened very quickly!  We all found out about your return via a social media post where you got to tell the fans yourself that you were coming back … but as a new character.

MISHAEL:  It happened relatively quickly in terms of me tentatively coming back, but then they still had to write the story.  So, everything wasn’t really confirmed until a couple of weeks before I started taping again.  We were in talks for about two months, and we worked it all out.  I said, “I’d do it,” and then it was 100% confirmed around August of this year, and I was airing in September.  It was kept was very, very quiet.

Are you still figuring out what Amanda’s back-story is?

MISHAEL:  I am.  I feel like every writer is a little different, and I feel like Josh likes to keep things very close and tight to his chest so that you kind of don’t know what’s happening.  Josh gives you enough information to play a little bit of something that is coming down the pike, but he doesn’t really disclose everything.   I’ve gotten little hints, and I kind of know where we are going, but I still don’t know the whole back-story of Amanda.  I’m still trying to figure her out.  If she’d been the polar opposite of Hilary, I think it might have been easier, but if you read her description, she’s very much like Hilary: A-type, strong, driven, all of those things.  Hilary had this very malicious, unscrupulous side to her, but I don’t know if Amanda has that.  In terms of the general description of the character, they’re very similar, which I was happy about just because I like playing strong women on TV.  If they had said, “We’re bringing on this character, and she is homeless” … or somebody who was super quiet… that would pose a different set of things for me as an actress.  I think seeing strong women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes is so important right now on TV, and it is very relevant.  I am happy to be a part of that.

Photo: JPI

What was it like playing all of these entrance scenes as Amanda where your former and current scene partners had to suspend belief? There’s Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Jess Walton, and you, and Amanda walks in like, “Hey there!” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  We just laughed about it.  It’s one of those things that is so funny, and it can only happen in the world of soaps.  A lot of the fans said, “This is weird,” in the beginning, but the fans love the show, and they accept it, and they do suspend their disbelief, and then it becomes normal.   We just had fun with it.

You’re like, “Hi, do you like my new hair?” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  That was the thing too.  (Laughs) I don’t even think Christel even saw my hair until she came to set, and she was like, “Oh wow! I like your new hair.”

Photo: JPI

What happened when you and Christel taped the scenes where Lily sees Amanda for the first time, after the former contentious relationship of Lily and Hilary that ultimately changed the course of both their lives?

MISHAEL:  For me, it was super fun and easy because I don’t know any of the Hilary/Lily back-story.  I just play very oblivious like,“Hi, I’m just here.” (Laughs)  So, it’s very easy for me, but I almost envy a lot of the other characters who have to play all of these layers because Lily does have that back-story because she was charged for Hilary’s death, and the guilt associated with doing something like that, and also the hate that she had for Hilary.  Then overcoming that hate, and then going on that entire beautiful journey that they had together as women.  But now having that as a layer, and adding on top of it this woman who looks exactly like Hilary, but is a completely different person, is really interesting. Even for Bryton, I feel like he has a golden opportunity as well, because to have that love of your life, and then a new love of your life there in Elena, and then see a woman who looks just like your ex-wife is, I’m sure, really difficult.  Your mind would just be exploding!

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How did Bryton find out that you were coming back, and what was his reaction to the news?

MISHAEL:   Well, I came in for the ghost episodes, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I told him before we finalized this new deal.  He’s a friend of mine.  I wanted to get his opinion, and he was like, “You should do it!”  I was like, “Really?  It feels so weird because I just left a year ago, and I was so happy and content with leaving, so it feels weird to come back.”  He was like, “No, it will be fine.”  He’s like, “The fans will love you either way.  They’ll want you back.”   I was worried about how the fans would feel because it is such a quick return.

Photo: JPI

What is the feedback you’re getting from the fans thus far on your transformation from Hilary to now Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like it’s pretty positive for the most part.  There are always going to be a couple of fans who are skeptical … or who don’t like the storyline … and even if they don’t like it they say, “This is kind of weird to bring her back as a different character.  We miss Hilary, but we love that Mishael Morgan is back, so, that kind of makes it all OK.”

The story that brings Amanda to Genoa City revolves around the legitimacy of Katherine Chancellor’s (the late Jeanne Cooper) will, and she comes in and says there was a counterfeit will etc.  She’s the messenger at this point and her client is Chance, correct?

MISHAEL:  Yes, Amanda’s client is Chance.

Isn’t she starting to question the legitimacy of her client?

MISHAEL:  Yes, but I think she still believes that it was Chance.  She’s kind of wondering now … because she even accuses Jill (Jess Walton).  She’s like, “It’s your grandson.  He’s all out to lunch.  He’s not getting back to anybody.”  Jill is very much in the headspace where she is like, “Well, this is probably not my grandson.”  Amanda is like, “I’m pretty sure it is.”  So, I think Amanda still thinks that it is Chance, even if he is a criminal, and even if he is doing something tricky.

Photo: JPI

How did Amanda get contacted by Chance in the first place to take this case?

MISHAEL:  It was an email, and then Amanda spoke to him on the phone …  or at least to who she believed was Chance.  He signed the papers, he scanned them over, and he forwarded Amanda the retainer. She had no reason not to believe that it was him.

So, when Amanda came to see Devon and company, she had no idea that there was this lookalike of her that was intertwined with this family?

MISHAEL:  No, but then after Devon tells Amanda about all of this, she sees pictures of Hilary online, but this is all done off-camera.

Does Amanda now suspect that she could be a twin? 

MISHAEL:  I think so.  I’m kind of playing that or keeping that there.  I’m kind of playing that as part of the reason why I want to stay in town because Amanda is intrigued by this other person who looks like her.  This could possibly be family.  I think it adds an extra layer as to why she wants to stay on Genoa City.  It is not just because she likes this person, or that person.  I think it is because she wants to figure out her connection to this person who looks just like her.

Photo JPI

We’ve seen Amanda be a little shifty.

MISHAEL:  Maybe a little bit. (Laughs)

What do you think we, as the audience, should be feeling at this point about Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I think we just have to wait and see.  Hilary had a lot going on before I left, and this is a new character who is slowly building.

I think that one of the things that daytime shows often have done wrong is that when they bring in a new character, they shove them down the audience’s throats too fast that they get sick of them.  I don’t know if that’s the tactic for the emergence of Amanda, more of a slow burn?

MISHAEL:  I feel like they are definitely doing a good job of building her character slowly and adding layers.  It’s not all coming out right away.  I feel like people should be feeling excited to try and figure out who this woman is because that is what it is eventually going to be leading to.  Right now, we are all just together in trying to figure out who she is.  I feel like everybody is really excited (and I am too) to get going, but even when Hilary came to Genoa City, it took about a year for her to catch her stride.  I think it’s going to take a while to really understand the meat of this character and how she fits into everyone’s lives.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Amanda feels badly about what is going on with Cane and Devon with the will, and how it would change both their lives forever?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  I definitely think that she feels badly about that.  In the beginning, it was very much her job.  I think when Devon is contemplating giving over his fortune, it makes Amanda see him in a different light, and her empathy for him starts to increase because she sees that he is a good guy, and that there wasn’t anything that he did that was malicious.

I think there is an attraction brewing here between Devon and Amanda.

MISHAEL:  Possibly.  I mean … Devon was attracted to someone who looked like Amanda.

Photo: JPI

Will she like him if he has no money, though?

MISHAEL:  I don’t know… I mean, Hilary definitely wouldn’t. (Laughs)

What do you think about working with Brytni Sarpy (Elena)? I see a triangle or quadrangle brewing and I see catfights in your future!

MISHAEL:  I love Brytni.  I definitely see that because Elena is definitely in the state of mind where she can’t stand this Amanda character.  The second she walked through the door, she couldn’t stand her.  I’m sure there are going to be some catfights coming.  I’m sure that it is going to be very entertaining for everybody! We’ll see.

Because you were considering being a lawyer … wait until you get into the courtroom set for some scenes!

MISHAEL:  I know, I’m excited for that!

Christian LeBlanc (Michael) always loves the courtroom monologues because he says it’s like doing a stage play.  Will you be up for that?

MISHAEL:  I think it’ll be ready for it.  I had a little one already to kind of warm up.  I won’t tell you what it was about.  I was like, “I can do this,” and I think it would have been even more fulfilling if there were an actual jury there where it feels like you’re performing.

Photo: JPI

What kind of lawyer is Amanda?  Does anyone know? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  Well, right now she specializes in estates and trusts, but the one thing that I do know about attorneys is that technically with your license you can kind of do anything.  It is just that your experience will be in a specific area.  So, certain people may not want you to defend them, because you’ve never defended people in these cases.  I feel like it is not the same as a surgeon.  A surgeon specializes in the heart, and they don’t really do anything else, but as an attorney, you can kind of do anything.  You can defend anyone if the price is right and you feel confident.

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Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

When you were thinking of being a lawyer, did you think of the kind of lawyer you wanted to be?

MISHAEL:  Well, when I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be an international human rights lawyer.  So, something very different.  I wanted to save the world.

You know what they should do?  Maybe Amanda could have a courtroom show.  Instead of Judge Judy, it could be called Judge “Mandy”!

MISHAEL:  Put people in their places.

That’s if Amanda doesn’t get a talk show gig on the side, like Hilary did with GC Buzz! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  With the courtroom cases, and the talk show, that would be a lot.

Photo: JPI

We talked about Hilary and taking her through everything she had gone through, and it really was the perfect ending when she passed.   Do you look back on that time and that work which we all loved so much?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I do.  I still look back on it, and I feel so blessed to have gone through that journey with her and to have created such a great character.  There are times when I’m like, “Yeah, coming back as Hilary would have been a lot of fun,” because I read the lines, and I know how Hilary would say everything, and now I have to figure out how Amanda says it – and it never feels the same, because I got so used to this being Hilary’s home.  I feel like Amanda is a little more like me, so there is a little less playfulness happening.

You want more of that which is reminiscent of Hilary, or not as much with Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like naturally there is not as much now with Amanda, but I do want more of the playfulness to happen. It’s fun to play that on camera.  I feel that’s the fun of acting and pretending in that you get to be less of yourself, and more like a character.  Hilary was so different from me that it was just so fun to play her.  I feel like I’ve got to find those things in Amanda that make her unique and different that I can indulge in.

Photo: MMorganInstagram

In real-life you’re now a mom of two.  When you leave your kids to come to work, is it hard for you?

MISHAEL:  It is, but it’s okay because my husband stays at home with them.  We bounce back and forth.  He doesn’t work when I am working, and the days when I am not working, I am at home, and I get to enjoy time with them.  Then, when I am working, he stays home, and he gets to enjoy time with them.  It sucks to leave them, but at the same time it’s great to know that they are getting to spend time with their father, and I’m getting some ‘me time’.  I think that is necessary, because being a stay at home mom was a lot harder than I thought.  It is exhausting, and you are always on call.  You feel like you’re a surgeon.  It is just too much at times.

You always have the best Instagram photos with your kids and their outfits.  Are you going to have them dressed for Halloween?

MISHAEL:  Oh, yes.  They are going to dress up.   My son is going to be a firefighter, and I am going to be the fire, and my husband is going to be the fire hydrant, and my daughter is going to be the fire dog, the little Dalmatian!

Were you thrilled that you had a daughter this time, after previously having a son?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  At the time, I was okay with whatever the gender turned out to be.  I know everybody says it, but as long as they’re healthy, that is the most important thing.  I even thought about if I did have another boy, there would be that brother bond.  I grew up with sisters so to give him a brother would have been great, too.  Everybody always wants to have one of each because you want to be able to see what a boy would look like, and what a girl would look like, and their temperaments and all of that.  So, it’s nice that we got one of each.  We are happy.  We are good.  No more kids in my future.  (Laughs)  I shouldn’t say that too much because what if I do get pregnant, and my kid is like, “I was definitely an accident, Mom?” (Laughs)

We don’t know who Amanda has ties to at this point, but would you like to see her in another romantic relationship with some guy who is not Devon?

MISHAEL:  I would like to see that just because it would be something that kind of defines her as her own kind of person with her own journey and her own likes and her own dislikes.  I even feel that if she just ends up with Devon, it would be kind of weird.  We don’t know if Hilary and Amanda are related, but if they are related somehow, you would not have the same experiences, you would not have the same connections as this person.  As far as who I would want to work with, I don’t know.  I don’t know how to judge.  Well, Sean Dominic (Nate) has been awesome.  It would be kind of cool to be with Sean character-wise, because if Amanda ends up with Nate, that’s a relative of Devon, so Devon would have to see that all of the time … so that’s interesting.

Photo JPI

How is working with Sean?

MISHAEL:  Lots of fun.  He actually has the same birthday as my dad.  He’s a really cool guy, and we get along great.  That is half the battle because every now and again (and you rarely hear about it) you can’t stand the person you’re working with, and every time you get into scene work with another character, you’re always wondering, “Am I going to get along with this person?”  I love Bryton because we definitely have a special connection when we are on camera and when we are working together.  We’ve known each other for so long, and we’ve done so many amazing scenes together, and I think there is a lot of trust there.  It’s easy to just work with him.  That being said, the challenge of working with another character would be great as well.  We’ll just see where the chips fall.  Either way; I’m going to have a blast.

So, Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and you obviously have this great relationship together on-screen.  Mariah was Hilary’s dear friend.  Did you ever see her performance after Hilary died and her heartbreaking monologue on the set of GC Buzz?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I did.  It was amazing.  She’s an amazing actress.  She’s an amazing person.  I was so happy to work with her, and I am so happy to be back, because we are such good friends.  My first day back on set when I walked in, Camryn was the first person I saw.

Photo: JPI

Did Camryn know you were coming back to the show as Amanda?

MISHAEL:  Yes, she knew I was coming back.  We had a big hug and everything like that, and we were laughing about the fact that she’d come back to Y&R too as a whole different character.  So, I was like, “What pointers can you give me?” I would really love to figure out how Amanda and Mariah can work together.

The big question … I wonder if Amanda will have friends in Genoa City? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  I think she would.  I mean, I know she is a little uptight, but I think she’ll have friends.  I hope so.  I don’t know who though. Guess everyone will have to stay tuned to see.

So, are you happy to see Mishael back at The Young and the Restless? What do you think of the character of Amanda Sinclair thus far? Do you want to see her with Nate, Devon, or someone else on the canvas romantically?  Do you think it will turn out that Hilary and Amanda were twins? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Talks On Thomas’ Vendetta With Brooke & Playing The Manipulative Bad Boy Of The Forrester Clan

Since coming to The Bold and the Beautiful earlier this year, Matthew Atkinson is making his mark in the role of Taylor (Hunter Tylo) and Ridge’s (Thorsten Kaye) son, Thomas Forrester.  But while Matthew was a recast for his predecessor Pierson Fodé, his Thomas is quite different.  The new Thomas is a bad boy capable of horrific manipulations to get what he wants, and a young man who has caused so much suffering already for the Logans, Spencers, and the Forresters  But is there a heart underneath that often volatile exterior?

After all, Thomas went to great lengths to keep Hope (Annika Noelle) in a relationship with him and for her to be a “mother” to his son, following the death of Caroline.  So, what did he do? He covered-up and blackmailed many people to keep their mouths shut to the truth – that his sister Steffy’s (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) little girl, Phoebe, was actually baby Beth, the child Hope and Liam (Scott Clifton) believed had died at birth!

Following the big reveal, and getting a bit of comeuppance, Thomas landed in the hospital with a questionable push from Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) after a fall.  After promising to change his ways, looks like Thomas is back to scheming and conniving – this time to make sure Brooke gets payback and that her marriage to his father blows up to smithereens.  Meanwhile, Thomas needs to be a better father to his little boy, Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri), but will the Logans and the Spencers come between father and son?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Matthew Atkinson to get his take on: the emotional make-up of his incarnation of Thomas Forrester, what his ultimate takedown of Brooke would be, and how he thinks Thomas can find a way back into the family good graces, and more.  Here’s what Matthew had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

Thomas really has a vendetta with Brooke.  The scene where Brooke slaps him illustrated just how deep-rooted his issues apparently are with her. What did you think about what Thomas said to Brooke that came to a boiling point with the slap, and what was it like performing the material with Katherine Kelly Lang?

MATTHEW:  Katherine rocks every chance I get to be around her.  She is such a sweet human being and so fun to work with and takes her job seriously and puts a lot of work in, and I think it shows.  As far as the scene goes, every chance that I get to work with her is fun.  She’s just a great actress.  Brooke basically had this vendetta against Thomas for a while now, and she was the one who unjustifiably went a little crazy about Thomas before anybody knew Thomas was off the rails.  So, it’s kind of this interesting culmination of having that where she has built herself up to hating Thomas at this point, and she is just scared of him and what he could possibly do.  Then you have Thomas, who has hated Brooke ever since she came in and destroyed his family.  There is so much emotion there and so many levels to it.  It’s just so much fun to play around with, and in those scenes especially, it is kind of like neither one of them really has a filter.  They are both just going at each other.

He is punctuating his plan by telling Brooke that she may, “Have his father tied around her slutty little finger, but her reign of terror ends with him!”  I was just like, “Uh-oh.” (Laughs)

MATTHEW:  Yeah, and that’s how Thomas sees Brooke.  He sees her as this slutty woman who came in and kind of giggles her way into his dad’s life and flirted with him and destroyed his entire family.  Thomas sees her and all of her sisters as these air-headed women who are kind of just family-destroying kind of people.  They come in, they do whatever they can to get what they want, and he doesn’t care about them at all.  I think he has kind of gotten to this point, especially with Brooke … considering what happened with Hope and that he has this genuine love for Hope.  Brooke won’t even accept that, or think about that as a possibility with how she views him.   It’s that crazy dynamic and those scenes were definitely an emotional peak for both of them.

Photo: JPI

Thomas seems to become obsessed, and laser-focused on people like Hope, and now Brooke.  What has happened to him?  How are you playing this behavior pattern of his that we are seeing established?

MATTHEW:  Some of the most successful people in the world are people who obsess over things.  I think Thomas is like that, but I think that since Caroline’s death, his obsessive nature has been so focused on things other than fashion.  They aren’t his job and what his talents are, which is where he should focus all of that energy, but instead it’s been on his son needing a mother.  So, getting Hope in his life was key to him, and with Brooke, it’s a woman who has destroyed his entire family.  He wants his dad to be better off.  He wants his entire family to be better off.  He honestly feels that they would be better off without Brooke in their lives, and so that is what he is focused on.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad attribute to have when it is focused in the right direction, but for Thomas, since the death of Caroline, his focus has been on things that are a little abstract and are not necessarily objectively sound decisions.

Photo: JPI

What was interesting was that I did not know how they were going to be able to save the character of Thomas on the B&B canvas after all that he has perpetrated.  But then, there were scenes in the hospital where he is recovering from his “fall”, and Thomas is having big emotional scenes with Ridge and Steffy.  In those moments as the viewer, you say to yourself: “Oh, they’re going to redeem him,” but then they don’t.  He goes right back to a new vendetta.  What did you think of those plot twists?

MATTHEW:  The interesting thing about this character is that I don’t think this guy is a bad guy.  I think he is a guy who is doing a lot of bad things, but I think a lot of people can relate to him and the struggles that he is dealing with: being a single father and having a rough childhood with his family being broken up.  This is a guy who wants his father to approve of him and respect him and he has never really felt that way.  I think a lot of people out there know what it’s like to have a parent who they just want approval from but can’t get it … couple that with the fact that he let his sister down.  Everybody knows what it is like to think that they are making the right decision and end up making the wrong decision and possibly hurting someone in the process … and the kind of shame that you feel from doing something like that.  I think this makes Thomas an interesting character where viewers could say, “Well, he is doing bad things, and I don’t agree with anything that he is doing, but I can relate to him, and I want him to be better, and I want him to get better and become the good person we all know he can be.”  Yet, Thomas just keeps making all of the wrong decisions.

Photo: JPI

I predict that in short order, Thomas will be in cahoots with Shauna (Denise Richards)!

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MATTHEW:  Okay, we shall see.  (Laughs)  They have aligned interests; especially at the moment, when it comes to removing Brooke from that situation.  I think with Shauna, it’s fun that Denise Richards has come into this role and what she has done with this character.

Denise Richards is doing a great job in the role.

MATTHEW:  She’s amazing, but I think that behind the thought process she has is this woman, Shauna, who is not so dissimilar from Thomas, and is willing to blur the lines of what is acceptable and morally sound to make sure that she gets what she wants.

Photo: JPI

When you were taping those emotional hospital scenes where Thomas admits he has lost his way, and reaching out to his dad to try to find forgiveness, how were playing those scenes with Thorsten Kaye?

MATTHEW:  I respect Thorsten a lot as an actor.  I just love having scenes with him because I feel like we play off of each together so well.  When we enter a scene together, we are both in it.  When you are both in it, something real happens from that, and those real moments are kind of magical in a way, and it makes you feel great about the work that you do.  Thorsten shows up, and he’s prepared, he knows what he is doing, and at the same time, there is this connection between father and son.   I think Thorsten and I have definitely done that as father and son, and Jacqui and I have done that as brother and sister.

Since the show usually has you shirtless or sneering in scenes (laughs), I was so happy that they finally let you have some crying scenes.  It was at the point that the audience was able to see you bring another emotional level and dimension to the character.

MATTHEW:  I think he is not a guy who breaks down and cries very often.  It takes something very serious (especially for him) to get to that point.  For Thomas, the most important thing in the world is family, and he has kind of destroyed his relationship with his own family with what he has done, and I think that from the inside out is what breaks him.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of shirtless scenes; in a short amount of time you have been with the show, I think you may have set a record there.

MATTHEW:  (Laughs) Yep.  It’s all the time because the wardrobe sends me mostly pants – no shirts (Laughs).

Obviously, there is the issue of Thomas’s son, Douglas … and will he lose him because Hope and Liam want to gain custody of him. Brooke wants Thomas out of Douglas’ life for good.   This poses a major obstacle for Thomas moving forward. Agree?

MATTHEW:  Sure.  However, Brooke has no legal right to stand on.  You can’t just take a guy’s son.  There’s no legal way to do that, but they can try their hardest to either sign adoption papers or sign over custody, or something like that, but there’s not a legal way they can go and just take his son.  There are a lot of people who I understandably think Douglas would be better off with being raised by Hope and Liam, but I think Thomas has a point of view too, and just because he is going through a bad part of his life at this time, doesn’t mean that he is unfit to be a father.  I think Thomas will prove that he is fit to be father and all the while, a great force to be reckoned with,

Photo JPI

But, Thomas hasn’t been so great to Douglas, either.  Hasn’t he yelled at his son, manipulated him for his own gain, etc?

MATTHEW: Right, this was kind of right before the truth about Beth came out, and Thomas was on this massive downward swirl where he wasn’t thinking clearly; he wasn’t himself. I  think in reality, you have a person who went off the rails, he wasn’t being himself, he found the person he wasn’t, and I think that the “accident” of Brooke pushing him off a cliff, the slip, kind of clarified his intention in life to be a good, standup person from here on out.  So, I think his priorities are straight now, and I think he is thinking clearly.  I don’t think he is in the same mental state that he was before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be manipulative and that he won’t get what he wants, because he will.  There was a time that he went through a headspace when nothing was really clear for a minute, and he didn’t really have any moral backbone, but I don’t think that moving forward you’re going to see a Thomas Forrester that would hurt his son.  You’re going to see a Thomas Forrester who will stop at nothing to protect his son.

How does Thomas feel about Hope now, especially since Hope wants to raise Douglas? 

MATTHEW:  Well, here is what I will say; I think that Thomas has always had a love for Hope. I think he respects her as a person, I think he has seen her be a mother to his child, and that is undeniable … how much of a connection that she has to Douglas, and she is incredibly important to him.  Thomas can basically discard any Logan except Hope.  Hope is kind of his kryptonite.  So, going forward, I think you’ll maybe see a guy who wants to discard Hope as a person who he cares for (her and the rest of the Logans), but he may not be able to do that, because she has got a place in his heart that he can’t compartmentalize and leave behind.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Annika Noelle, because you as Thomas had been terrorizing Hope for many months?

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Eileen Davidson & Vincent Van Patten Talk '7 Days to Vegas', Their Relationship and Y&R, DAYS & RHOBH

MATTHEW:  Well, she’s a sweetheart, but also, secondly, she is a badass.  She could kick my butt any day of the week.  So, I just had to make sure that in between takes I said, “You understand that I wouldn’t do this to you.”  She’s so sweet, and she was actually one of the first people to talk to me about taking over a role on the show, because she had been one of the most recent people to take over a role, and that was something that was really hard for me.  Coming into a character that has already been there for 30 years, you have a lot to live up to.  She was amazing from the beginning just helping me through that process.

On that note, what did you think of the epic fight scene on the rooftop opposite Scott Clifton; right before all the truth came out to Hope that Beth is alive and Thomas was lying to Hope and up to no good?

MATTHEW:  So much fun.  The shots they got were incredible.  Shooting those fight scenes was so much fun and I love Scott to death.  So, every time we get to work together it’s fun, but just getting outside and literally pretending to beat the crap out of each other is a blast.  We got to go out to Malibu, and I got to fall over a cliff.  What else can you say about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

There is another interesting relationship Thomas has on B&B, and that is with his friend, Vinny.  How has it been creating the on-screen dynamic with Joe LoCicero (Vinny) as these two scheming dudes?

MATTHEW:  I like it, and I love Joe.  This dynamic between these two guys is really funny because you have this shrewd, alpha male, Thomas Forrester, who is extremely driven, and insanely smart, but also very manipulative and he has got a thousand things going on.  On the flipside, you’ve got Vinny, who is just this guy who he has been friends with for a really, really long time, who just kind of lives life.  He is living in his apartment in Venice, he sells some not so legal substances just to his friends, and he’s a decent guy.  It’s just fun when we have these scenes together, because essentially you’ve got him looking at me like I’m an alien creature, and thinking, “I don’t understand this guy.  I don’t know why he is acting this way, but who cares; I’m going to eat my Chinese food.”  (Laughs) I think it kind of grounds some of those scenes especially when you see Thomas going off that rails, and his friend doesn’t even seem to notice. (Laughs)

I know! (Laughs) Thomas has got his own sidekick.

MATTHEW: I think Vinny wants to give sound advice, but he gives all the worst advice.  He’s like, “Well, the way you described it Thomas, it sounds like a good idea, so yeah, go ahead with that,” but maybe doing a little behavioral cognitive therapy and questioning would be good for Vinny.  He just kind of goes, “okay,” (laughs) but I think that’s what makes those scenes so much fun.

Photo: JPI

Having appeared on The Young and the Restless previously you know how soaps go.  There is always this fear of: “Will they kill me off if my character has gone too far?” Did at any point in Thomas’ storyline, and as you got the scripts and read all the terrible things Thomas was doing, that the character might get murdered, kicking off a murder mystery, and you’d have to make an exit?

MATTHEW:  I’d had discussions with Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) and I kind of knew where the character was going, so I kind of knew that he was going down a rabbit hole, but that Thomas wasn’t a lost cause.  I knew that he would at least be present for the upcoming short future that I know of, that Thomas wasn’t going to find his demise, which was very nice of Brad to give me that insight into the character to not only know what was coming up, but also know where his head is at by this point.  It helps me with the character work that I do for each scene and prep for each day; because I know where Thomas’ head is going to be at two weeks from now.

Photo: JPI

Have you had any interactions with fans, or are you checking out on social media what the viewers are saying about Thomas?  Do they love him?  Hate him?  Is there a great debate going on?  What is your take on where Thomas sits with the audience?

MATTHEW:  Oh, yeah.  I definitely pay attention.  The fans are the reason I have the job that I have.  All the feedback that I have seen is positive, and by positive, I mean that it is emotionally effective.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are happy with Thomas because most people are not happy with Thomas.  They don’t like what he is doing, and that obviously gets them angry or sad or whatever, but that is kind of the point of the show.  If you’re watching a bunch of characters who are all great people and who all do nice things, then it wouldn’t be that much fun to watch.  You’d be watching 40 Liam’s talk to each other, and it would be like, “Yeah, it’s just another day in Happy World.”  (Laughs)  I think that Thomas especially has been such a driving force in the last couple of months and caused a lot of drama.  I think there are a lot of storylines that people have connected to in the past that are really making people enjoy the drama happening now. You have the people who hated Ridge getting together with Brooke in the beginning that are happy with what Thomas is doing now.  You have the people who are pro – Liam and Steffy.  Thomas has been a big advocate of that since the beginning.  There are some people who just can’t stand Thomas and don’t like him, and he makes them mad, but the reality of it is that there is a thin line between love and hate.  So, as long as they love me or hate me, I’m happy.

So, have you been enjoying Matthew’s portrayal of Thomas? Do you think he will rip Brooke and Ridge apart for good and succeed in his plans? Do you think he should somehow pay for his manipulations? Share your thoughts on the current B&B storyline involving Thomas via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Eileen Davidson & Vincent Van Patten Talk ‘7 Days to Vegas’, Their Relationship and Y&R, DAYS & RHOBH

Today’s the day for the highly-anticipated film, 7 Days to Vegas which bows in selected theaters. The motion picture which stars Vincent Van Patten and his real-life wife, two-time Daytime Emmy winning actress Eileen Davidson (Y&R’s Ashley and former Kristen/Susan Banks, Days) is a comedic gambling romp, centering around the character of Duke (Van Patten), an out-of-work actor turned poker player who makes a prop bet that he walk from the San Fernando Valley in California to Sin City, Las Vegas in 7 days.

There are some catches to this bet that make it even more challenging  … Duke has to wear a suit the entire time in scorching heat.  The events in the movie are loosely based on Van Patten’s Hollywood Poker game nights.  7 Days to Vegas features a fictional gang of betting entertainment industry bigwigs, who are hardcore gamblers and of course, jealousy strikes.  Davidson plays Duke’s wife, KC.

Michael Fairman sat down with Eileen and Vincent at their home, and at their famed poker table for the Michael Fairman Channel, to chat about the making of the movie, their relationship and some intriguing tidbits for fans of Eileen’s work on The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives and her time on Bravo’s hit reality franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In 7 Days to Vegas, Eileen says that Vincent fashioned her role of KC after their real-life relationship adding, “They are in it together. This is a lifestyle that they both enjoy.  That is what somebody does when there is a home game; you call people up, and make sure who is going to be there.  Van Patten said, “There is a host of the game, and that is her role in the movie.”

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Eileen Davidson & Vincent Van Patten Talk '7 Days to Vegas', Their Relationship and Y&R, DAYS & RHOBH

As to the scenes where Duke is walking to Vegas, Van Patten shared, “We shot the film in Santa Clarita, California in the hills and the mountains and all of that, and then we out five days after with a second unit shoot and shot with drones in the desert.  So, I must have walked 10 miles a day, shooting, sweating, but you don’t feel it, because when it’s your baby, it’s a labor of love.”

When asked if she would go back to daytime, Eileen shared she would be back for more Ashley on Y&R: “I am supposed to go back to Y&R in a couple of more weeks. So I am popping in and out at this point.”  Davidson also shared she wishes nothing but the best to Stacy Haiduk who inherited her roles on Days of our Lives as Kristen DiMera and Susan Banks. Eileen said she does not watch the episodes of the show anymore, because it makes her feel sad.  The roles of Kristen and Susan were so close to Davidson’s heart.

In speaking of her time on RHOBH, Van Patten shared, “I think she (Eileen) did a great job. It went by real quick. I think she did like three years on it.  I was in the background carrying her purse, going, ‘Yes, yes, here I come.”  (Laughs)  Davidson expressed: “Listen, reality TV … it’s a crazy, wild, Wild West.”  When Michael asked about the time a drink was thrown in her face, Eileen explained:  “I think Brandi (Granville) felt she needed to be relevant to be on the show, and her role was to be a troublemaker. I understand more of it now.  At the time, I was a deer in the headlights for the first couple of years.”  Vincent shared, “People always ask if this stuff is scripted, and it’s actually not, but you can spice it up”   As to if ‘Housewives’ makes up the drama, Davidson elaborated, “Before the season starts they will ask, ‘What is going on in your life?’, and maybe there is some of that behind-the-scenes stuff.  It didn’t happen with me.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it is a reality show, but it is also entertainment, and if all we did was sit around, how fun would that be?”

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Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

Watch the full interview below with Eileen and Vincent and make sure to “subscribe” to The Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interview features.

Now let us know, will you be checking out 7 Days to Vegas, which will also be available on iTunes and VOD come September 24th? Do you hope there will be more Ashley on Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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Y&&’s Eileen Davidson and her husband Vincent Van Patten chat with Michael Fairman about their new film “7 Days to Vegas”, her time on Y&R, DAYS, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and their relationship. Leave A Comment

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