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THE JOHN MCCOOK AND JENNIFER GAREIS INTERVIEW – THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

John-Jennifer.jpgBy Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:
Are you worried that Eric is being taken by another woman, like he has in the past?

JOHN:
Certainly not!  Eric is not being taken, and this is not just any other woman!

JENNIFER:
I am not just any other woman! (She laughs)

JOHN:
Eric is not being taken by Donna.  Donna is not coming after Eric the way
she had manipulated Thorne, not at all.  Eric is surprised at how open, and honest, and
vulnerable this woman is.  She is not a girl.  She opens the door, and he sees her and he
goes, “Oh, my God!”  Donna has things to offer him emotionally, that he has never been aware of.

TV SOAP:
Stephanie has perpetrated so much.  How has that affected Eric’s decision-making?

JOHN:
Stephanie walked out on the entire family after perpetrating this last
debacle, and Eric is finished.  There is an emotional void in his life now, as there is nobody living upstairs with him, either.

TV SOAP:
Jennifer, what do you think Donna’s modus opperandi truly is, in regards to Eric?

JENNIFER:
I think she is just reacting, and not in a mode, or anything like that.  She is being honest. Here this great, wonderful, talented guy comes into her life and sweeps her off her feet.

TV SOAP:
But doesn’t Donna want to punish Stephanie?

JENNIFER:
She wanted to get back at Stephanie and that’s why she got together with Thorne, and that is why she went for him.  But, it still wouldn’t have been really nice to be with Thorne, because he is really hot and nice, and everything like that.  With Donna’s relationship with Eric, it’s bigger than that.  It’s not about revenge.

TV SOAP:
So, Donna’s feelings are true blue for Eric?

JENNIFER:
Yes, she has honest feelings for Eric.  For Donna, that surprises her because she doesn’t know what that is. This is the first time in her life she has really fallen for someone.  She has just been blindsided with this new relationship.

JOHN:
It’s great!  Yes, Eric has had several love interests in the past.  What has been delicious for me as an actor, and for Eric, is that Jennifer pretty much has been an unknown quantity.  I mean, I have seen her and said, “Hi!” and we know each other, but now it’s really wonderful to open the door in the scenes of discovery.  These two characters are discovering one another, and as actors, discover one another, too. We discover what is fun about this and what is deliciously different about it. That is the fun of being an actor.

TV SOAP:
So, you were surprised by Jennifer’s commitment and ability as an actress, in regards to this new on-screen relationship?

JOHN:
She surprises me damn near everyday as an actor.  It doesn’t scare me or blow me away,  or anything.  But, she will do something and I will go, “That’s nice!”

STEPHANIE:
He surprises me, too. I will be in the middle of scene, and he does something when he acts like a little boy and gets all excited, and it’s really fun.  John is energetic, and I think seeing that in John and in Eric, makes Donna really happy.  It’s wonderful to work with that energy and spontaneity.

TV SOAP:
Do you ever think about the older man/younger woman dynamic of this new coupling?

JENNIFER:
No, I don’t think about that very much.

JOHN:
No, I have been very careful.  I have made a concerted effort not to refer to it as a May/December romance.  This is a new Eric.  He is unburdened by the negativity of his marriage to Stephanie, and the emptiness of it.  He is unburdened by it because Stephanie is gone right now, and here is this wonderful woman.  She is honest and supportive and energetic with him, and it’s pretty cool.

TV SOAP:
But the big dilemma is whether to go back with Stephanie or divorce her and win back the company from Nick. That has got to be a huge part of this.

JOHN:
I think he anticipates a dilemma when Stephanie comes back.  But, when Stephanie comes back, I don’t think it’s going to be much of a dilemma.

TV SOAP:
But Eric could fall back into old habits!

JOHN:
He is vowing not to. This is different than before, in his relationship with Stephanie.

TV SOAP:
But, what is going to happen to Forrester Creations?

JOHN:
He desperately wants his company back.  I don’t know what is going to happen there, but I would like to see him get his company back, at any cost.  So, let’s see how that goes.

TV SOAP:
What about how Thorne feels, now that his Dad and his ex-fiancée are hooking up?

JENNIFER:
I think Thorne and Donna made peace, and we wished each other well in previous scenes… but then Thorne ends up catching Donna and Eric kissing.  I think after he sees  that his Dad is moving in, he is freaked out.

JOHN:
He freaks out!

JENNIFER:
There is a bit of jealously, and a feeling that it is kind of creepy. There is some disgust and it’s very gossipy to Thorne.

JOHN:
Yeah, it’s creepy to him and it offends him.  Eric says to him, “Stop it.  Just stop it.  Be a man here and get over it!  And let’s have a little respect here!”  Thorne is not coming at it with respect, because Dad has a new woman and it’s Donna.  It’s too fresh and it freaks him out.  Then, we have other members of the Forrester family, like Felicia… she freaks out.

JENNIFER:
Everyone is freaking out, but I don’t think Eric and Donna really care.  I think they are going to do what’s best for them and that’s being together.
JOHN:
That is something that has been very important for us to keep this going.  We deal with the other characters on the show, and when we are alone together is when we get to show each other about what this relationship means to the audience, and us, too.  And hopefully, the audience will see that.  And then they see us dealing with everything else out there, and it’s hard to deal with everything else.  But, when we are alone together we are very happy!

TV SOAP:
Brad Bell (exec. prod. and head writer, “B&B”) often changes direction in the middle of storyline and takes it off its course into another story arc.  Are you concerned about that with Donna/Eric?

JENNIFER:
Well, I hope it doesn’t change.  It would be a shame if it did.

TV SOAP:
Did you see this coming?  That after the fallout from the Thorne/Donna Wedding, that Donna would be paired with Thorne’s dad, Eric, of all things?

JENNIFER:
No, I did not see that coming.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

JOHN:
No!  It was a nice surprise to everybody.  Then, when Rhonda Friedman (supervising producer, “B&B”) said to me, after we were just wrapping up the wedding scenes with Thorne and Donna….

JENNIFER:
(She interrupts him)….Oh, yeah, John said to me, “Do you know what I know?”

JOHN:
And I go, “Yeah I know!”

JENNIFER:
And I go, “We are not supposed to talk about it.”

TV SOAP:
But when you first figured out that you would be romantically paired, what was your initial gut thought?

JENNIFER:
Wow!  I can’t believe we are going there.

JOHN:
Me too!  Rhonda whispers to me, “Donna falls in love with Eric” and I went, “What? Cool!”  The first thing you think of is, “Wow, this will be fun to play.”…and the next thing you think is, ”This is going to impact every other character on the show… it’s cool.”

TV SOAP:
John, what do you think is the core of Eric Forrester?

JOHN:
The core of Eric is that he is an artist and he enjoys the beauty in life, and he only wants to do that. That is what drew him to Stephanie when they were 20 years old.  That she was this business person.  She was practical about things, and the two of them sparked things in one another.  They thought that this was a great partnership, and they were right,  it was for a long, long time.  What happened to Eric is that the enthusiasm of their young time together went totally away.  Stephanie focused more and more and more on her children and less and less on Eric and the business…. and her offenses have been numerous.  She has offended the law.  She has crimes, misdemeanors and felonies for her protection of her children, and Eric has been trapped in that.  I think that it is not so much that he is weak…. because he is my Eric!  I think of him as manipulated and squashed down, and inhibited.  He’s been pushed into a corner by a relationship that has evolved into something that is not very good.

TV SOAP:
In reality, you do see many men in long-term relationships with domineering, tough, and powerful women, where they have the feeling of being stifled.  So, it is an important issue you are representing.

JOHN:
This is why I am very proud of Eric, for keeping Stephanie out of his life right now.

TV SOAP:
Jennifer, what about Donna’s feeling for her sister Katie?  Does she resent her?

TV SOAP:
I thought for a while Katie and Donna would have some problems, but she is my sister.  I guess if Katie would have not stopped the wedding, I would not have met Eric and been with him the way I have.  So, it is hard to be too mad at her when her actions caused me to fall in love with the man of my dreams.  I have mixed feelings with Katie. She is always a pain in my butt.

TV SOAP:
So, how are you going to play Donna when Stephanie returns to the mix?  Will you set out to get back at Stephanie through Eric?

JENNIFER:
Am I trying to get back at Stephanie?  No.  I think it’s a fringe benefit, and it’s not a cause anymore.  If anything, I don’t have vengeance in mind, but more justice in mind, because she has done criminal acts.

TV SOAP:
Who is perpetrating what on whom then, seems to be the central theme coming up.  Will it be Donna or Stephanie?

JOHN:
That is a good speculation! (He laughs)

JENNIFER:
She has been wrong before, and it’s not Donna wanting revenge.  It’s just that Stephanie needs to get the hell out of our lives.  It’s not just my life; it’s everyone’s life.  She is nuts!

JOHN:
She has offended everyone on the show with what she has done.  There is no reason for anyone on the show to let her through the door when she knocks.

JENNIFER:
But of course, her children are going to try to defend her.  If you are a woman, you should know what Stephanie did to Brooke was wrong, and stand up for Brooke.

TV SOAP:
What did you think about the recent Brooke storyline where she was raped?

JENNIFER:
I thought, “Ooh, that is going to be really hard to play.”

TV SOAP:
John, what did you think?

JOHN:
I think those things are always hard to play.  I salute Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke), because she did an amazing job.  It is hard to imagine that and play it, and execute good scenes, but Katherine does it every time.

JENNIFER:
She did an amazing job!

JOHN:
It’s a cool story!  The thing that has happened with us is, that Stephanie has narrowed her cause in life so much in the last ten years, that there is hardly any room left for sympathy with her.  I think that the characters are more and more feeling that way.  I don’t know how the viewers feel, but as I said, I don’t even know why anyone would answer the phone for her or let her in the house.  When she comes in the front door, she is already in a tirade.

JENNIFER:
She throws Jackie off a balcony…. takes Brooke’s kids away…. gets Brooke raped….

TV SOAP:
Are there emotions or things in scripts that are harder for you to pull off?

JOHN:
Not for me.  I think the hardest thing I am asked to do on this show is to be angry, and to be in confrontational scenes, because I am not a controversial guy.

JENNIFER:
I love being angry!  I don’t know.  One time, I had to play high on heroine, cocaine and pot, in a movie.  I felt like, how I am supposed to know about heroine and pot!
That was a challenge.

TV SOAP:
What about when called upon to cry?

JENNIFER:
I kind of have to walk around miserable all day, if I have a crying scene that day.  The hair and make-up people are asking me, if I am all right?  And I go, “Yeah. I am just thinking about my scenes,” and they leave me alone.

TV SOAP:
John, is it hard for you to cry, on screen?

JOHN:
It’s hard to cry a little bit, from time to time.  That is the beauty of being on a soap opera with people for decades, when someone I love on this show, their character is dying.  Or if there is an emotional sweet thing that happens with my daughters, and when I look at them, it’s easy for me to well up.  I don’t have to go, “I am going to well up here.”  I will do it if it happens and when it’s appropriate.  We love each other here, and we have emotional connections with one another.  It’s not about the show or the script; it’s about each other.  We depend on each other so much.

JENNIFER:
But there are two types of crying, though…. there is eyes welling up, and then there is tears dropping out.

JOHN:
Tears dripping out, I can’t do.

TV SOAP:
Do you joke on the set with one another?

JENNIFER:
That is what is really fun about this.  If there are really serious scenes, Patrick Duffy
(Stephen) and John McCook, are so funny together.  They will exit the scene and pretend to bump heads in the door.  Laughter and crying are so close, so its fun to have some comic relief.

TV SOAP:
It helps relieve the tension during a hard day’s work?

JOHN:
When you have serious scenes that day, Mr. McCook is not going to be as funny and as goofy as he wants to be.  But, I am still going to do that, because you want to blow off steam when it’s building up.

TV SOAP:
Who is the goofiest “B&Ber”?

JOHN:
I am goofy, and Ronn Moss (Ridge) and Patrick Duffy are great.  Patrick is great coming back on the show, because he worked with Larry Hagman (Ex- JR Ewing, “Dallas”) all those years.  Those people were crazy on “Dallas”.  So, it’s really goofy and fun.

JENNIFER:
All the girls are giggly.  Katherine Kelly Lang and I are giggly.  Heather Tom (Katie) is pretty giggly, too, but not as giggly as Katharine and I.

JOHN:
Heather came in with two copies of a magazine that had someone else on the cover besides Forrester.  She came in and her first line is, “Have you seen these?”  And we’re talking about PR, and she’s wearing this pretty low cut dress.  She came in and put the magazines down and said, “Have you seen these?”  (He laughs) She is such a funny girl.

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TV SOAP:
How is it rolling around together in bed, on screen?  Is it fun?

JENNIFER:
Yeah, sure it is. Why not?

JOHN:
We have to have a matter of fact, point of view about it. You can’t be 17 years old and come in here and be naked in a tube top, and come into a bedroom scene.

JENNIFER:
I think on Monday, I got too into it.  I think I forgot where I was.

TV SOAP:
What can we tell fans to look forward to from Donna in the coming months?

JENNIFER:
Look for Donna to stand up to Stephanie, and stomp her into the ground.

TV SOAP:
And Eric?

JOHN:
Look for Eric to tell Stephanie to get a room somewhere.

TV SOAP:
Jennifer, in a few words describe John McCook.   John is…?

JENNIFER:
Funny, silly, handsome, good kisser… did I say that?  I am embarrassed!

TV SOAP:
And John, describe for us Jennifer Gareis.

JOHN:
She is a sexy girl!  I love that she has opened her creative side to playing this woman, and being touched in a different way in the character, than she has done before.  I have seen all of her stuff and she is a sexy girl, and I love what she is doing with this material.  I love what we get to do together.  She is not only sexy and beautiful; she is conscientious and working really hard on it.

TV SOAP:
What is better… being on the front burner or back burner with storyline?

JENNIFER:
Front, front, front.

JOHN:
Front, for me, too.  I want to be out front all the time.

JENNIFER:
It makes me feel anxious when I am not.

JOHN:
You go, “Oh my God, now that I am this age, am I less important to the show than I was ten years ago?”  That happens, too.  We are all children and we are afraid when we are not being used.  When I am on the back burner, it bores me.  I love to come in and work, even when I am on the back burner, if I am being cavalier about it.

JENNIFER:
I guess the thing is, being on the back burner helped me with school.  I am half way through my MBA, and now I don’t have time to continue it at the moment because of the new storyline.

TV SOAP:
In the soap world, you never really know from week to week, month to month, what direction your character may go. How do you deal with that aspect of being a soap actor, and the insecurity it can bring?

JENNIFER:
You’ve got to take it one day at a time and one week at a time.

JOHN:
The cliché is true.  If Eric is having pain in his heart before dinner; you better call your agent!

TV SOAP:
What do you think Donna thinks of Thorne/Katie’s budding romance?

JENNIFER:
I think if it hadn’t been for Katie breaking up the wedding, I wouldn’t have met Eric, so I don’t think I can be too upset.  It’s not like I really loved Thorne.  So, when you are really not in love with someone, there is not that weird jealousy thing going on.

TV SOAP:
Can you see the four of them, Katie, Thorne, Donna and Eric, having dinner together?

JOHN:
That would be an interesting dialog.

JENNIFER:
Yeah, I think it’s fine.  As long as Donna gets her way, Katie can do what she wants.

JOHN:
Once in awhile I think, “This is a silly thing for an adult to do for a living!”

Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Newman Kids Talk 48th Anniversary, Storylines, Camaraderie, and Take the Trivia Challenge

On Friday, to celebrate the 48th anniversary of The Young and the Restless (which premiered back on March 26th,1973) Michael Fairman chatted virtually with the actors who comprise the adult Newman family children; Joshua Morrow (Nick), Amelia Heinle (Victoria), Mark Grossman (Adam), Hunter King (Summer) and Melissa Ordway (Abby).

During the conversation, on You Tube’s the Michael Fairman Channel, the actors discussed what it was like coming into the iconic Newman clan when they first debuted, behind-the-scenes moments and laughs they share working with each other, and what it has been like for them to share scenes with their iconic TV father, Eric Braeden (Victor) and for some of the kids, their on-screen mother, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki).

In addition, each touch upon their current Y&R storyline where:Nick is involved with Phyllis again, Adam is on to Chelsea, Victoria is trying to be in the woman in charge of the company and she finds herself boyfriend-less, Summer has her hands full with the arrival of Tara Locke and Sally Spectra who may all destroy her relationship with Kyle, and Abby wanting to have a baby via surrogacy with the sperm donor being Devon.

Later, Michael plays a round of “Stump the Newman” trivia where the actors are put to the test to see just who knows the history of the Newman clan best. Watch what happens when the mention of the notorious and ill-fated reliquary storyline is brought up!

Joshua, Amelia, Mark, Hunter, and Melissa also express what it has meant to them to be a part of the legacy of The Young and the Restless, and still later Joshua’s daughter, Charlie, even makes a special guest appearance.

Now watch the conversation in full with the Newman kids below. 

Then let us know, what was your favorite moment of the interview? How do you hope their current storylines resolve? What was your favorite and least favorite storyline of all-time for Nick, Victoria, Adam, Abby, and Summer? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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