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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!”

Dancing with the Stars

Anne Heche Talks Dancing with the Stars, Another World’s Vicky/Marley, Ellen DeGeneres, Standing Up to Discrimination

America is getting reacquainted with Daytime Emmy winner, primetime Emmy and Tony nominee, actress Anne Heche  This talented dynamo has taken to the ballroom dance floor on the new season of Dancing with the Stars with her pro dance partner Keo Motsepe.  Daytime soap fans are thrilled to see her again after her unforgettable performances at twins Vicky and Marley on the beloved Another World early in her professional career.

While everyone had a heart-stopping moment on Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, when Heche and Motsepe found themselves in the bottom two- they were saved by the judges and will dance into next week!

Michael Fairman caught up with Heche prior to Monday’s show from her home in Los Angeles for a new interview feature on The Michael Fairman Channel on  You Tube.  Their conversation covered many points throughout Anne’s career, from her difficult upbringing detailed in her memoir, “Call Me Crazy”, to how she landed on Another World and life on a soap opera, to making the decision to leave, to having her career in film and TV reach a critical impasse when she was in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, to life now with her two children and of course, being a celebrity dancer on live TV on this very different season of DWTS.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the chat with Heche below.

Photo: ABC

Speaking on performing on the Covid-19 season of Dancing with the Stars, Anne expressed:”You can’t define a moment that’s getting on to that ballroom floor, and all of a sudden you know you are on live television.  Dancing with the Stars is usually done in front of a live audience and it’s not this year.  So you only have the other dancers as your audience, but stepping out knowing the responsibility that I was taking on for Keo, that I was taking on for myself, and then that click – and you get four clicks – and then you go.  You don’t know if you’re going to be able to do it.  I will go as far as I can go as an artist.  But when judge Derek Hough said ‘You made me smile’, that was my intention.  That’s why I am doing this more than anything.  Yes, I want to learn, but I am here to entertain in a world where there is little entertainment (right now), where it’s live, it’s now, and it’s happening in this moment.  We can’t feel each other, but you can look at my face and know that whatever dedication I have to do this, I will do to the best of my ability.  I have been given the opportunity to perform for an audience who is at home to give one thing – that is the joy with the entertainment that I bring.”

Photo: NBC

Soap opera fans will always recall Anne’s sensational portrayal of twins Vicky and Marley on Another World from 1987-1991.  To this day, it remains one of the all-time greatest in the genre, and at that time, daytime fans knew that Heche would eventually go on to an even greater mainstream career in motion pictures and television and Broadway.  Anne’s road to Bay City and Another World happened the day after she graduated high school (she was discovered there) and landed in New York and at Another World producer and director John Whitesell’s office, where she learned now only was she playing one part, but two!

As Anne recalls it, Whitesell said to her, “What you don’t know is that I auditioned you for two characters because you’re going to play twins.  And by the way … that Bahama Mama T-shirt you wore, and obviously you thought you should repeat it, because you’re wearing it in your screen-test, and you’re wearing it now, get it off! Vicky is the sexy one, so go figure it out!  Your first day you’re going to be in a hot tub and you’re talking to your dad, because you just lost a million dollars.  I’m like, ‘What?’.  Whitesell continued, ‘Yeah, it’s a bubble bath … and don’t make me regret this decision, because I am the only person who wanted to hire you.”  After that moment, Anne took on the dual roles still not knowing much of anything about daytime and she became a fan favorite.  Throughout the interview, Anne recalls her time working with Kale Brown (Ex-Michael Hudson) (Ex-Anna Stuart (Ex- Donna Love), and Tom Eplin (Ex-Jake McKinnon).

Heche had made the decision to exit Another World and was going to quit acting with the intent on going to the Parsons School of Design, when her agent called for her to go out for a role in a film that starred Jessica Lange in which he landed the role.  Noting that the production team at Another World moved all of her scenes to the end of the day so they could tape Vicky and Marley’s departure (so she could go be in the movie), Anne next found herself in a Motel 6 on location in Nebraska when the Daytime Emmys were being handed out in 1991, and she was nominated for her Outstanding Younger Actress.

As Heche recalls, “I’m watching the Emmys and I win and I’m eating a cheeseburger on a bed by myself in a Motel 6 in Nebraska and they say ‘she can’t be here … she is a new movie with Jessica Lange.’  I won an Emmy on a bug-infested bed in a Motel 6 in Nebraska and at that moment said, with a cheeseburger in my mouth, ‘Does this mean I’m supposed to be an actress?” (Laughs)

Photo: JP

Anne’s relationship with Ellen DeGeneres was a highly-publicized from 1997-2000 for their public appearances together which later backfired on Heche’s career.  However, through Heche, the needle moved forward to pave the way for same-sex couples to be able to express their love publicly.  As she reflects on that time in her life, she expressed: “I was told not to go to the premiere of Volcano if I took Ellen, and I looked at the suits standing in front of me, and even Ellen said, ‘You listen to them, Anne.  You can’t go with me.’  This is four days after I met Ellen.  I said, ‘If I had met George Clooney and four days later I was taking him to a premiere we would not be having this conversation.” This is the moment I realized what discrimination feels like. because, even Ellen is sitting here telling me not to go to the premiere.’  I said to Ellen, ‘You just came out Tuesday night on Ellen (referring to DeGeneres then comedy series) and you are sitting here right now and you are telling me to not bring you to my premiere as my date?!’  So, even Ellen did not agree with me. Then it happened again in front of President Clinton. I put my arm around her.  She said, “You’re not allowed, you can’t do that.’  I said, ‘I will not be discriminated against.”

Watch the entire video interview with Anne below.

Then let us know, are you rooting Anne on during her run on DWTS?  What are your favorite Vicky/Marley moments portrayed by Anne on Another World? What do you think about the comments she shared on Ellen DeGeneres and what happened throughout her life and career? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

Kassie DePaiva, Nathan Purdee & Taylor Purdee Talk ‘Killian & The Comeback Kids’, One Life to Live & Eve’s Reign of Terror on DAYS

It’s ‘all in the family’ + a dear friend that makes the film Killian and the Comeback Kids something that soap fans will want to see. In it, daytime veterans, Kassie DePaiva (Ex-GL, OLTL, GH and Days) and Nathan Purdee (Ex-Y&R and OLTL) are featured in the new movie directed, written and starring Nathan’s talented son, Taylor.

One Life to Live fans will get a kick out of that Kassie and Nathan play a married couple in the film.  In story, a millennial (Taylor A. Purdee) comes home to live with his parents in a depressed rural town after getting a college degree in the big city. The film illustrates the issues facing many of America’s youth today, which could not be more apropos for the times we are living with many children moving back in with their parents. However, the movie shares an uplifting message filled with original music from Taylor’s folk-rock band, The Cumberland Kids.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kassie, Nathan and Taylor to get the inside scoop on: collaborating together on this project, revisiting Llanview with some memories and thoughts on the cancellation of the beloved soap, plus Kassie’s last turn on Days of our Lives as an unhinged Eve Donovan – a performance that just may garner attention come Daytime Emmy time next year.

This conversation was filled with candor, humor, and a parent’s love for their child. Killian and the Comeback Kid is playing in selected theatres and dates including tonight Friday, September 25th in Atlanta, and October 2nd in Chicago. For more movie info go to the film’s website here And now here’s what Kassie, Nathan and Taylor shared.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

I was really intrigued by the film. Taylor, how did you lure your dad to be in the movie?

TAYLOR:  Oh my gosh, it was the craziest negation ever.

I bet! (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  When I was a kid, Roberta, my mom, made me promise to always write him roles.  So, it was kind of obligatory.

KASSIE:  That is so funny!

TAYLOR:  It’s true.

Had you met Kassie before, or was this the first time? 

TAYLOR:  I knew Kassie from when my dad and her were doing One Life to Live together.   Five years before I was filming this movie, Nathan texted me, “Hey!  Kassie and Jim (DePaiva) are right by your dorm room.  You should go see them!”  So, catching up as an adult was so nice.  I had a non-parentally controlled grown-up hang-out with her.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

What was the journey this film, Killian and the Comeback Kids, went on as far as from the writing of it, to production, to its completion?

TAYLOR:  Well, the front half was surprisingly quick.  I think writing it through to having it finished was about 18 months, and there were about 6 months of, “how’s it going to come out,” and then, we thought we knew what was going to happen, and we were all getting ready for it to hit in movie theatres in the spring when the world ended, and that’s how we got here three years later.

Nathan, tell me about the role you play; because Kassie and you are husband and wife in the film.

NATHAN: Well, yeah, you kind of covered it! (Laughs)  I play her husband, and she plays my wife, and I appreciated the casting situation.  It’s interesting how Taylor chose Kassie because he did say that he wanted someone who was close to his mom’s personality.  I couldn’t think of anybody else other than Kassie because the only difference is Kassie is taller, but they both are such loving, caring people.  They always want to mother you and make sure you’re fed, and you’re safe, and you’re happy, and neither one of them knows the word, “no,” when it comes to the people who they’re taking care of.  I love Kassie anyway, so good for me.

KASSIE:  Yeah, they cut our love scene, and I don’t know what that’s about. (Laughs)

Kassie, what do you remember from when you first met Nathan?  You were at One Life, right?

KASSIE:  No, when I first met Nathan, we were in San Antonio, and we were doing an appearance.  I met Bobbie Eakes (Ex-Krystal, AMC and Macy, B&B) for the first time then too, but I was on The Guiding Light, and I was singing, and Nathan was there.  Nathan and I sat beside each other.  I honestly felt like I had known Nathan my entire life.  We were drinking margaritas and talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.

NATHAN:  Yep!

Photo: JPI

KASSIE:  Nathan and my husband, Jim are very good friends.  I have to say, Nathan was so lovely when I was going through my cancer journey.  He came to see me every week, sometimes twice a week when I was in the hospital, and he would come up, and he would hang out with Jim.  I will never, ever forget how lovely he was (it makes me tear up right now) to be there with support for my husband and myself as we went through that.  So, when Nathan asked me to be his wife in the film, I thought, “Well, hey, you practically live with me now, so that sounds good.”

So, Taylor, how did they do on-screen as husband and wife?

TAYLOR:  They’re fantastic.  We’ve only had one test screening, but one of the most consistent things audiences tell me is that they’re not just great together, but they each have such a quiet, brooding depth to them that you can’t help but imagine the back-story that they’re not talking about

KASSIE:  That’ll be the sequel!

TAYLOR:  Killian and the Comeback Kids 2: They Comeback Kids Comeback.

KASSIE:  They’ll come back again!

NATHAN:  Thanks for planting that seed in his head, Kassie.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

TAYLOR:  It was important for me to try to synthesize a mixed-race couple.  So, it was really great to be able to have them, not just be so great together, but there was also the issue of we had to have a little girl who looked like she could not just be my sister, but also both of their daughter.  Creating a family from scratch was great because Nathan and Kassie already had the rapport.

Did you watch them on One Life to Live together? 

TAYLOR:  Yeah!  I was in school most of the time, but I would go to set, and over the last 10 years, friends would send me YouTube clips from the show because for some reason none of the soaps are streaming.  There’s not like a soap Netflix!  It kind of needs to happen!  Soaps, they’re epic; there are decades worth of episodes and shows.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

In this film, music is the backdrop.  It’s your music and your band that is featured?

TAYLOR:  Yeah, my best friend growing up and I were staring to write folk music around the time when I was deciding what script I wanted to make into a film.  We wrote the soundtrack, all the music that people sing, and the underscore, which was surprisingly the most fun part of it all.

Kassie what did you think of Taylor’s music?

 ASSIE:  I think it’s wonderful.   I love music. It’s totally in the heart of me, and I just think that this movie is so timely. Kids these days are having to deal with not knowing what their future is going to be.  In the film, my son comes home, and he is trying to find himself, and he throws himself into his art and his music.  I just think there are a lot of people right now who are going through that.  I think it is extremely relatable, even more so than when you wrote it, Taylor.  I think people are looking for some type of connection, and I think this little movie is a good start.  It’s about people pulling together, and it’s got a strong rooting factor, and you want people to succeed, and it is great.  It takes you on a really nice journey.

You have some dates coming up where the film will play in a movie theatre- one is on September 25th in Atlanta and then another one on October 2nd in Chicago.  Taylor, how do you feel about making appearances for the film during the pandemic? You’re going with masks on? 

TAYLOR:  Oh yeah.  We will be in a bubble; we are just getting into a car and sticking together.  I and John Donchak, who plays opposite me through the whole film, are going to all of those dates, and my co-songwriter, who also appears in the film, will be in Atlanta, if not at both premieres.

NATHAN:  And let me add, please, they’re going against my wishes as a parent, but he is 28- years-old, so all I can say is that we are hoping for the best because we want him to be safe.  He is very determined and passionate about it, so he’s got our support.

Photo: KarmicReleseLTD

Taylor, in your story, why does Killian come home and live with his parents? 

TAYLOR: His plan at the time is that he has just graduated from a pricey university, and he is supposed to go off with his bandmate on a modest music tour.  He comes home to get his stuff and see his parents after graduating, but his bandmate drops out, and so the plan falls apart, and that’s how he gets stuck in this town and everything is just kind of falling apart. The plan that he had for his life after college gets pulled out right out from under him.

Photo: Getty

Nathan, when Kassie and you were on One Life for years, you weren’t there when it ended, as you had already left the show.  How did you feel upon learning it had been canceled by ABC?

NATHAN:  I was so disconnected by that time.  I just knew it was ending, and it wasn’t the first soap to go.  I saw it happening when the other shows started being canceled due to, I could be wrong about this, but I put the blame on reality TV.  By that point I had moved on in my personal and private life.  I was doing a lot of theatre then, traveling back and forth from North Carolina, really trying to keep busy, and fighting off the depression of not working full-time.  I missed Jim and Kassie the most, but I was thrilled that I could bump into them at any time and visit with them.  I kept in touch with Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora) and Bob Woods (Ex-Bo) and also, Timothy Stickney (Ex-RJ); in fact, Timothy Stickney’s wife did Taylor’s hair for the film.

Photo: JPI

Kassie, how do you feel years later about the cancellation of One Life to Live?

KASSIE:  I still miss it.  I loved it. The hard part about this show in particular being canceled is –one – that there wasn’t closure on it.  It kind of happened randomly, and there was still a lot more story to tell.  They kept it going on General Hospital, where they’ll bring some characters there.  So, it’s still in peoples’ minds. The second part is the friendships and the family connections that you’ve made over the many years that you’re there. Nothing lasts forever, that’s for sure, but as you were saying, there’s no streaming of these shows, but if you catch an episode on YouTube, One Life to Live, truly stands alone.  It just has great stories, great characters, and there is connection there that is very real.

Kassie, your last go-around at DAYS was just epic.  Did you guys see it?

TAYLOR:  I did see pieces of some of it.  I caught some of the “super villain”!

Photo: JPI

Eve went in guns blazing, evil as all get out, but so heartbreaking at the same time while she was torturing Ben (Rob Scott Wilson).  What did you think about all of that, Kassie?

KASSIE:  I was really hesitant to watch it because I remembered how “super villain” I was.  I remember getting on the plane, and Jimmy said, “How was it?” and I said, “I’ll probably never work again a day in my life. I’m like this (evil laughs) muah-ha-ha, muah-ha-ha kind of character.”  I mean, you hated what Eve was doing, and you were supposed to, but I think that they did a great job with production values, and it was reasonable what she was doing because she was going off the edge. It’s great to be able to sink your teeth into something that is so out-there and completely different from your own life.  I mean, it was exhausting.  Every day, I would come home and just be like, “Oh my God, give me a cocktail.” Eve had justification for her revenge, even as wrong as it was, and she needed to be heard, and she needed closure, and she made a bunch of wrong moves, and did a bunch of bad, bad, bad things, and now, she is probably in a mental institution somewhere, so…

You and I were on set of DAYS and I was going to interview you.  If I recall, at that point, you did not even know what the story arc was.

KASSIE:  No, I didn’t. When I arrived and looked at the script, I’m like, “Well, who blew up that wedding?”  Then, all of the sudden, “Oh, no!  I blew up the wedding.  This is bad!  I probably am not going to be coming back on this show again.”  I look at story and go, “Uh-oh.  There’s a shut door.”  I like open doors and open windows.

Photo: JPI

Taylor, what is your project? Are you continuing to write?  What do you see in the future for yourself?

TAYLOR:  This is my life for me.  The next thing that I think we are releasing is actually something that I made before this because everything is backwards, which is a documentary (very different) about Central American politics, which I’m hoping is out next year.  In terms of new scripts, everybody is a bit torn.  I kind of want to do a biopic of Lee Grant, or I want to do a blues/punk version of something inspired by The Shining.

Well, those are very polar opposite!

TAYLOR:  Yeah, aren’t they?

NATHAN:  Now you see what I’m living with. (Laughs)

Photo: IMDB

Nathan, you must be proud of Taylor, and it must be very cool to see your son have these multi-faceted talents.

NATHAN:  Of course, I’m proud of him and it’s great, but it’s strange because watching Taylor develop into the person he has developed into and continues to, made me realize that I hadn’t had the type of courage he has.  I had my dreams and certain things that I was very courageous about in my life.  I certainly don’t see him doing some things the way I did them, because he has more common sense than I do when it comes to life choices. His courage just blows my mind.  Most of my closest friends are professional musicians, and many of them, if I were to namedrop, you would know who they are, and they’ve had successful careers, and I’ve always looked up to them and admired them, but I was never that guy.  I just wanted to be a musician because I knew them and we were friends, but I didn’t have the discipline to do what they did, and I certainly didn’t have the God-given talent.  I play a little bit of keyboard and a little bit of saxophone myself, but I have to play one song 757 times before I even start to feel comfortable with it, and Taylor can sit down and start strumming on his guitar, and the next thing you know, he’s written a whole song.  It just blows my mind how creative and talented he is.  He has been surrounded by creative and talented people all of his life. He has absorbed a lot from the different people and the different opportunities he’s had, and I look at him sometimes, and I even say it to my wife, “Who is this kid?”  I like to share this story.  We went to see Taylor do Hamlet.  I’m guessing he was 15 or 16-years-old at the time. I’m watching him doing Hamlet, and I’m sitting in the chair, and I’m crying because I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, my God, he is so good!”  I told Taylor, “I would not tackle Hamlet on a football field, yet alone on stage.”  It made me realize that we had a force to be reckoned with.  He’s pretty amazing.  The bad news for him is that I always tell him the truth, and I lied to him once, and he called me out on it, and I promised that I would never lie to him again.  So, be careful what you ask me because I will tell you the truth from this point on.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  Taylor was also the director of this film, which I mean, “What the hell!”  This guy is doing everything.  He was deciding on the shots, he was deciding on the lighting, he was deciding this and that, he was editing the script, I’m like, “Holy cannoli!”  He’s like, “No, I want her to wear that shirt; I want her to do this.”  You would do the scene, and he’d come over and talk to you a little bit.  I mean, he was just awesome; Taylor brought so much insight to my character because I’m like, “What’s my relationship, and who are all of these kids?  Are we a loving family?”  We did it very quickly, too.  Taylor, look at what you’ve accomplished, and it is such a beautiful piece of art!

TAYLOR:  From a more functional standpoint as a director, one of the really great things about having the two of them was that Kassie came in half-way through filming, and we’d been working with the young actor/musicians a lot.  Some of them, it was their first big job, but pretty much all of them had worked before.  On Kassie’s first day, they didn’t know what they were in for.  She just rolled onto set, and all of the sudden, the stakes and bar of how to be an actor just changed.  From that point on, when Kassie and Nathan started to work with the band, we knew those were going to be fun days because there was going to be acting involved.  Everyone else just had to come up to their level, which was great for me because it gave me so much more to edit with.

Taylor, who are your musical influences?   

TAYLOR:  That’s a really good question.  My musical obsession for the last few years has been this guy, named Josh Ritter, who is kind of a singer/songwriter/folk guy.  My real-life band, The Cumberland Kids, is named after one of his songs.  Also, Weird Al Yankovic, has been a massive inspiration for me and my songwriting partners.

So, your vibe is this folk-rock.

TAYLOR:  Yeah, that’s what I’m writing mostly.  My listening is kind of all over the place, but definitely that is what I’m writing.

Kassie, who do you like listening to?

KASSIE:  It all depends on what cocktail I have in my hand.

Photo: JPI

NATHAN:  Let me chime in on that too! I like jazz, blues, and country music, but imagine what my house was like because I have a lot of instruments here, always with the hope that Taylor would at least become interested in music.  I have congas, bass guitar, keyboards, you name it, and for a while, he wasn’t interested at all, and one day, I woke up and he was playing an acoustic guitar.  Then, the next thing I know, he is writing and singing folk music.  I’m thinking, “Wait a minute!” It was an important lesson for me that just because you want something for your children, doesn’t mean that is what they want for themselves.  We never pushed acting on Taylor.  He chose it on his own.  It’s exciting for me mostly because it was his choice.

KASSIE:  He’s a natural.

And speaking of that, Taylor, in the trailer nothing came across forced or pushed.  Obviously, we are all talking you up here, not that you need it.

NATHAN:  I’ll tell you this, Michael.  During the shoot, Taylor insisted on calling me “Nathan”, and I had a problem with it, but he basically told me to get over it because it’s his set, his movie, and while we are shooting, I’m “Nathan”, and he’ll call me dad later.  I’m still struggling with that but he was the boss.

TAYLOR:  It’s hard to walk that line and not make it weird for your crew, you know?

NATHAN:  I get it.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  It’s weird for me because when he would go, “Robbie is going to do this, and Nathan is going to do that,” I’d go, “Who are Robbie and Nathan?  Aren’t they your mom and dad?”

TAYLOR:  While I was writing the script I called him over, and I said, “Dad, I wrote you a really good role, and I think we are actually going to do this.  I’m giving you a once in a lifetime chance to name your own character.  Do you want to name him after a Greek hero, or one of your siblings?”  He didn’t take his chance.  So, you know what?  It’s “Nathan” now.  It’s easier for everybody.  We don’t have to break the method acting fourth wall.  (Laughs)

Do you think you would work with Nathan and Kassie again? (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  Oh, my God, are you kidding?

NATHAN:  That’s my contract: Kassie has got to be in it.  So, let me say this about Kassie, you had mentioned something about how much she has been working, and I look at Kassie as the James Brown of daytimes soaps.  She is the hardest working woman in daytime television. 

Photo: JPI

She is pretty spectacular. Kassie started on Guiding Light, had a long career on One Life, and then went to General Hospital, then to Days of our Lives.  It’s been amazing that we have been able to see her have a comeback in more ways that one.

KASSIE:  Nathan has jumped from soap to soap as well, and when you’ve done it, you just think it’s over.  It’s not like your regular acting profession jobs when you go out and you know you’re going to audition for twenty-five things and get one role for a short amount of time.  When you go in day in and day out and are creating all of this stuff on a soap opera, and then it ends, you go, “Well, now what am I supposed to do?”  I haven’t been on a set in 6 months, and I feel like I won’t ever work again.  Soaps are just a totally different head trip and so it can be really hard.

Courtesy/ABC

Nathan, do you have a favorite Hank Gannon moment from One Life to Live?

NATHAN:  Oh wow.  Man, there were so many of them.  I can tell you the funniest, to me, maybe not so funny to Hillary B. Smith though.  I think it was during a live show. This was during the time when I had a lot of dialogue.  But this particular day, I had one line, and the line was to Hillary and it was, “How are you feeling?” and her response was, “Well, I’m feeling the way I always feel, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”.  So, during the entire day, I’d see Hillary, and I’d say, “Hey, how you feeling?”  Maybe nineteen times before we started shooting, “Hey, how you feeling?” and she’d had about enough of it.  So, fast forward to “5, 4,3,2,1 action”, and now, I say, “How you doing?”  If you could see the look in her eyes, it is like, “I will kill you.”  So, she says, “You know how I’m doing.  I’m doing what I’m always doing,” so she could get her line out.  So, once again, she saved Nathan’s ass with that.  One stupid line … and I blew it.  I just remember that one because I just know Hilary wanted to strangle me.  She probably still wants to.

And on that note (laughs) I wanted to thank you all so much for this. I hope you find success with this little gem of a film, Taylor.

So what did you think of the comments made by Kassie, Nathan and Taylor on their film?  What did you think of Kassie’s recent performance on DAYS? What’s your favorite Blair or Hank moment from the history of One Life to Live? Share your thoughts and comments below,  But first, check out the trailer to Killian and the Comeback Kids.

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General Hospital

GH’s Chloe Lanier Talks On Nelle’s Twisted Plots, Her Co-Stars & That Cliffhanger “Ending”

Recently on ABC’s General Hospital, Chloe Lanier’s Nelle Benson created even more havoc for Carly (Laura Wright), Michael (Chad Duell), Julian (William deVry), Brook Lynn (Briana Lane), and of course, her son, Wiley.

However, is Nelle really gone after her ‘fall,’ which has left her MIA and Carly believing she is responsible for her sister’s ‘death’? But as we know with Nelle, she keeps secretly planning her next move and loves to slowly torture those who she believes have wronged her. There is also the ongoing mystery of just who is Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) daughter, especially since Nelle has the other half of the necklace so near and dear to Nina; leaving viewers pondering if it could mean they are mother and child, or is this all a red-herring?

One thing is for sure, Daytime Emmy winner, Chloe Lanier brings it each and every time she returns to GH. She gives always give the storylines a much needed injection of drama, drama and more drama. No one is quite like Lanier in the soaps either; she can play tough, vulnerable, manipulative, and street smart, like nobody’s business.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Chloe to get her answers to some of our burning questions for her and her portrayal of naughty Nelle, and how one of her co-stars helped her through a very difficult time in her life.  Here’s what she had to say about it all.

Courtesy/ABC

What did you think of the courtroom antics of Nelle during the custody hearing for Wiley?

CHLOE:  I mean, showing up in a wedding dress was her first mistake. Then antagonizing everyone in the room was probably her second. But she’s so wounded—so broken from her childhood. She doesn’t have the proper emotional tools to combat her self-destructive behavior.

Which showdown or confrontation between Nelle and Michael stands out to you?

CHLOE:  I particularly loved the scenes where Nelle, nine months pregnant, leaves Michael in the rigged car, hoping it would explode. It’s rare that you’re given comedic material on a soap, so that was particularly exciting for me. Also, Chad’s reactions always make me laugh. He’s great.

Photo: ABC

What is it like working with Chad Duell as feuding exes and parents of Wiley? 

CHLOE:  Chad is so easy to work with. He’s been doing the show for so long and is very technically gifted. The writers graced us with some meaty material that we were able to sink our teeth into.

Photo: JPI

What does Nelle think of Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? She really hates her, huh?

CHLOE: I don’t believe she hates her. She’s envious. Willow is the exact opposite and oftentimes we’re afraid of what we don’t understand. Particularly someone like Nelle, who was raised by a con artist and taught to exploit and manipulate anyone she comes across. So when she sees someone so pure, so innocent, she immediately distrusts her because that behavior is so far outside the lines of how she operates.

What was it like taping the fight scenes between Carly and Nelle, where Nelle “Plummets” to her death?  

CHLOE:  Shout out to Amanda Hall and Heather Bonomo, our amazing stunt doubles for those scenes. They were fantastic.

Courtesy/ABC

When you and Laura Wright get the scripts; where Carly and Nelle are having a huge showdown, are you thrilled about getting the chance to play the emotional beats of those moments? What if it’s a fight scene?

CHLOE:  Those scenes were such a joy, because we got to explore some of the deep roots of Nelle’s trauma, and Carly explicitly said, “I believe you love your son.” That, for me, was important.  Because despite all of her failings, she truly did love her son—in her own warped, off kilter, way.

Photo: Paul Smith

Nelle has really been blackmailing Julian, until he turned the tables on her on the pier?  What has it been like acting opposite Will deVry in those scenes?

CHLOE:  I love Will. He and I actually have the same acting coach, so our prep and how we’re working is from a similar place. What I love about Will is the confidence he has in his stillness. He’s lovely on camera, so connected.

Photo: ABC

Nelle has the other half of the necklace belonging to Nina.  What do you think if it turns out that Nelle is Nina’s daughter?  It is quite possible, tho, that she is not, and it’s all a red herring. How has it been working with Cynthia Watros?

CHLOE:  Cynthia is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met, truly. We haven’t known each other for long, but earlier this year, and not many people know this other than my close friends, I was having glaring mental health issues stemming from unresolved trauma. I was going going going for so long that I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had never dealt with any of it. She saw it and could tell I was silently struggling and reached out. You don’t forget kindness like that. So I’m very grateful for Cynthia—and of course, therapy. I would be flattered if they decided to make Nelle Nina’s daughter.

Photo:ABC

What do you think about how the writers have kept finding ways to have plot points that get all the other characters in trouble and make it look like they did something to Nelle, but she ultimately has her own diabolical plans for them with her actions? She is pretty smart!

CHLOE:  Nelle is the perfect victim, and her love language is sabotage. She’s also a narcissist, so she’s always going to think she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s basically a walking version of Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do. I love that the writers gifted me the opportunity work with almost everyone on the show. Josh (Swickard) and I always had a great time together. And Maurice (Benard)—god he’s hilarious. I would have loved to work with Briana Nicole Henry (Jordan) more though. I love watching her work. She’s going to have an amazing career.

Photo: ABC

Do you think Nelle can ever be redeemed at this point?

CHLOE:  Redemption is a weird one for me, because I don’t believe that people are inherently good or bad. We’re all human. We all have flaws, make mistakes, have regrets, experience shame. We have the ability to grow and we learn from our past. Nelle has done and felt all of those things, to a degree, but continued to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. A character either has to change or they die. So, I’ll say this—if Nelle is alive out there somewhere, I hope she’s going to therapy.

Photo: JPI

What has been the hardest scene for you to play emotionally in the time you have been playing Nelle?

CHLOE:  Probably the scene with the newborn, where Nelle runs into Brad on the side of the road. I had never held a newborn baby before, so I was TERRIFIED. I realized I was the only thing in that moment keeping that baby alive…a very bizarre and life altering feeling, I’ll say.

So, have you enjoyed Chloe’s performances? Do you think Nelle is plotting from afar?  What would you like to see happen in the storylines with  baby Wiley, Nina’s child, and more? Comment below.

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B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood deliver the Power Performance of the Week as Steffy’s drug addiction leads to a confrontation and intervention by her loved ones with dire consequences.  Here is the last seven minutes that featured Emmy-winner Wood at her best. Leave A Comment

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Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

The Bold and the Beautiful

Airdate: 9-25-2020

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