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THE JOHN MCCOOK INTERVIEW – THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

By Michael Fairman

John-main.jpgTV SOAP:

This soap season has been really great for your character, Eric Forrester. It’s been major story!

JOHN:

Yes, major story…. even when I was laying there. I had the scruffy beard, and the bedsores, and it was wonderful. Actually, the bed we had was the most modern hospital bed one can have, and it changes every 20 seconds. It deflates on one side, and puffs up on another, and that’s why it keeps the pressure off one place in your skin. So, it prevents bedsores, and sure enough, I did not get any.

TV SOAP:

Did you love the concept surrounding Eric’s heart attack?

JOHN:

I thought it was great, because it was a heart attack, and nobody realized it wasn’t caused by anybody when it happened. Certainly, none of the actors knew it had been caused by anybody when it happened. I endured a lot of Viagra jokes because it had happened after sex with Donna. I got tired of that. Then, a couple of weeks into his coma, it had been revealed that somebody had caused it and that it was a ‘Whodunit’. Then, that evolved into something else. As Eric recovered, the family worked to keep Donna apart from him. Then, they steal him back, and who does he see? Well, the good news is you’re waking out of your coma; the bad news is, your ex-wife Stephanie is there! Then, it was a really wonderful reunion with Eric and his family after that. Then what happens is that Eric sees Donna and Owen in a compromising position, and it appears to be more than that. Eric freaks out and it almost makes him sick again. They now keep Donna away. But then, this wonderful thing happens of Donna wanting to explain her side of the story, and sneaking into the house to get to talk to Eric. It was pretty cool! It goes on from there.

TV SOAP:

So, Donna pleads her case?

JOHN:

When she first comes to him, he still is monosyllabic. It’s hard for him to wrap his brain around anything, let alone express himself. So, she tearfully explains, “I never lost faith in you. I did not go off with Owen someplace and commit myself. I love you Eric. You are the guy I want to be with. I feel terrible that your family has done this. They are keeping me away from you. They are not telling the whole truth of what happened to you while you were in a coma.” Eric is not able to say, “What are you talking about? Tell me everything?” All of that is in the future with these characters. Right now Eric is still on the edge, and very vulnerable to anyone’s machinations: Stephanie’s or Felicia’s, let alone Donna’s!

steph-eric.jpgTV SOAP:

What does Eric feel for Stephanie? It seems like they will always have feelings for each other, and always drift back towards each other, no matter what.

JOHN:

It seems like that, doesn’t it? That’s the tension. I think what I like about how Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, “B&B) writes is that he keeps these things unresolved, and these feelings are unresolved. Eric’s feelings for Stephanie are always in flux. He wants to shoot her in the head, and he realizes he owes her so much. He loves her and has been with her for 150 years! (He laughs) I always use to say that, “They used to hunt Bison together. They have been together so long!”

TV SOAP:

But Stephanie and Eric, for all purposes, are an iconic soap couple!

JOHN:

It’s a cliché I suppose, and a staple, and it’s necessary. So for this man to be so dependent, and owe so much to Stephanie, and be adored and loved by Donna is interesting. This is not a pin-up or hot tamale. Donna really loves him. That’s what’s different about this. It starts out as this “hootchie-mama” putting the makes on this older guy, but Eric really loves this gal.

TV SOAP:

What if Owen were to steal Donna away from Eric? How would Eric feel about that?

Owen-Donna.jpgJOHN:

If Donna left Eric for Owen, he would just go, “Donna’s big mistake”, and he would not blame this guy Owen. Owen is just a kid, and a cute kid, who comes around and has hot pants for Donna. If Donna went with him permanently, Eric would just shrug it off. However, he would be sad about Donna.

TV SOAP:

Would it devastate him?

JOHN:

It would devastate him, but he would not blame Owen. I don’t think so. Not to the point of committing a crime or getting into a fistfight with him. I think he would flick him off.

TV SOAP:

What about Eric’s relationship dynamic with daughter, Felicia?

JOHN:

We swept that under the rug; the fact that Felicia offered Owen $200,000 for a crime. They did not go down that road, but they did resolve it in 7 minutes between commercials 2 and 3, where Owen admits it to Donna. (He laughs) He admires her so much, and sees how much she is put upon by her family and Eric’s family. He feels sympathy for her and she admires him for turning it down. That shows that Owen is not some bad guy or some money hungry guy. He turned the money down for good reason.

TV SOAP:

How do you justify all of this? Won’t Eric be hell-bent on getting back at everyone in his family for how they took advantage of him during his coma?

ridge-plug.jpgJOHN:

Eric was very angry with his children prior to the heart attack. I think in the future when all is revealed, and it had not all been revealed to Eric, there is a lot for Eric to learn in regards to what happened to him when he was in coma. He needs to learn how Ridge tried to take the business away from him, and then tried to take the business away from Donna while Eric was down. Ridge wanted to violate Donna’s power of attorney that Eric had put in place. And, he also pulled the plug on Eric, and when Eric finds this all out, it’s going to be stunning! And this business with Ridge, Thorne, and Felicia, is not over.

TV SOAP:

I want Eric to have a backbone. The men on soaps and on “B&B” tend to be portrayed as weak.

JOHN:

These stories are about the women. Women are the manipulators, and fight, achieve, and fail, and I get that. The men are the prizes and are the thing to win or not. So the men have to not be aware of all the machinations going on, which in turn makes us look dumb. Then the scene is happening right in front of us, and you have to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t see that. I am not aware of that? How dumb am I?” And the producers go, “Well, be looking at the fern and pretend you don’t hear it!” So our characters are constantly being compromised by how little we are aware of. It’s true of Ridge Forrester, Eric Forrester, and all the men on the show.

TV SOAP:

22% of the soap viewing audience between the ages 18-49 in last months Nielsen ratings were reported as male. What kind of message does this portrayal of men send to those guys watching it at home?

JOHN:

It’s Ronn Moss’s (Ridge) and my frustration. How the hell am I going to play this and retain Eric’s intelligence at all? These characters are supposed to have achieved something in their lives. They can’t be this dumb or this blind. But, we have to be here. It’s not true on “Gossip Girls”. The men on that show are the prizes, but they are not stupid. As men on soaps, we are constantly having to come up with the spine of the scenes, and make it stronger than what is written for us. I think Eric will be upset when he comes-to, but it would be better if he was angry, rather than upset.

TV SOAP:

Eric needs to write to his children out of his will, like Victor Newman did recently on “Y&R”!

JOHN:

Well, that is a very Victor Newman thing to do! It would be a powerful thing for Eric to do, and to also write Stephanie out of the will, if you ask me. I like when Eric made a decisive choice, like when he chose Donna and he told Stephanie, “I am done with this. I am not coming back to you again. I’m not!” Eric is being nursed back to health after a coma and a heart attack. I think that changes men in business, when they have heart attacks.

wheel-kids.jpgTV SOAP:

Will there be physical and emotional repercussions from the heart attack when Eric tries to regain his life?

JOHN:

That was the thing I talked to Brad about. Does this change Eric? And he said, “No, no, we have to be careful. He did not have a stroke.” He said, “Eric does not have lingering physical or mental changes. He is not injured by it.” But, will he be a different man when he comes back to work? Yeah! It kind of slows a guy down, and makes you doublethink things. “Maybe I do need to ease off a bit.” We move things so fast on our show, that we don’t fully explain things over several episodes so that everyone understands and gets it. We explain it in one episode and one little segment, and if you were not there for that, you have to ask somebody else. I think our show moves too fast at times.

TV SOAP:

How is working with the new Beth Logan, Robin Riker?

JOHN:

I love her as Beth. I can’t wait for her to have more to do. She has a little twinkle in her eye and is a wonderful actress. I think she is beautiful and very attractive. I can’t wait to play with her. I have not worked with her yet, and that’s a surprise. Robin is an episodic television queen. I think I am a big episodic television person, too, but it’s been a long time since I have been out doing it. (He laughs)

TV SOAP:

Susan Flannery’s (Stephanie) moments in the hospital with Eric were wonderful. What’s it like when you work with her now?

JOHN:

It’s wonderful, c’mon! She does not surprise me, but that’s the fullness and the richness of what she does. That’s her skill. That’s her talent, and she does that better than anyone on television, I think.

TV SOAP:

“GL’s” Kim Zimmer (Reva) told me that the level of performance Susan Flannery brings to her role is unparalleled. I have heard that from so many of the top-notch actresses in the soap genre.

JOHN:

Sure they do. They aspire to it. The appreciation these veteran women have for each other is wonderful. They all come back to Susan Flannery all the time, because Susan is powerful and real, and inventive. What surprises me sometimes is how she chooses to do a scene.

TV SOAP:

Does that ever throw you off in your performances?

MacCook-wife.jpgJOHN:

No. I have been married to her for 21 years, and that is almost as long as I have been married to my own wife.

TV SOAP:

How is your wife?

JOHN:

Laurette is great, and she does surprise me all the time.

TV SOAP:

Are there times when you felt your performance was not up to par?

JOHN:

Of course, there are times. I will be in a scene with somebody, and maybe Jennifer Gareis (Donna) or Kyle Lowder (Rick) will say something about their own work like, “I wasn’t very good. Do you think I should do it again?” It’s not being cavalier, but I say to them, “It’s a different scene tomorrow, and that’s the lesson you have to learn. You cannot come out and rehearse and warm up to it in this medium. Nowadays, the first time we rehearse is probably when we are going to shoot it. So, be on it right now, out of the gate. We are all capable of doing that.”

TV SOAP:

How is working with Jennifer?

MacCook-Gareis.jpgJOHN:

She surprises me, to be quite truthful. We have been doing this story for at least a year. When I began, I was very excited to have a story with a young woman, any one woman but Stephanie, because that makes for good story for Eric. I think she was excited because it meant doing something different than she had done before. I had not watched her on “Y&R”, and I saw the ‘sex-kitten’ thing she does really well here at “B&B”. Then as Brad started writing it, I thought, “What are we going to do? Is it going to be Eric and some sex-kitten story?” It’s so, mid-life crisis for Eric. So I went to Brad, and he said, “No. She falls in love with Eric, and then Eric falls in love with her.” Jennifer and I had a quick talk then about how we’re going to approach this, and said, “Let’s make it different than anything we have ever done… for you, Jennifer, and for me, too.” It’s an opportunity to go to an acting place we had never gone before, and she just did fall in love with this guy. Her childlike reaction to loving him is what I reacted to. It was funny, sweet and real.

TV SOAP:

What can we tell your fans to look forward to from Eric in the coming months?

JOHN:

I think they can look forward to the same thing I do, which is really complicated reactions to a very complex storyline. He loves his Stephanie. He is in love and married to Donna, I think. Who is he going to end up with is an overriding story point, but that’s not even the story we are telling. The complex part of the story is, how does he react to the information he learns, and how does it affect him, with this family, kids and wife.

kyle-john.jpgTV SOAP:

When do you see all of this coming into play for the audience?

JOHN:

This will all be coming out between now and Christmas. I don’t know all the answers to those questions, and as we go through fall and come to the end of the year, he is going to know a lot more.

TV SOAP:

Do you think Eric could just fall apart and have a complete meltdown?

JOHN:

Yeah, he could. I would like to see him in an alley in downtown LA, with some of the same people Stephanie hung out with years ago. (He laughs) I think the business is too important to him, so he wouldn’t fall apart. We need to see Eric suffering with the business and bringing it back, and achieving stuff there. We need to see Ridge and Rick there, and see the other kids and everybody in that building, fighting for the millions and millions of dollars that are generated by that family business.

TV SOAP:

How has it been working with Kyle Lowder (Rick)?

JOHN:

Kyle is great, and has a lovely sense of humor. He is an efficient leading man, and it’s fun to fuss with him a little bit, and try to pull him out of that a bit. He is playing good Rick storyline now, and he is pulling that off really well.

TV SOAP:

And finally, you and Ronn Moss have been with the show since the beginning. How is your working relationship with him?

JOHN:

I love working with Ronn. It’s been 21 years. Ronn got better all through the years and every year he has done that. I am staying sort of the same, and Ronn is getting better, and it’s funny. People made fun of Ronn. ridge-eric.jpgIt was so
stunning to see a man who looked like that, even on television. And Ronn has a stunning look, and he is the icon of our show. The jaw, and the zero body fat, and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke)… the two of the them together in a picture are amazing. But at first, people would make fun of our show because of how Ronn looked. They would go, “How could this guy be any good as an actor, and look like that?” And Ronn proves that he can. He loves the show and the character. We all love being here together, and its great. Ronn says the same thing he said to me the first day, every day. He holds a script up and goes, “What is this?” If I ever win an Emmy, I’m going to thank him and say that! (He laughs)

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Been following John for many yrs!! I was hoping he might remember his roots were once in Tx!! The McCooks were kinsfolk from way back!! He has had a awesome career and I am one of his biggest fans!! I love all the family in what is my favorite soap!!

General Hospital

GH’s Finola Hughes, Marcus Coloma & Josh Swickard Talk On 15,000th Episode Milestone

The juggernaut that is ABC’s General Hospital, is marking yet another accomplishment in its storied 59-year-history.  The iconic soap opera is set to air on Wednesday, June 22nd (unless preempted), its 15,000th episode.

As part of the celebration, General Hospital’s Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Marcus Coloma (Nikolas Cassadine) and Josh Swickard (Chase), who all appear in the standalone episode, chat with Michael Fairman to mark the occasion.

During the conversation now on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Finola and Marcus, and later Josh, who logged on later while at Disneyland, discuss: their beginnings on GH from landing their respective roles, who in the cast perhaps most intimated them, at first, and what it has meant to be part of the legacy of General Hospital.  In addition, Finola, Marcus, and Josh reveal some of their more challenging storylines, and more.

Photo: ABC

Later, the trio each gives us a tease of what’s to come now that Nikolas has slept with Esme (Avery Pohl), what lies ahead for Anna and her love-interest Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and Josh talks on working with his on-screen love-interest, Amanda Setton (Brook Lynn Quartermaine).

Watch for a special appearance by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) within the interview, as we do a deep-dive of being part of the ensemble cast.

We also take a moment to send out our condolences to Kristina (Felicia) and Jack Wagner (Ex-Frisco) on the passing of their son, Harrison, and how you can donate to the scholarship fund in his honor.

Check out our GH 15K interview with Finola, Marcus, and Josh below, and make sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming features, interviews, and upcoming Daytime Emmy red carpet coverage.

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Interviews

Sean Kanan Talks On The New Season of His Streaming Series ‘Studio City’ and The Life and Times of B&B’s Deacon Sharpe

The second season of the Emmy-Award winning, digital streaming series, Studio City is now available on Amazon Prime. The six latest episodes bring us back into the series of an aging actor, Sam Stevens, played by soap vet, Sean Kanan, who is one of the stars of the soap opera, Hearts on Fire, in the role of Dr. Pierce Hartley.

Throughout Studio City, viewers go on the journey of Sam’s foibles through life off-camera juxtaposed with his life on-screen. A sundry of delicious characters enhances the premise of the series portrayed by the likes of: Carolyn Hennesy, Anna Maria Horsford, Justin Torkildsen, Lilly Melgar, Tristan Rogers and more, all names familiar to soap fans.

While Sean is busy promoting the latest season of Studio City, and his book Way of the Cobra, he is also continuing to appear on The Bold and the Beautiful as bad boy – trying to straighten out his life after years in prison – Deacon Sharpe.  Since his return last year, Sean has been mixing it up in stories with the likes of Kimberlin Brown (Sheila) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).

 

In this chat with Michael Fairman TV, Sean weighs-in on: what could be next for B&B’s Deacon, the struggles and the joys of continuing his streaming series, and the homage Studio City is to the soap genre and much more. Check out what he had to share below.

Courtesy/StudioCity

How challenging was it to shoot this season of Studio City?

SEAN:  When we do this thing on a shoestring, everything needs to fall into place in order for it to happen properly.  We know that everybody involved with the show was going to potentially get other projects, or do other things   One of the biggest issues we have, is that a lot of times, we didn’t know what locations we had because Studio City is the real world, and then it’s the show within a show (Hearts on Fire).  So, with the show within a show, those actors aren’t in the ‘real world’. For instance, Tristan Rogers (Doc), is only in the ‘real word’, so, if we have a location that isn’t for the ‘real world’, we can’t shoot Tristan because he doesn’t exist there.  We would have to literally decide what we were writing (sometimes the night before) based on the locations we could get.  It was just an enormous challenge.

Sarah Brown (Laurie) was not a part of the newest six episodes as well as some others cast members. Will she and others be back at some point?

SEAN:  Sarah was directing a podcast, and we kind of had to look at who was available to us, and what stories we needed to tie-up, and hopefully we are going to wind up doing another five episodes to finish up this season.  Then, hopefully we are able to get the actors who weren’t able to do the first six to come back and do the second five.

What I liked about the new six episodes is that I thought you built-in some really solid scenes for the actors.  How did you feel about the outcome?

SEAN:  We make the best show that we can make with the resources and time that we have.  I was glad that we got to develop the story a little more with Delilah (Juliet Vega), Sam’s would-be-daughter.  We always try to do something that’s socially responsive, and diversity is certainly and important issue in Hollywood, without a doubt, but I also think that you need to see the comedic side of everything.  I thought there was some really funny stuff about that with Sam doing the podcast and the scene with Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene) and Will Roberts (Dennis), where she comes in, and she’s like, “The production is too white.”  I thought that was some funny stuff there.  I loved the monologue my wife, Michele, wrote for Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria) about the soaps – that thing about how all of the soaps are dead, and Carolyn just railed in support of the soaps, about the soaps being this dependable thing.  For a lot of people, soaps are their point of emotional contact.

Photo: StudioCity

I talk to fans all of the time and for many times soaps are their lifeline.  Your character, Sam, lands a part in action-adventure film and screws that all up while on set. Where did that plot point come from?

SEAN: It came from a couple different places.  I think that there is not a male actor alive, who some part of him doesn’t harken back to when he was a little boy and doesn’t want to be an action star.  I think the funny thing about it is, of course, Sam is right on the precipice of being over the hill for it, and he’s not going to let that stop him.  Natalie Burn (Shelby Brock) is a legit action star.  She’s a terrific martial artist.  Our director, Timothy Woodward Jr. has done some action movies.  So, we sort of said, “Okay, we’ve set this thing up where Sam wants to get this film.  Let’s give him the film and have him struggle abysmally.”  Marching orders for Studio City are always to keep as much mishigas on Sam’s shoulders as we can.  You never want to see the lead of your show succeeding wildly because that diffuses all of the conflict.  I do think I’ve had some really great dramatic stuff.  I really liked the scenes that I had with Delilah in the sixth episode, and I loved the stuff with Tristan, and I loved the stuff with Lilly Melgar (Becky).  I thought it was really funny.  Lilly killed it and so did Justin Torkildsen (Jacob).  I thought Justin was great.

Courtesy/StudioCity

I thought when you utilized on-camera testimonials from the cast and the EP, that was really a hilarious piece to add to the story.

SEAN:  That was great.  I’d love to take credit for that, but it was Tim’s idea, and it was a really great idea from a production standpoint, because you can do one of two things.  You can either do a whole show where you’re using those, or you can chop them up and use them throughout different shows. From a production standpoint, we had to build some things into the show to insert those when we needed.

Courtesy/StudioCity

You also cast celebrity publicist, Anthony Turk, as a network executive in the series.

SEAN:  Yes. Way back when I created Studio City, there was a part for a publicist, and I had talked to Anthony about doing it.  We had eliminated the publicist part until Lilly became the publicist; which ended up in a completely different plot point.  I always knew I wanted to put Anthony in the series, because I think he’s a good actor. I was like, “You know, I didn’t write this part for you, but I think you can do it,” and I was really happy with how he did it.

 

Courtesy/StudioCity

I also liked the scene with Anna Maria Horsford’s Jolene where she tells Sam to keep his mouth shut while he is working on set. 

SEAN:  She is so fabulous.  I love that woman.  She is such a talent, and I was so happy when she got nominated for a Daytime Emmy last year.  I have such an affection for everybody on our show, because they really put their heart and soul in it, and it just means so much that they show up, and they support, and they do great work.

What I noticed is that the way Timothy Woodward Jr. captures you as an actor.  There is so much going on in the reaction in your eyes of what is happening to Sam.  He realizes the, “Oh, my God,” of each situation as he realizes what he just stepped into, or he finds the humor in it, or when he lets out his frustration, as he did with his daughter in the sixth episode.

SEAN:  That was one of my favorite scenes.  I wrote that one.   It was great because it’s my real-life stepdaughter, and I thought she really stepped up, and I was so proud of her.

For the first time in the realignment by the television academies, Studio City will now be competing at the Primetime Emmys instead of the Daytime Emmys, if the series receives nominations.  How do you feel about that?

SEAN: We are really excited to be competing with the big dogs now at the Primetime Emmys, and rather than being intimidated by it, we are saying, “This is the universe opening up and saying, ‘this is what you need to do,’ and so let’s embrace it.”  It’s going to be exciting.  In my 35 years in the business, I’ve never been to the Primetime Emmys.  So, we shall see.

Photo: StudioCity

Justin Torkildsen’s role greatly expanded this season.  In story, do you see Jacob attempting to thwart his Aunt Gloria and take control of Hearts on Fire as the EP? 

SEAN:  I don’t know if the goal is for him to take over for Gloria.  It certainly was a lot of fun to see what happened when he got just a little taste of power.  He’s got his own agenda, and I also love that he wants the love from his Aunt Gloria.  He’s not just a young guy trying to ascend the power ladder of the show.  He really does want his aunt to be proud of him and to love him, and she’s a tough nut to crack.

There was scene after the network executive tells Gloria, “You’re out, if you don’t fix the show.”  Doesn’t Jacob gloat in it for a minute?  Doesn’t he want payback for how she treats him?

SEAN:  I don’t know if he does.  I think he certainly does like to see when Gloria gets her little comeuppances, but when push comes to shove, I think he’s really got her back, I do.  Justin is so naturally funny.  He’s a great guy to have on set.  He’s got a great attitude, and he’s a very good actor.  I was really struck by a moment in season one where he’s coming up the stairs, and he had this abject fear of interrupting Gloria, and Justin didn’t have any lines.  He just played it beautifully with no dialogue.  I was like, “We’ve got to give Justin more to do,” and for me, it was nostalgic to work with him again because the very first scene I had on The Bold and the Beautiful was with Justin.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about Carolyn Hennesy; who often is the quintessential scene-stealer in Studio City when she appears on-screen?  Does she go with the script or ad-lib parts of the dialog?

SEAN:  She’s a gorgeous, red-haired, flaming beast.  She definitely did some wonderful ad-libbing to elevate what was on the page, and she made it her own, and that’s one of the things that I love the most about her.  I love that I can write a 20-page scene and give it to, for example, Tristan Rogers, 20 minutes before and know that he’s going to nail it.  That’s one of the things that I love about working with Daytime actors.   Say what you want, but when the chips are down, and your back is against the wall, a Daytime actor is going to be the one who can take the dialogue, digest it quickly, and give you a good performance.  With the way that we are run and gun in our style of shooting, you have to move really quickly.  I’ve worked on a lot of films, and with people who are recognizable in the business, and sometimes they get overwhelmed when they have more than a couple of pages in a day … and you know what we do in Daytime.

Courtesy/StudioCity

When you were writing the new season with Michele and Tim, was it laid out pretty definitively, or did it evolve?

SEAN:  We laid out some large arcs.  We knew the storyline that we wanted to do with Natalie and with Will.  Natalie, actually joined us as a co-executive producer.  She is Ukrainian and has family there.  So, she had a lot going on.  I just feel like she really stepped up.  She really helped the production both as an actress and as a Co-EP, and we were very fortunate to have her, and have her at a time when it would be completely understandable when her ability to even act would have been compromised, yet alone have the facility to Co-EP.  In addition, we knew we wanted to deepen the relationship between Sam and Delilah.  We had a different idea with what we wanted to do with Doc, and we wound up doing something another way than what we had originally discussed.  Sometimes, you have to make these decisions that are sort of production-based and you have to alter storyline.  Of course, we knew we wanted to continue to create the storyline that like a lot of soaps, Hearts on Fire was potentially on the chopping block.  At the same time, we really wanted to illustrate that the soaps are full of people who are talented, gifted actors, who love what they do, they work really hard, and they don’t always get the respect that they deserve.

Courtesy/StudioCity

It looks like Doc might be having a change of heart?  Will he begin chemo to save his life?

SEAN:  That’s what we are thinking, and we are hoping to bring Patrika Darbo back in, and finding out where she’s been and having some really nice scenes between, she and Doc.  I think things are going to develop between Dennis, who is the producer, and my character, Sam, and we are going to learn that all has not been revealed of who Dennis really is.

Courtesy/StudioCity

What did you think when you saw your performances in the latest six of Studio City?

SEAN:  I’m always super critical of myself.  I like the stuff with the podcast because I thought it was really organic, and I thought it was funny.  I loved the stuff with Lilly.  I always see things that I could fix and do better, but I also saw stuff that I liked, and I really liked a lot of what was going on with Juliet.  We had another take where Sam really breaks down, and unfortunately, we had a sound problem with that one, and we couldn’t use it.  That was really crushing to me, but again, you make the show that you can make. Michele and I always joke and say, “Making a 50-million-dollar movie is easy.  You want to really produce something?  Produce it when you have no money.”

Photo: JPI

What did your wife, Michele, say about how she thought the latest season of Studio City turned out? 

SEAN:  I do have to say that Michelle really stepped up this season of Studio City.  She ran the show.  She is an executive producer, but she was also the supervising producer, in charge, responsible for crewing up.  She amazes me to no end.  I couldn’t be prouder of her, and I’m so honored that she and I were able to both win out at the Daytime Emmys.  We have very different skillsets, which is great.  There are not a lot of areas where we overlap, but we compliment, and that’s why I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

You are also busy with The Bold and the Beautiful.  How has this most recent return been for you as Deacon Sharpe?

SEAN:  Oh, my God, it’s been fantastic.  The Bold and the Beautiful consistently ranks as one of the best professional experiences that I have ever had.  I love the people I work with.  I love the creative freedom that I have on the show.  I love what they write for me.  It’s just great.  Listen, I’ve done four Daytime shows, and by far and away, this has been the best experience.   It’s a great role.  I’m the only guy who has ever played Deacon, so I’m fiercely protective of the character.  I know I’m coming into a really big storyline right now, which is very exciting.  I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’m going to be working with a character who I haven’t worked with very much before, which is very exciting.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Kimberlin Brown receiving an Outstanding Supporting Actress Daytime Emmy nomination? I believe you are in some of her submitted scenes.

SEAN:  I think it’s incredibly well-deserved. She just brought so much to it, and I’m just honored that I was able to be a part of what she did.

People are saying you’re going to get all wrapped-up in the Li (Naomi Matsuda) Sheila, and Finn (Tanner Novlan) storyline.

SEAN:  Well, I guess I already am to a certain extent.  I like to think that in his infinite wisdom, Brad Bell (head writer and executive producer, B&B) knew that Kimberlin and I would find humor in an eccentric relationship; rather than just being two kinds of ‘baddies’.  Deacon is not nearly as bad as Sheila, but rather than be two people with somewhat aligned wants and needs, I think hopefully Brad was like, “I think they’re going to come up with something interesting,” and I think we did.   The fight that Deacon had with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), that is not something that you see on Daytime all the time.  That was really exciting and fun.

Photo: JPI

I love that Deacon’s home-away-from-home is the supply closet!

SEAN:  I was teasing Brad.  I said, “If I get a raise, do I get a Swiffer?”  I love it.  In terms of Sheila and Deacon, I didn’t know if we were going to wind up in the sack together or not, and I thought, you know, if that happens, that would be interesting, too.  By my calculations, Deacon has now been out of jail for how long, and he has not gotten any action.  No action for a guy who just got out of prison for 5 years.  So, I don’t know what’s going on in that broom closet. (Laughs)

What was it like working with Katherine Kelly Lang during the whole ‘New Year’s Eve drunken night with Brooke’ story?

SEAN:  You know, Kelly and I really were able to capture lightening in a bottle many years ago, and I think it was wonderful.  I always wondered, what was going to happen all this time later if we worked together again?  Are we going to be able to come up with something great?  I love working with her.  Poor Kelly, just broke her ankle, which is terrible, but she is a champ.

Photo: JPI

Do you think there is still chemistry between Brooke and Deacon?

SEAN:  Yeah, I do.  I try to create chemistry with anyone I work with, men or women, but don’t we do that in life?  We always want to be interesting and sexy with anyone we talk to.  Ultimately, what we are trying to do on some level, is we are always seducing as human beings.  That’s where I come from as an actor.  You’ve got a goal.  You’ve got a series of actions that you use to get the goal.  You usually fail a couple times in the scene, so you change the actions, and you try to overcome the obstacles.

Right, and seduce people …

SEAN: … And seduce.  Deacon is a very adept seducer.  I think a lot of it was from being a conman.  I think now, Deacon is finding that he can be seductive by being authentic.  I think that’s new to him.  I think ultimately, when you’re authentic, that’s a way more powerful brand of seduction than something that is some sort of a manufactured, fabricated, external seduction.

Photo: JPI

So, what would say in a tease of what’s coming up for Deacon on B&B?

SEAN:  All I can say is that I’ve been told that I’ll have an exciting story coming up, and I’m looking forward to it.  I always like when I get the ball, and you never know what another actor is going to bring out of you.  Whenever I work with someone who I haven’t worked with, I hope that they are going to allow me to tap into a part of myself that maybe I haven’t demonstrated before.  That’s what I look for, and that’s what keeps me enthused in this job.  We do have to give the same information a lot in Daytime.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  The challenge is, “How do I do this in a way that is not only interesting for the audience but allows me to stay engaged as an actor?”  If you start getting apathetic as an actor, you start doing bad work, and I can’t do that.

Have you checked out the latest six episodes of Studio City? What do you hope happens next for Deacon on The Bold and the Beautiful? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn Chats On Her Daytime Emmy-Nominated Performance and Its Significance

When the nominations were revealed for the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital mainstay, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), was recognized for her stunning work in the Alexis-centric standalone episode which honored her 25th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series.

Grahn, is already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner.  She won back in 1989 in a tie for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work as Julia Wainwright on Santa Barbara along with All My Children’s Debbi Morgan, and again received the honors in that category in 2012 for her work on General Hospital.

Now. she is vying for the gold in 2022 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category against other formidable actresses including: B&B’s Kimberlin Brown, DAYS Stacy Haiduk, Y&R’s Melissa Ordway, and her GH castmate, Kelly Thiebaud.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Nancy to talk about her decision to enter the Emmy race this year, her powerful and moving scenes, why this nomination is significant and important to her, and her take on some very important social issues of our time.

Always candid, insightful, combined with great humor and wit, here’s what Nancy had to share below, and make sure to check out GH this week when sparks fly between Alexis and Gregory (Gregory Harrison). Will he turn out to be the new beau in Alexis’ life? Stay tuned.

Courtesy/ABC

Congratulations on the Emmy nomination.  How do you feel about being in the running again, especially with the material from your 25th anniversary episode?

NANCY:  You know, I don’t submit myself if I don’t think I have something, and I didn’t last year.  This year, I had the one show, and the first reason I submitted myself was I had the episode that was worthy of the competition. These judges have to sit, and watch this stuff, and very often, it’s hard to watch soap opera scenes.  It really is, unless you’re in it.  It’s a different kind of material that most primetime people aren’t used to watching.  So, it’s tricky business.  I don’t want to put them through anything too awful. I don’t want to torture them and I’ve judged before. It can be a bit tedious. So, for me to submit myself, I thought, it has to be something that isn’t going to torture another human being. The second thing is, older women get marginalized the older they get, and they get diminished very often, and every time we get nominated, it means something different to me.  This time, to me, I want it to somehow be symbolic, or a shoutout to women who are still producing, who have been doing their job for a long time and are still doing it good enough, and that it’s still worthy of respect and recognition.

When we were at the GH Convention back in March, I played the scene on-stage for the fans in attendance of when Alexis goes over to the corner of Kevin’s office and heals her younger self.  You saw the reaction just from the fans.  It’s such a beautiful moment within the story.  What did you think about how the standalone episode was crafted?

NANCY:  It was a different experience for me because GH co-head writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, and script writer, Scott Sickles gave it the attention, but even more to that, they allowed me to participate in the creation of it.  They allowed the director, Phideaux Xavier, to participate.  We all sat in a room.  They said, “You know what?  Make it how you’re comfortable with it.”  There were so many people who gave it time and effort, and Phideaux gets a lot of credit because he came up with a lot of ideas.  So, the little girl in the therapy room wasn’t initially a part of it.  That was Phideaux’s idea, and they let us alter things, and they allowed me to write some words that meant something to me with the character.  Our producers, Michelle Henry and M.K Weir, who I both adore, were also a part of this.

Courtesy/ABC

That is great to hear that you were involved in the collaborative process of the creation of the episode.

NANCY:  We read through the whole script, and we worked it like you would on primetime. We went through it like, “Does this moment work?  Does that moment work?  Does this make sense?  Does that make sense?”  We never do that in soaps.  We don’t get to that.  So, it was a gift to me.  It really was. Chris and Dan, and Scott and Phideaux, and the two producers, generosity in gifting me that experience and making sure that it was to everybody’s liking, was really very special to me, and it meant a lot.

Did you come up with the key lines which summarized Alexis as a person and her journey: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a fighter, and an idealist and an advocate?”

NANCY:  No. They designed it, but we were allowed to enhance and contribute creatively to it, and, we don’t normally have the time to do that.  They don’t have the time to – and you can’t allow people to do that with every episode, to be creatively participating, because it would turn into madness with everybody.

Then, when it came down to choosing the scenes from your anniversary episode to include for your Emmy submission, was that a challenging process of which moments to go with?

NANCY:  I just told a little story with it with the time that I had, and so, I edited it with a friend of mine.  I did a sort of pre-edit on it, I’m good at that, and handed the timeline to our editor, who nicely put it together. It took very little effort.

In my humble opinion, I think that episode featured one of your all-time best performances.

NANCY: Thank you. There was a nice effort from everybody, from the lighting to everybody else, and all the effort Phideaux put into it.  He worked so hard on that!  It was fun for us.  It was like the old days where you really got to work something out.

Photo: ABC

It truly harkened back to everything we knew up to that point about Alexis and her past as well, and included a montage of scenes over the years.

NANCY:  I think it was M.K. who put that together, but when you’re working at the pace we’re working now, to have to sit and put together a montage of twenty-five years, that’s not an easy feat.  Nobody has time for that anymore, but they did it, and like I said, it was really, really appreciated.  My only thought with it is that I wanted it to be relatable to other people.  I didn’t want it to just be some, you know, self-indulgent Alexis episode. I knew that by bringing in the little girl and talking about people being hurt in their childhood and how that makes somebody feel that it was probably relatable to many people, and so it became meaningful to other people and not just me.

Do you think you’ll attend the Daytime Emmys? I know the last time you won you were not present.

NANCY:  Yeah, I’m planning on it.  I mean, barring anything happening! (Laughs)

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

NANCY:  Of course, it does.  It always does, and way too often, women who are still producing well in their jobs, don’t get the respect and the acknowledgment for it.  So, that’s why I’m saying, this is no small thing, and that I want other women to know that I know that, and that I wish for them the same thing.

What was the reaction of your daughter, Kate and your fiancé, Richard, when you told them you were Emmy-nominated?

NANCY:  Richie goes, “What is this?  Your 18th nomination?” (Laughs). You know what I mean?  It was just kind of like, “Yeah, sure, why wouldn’t you be?” It wasn’t like, “Oh, my God!”  It was like they kind of expected that.  That was nice!  I’m glad they feel that way.  I’m glad they weren’t surprised.  They were like, “Sure!  Of course, you would be.  Why wouldn’t you be?”  I said, “You know, it doesn’t always work like that!”

Photo: JPI

Now comes the part of having to find a dress and all that goes with it for the red carpet.  Do you enjoy that part?

NANCY:  No, I hate that part.  That is my… oh ‘boohoo’, you know?  I mean, I have to find something to wear.  Also, the older you get, that becomes so much less important, and the more makeup, and the more hair, and the more foofy, the more ridiculous I look. I start looking like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  You’ve just got to keep it simple.

You were talking about women and ageism.  Do you not feel that also exists for men?

NANCY:  It exists for men, but it’s not at all on the same par as women.  I mean, men still get paid more than women, and men still are valued more than women.  I mean, there are exceptions, but if you look in any place of employment, even the soaps, you will typically find the men making more money than the women, and the older the women get, the less they get.  Life’s not fair right now.  It’s fairer than it was, but still the equality game is not won yet.

Photo: JPI

I know how much all of this means to you in terms of equality for women, and people being run out of their jobs because of their age.

NANCY:  It’s just a reality.  It’s not something that I’m hopeless about, but I have a story to tell.  I’ll tell it when the time is right.  It’s life!  It happens in every field everywhere.  When my mom was 70, she was still producing the exact same way she was producing when she was 30, and she got run out, and was replaced by a man who was 40 or something, and there was no particular reason for it.  It was just, “You’re done.  We decided you’re done,” but like I said, it happens everywhere, in every line of work, and that’s why I just wanted to give a shout-out, when you still, after 36 years, can be recognized or shown respect or acknowledgment for what your do.  It’s a very big deal that I am appreciative of and grateful for.

So, rooting for Nancy to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize? Happy she was nominated for her work in the the milestone episode devoted to Alexis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and to tune-in to the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Friday night, June 24th.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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Cynthia Watros as Nina

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Airdate: 6-3-2022

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