Connect with us

Interviews

The Jerry verDorn Interview – One Life to Live

© JPI Studios

© JPI Studios

Is there any doubt that the best “baddie” of them all in soaps this year has turned out to be none other than Llanview’s Clint Buchanan?  The former stoic and heroic cowboy, who became a business empire mogul, took a turn to the dark side and has been the kick start for many a storyline and many characters horrific dilemmas on One Life to Live. And who is relishing this just as much as the audience at home… Clint’s portrayer, two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jerry verDorn!

The former do-gooder, as Ross Marler on Guiding Light, verDorn took over the role of Clint Buchanan, (once played by the late Clint Ritchie) over six and half years ago and has taken the role to unexpected new heights.  But what a palette he was given by the writers! Here is just a short list of some items on Clint’s machination resume:  Switching Jessica’s and Rex’s paternity test, framing Vimal to take the fall for his demands and skullduggery in DNA labs, paying off Eddie Ford to kidnap Nora Buchanan, (and then the evil Mr. Ford almost rapes Clint’s ex-wife in the process), setting up brother Bo Buchanan with his secretary Inez Salinger by having her drug him so it appears he slept with her in an effort to break up Bo and Nora’s marriage. Then, manipulating Bo and Nora’s son, Matthew against his parents, kidnapping David Vickers on his wedding day to Dorian, and depositing him in a Moroccan prison, leaving La Mayor once again devastated at the altar.  Shall we go on?

But payback is a bitch!  And now Clint, after suffering a severe heart attack, is clinging to life and preparing to say goodbye to his beloved children and family members, unless he gets a heart transplant.  Problem is: Clint has a rare blood type and finding a donor is very difficult.  Enter Matthew Buchanan, Clint’s favorite nephew, who he thinks of as a son. After falling and hitting his head and landing up in the hospital… no thanks to Nate Salinger… Matthew appears to be brain-dead and a match for Clint’s blood type.  Will Matthews’s life become expendable to save the man who perpetrated such heinous acts against his own family?

To get some thoughts and perspective on this subject and more, On-Air On-Soaps went to the man himself, Jerry verDorn, who in our humble opinion has given the true Daytime Emmy winning Lead Actor performance of 2011!  Jerry chats about the Emmys, the cancellation of OLTL, where soaps made a wrong turn, and working with the dynamite trio of Erika Slezak (Viki), Robin Strasser (Dorian), and Kim Zimmer (Echo) as Clint’s leading ladies, In addition, he previews that there is more story to come for the Buchanan clan!  Without further ado, we are thrilled to bring you this interview with Jerry.

MICHAEL:

Clint is at the epicenter of most all the major stories playing out on One Life to Live! Now, with his heart attack and struggle to find a donor heart, do you think this was the only way to redeem Clint from his bad deeds?

JERRY:

© JPI Studios

I don’t think it was the only way, but I thought it was a good way. There is history there because his father, Asa, had heart problems, too.  And so it made sense family-wise.  I just remember when I first heard about it; I recalled an actor named Larry Gates who played H. B. on Guiding Light. And, he once told me, “When you are pretending to have a heart attack, be very careful you don’t bring on a heart attack.” (Laughs) When we were shooting those scenes, I had that firmly in mind. (Laughs)  But anyway, I thought it was brilliant.  And then unfortunately, the person who stumbled upon Clint in his misery is Dorian, who then proceeds to have a seat and take a view.  I thought it was very good, and after that happened it involved so many other people.  That is really the hallmark of great soap.  And when a soap is going good, and when a lot of people are involved, it makes for an interesting story.

MICHAEL:

Clint, being such a jackass and a bad guy has been so delicious to watch!  When you saw this turn in the character, what were your thoughts?

JERRY:

I thought it made perfect sense.  Because I think in most cases with sons and daughters, they reach a point in their lives when they look in the mirror and say, “Hi Mom or Hi Dad,” because they start to physically look like them.  And usually, they are very emotionally similar to their parent, and so I thought the turn was absolutely great!  Fans would come up to me and say, “How could you do this? This Clint has always been so nice.”  And I would say, “Well a lot of things have happened to him.”  There he is sitting in that mansion all by himself staring into the fire, and so I had no problems doing what the story required.

MICHAEL:

How has your real life family reacted to seeing you play evil Clint?

JERRY:

© JPI Studios

They said, “You are really a jackass when you want to be!” (Laughs) You know, over at CBS, I was playing the pillar of the community and such a good guy for so long, even though I came on as a bad guy!  Nobody remembers that I came on GL as Roger Thorpe’s evil lawyer.  I was the black sheep of the family, but that did not last long, and then it was Mayor Marler and all that stuff.

MICHAEL:

You have given the performance of the year thus far, and it is so great to watch Clint mix-it up with Eddie Ford, Nora, Bo, Inez, and especially with Matthew.  With all signs pointing to Matthew being the donor match for Clint, it seems like Clint’s plans all went horribly awry, wouldn’t you say?

JERRY:

Being the control freak he is, Clint is very upset how these things spun out of control. Now perhaps, he is having second thoughts as in, “What have I done now?”  There is a lot of Macbeth in him, as in, “Have I gone too far?”   The sins of the father are coming to visit the sons and all of those kinds of themes, so with the culmination of all that and with all the pressure, it makes sense for him to have a heart attack. Clint had so many secrets going that he can’t even keep them straight!

MICHAEL:

Could you keep them straight? (Laughs)

JERRY:

It was difficult.  When somebody walked into the room, I had to know which baby did I switch, do they know the truth, or what I told them was the truth.  You know how politicians are, when they do something wrong instead of immediately fessing up there is this cover-up, and eventually it gets so complicated that they all get tripped up. That is where Clint is.  He is the middle of this emotional mess and he is not sure he has a handle on it anymore, and of course it involves people he loves!  He doesn’t want Viki to find out some terrible things he did and he doesn’t want his kids to know, so Clint has a lot of balls in the air.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

Poor Jessica, split into a million pieces and multiple personalities again.  Does he feel any remorse for what he caused to happen to his daughter?  It seems to not have been addressed!

JERRY:

He does and it does come out in the future.  I have been shooting some scenes where the guilt of that for him is just enormous, and it is finally coming out.  I think the Matthew situation and Jessica splitting again are the two toughest things for him to face.

MICHAEL:

So when he is faced with the knowledge that Matthew’s heart is a match for him, Clint does not want Matthews’s heart.

JERRY:

Clint would rather die than take his heart, because Matthew is just beginning his life and Clint is an older man who has lived a long and wonderful life.  He is adamant about that, I would imagine.

MICHAEL:

Recently, one of the best scenes was between you and Erika Slezak in Clint’s hospital room discussing that he is not going to make it.  You always see with Clint that Viki is his Achilles heel.  He seems not to be able to lie to her very well, or cover his feelings in front of her.  Do you remember shooting that beautiful scene in the hospital?

JERRY:

I do remember that scene, and one of the joys of working here is looking into the eyes of Erika Slezak, because she is such a nice dance partner.  And that helps, because we no longer have any rehearsal time because we shoot things so fast.  I thought that scene was beautifully written. You are right. With the b*s* meter, Viki has got it figured out because she has known Clint for so long, and she knew Asa for so long and they shared children.  He just can’t, and does not want to see her be disappointed or look bad in her eyes, and that hurts him.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Erika got the biggest kick that you came in on your day off to be at her 40th anniversary party, at OLTL.  She told me in a recent interview, “I was surprised that Jerry was there.”  I mean back in the day at Guiding Light you knew of Erika Slezak’s work, I am sure.  Did you ever think you would be her scene partner?

JERRY:

No, I never did, for a lot of reasons.  One of which was I thought I was going to be staying at CBS.  But in terms of that one particular day, I would not have missed that for anything.  Frank Valentini, our executive producer, had asked me to say something to her and I did not want to miss that: the opportunity to say something to her in public that I feel in my heart.  And by the way, that is what a lot of people in the cast feel about Erika for this great accomplishment of hers.  So it was no problem coming in for that day. When I got the role of Clint six and half years ago it was like a gift from heaven, because this show had so much history. With Clint Ritchie having done such a wonderful job at creating this character, I felt enough time had passed with the character being on-screen and coming back again was perfect.  Audiences hate recasts, at least they usually do. (Laughs)  I think my decision was to not base everything off of what Clint Ritchie did when he was doing the role, but I based everything on Phillip Carey (Asa).  I just wanted to walk like him, sound like him, be like him, instead of copying what Clint was doing. And in terms of who I am acting with, Oh, my Goodness! (Laughs) I mean one day I am working with Erika, and then one day I am working with Robin Strasser and Bree Williamson (Jessica) and Melissa Archer (Natalie)!  It’s amazing!

MICHAEL:

What about Bob Woods as your brother Bo?  The showdown scenes in the stable were classic soap!

JERRY:

He is another one, and in real life we are almost like brothers, in that we knew each other in passing over the years, but we kind of bookended each other in our soap careers.  We both started in 1979, he on One Life and me on Guiding Light.  When I came here, I had never acted with him, but it was just so easy to do.  We have some awfully good material and we have a head writer in Ron Carlivati who respected the history and wanted to spring new story out of history, which audiences always like.  It has been really nice.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

So what do you think has been the most ridiculous moment of all of Clint’s plotting or machinations?

JERRY:

I think when he had a little too much bourbon and reached for the shotgun and he brings it out in public and brings it into the church.  I read that and went, “Well, at least they had him a little tooted with too much bourbon!” (Laughs)  That was over-the-top. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

On Friday’s episode, Clint reveals to Natalie and Joey he does not have long to live.  Can you give us a preview of what goes down?

JERRY:

Clint is very much just facing facts.  He has a very rare blood type and the donor is difficult to find.  He is not first on the list, even though he owns half the hospital.  Those lists are very sacred and even soap operas will not alter that.  So he is down on the list with a hard to match donor profile.  He decides to gather the family and lay out the facts and enjoy his time and let them know what is happening to him.  They do not want anything to do with this.  And I think Natalie has a line that says, “If the roles were reversed and you were standing watching me in bed, would you be telling me to give up and saying that it’s OK?”   So those are the things that go down and Tom Degnan ((Joey) was terrific.  We actually got to rehearse these scenes, and they were so well-written.  It was a very good day and it was partly about what do you do when someone is on their last days.  Do you support that or tell them to keep fighting?  It is one of those main issues that people have with right to die issues. You will see terrific performances… I will tell you that!

MICHAEL:

Is it easy to just lie around in a hospital bed in scenes and watch people cry all around you?  Or, is it difficult for you?

JERRY:

It’s not easy, and it’s actually very disturbing to me because of my personal history.  I have spent a lot of time in hospitals being a 19-year cancer survivor, and every now and then I have to go back to the hospital to get check-ups.  I am in my fifth week of coming to the set and putting on pajamas and flopping into bed and being hooked up to medical devices, and it’s just too close to what I sometimes go through myself.   I have to watch myself and I am very careful with this, that when the show is over, the show is over, and I leave it all at the studio and go home and live life.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

As you are aware many of us in the industry, including myself, thought you were most deserving of a Daytime Emmy this year and you did not get nominated.  What did you submit?

JERRY:

Well, I think most of my material that you are referring to was after January 1, so it was not eligible.  I went with something I had with Tuc Watkins (David), because that was all I had.  It was one of the early Moroccan prison scenes, and that was the only thing I had where the scenes where actually driven by me, but it was semi-comedic.  So I did not know how that would fly.  I did not have any of the confrontations with Bo to choose from.  And so the fact of the matter is, I think several people from our show will be nominated next year when the show is not on, just like what happened this year with As the World Turns.  It does not really matter to me about the nomination, but I would have liked to get some publicity for the show.  Brian Kerwin, (Charlie) has some awfully good scenes with Erika this past year and I am really glad he got nominated.

MICHAEL:

How are you doing now with the news of the cancellation of One Life to Live? And how is everyone doing over at the studio?

JERRY:

The atmosphere has been as positive as it possibly could be, and we have a long time before we go off, so that gives the writers a way to end it properly, if indeed, it is going to end.  I am fine with it, but I am 62.  The people I am not fine with are the people who are the tech people who are in their early 40’s and they have kids in grade school and that kind of thing, and knowing that there is hardly any scripted television in New York, and those are the people I am worried about.  I am not so worried about the kids, they don’t have kids of their own or real estate yet, so they can bounce around in show business, which happens all the time, but to be caught in the middle is tough.  There are, I would say, 100 like that on AMC, and 100 like that on OLTL.  It’s difficult and that is what hurts me.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

Having gone through a major cancellation and disruption with Guiding Light previously, does it leave you at all better equipped to handle it a second time, only this time at OLTL?

JERRY:

Over at Guiding Light, I was sort of a pseudo-producer.  I spoke publicly when producers did not want to, so I was privy to falling numbers.  But, I also thought this medium got into trouble when they started worrying about production values.  I don’t think there is one soap opera fan that tuned in to see how well we would blow something up.  They tune in for one thing, and that is story.  We could do this in front of a black screen and it would be fine.  The special effects we should worry about are: ladies gowns, perhaps, and some perfectly romantic lighting.  But setting a major fire or having an earthquake, and a lot of gunplay, the fans don’t care about that.  They care about what Viki feels after the earthquake is over and are the children okay, and all that kind of stuff.  And those shows wasted just oodles of money, in my mind!

MICHAEL:

I agree!

JERRY:

Years ago, I thought they were doing it not for the audience, but for one executive producer to ‘wow’ another executive producer with, “Whoa, how did they do that?”  I promise you Michael, that those confrontation scenes between Bo and Clint at the stable, that is what people tune in to soaps for, and that is what a good cliffhanger is on a Friday episode, with Clint looking at Bo and Bo looking at Clint.  And, there is a gun in the room and a lot of things to talk about, and that is what will bring people back on Monday. We don’t need the stable to catch fire.  So in my mind, our audience gave us a huge artistic license that the producers did not take full advantage of.

MICHAEL:

Right now, OLTL has never been better and the ratings even reflect it.  For the last several weeks, they have been at number 3!

© JPI Studios

JERRY:

Isn’t that ironic!?

MICHAEL:

I know, isn’t it ironic!  It’s the most kick-ass show on the air right now.

JERRY:

I am looking up at the screen right now, and Bo and Nora are having this discussion about Matthew’s heart and what to do with Matthew since he is in such a dire situation, and I can’t stop watching!  They are kicking it, and I think the show is in very good artistic shape.  If we have to go down, at least we are going to go down in good shape.

MICHAEL:

If Clint survives his medical crisis, do you have a wish list of how you would like to see the story wrap up in the end for Clint?  Erika Slezak had told me she would like to see Viki and Clint back together.

JERRY:

I would not mind having Viki and Clint back together, too.  That would be a good way, but ultimately, I would like to see Clint and the tent pole characters be what they should be and be with who they should be with.  In Clint’s case, he should be happy and revel in his children, but I think the last image of the show better be Erika’s! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

How has it been working with John-Paul Lavoisier as Clint’s shocker of a son, Rex?

JERRY:

It has been terrific, and it finally gives some closure to his character, who was running around going, “You’re my dad?  No, you’re my dad?”  Rex was going through that for years, and then finally the irony of it is that Clint is Rex’s dad.  And then there is that loveliness of having his mother come on his show who was on the show before, and every time he sees Rex, Clint sees Echo, who happened to be Kim Zimmer, and that was just perfect.  I had never worked with JP before, and so the awkwardness we played as father and son was just terrific.

MICHAEL:

If you were to sum up what lies ahead for Rex and Clint, would you say there is more heavy-duty drama to come?

JERRY:

There is a lot of drama coming up between Rex and Clint, and he almost brings on a second heart attack at the hospital!  So yeah, JP has had a lot of heavy story to do and he did it well.  I can tell you there is some good story in the pipeline.  Then Viki finds out conclusively, that Rex is indeed being treated this way by Clint, and she just goes into the, “Are you kidding me, Clint,” mode. “Clint Buchanan, who says, ‘family is everything?’”  Those are good scenes, too.  I am telling you, in the pipeline there is some good soap ahead.

MICHAEL:

Can we expect more scenes between Echo and Clint?

Courtesy/ABC

JERRY:

I believe so, and we have taped some stuff that has not aired.  It was so weird working with Kim, because we would see each other at Guiding Light and we would cross paths there, but nothing with any serious story.  It has been so much fun to have scenes about Echo and Clint’s relationship, and Kim is just terrific fun.

MICHAEL:

So this heart story seems far from over!

JERRY:

There is no abrupt ending and it involves all the children, and what I like about it is it involves all the different generations of characters.  Sometimes on soaps characters get compartmentalized such as: here is the younger storyline, here is the old people’s storyline, and here are the people in the mid 40-s storyline and they don’t come together like families.  But these stories have brought actors of all ages together, and I think that is neat.

MICHAEL:

We have got to get you out of the hospital set…STAT!

JERRY:

Courtesy/ABC

(Laughs) They are looking for a compatible donor and I am still there.  A lot of people that come up to me on the street tell me they believe that Clint is not going to make it.

MICHAEL:

Of all the horrible acts of Clint, what were some of your most favorite moments to play so far this year? And, do you think we have not even seen the tip of the iceberg?

JERRY:

Well, the Bo showdown in the barn is one and some scenes when revealing to Bo and Nora, to just go ahead with this and let Clint take the rap for Eddie Ford’s murder.  Clint is like, “You don’t want to know about the killing of Eddie Ford, because it’s not for my sake, but for your sakes.”   I think those were well-written scenes, and they were acted well and shot well.  I did like the heart attack.  I remembered the advice I took that I told you about. (Laughs) I have been so lucky to have so many good acting partners, and I think I am going to have a lot more great scenes before November.  I think Ron Carlivati is on fire.

Click to comment
Advertisement

Leave a Reply

avatar
Brian
Brian

Jerry is absolutely wonderful! 🙂

Terry
Terry

Great interview. I love this guy! And I can’t wait to see more of the Buchanan family!

Dinah
Dinah

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I just love Jerry VerDorn as Clint!

guilty pleasure
guilty pleasure

How come you haven’t asked JVD how Clint is going to get the Buchanan mansion back from Cutter? When is that going to happen? Geat interview as usual, BTW!!!!

Nancy Gomez
Nancy Gomez

THIS INTERVIEW WAS GREAT!!!!!!
I WANT CLINT AND VICKI BACK TOGETHER TOO.
THE PEOPLE OF OLTL ARE JUST LIKE MY FAMILY MEMBERS.
IT WILL BE A TERRIBLE DEATH OF ALL THESE CHARACTERS

Samantha
Samantha

Great interview. Jerry verDorn is such a class act. Can’t wait to see what he does with the Clint character in the coming months!

Doe
Doe

I loved this interview, Michael. You asked all the right questions to Jerry, and he gave you terrific answers. He seemed very relaxed in talking with you and he made me appreciate him as a man who happens to be a great actor. His evil switch of character was subtle, conniving, and done with precision, as only an actor of his caliber could deliver. I certinly don’t want him to die and go to Neverland. Bravo, Jerry…well done…

Jim
Jim

It was a great interview. I think Jerry is a great actor and get the impression an honorable. and outright nice fellow. if the show does go off the air sure will miss it.

Waltina
Waltina

I wonder if Clint is planning to recognize Rex as his son? I must admit that I could care less if he didn’t, I have never liked the character of Rex. I would like to see him and Viki together and their family. Please don’t let Ford be a part of this family.

It was a great interview with a great actor. I have enjoyed him as Clint more that Bo.

red and vanessa forever
red and vanessa forever

can’t wait for clint and viki reunion

ethel
ethel

excellent interview!!!
i really like jerry’s version of clint!

annette
annette

What a great guy. I also like how he said “if” the show doesnt continue. I think he acknowledges all that the fans are doing to save it. THANKS

todd
todd

Can Clint and Viki move to Port Charles?

Suzi
Suzi

Amen, Todd!! Maybe all of the cast should. I have watched this for so flipping many years (don’t want to date my old self), I truly hope that somehow the show will never end! JVD was right when he said the show has been excellent for the last few years, and it is ironic that it would end at it’s epitome of brilliance! Can SoapNet keep it going?? Oh how I wish!

Todd
Todd

I have been watching since 87 and I am still rushing to get home every day. Rex, gigi, and shane blew me awY the last few days.

Tom Peterson
Tom Peterson

I remember way back in 1973 when I played Thomas Bolin and Jerry was Henry VIII in “Anne of the Thousand Days” back at Moorhead State … best to you Jerry, very glad for your sucess

Tom Peterson
Tom Peterson

Interesting tidbit about that production on “Anne” … not only featured Jerry as Henry, but also Kristin Rudrüd as Anne Bolyn – she was the kidmapped wife in the movie “Fargo”

D. Bennett
D. Bennett

what is Jerry’s plans now that OLTL if over?

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Kevin Spirtas Chats On His Heart-Tugging Series ‘After Forever’ & Love and Life In Your 50s

Filling the void in the digital drama series arena, the eight episodes first season of After Forever (available on Amazon), tackles the journey of a two middle-aged gay men in their 50’s in a deep romantic relationship, and looks at it through its various stages of love, loss, and moving on with one’s life when suddenly your world is turned upside down, when one of them has died.

While the LGBT community has seen other love-centric and dramatic web series, none have really taken a deep dive into the difficulties of starting anew in your 50’s or even older.  Leave it to former Days of our Lives alum and Broadway producer, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley), along with another DAYS alum, writer, Michael Slade, and the two put their shared experiences, and dramatic ideas into this emotional series, that is not limited to anyone who is gay, but touches on the universal themes that anyone may have, or will experience, at one time in their lives.

Spirtas, brought along with him none some notables for his passion project.  First, none other than former Prospect Park One Life to Live EP, Jennifer Pepperman, to bring his vision to life, and some amazing co-stars: Mitchell Anderson (Ex-Party Of Five), MIchael Urie (Ugly Betty), Cady Huffman (Ex-OLTL), Anita Gillette, Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) to  name just a few.

While the series bowed a little over a month ago, if you haven’t taken a look, check out our interview with Spirtas for some juicy insight into the making of and the construct of, After Forever.  Following that, check out the teaser for the series, and the video for the theme song, “My Forever” by Lio Nicol which becomes available tomorrow June 4th on Amazon and iTunes.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

KEVIN:  Patrika Darbo, came to New York close to 7 years ago. She had called me ahead of time, and said, “I was asked to present at the ISA Awards, and you’re coming with me.”  She was getting very involved in the world of the web series. I looked at this amazing presentation of content that was being shown at the ISA’s.  I was blown away. It was better than half the stuff on TV, theater, or film. At that point, I made a mad rush for a gentleman by the name of Sebastian La Cause.  Sebastian had won several awards that night and his material was so well presented, and beautifully shot, and his acting was very unique.

Sebastian La Cause was the star of the web series Hustling, right?

KEVIN:  Yes, it was Hustling, the first season.  I went up to him and I said, “I’m Kevin Spirtas. I’m an actor, I did a soap …”  He goes, “Kevin, I know who you are.” I was starstruck, and impressed, and inspired, because he is exactly the kind of person I want to work with.  He is talented, and creative and I want to work with those kind of people. I said to him, “If you do a second season, I’d love to be considered for anything you might be doing.”  Wouldn’t you know? He wrote me in. I fell in love with the story. I was very clear to me, that you have to start creating for yourself, because creating your own content in this industry now is king.  The third season of Hustling then crossed me over to appearing in Winterthorne.  That was also the first year that NATAS opened up the judging to the digital world.  I got nominated for an Emmy. It inspired me to start thinking about, ‘What do I know?  What do I have in my life that I feel is worth sharing and putting out there to help heal, or inspire?’  I had been producing in New York City for 3 years at this point.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

It becomes every performer’s concern, as they get older, that they can still be considered for the roles they would like to play.  Sometimes, actors can grow into the types of roles, and sometimes they’ve expired past those types of roles. Was creating After Forever also a way to re-enter being part of the conversation?

KEVIN:  Well, I was hoping to write something for myself … because I just didn’t see the roles coming toward me anymore.  My name wasn’t on them as I imagined them or had seen them in the past. I was worried about that. I thought, “If I have a chance to keep working, I’ve got to keep current.”

And somehow, you and Michael Slade ran into each other, and thus, a collaboration began that would eventually turn into After Forever?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Then, I ran into Michael Slade at a gym… I had never met him before, he was a writer on Days as I was leaving the show.  And I remember saying to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to work with somebody, and see what kind of story we could come up with?”  Unbeknownst to me, Michael, at that particular time in his life, was working on the very same type of story and idea about what it’s like to be who he is, at his age, where he’s at, and what he knows.  I pitched him this idea: “I think there’s some really funny ideas I could express to the world about my experience as a single gay man at this point.” He said, “Call me.” In short, he was living life as a single gay man, and I was living life as a single gay man, and that’s how After Forever was born.  Michael had the experience of losing his long-time partner of 25 years.  There’s a part in the story where Brian and Jason are going along and they have everything in their life that they could possibly want, and then they don’t, because Jason is diagnosed with cancer and it takes him away.

Do we see Jason die in this?

KEVIN:  You just might! … It’s how we incorporated him in the story…

Courtesy/AfterForever

After Forever bounces back and forth in time, obviously, that was part of the unique structure of the storytelling?

KEVIN:  It does do that.  It tells the story through a lot of present, and a lot of flashbacks.  There is also the present with Brian, and his memory of Jason. As Brian is going through the next chapter of his life as a single man, he has to look at his life and learn how to continue to love even though the person’s not there.  When someone dies, the love doesn’t die, the relationship doesn’t die, it keeps growing on a certain level. So, if he turns around, and he sees him, is it real? Is it him working it out in his own mind? It’s a tool to tell more story …

Tell me about casting Mitchell Anderson?  He had retired and moved to Atlanta, and he ends up playing the love of Brian’s life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  When Michael and I were writing, we threw out, “Who do you think would play this part?”  One day, I just dropped the name “Mitchell Anderson” I said, “I just see him as Jason.” Michael said to me, “Kevin, he’s retired.”  I just knew Mitchell and I had great history in the business. We started off as actors together in class. He went one direction, I went another, then he left the business, but I just felt there was something about his persona – not to mention his talent – his unique humor, his sensibility, and style, so I said, “I think we should ask him.”  We did. Mitchell said, “Okay, Kevin. Let me read the script.” He called back immediately after receiving it, and said, “I would love to do this!” I have not stopped thanking him every day. He’s so good in it.

The main character of Brian goes on this journey: he meets other guys, some appear younger than others! (Laughs)

KEVIN:  It’s a year after Jason is gone, Brian is trying to settle into his new life, but he’s guilty that his partner has died.  He has sadness, grief, and so much love for Jason that he’s having trouble moving forward, and everyone is trying to push him forward.  Brian is not necessarily ready, but sometimes his body is ready, while emotionally, he’s not. It’s how we deal with all that navigation of seeing good-looking guys.  He meets a guy in the middle of the series, and it starts to open up the doors. That’s the beauty of what happens when he starts to let himself open up to the possibilities.  There are some great rollercoaster moments that you’ll see.

Would you do another season of After Forever?

KEVIN:  Oh, my God!  Michael and I have already started to script out seasons 2 and 3.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Middle-aged gay men do have it rough in the relationship department, if they’re not already partnered up by this point in their life.  Younger guys think they’re over the hill, older guys aren’t necessarily interested either, and unfortunately, the LGBTQ community is unforgiving to community if you’re not young and pretty, and not in your 20s or 30s. There aren’t a lot of LGBT-oriented shows out there like this.  On that level, I think the concept of the show is an important story to tell.

KEVIN:  We were absolutely committed to writing not just another gay story.  We’ve seen those. I think the beauty of After Forever is that it’s not just a gay story- even though it’s told through two gay men… but, it’s a story about love … it’s a story about loss.  Everyone is going to have to deal with this in their life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Dealing with loss is part of the circle of life, whether it’s a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or your longtime partner. Many in the LGBT community succumbed to AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was a pivotal moment in the gay movement.

KEVIN:  We lost half of our community.  We lost half of our brothers. To jump back to that history with Mitchell, he and I had so many mutual friends who aren’t here anymore.  We would look at the scene that was at hand, take a breath, look at each other, and they’d say “action” and we’d step into these people. Yes, it’s gay themed, because it’s told by two leading male characters who are gay.  But, I have heard more people in the last two months since this has come out, who have not only stopped and said, “Thank you for writing such a wonderful story about love and loss, and new beginnings, but also, what it’s like to have to confront that loss.” They also went on to say, “For so many years, gay people have had to watch the heterosexual world. People are trying to fit themselves into our world now, into our story, and how they would feel navigating it.”

Michael Urie is in it too? And you have some pretty accomplished people in your cast.  

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Yes, there’s Michael Urie, Cady Huffman who sings in one of the episodes.  Tere is a scene in episode 3 that it still floors me, I can’t watch it without losing it.  Then, there’s Anita Gillette, Lenny Wolpe, David Dean Bottrell. Everyone is perfect, and everyone was able to show up, and everyone delivered a million percent.

What’s the response you’ve been getting from people who have watched After Forever?  You mentioned it’s been very positive.  

KEVIN:  Everyone has been touched.  The majority who have seen this, are just moved to tears and full of excitement.

I saw that Jennifer Pepperman, ex-executive producer of One Life to Live, directed your series.  What was it like working with Jen?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  We had a lot of people who we could have pulled from.  Jennifer came up in conversation, because she had sent Michael an invitation to go see her new short film that she had done with Austin Peck (Ex-Austin, Days) and his wife, Teri Conn (Ex-Katie, ATWT).  I said, “Maybe if I go see the show and I like it, I can introduced myself to Jennifer.”  I called him right after and I said, “If we don’t get her, we’re crazy!” She’s so good. What she did is perfection.  We shot the whole thing like a movie. It was shot in 12 days. She knew everything she wanted to do and it shows in the edit.  And, this extraordinarily, talented girl named Colleen Kwok, who was the director of photography. She’s the real thing. She got it.  She got the style we were going for immediately.

So, we want to tell people to binge watch the series on Amazon.

KEVIN:  Binge it, or make it last for 15 days…

How many hankies will I need for this? 10? 5?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  I say Kleenex is not included … Anybody who has ever loved, anybody who has ever lost, must see this show, because it unifies all of us, it shows us that we are the same.  It shows us that we still have love in our lives, regardless of if that person is gone, the relationship never ends, it never dies. That’s what people are getting from this.  That’s what people are taking away from it. You and I were raised with the symbols of a straight world and how we had to fit into that certain way of life. That’s changed now.  We have Will & Grace … we have RuPaul … all these great things that are illustrating our diversity.  Now, people are going, “it’s just a story being told.”

What was Mitchell’s reaction when he saw the final product?

KEVIN:  We saw it together…We just sat there and cried.  It’s hard. Especially, the first two episodes and the last two episodes.  We served it up, Michael, we served it up!

Courtesy/AfterForever

I think you spoke to a greater issue, as you move through this career, you have to remain relevant as things change.  So, you’ve dipped yourself into this pool and now you can do more.

KEVIN:  I hope so.  You and I talked about this along time ago, when I first started on Days Of Our Lives, it was still a different world.

It was so different back then.  Actors couldn’t be out. There was still that stigma that if the audience at home knew they were gay, they wouldn’t buy into what they were portraying.

KEVIN:  That’s where I kind of worked it out, because I didn’t pretend not to be me, I just wasn’t very open about everything in my life.  Not that I still am. There’s certain things that I don’t talk about, because it’s not relevant, or it’s no one’s business.

So, do you get the obligatory question, “What’s a guy like you doing being single”? (Laughs)

KEVIN:  Michael said to me one day, “How come a guy like you is single?”  I made a joke out of it and said, “Have you seen me eat? Come on!”

So, intrigued to check out After Forever? What do you think about its central theme looking at what happens when one loses their partner at middle-age and more?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey Talk Their Love Connection & The Demands Of Daytime

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

After presenting for the first time together, at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmys since they’ve been a couple, Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter aka Henrik) of General Hospital have certainly been in the throes of a romantic, fun, and cherished relationship. The two former stars of Guiding Light reconnected last year at Emmy time. Now, sharing their over one year anniversary, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Laura and Wes to get some insight into what makes their relationship work amidst the hustle and bustle, and pace of both being on a network television daytime drama series, and with the pressures of Hollywood where often relationships between two actors seem to start hot and heavy but then fizzle out.

If you caught this week’s GH, you witnessed that the town of Port Charles has found out that Peter is the notorious Cesar Faison’s son, and the ramifications that will be felt for weeks and months and potentially years to come. Meanwhile, Carly is in all sorts of trouble, thanks to naughty Nelle (Chloe Lanier). Nelle is making Carly look awfully unstable and what happens next could change Carly’s life forever.

So, what do these two lovebirds have to say about their relationship and their passion for working on the soaps? Check out what they had to share below. 

Wes, you had met Laura originally years ago on Guiding Light.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

Wes: Well, I was smitten, but I had to keep it to myself.

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Uh-huh! But we would run lines in the green room and I would try very hard to make sure she didn’t catch me staring at her… too often. But we laughed, and had great conversation.

Laura: I would always say, “Wes, will you run lines with me?,” because I would want to run my lines.

Wes: We never had story together, but she always knew I was game to hang out with her for a moment.

It’s good when you’re in a relationship with someone and you can laugh with them. You seem to be able to do that a lot!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: Oh, gosh. I think that’s all we do.

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

Laura: Like, we belly laugh. It gets to the point where people would think we were ridiculous. We’ll say things and just think it’s the funniest thing ever and people would be like, “You guys have a problem …” and we’re like, “Yeah.” (Laughs)

Laura, and then he comes back into your life years later…

Wes: That’s right, it was Emmy weekend 2017.

Laura: I totally was not expecting it at all. Even when I gave him my number I walked away going “huh…”

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

Laura: No, I didn’t feel that… because he hit on me hard. He’ll tell you that.

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

Laura: I remember I walked away quick after he got my number. I was like, “Oh, my God … I gotta go.”

Courtesy/Instagram

Wes: There was an assertiveness on my part that was for sure 15 years in the making. I did not expect to run into her. I also did not expect for her to tell me that she was recently single. In that split second, it was one of those, “stop the presses!” moments. Like, you need to give me your number, I’m taking you to dinner.

Laura: I go, “Oh, be quiet! Are you like, 32, because I can’t do that.” (Laughs)

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

Laura: He’s like, “I’m getting ready to be 40.” And I’m like, “I can do that!”

Then, on top of all of this, Wes, you land a primo role on General Hospital. That of Henrik aka Peter, Cesar Faison’s son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

Laura: I’m going to jump in and say it’s a role that he worked all on his own for. He had to screen test against 8 plus guys, 3 different auditions, 2 different days.

Wes: That’s true.

Laura: I can’t say strong enough that the best actor got the role. Meaning, Wesley is so talented and has the ability to give this character the depth, and emotion, and layers that it needs to tell the story that needs to be told. I just think he’s incredible.

So, did you know from the get-go who you were going to be playing?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

Wes: I’m thrilled that the writers have been giving me such incredible material to dive into.   Each month that goes by, it becomes more and more complex, and more and more layered and intense. I love the depth… I love the conflicts… I love the humanity… I love the desperation… I love the psychology behind it. It’s a very interesting story and a great journey to tell.

Laura: I was getting ready to say, where you mentally have to go to be the son of Faison and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes)! To blend that together is amazing. It’s incredible to watch.

You used to run lines together on Guiding Light. Do you run lines together now on GH? It’s like a full circle moment.

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Something we were trying to manifest together. We thought it would be a lot of fun to work together one day.

Laura: The last week we worked, we didn’t. He worked all afternoon. I worked all morning. I was like, “Are they doing this on purpose?” I was so mad! I was like, “Why are you in the afternoon everyday?” (Laughs)

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

Laura: I did! He always drives us to work. I also love when we both have afternoon calls, because we love having mornings together. So, I didn’t get my morning, nor did I have my chauffeur!

So, two actors can have a good relationship? You see so many Hollywood relationships with actors and they go bust. But that’s not always the case …

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: I’m going to say this; I think I can see it being more difficult for daytime actors, because the work we do is so intense. I know the weeks he’s getting ready to go into, and I’m getting ready to go into. Where we go emotionally and psychologically to tell these stories, on the level that we tell them, as quick as we tell them, you kind of have to become really in a headspace. The fact that we can …

Wes: … the long hours …

Laura: Yes, and exhaustion! You really have to go, “Wow! It’s not about me right now. It’s about us individually as actors.” Thank God, we know the workload. I know what he’s getting ready to go through.

Wes: I have always had so much respect for Laura’s work. On Guiding Light, I’ve always been in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, the level of respect is obviously there. But also, the understanding whatever it is that you need from a personal assistant in one moment… or a life partner in another moment … or a best friend in moment … or whatever it is in order to get through the day-to-day and the week-to-week, so we can do what we love to do. We know we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love.

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

Laura was such a great co-host on my Soap Nation Live! Daytime Emmy Nomination Specials, in particular when she talks about acting. It’s so rewarding to hear the other actors who are guests on the show listening to what Laura has to say about her craft and respecting the hell out of her.

Wes: Without a doubt. You can’t watch her work and not be in awe. It speaks for itself.

Laura: I just love the journey of going to the places that we go; to bleed for it.

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

Laura: I know that process. So, when I see another actor that’s bleeding, I just bow to them, because I know what it takes to go there. I know the work that Wesley does. When I see that he’s spent at the end of the day, I’m like, “Babe, I so get it.” So, I can see where it could be really difficult for people that haven’t been there, because it’s a lot of work and you’re spent. It’s hard! For us, that works.

What do you think of Laura and Wes’ love connection? What do you think of the latest developments for GH’s Carly and Henrik? Comment below.

Continue Reading

Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: 45th Annual Daytime Emmys Winners & Backstage Video Interviews!

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmys are in the record books.  And as previously reported, it was a big night for NBC’s Days of our Lives taking Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing in a Drama Series Awards, plus top acting nods to James Reynolds (Abe) and Greg Vaughan (Eric).

Behind the scenes while the ceremony continued on-stage, and as the night’s big winners and several presenters were whisked away backstage following their victory, they took to the Winner’s Walk and chatted with Michael Fairman who got their reactions to winning the gold, or presenting important moments of the night during the live-stream broadcast.

From DAYS Deidre Hall (Marlena), Dr. Oz, The Ladies of The Talk, and GH’Chris Van Etten to DAYS head scribe Ron Carlivati, to Y&R’s actress winners: Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah), and GH’s Chloe Lanier (Nelle, Vernee Watson (Stella) and more now you can watch the complete backstage series of conversations on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Make sure to “subscribe” for these and more celebrity interviews.

After the jump, check out some of the winners and backstage interviews with Michael.  You can also go directly to the video you are looking to view, by clicking on the blue hyperlink on the interviewees name. (more…)

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

  • Tester2: “Testjjjj
  • Soapluv: “Thank you so much. It is always disheartening to see that durn middle aged, MARRIED, father of three given a…
  • Satan: “Typical ReRon writing. One day a storyline just drops and then nothing for months at a time.…
  • rebecca1: “Did you write "she" shrieked, on purpose, Harry? LOL; who WOULDN'T? Haha; I can just see Sonny tied to the…
  • dmr: “I know that a lot of people do not like Nelle; and although, I am not really a fan of…
Advertisement

Power Performance

Joshua Morrow as Nick

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-14-2018

Advertisement

Popular