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The John-Paul Lavoisier Interview – Beacon Hill

Courtesy/ABC

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

It’s been awhile since soap fans have seen John-Paul Lavoisier!  The former One Life to Live favorite where he played Rex Balsom, is now co-starring in the political soap opera Beacon Hill, which will have its online debut on March 5th.  In it JP plays Eric Preston, the son of Crystal Chappell’s Claire Preston, and brother to Alicia Minshew’s Sara Preston, and who’s Grandfather Senator Preston is played by Ron Raines!  How’s that for a family tree for starters?  Beacon Hill also reunites John-Paul with his One Life to Live sister Melissa Archer, and former on-screen love interest Jessica Morris!

As for John-Paul’s personal story, it was no secret that he, as well as many others in the cast, were devastated at the cancellation of One Life to Live by ABC.  Once the series was canned, he and then girlfriend Farah Fath (Ex-Gigi) moved out to Los Angeles, where JP began to pursue other acting career opportunities.  But many have asked: what happened to his relationship with Farah?  According to John-Paul, when he came out to Los Angles he had a hard time dealing with the change from the east coast.  He admits he was in a dark place, and he says that Farah could not deal with it.  Apparently he relates, she had a five month limit on how much she could take a depressed JP, and left him in June of 2012.  Since that time John-Paul has been single.

There had been other rumors circulating as well for over a year concerning JP.  One of which was that the popular actor was next in line to take over the role of Dillon Quartermaine on General Hospital, and another being about why he chose not to become part of Prospect Park’s online version of One Life to Live.   Well, in this candid interview with On-Air On-Soaps, John-Paul fills us in on if the rumors were true, and if anything would have brought him back to One Life to Live for a reprise of his beloved role as “Sexy Rexy”!   Plus, we learn what the heck is, “The Full Dolores” that he and best friend and former OLTL cast mate, Tuc Watkins (David) have cooked up!

One thing is for certain, John-Paul holds a very special place in the hearts of One Life to Live fans for all-time. And with that, he hopes to make new memories with his upcoming role in Crystal Chappell and company’s, Beacon Hill.  Here now, the one and only JP!

MICHAEL:

So many soap fans have missed seeing you every day!  How did you become involved in Beacon Hill?  What made you decide to be part of this project, since this is your first soap role since One Life to Live?

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

It fell into my lap.  I randomly got an email from Hillary B. Smith saying, “I have this project I am working on with Crystal Chappell, and there is a part for you that you would be perfect for.  And can I email you the script and the material?  We would love to have you.”   So, she emailed me the script and I thought, “Well, I can do this.  I want to work with you, and I miss you.”  So, it was a chance to work and to see Hillary again and to fly back east.  I had never met Crystal before, so it was a chance to meet her for the first time.  I knew Ricky Paull Goldin was involved, and I love Ricky.  He is one of the easiest guys to talk to, and one of the funniest guys to talk to.  Then, when I found out I was going to play Alicia Minshew’s brother, I was very excited.  I grew up watching All My Children, and I have grown up knowing Alicia’s work forever.  I was sort of a fan, and I would see her at soap events.  It was a chance to reconnect and sort of get to know her better, as well.  I am glad I did Beacon Hill.  It felt so good to be in cold weather in Massachusetts bundled up, and I just felt at home, because I also was with Melissa Archer.  Even though I never worked with Alicia and Crystal, it was kind of like Abbott and Costello not working together for 20 years, and then someone calling them up and saying, “Hey, can you do this part?”  It was kind of like us all falling back into the old routine.  We knew we could trust each other.  We knew it was going to be fun, and we had the same sort of work ethic.  We all came from the same place, sort of.  I knew it was going to be fun, and we were going to get it done without problems.  Everyone was so professional.  It was neat to see Hillary in producer mode, because I am used to seeing Hillary in “Hillary mode” mostly (Laughs).  Your producer Hillary!  You have your headset on and you are watching the monitor. So there was that element that was new.

MICHAEL:

Did being a part of Beacon Hill, make you miss OLTL?

JOHN-PAUL:

Oh, c’mon.  (Sighs)  I would sign a 30 year contract to be on One Life to Live if it was in front of me, right now.  It’s a no brainer.   I miss everything about it.   Everything!  I never had any complaints that whole time when I was on ABC.  I hope Beacon Hill continues, because it brought me back.   It’s sort of like we all have come together to do the same magic trick.  We know the gimmicks.  We all have this well-oiled machine.  We know how to hit our marks.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

When I interviewed Crystal Chappell (Claire Preston) about what she thought of you, she says what I have always said about you, that you are so interesting to watch and you never know what is going to happen.  I have often said that you have your own unique, very non-soap acting style, the way you delivered your material as Rex on OLTL.  So, I totally get what she is saying. 

JOHN-PAUL:

I had one scene with her, and she is really fun.  Her character is not of sound mind when my character has this interaction with her.  We had this close moment; she affected me.  I was happy and excited that Hillary threw me this bone, but when I found out I was playing Crystal’s son, I thought, “I don’t think she is old enough to do this! I hope that it’s believable and they buy I am her son, because I would sleep with her!” (Laughs)  Crystal is very good at turning on and off … I am the actress now … I am the hang out co-worker … and I am also the producer and boss … and I have to give people orders and tell them what to do, and flip that switch, just as Hillary was.

MICHAEL:

So what is the deal with the Eric Preston character you play in Beacon Hill?

JOHN-PAUL:

I have not read anything for season two, but in the first season he is basically playing this runner, wet nurse, for his grandfather.  He wants to keep the family working, and he only wants what’s best for the family.  He is probably the future heir to the family, and right now he is just the “yes” man to the grandfather.  You see him getting him tea, or answering the door, or carrying people’s luggage.  He is sort if like the family slave, and the caregiver right now. He is making sure the dust is off the counter.  I heard that he has his own plans for taking over certain things, but that is not happening yet.

MICHAEL:

So, you therefore share scenes with the amazing Ron Raines (Senator Preston)?

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

Everything you see Eric doing is for Ron Raines’ character.  You sadly never see him with Ron Raines!  We are never face to face.  Although I am face to face with his lover, my old sister on OLTL, Melissa Archer, which was neat.

MICHAEL:

I was thinking Eric and Evelyn (Melissa Archer) would end up having a fling!

JOHN-PAUL:

We have been told that since they are closer in age, and this being a soap, that there is a sexual spark that they have to deal with soon.

MICHAEL:

So is Eric Preston a good guy?

JOHN-PAUL:

In the first season, I played him as a good guy.  I wasn’t playing that he had nefarious activities.  I was basically being truthful and honest with everything I did, except I know there was a moment where I have this moment with Crystal.  I was beat down from her, and when my grandfather yells something from the bedroom.  I give a look like, “Not again.”  I think Eric was tired of all this crap, and that he is running all the time, but he just sucks it up and does it, because he thinks, “I am family, and family comes first.   And being the political figures that they are, I have to keep everyone’s face pretty for the world.”  I am excited to see how much more of the brother and sister relationship they build between Sara and Eric.  I feel a cool bond with Alicia.  I hope that I can pull though as an actor, if they do push and something evolves between Evelyn and Eric, because it’s incredibly weird.  I have known Melissa Archer for 12 years.  I see her almost every day.  We hang out in L.A. all the time, and she is like my sister.  And the thing with me is, the less I know about you sometimes, the better I can act with you, depending on our character.  With Bob Woods (Bo) on OLTL, it was easy to work with him.  He was kind of like my dad.  With Erika Slezak (Viki), I respected her, so it was easy to respect Viki on the show.  With Melissa it was easy.  She was like my sister, and she played my sister on the show.  But if all of sudden we are bedfellows, this will definitely be the biggest challenge of my acting career; playing that I want to sleep with Melissa Archer.  I love Melissa, she is very sexy, but she is John-Paul’s sister. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It takes me back to the final scene between Natalie and Rex on OLTL, and she runs into the Buchanan’s as Rex is leaving for London to say goodbye!  I must have watched that episode back countless times and it is a five-hankie episode.

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/ABC

It was heartbreaking.  If anyone can go back and watch the same scene, I also say goodbye to Bo. And we did it in one take, and I actually flubbed one of my words because I couldn’t get it out, because I was so upset about the whole moment.  Yes, in that moment when I had to say goodbye to Natalie, I remember the line that they wrote for her was, “What am I going to do without you?”  And I think I said, “What am I going to do without you?”  Those lines made perfect sense, because at the time everyone thought that Prospect Park was continuing OLTL, and at that time I was not going to go to Prospect Park, I was leaving, and so it was her saying, “I’m staying in Llanview, what am I going to do without you?”  And John-Paul is going to stay on the west coast and Melissa is staying on the east coast.  And what are we going to do without each other?  And it was very real.  The music was great.  Sadly, it was a good episode.

MICHAEL:

How was your last day of filming One Life to Live?  Eventful … or uneventful?

JOHN-PAUL:

My last work day was November 17th, and unfortunately it is, what it is.  Things were shot out of order.  In my last scene, I was working with Terri Conn (Ex-Aubrey).  I was walking into Asa’s mansion and I was talking about Gigi (Farah Fath).  It was my last scene ever, and it was like five lines and not a big deal.  I did not get to have “And ‘Cut,’ that’s a wrap on JP!”  It was like “Cut’ moving on” (Laughs).  As soon as they yelled cut, I looked down on Asa’s desk and decided to take something with me, and it was a prop of a picture of me and Shane (Austin Williams).  And that was it.  I did not have a fond farewell.

MICHAEL:

Did you watch the new OLTL from Prospect Park?

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/TOLN

I watched the first couple episodes of the new OLTL.  I will say I enjoyed the AMC intro. I don’t think I got the OLTL intro.  The dancing was weird.  

MICHAEL:

Were you hoping that if the online version of One Life to Live had taken off, and if you felt it was a successful platform, you would have eventually signed on and joined the show?

JOHN-PAUL:

I was in a wait and see mode.  There were so many unanswered questions.  They did ask me to be in the show, twice.  Because of it being the Internet, I did not know what they could put on the Internet.  I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I still questioned things like, “Well, are we going to be doing full frontal nudity?”  Is it going to be True Blood meets daytime?  Who is Rex going to be on Prospect Park’s version?”  There were too many unanswered questions, and no answered questions.  But because Melissa Archer, and Bob Woods, and Tuc Watkins were all going with the production, I wanted too.  But at that point as soon as they announced the ABC cancellation of OLTL, I immediately made plans to pack up and move to L.A.  I could not deal with all the uncertainties of Prospect Park, and closing up and moving from New York, and to starting in L.A. and giving it a try.  I had to make a decision.   So I said, I am going to close this door. This got cancelled.  I am just going to go see what other opportunities are out there.  If right now everything worked out and they put OLTL on Showtime and offered me a contract for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t think twice about it.  It was an awesome show.  Until that day, however ….  The other thing is, and this is just being a selfish actor, and sometimes you have to be, a lot of it was going to take place during pilot season and at the time being a 31-year-old new to L.A, I kind of needed to make myself available for other opportunities.  The ten weeks they would have needed me was a crucial time for an actor to get his face known in L.A.  The timing did not work out for me to try and do other things.

MICHAEL:

Would you have done the OLTL “Brand New Start” dance sequence, if they had you in the cast?

JOHN-PAUL:

What am I dancing for?  What is my motivation?  I would dance with Shenaz (Treasury)!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

There had been so much speculation that you were going to actually come to General Hospital and be the recast Dillon Quartermaine following Scott Clifton.  Did you ever receive a call about this?

JOHN-PAUL:

I have never gotten a call from ABC.  There is no truth to this rumor.  General Hospital never called me.  I have never been out to their studio lot except for a pilot.  I have not even seen Frank Valentini since the cancellation of One Life to Live.  I honestly can’t tell you what I would say if my phone were to ring.  It’s been two years now, and I can’t imagine it ringing.

MICHAEL:

Did you meet three-time Daytime Emmy winner Sarah Brown on the shooting of Beacon Hill?  Word has it that this was her first acting experience where she had to kiss another woman!

JOHN-PAUL:

Well, apparently she did a fine job! (Laughs) Without saying too much, and I have not seen any of the footage, but the first day I arrived in Massachusetts there was girl on girl action … and where was I?  I was just sitting in the hotel with my latte!  I am kind of in the wrong place! (Laughs)  So I was at the hotel and everyone was on their way back, Sarah, Rebecca Mozo, and Ricky, and they all come flying in the door and everybody was on high.  I was like, “What is going on?” And Sarah was like, “I had a love scene and we were throwing each other around, and we were kissing, and it was fine.  It was fine.  We had a great day.”  I said, “Hi, Sarah. I’m JP.  Nice to meet you!  You did what? With who? (Laughs)”   Sarah is a dynamo.   I just sit there and listen to her, and occasionally ask a follow-up question! (Laughs) Apparently, they had a great shoot and the lesbian action was flawless … and hot!

MICHAEL:

John-Paul, you are one of the most innately funny people I know.  Would you like to do a comedy series?  

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

Funny, you bring that up.  I have only had a handful of sitcoms auditions since I have been out here, and honestly my feedback has been, “He’s not good enough.”  I am not going to name names, but I did meet with a woman who used to work at the same company as me.  I got to be in the same room with her and my feedback was, “He’s not multi-cam.”  I said, “OK,” and unfortunately there were no cameras in the room, so there was no proof of that.  It was just me sitting on the couch and us running lines and she said I was not multi-cam, and so that’s that.  I said, “Really?  I did multi-cam for ten years.  It just so happened that it did not have a laugh track.” (Laughs)  I am still trucking along.

MICHAEL:

Tuc Watkins (David, OLTL) is your best bud.  I hear you spend much time with the twins!

JOHN-PAUL:

I am at Tuc’s house 20 hours a day.  I house sit, and dog sit for him, when he is out of town, and take care of the twins.  I want a wife and a daughter.  I think I would be a good dad.  Right now, I am on the hunt for a wife, who wants to have a daughter! (Laughs)  Listen, I am very lucky to have Tuc in my life.  I owe my sanity to Tuc.  He is one of my best friends in the world.  There are only a few people in your life you can trust and he is one of them.  I can’t imagine having a better friend.  He is the guy I can call on when the chips are down.  I tell ya, if he did it for me, I would be the luckiest guy in the world.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What did you think about Tuc coming forward and publicly coming out and revealing he is a gay single dad of newborn twins?

JOHN-PAUL:

He was excited when he was booked on the Marie Osmond talk show, Marie! He said, “I am doing these shows because I want the world to know these things.  It’s now time for me to talk about my life, and tell the world who Tuc is, and what’s going on with Tuc.”  We watched all his talk show appearances together.  He was very proud and happy about it.

MICHAEL:

OK, now you must tell me about “The Full Dolores”.  You and Tuc are actually starting the next exercise fad!  Fill us in!

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/JPLavoisier

Tuc Watkins and I have a new fun thing in our lives that is our bible.  We do a work out routine at Runyon Canyon called “The Full Dolores”.  It’s a 100 minute workout that is basically a 4.4 mile track, and I think we go up to an elevation of 800 feet.  Anyone is welcome to join us. If you do, and complete “The Full Dolores”, you get a t-shirt authenticated in Tuc and my handwriting.  Only four people have thus far completed her.  If you attempt “The Full Dolores” and you skip anything, you have done a “Baby Karen,” and that is not a good thing, and we don’t want to talk about. (Laughs)  If you do not complete “The Full Dolores,” but want a t-shirt, we might give you one.  It just won’t be authenticated.  So we are running and hiking all over the place, going up and down lots of hills.  At moments, you feel like you are going to die, and throw up, and that’s a good thing.  But you won’t throw up; it’s that moment where you realize, “I am OK” …that’s the moment!  We do 14 different stations where we do 26 push-ups, which come to a total of 364 push-ups, one for every day of the year, but you get your birthday off. (Laughs)  We do a 100 pull-ups and a 600 count of planks, and the whole routine ends with it being plank to failure.  The whole routine ends with the last man standing wins for the day.  Tuc always wins.  You cannot out plank Tuc!   He can go for weeks and weeks, and he kills me!  Tuc is much better shape than anyone I know.  He is so jacked, so ripped, and I am so jealous!  He went out of town to Kansas City over the summer for three and half weeks, and I house sat for him.  And during that time he came back 17 lbs heavier, and when he got back we started this “Full Dolores” routine in July and he shed those pounds instantly.  It is ridiculous how in shape he is!  I am OK, but nowhere near the shape he is in.  He owes it all to “Dolores”.  We don’t go to the gym anymore, “Dolores” is free.  We just ask that you come and have fun and talk about it.   It’s a great social thing too.  We have met people at Runyon.  And we have invited people to “Dolores “…. you get one invite.  (Laughs) You know “Dolores” is happening Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  “Dolores” will crush you.  You never really win.  You get a little better each time.  You can sort of eat whatever you want.  I eat chocolate every day, and butter and crackers, and I don’t go to the gym, I just do “Dolores”.  It’s all I need.

MICHAEL:

In closing, with all you went through personally and professionally, is acting still your passion?  Because you are one of the most naturally gifted young actors I have seen.  Los Angeles can be tough and unforgiving, when there are so many talented people vying for roles on shows, and more often than not, its about that lucky break.

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/ABC

I will say working on the soap was a huge blessing, and one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.  I was thinking about this a couple of months ago.  Everybody in my life that is important, I have met all of them because of ABC and One Life to Live. Everyone I know is an extension of someone I met at ABC or One Life to Live.  I know so many people through Tuc.  The Fumeros I see all the time.  I have reconnected with John Brotherton, and I see Billy Warlock and Julie Pinson all the time.  Plus, I got to act and do this character, and I had a great Manhattan life because of it.  I will say on the record, it was a huge curse working on One Life and on a soap.   I am having a difficult time doing non-soap work at a non-soap speed.  Everything else is slower.  I am in play rehearsal right now, and as happy as I am being in the play, the rehearsals are so slow, and it just is, what it is.  With primetime stuff, there is more money involved, so it allows you to have more time.  But with soaps, time is money. We had to do 250 shows a year.  So this is the way, I put it: “Going from soaps to anything else, is like a NASCAR driver having to drive a city bus.”  That’s the best way I can put it.  Beacon Hill was pretty close, because we did anywhere between 1 to 3 takes per scene, but again the process was still slower.  Beacon Hill is really the perfect balance between film and soap.  They want the film quality, but they did take a lot of time for set-ups, and it was very professional.  But when it came time to do the acting, we can get in one take, because we can.  Now we go into soap mode, because we are soap actors.  We are going to save you time and money now, so you can take that time and put it towards the production, or setting up for the next shot.  I still will never understand why a large percentage of this business looks down on soaps, when in fact it should be the opposite.

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Monica
Monica

At least he put it out there as honestly as he could. I wish him well and look forward to Beacon Hill.

robin fletcher
robin fletcher

Oh, how I miss this man. He was just incredible. I hope he gets a sitcom. No question he can multi-cam.

Joshua
Joshua

As long as he stays off of the four daytime soaps, I am happy.

He was THE BIGGEST PROBLEM with “One Life to Live” during it’s final four years.

Esther Sue
Esther Sue

Says you, girlfriend. I adored him and miss him still.

egolf
egolf

Great interview. Beacon Hill will be awesome

Perla
Perla

Great interview and great actor, I can’t wait to see his character on Beacon Hill.

Cheryl
Cheryl

Great interview, thanks!

Margie
Margie

Love him. Miss Rex so much, and all of the Llanviewers. Damn ABC. He did a great job on The Mentalist. I hope he gets more prime time work.

rebecca1
rebecca1

I think that is one of the most honest, down-to-earth interviews I’ve ever read. It’s always nice to actually LIKE the actor whose work you admire. I loved him as Rex…he was both cute and sexy…a “bad boy” who grew up into a great guy…great friend, brother, father, boyfriend…loved his relationship with Bo…just really, really connected with his character.

Now, after reading this, he just seems as genuinely endearing as he did onscreen. (Much more so than his ex Farah…after reading a few of her tweets I’m not such a fan…think “Gigi” was a better woman for him than Farah!)

Best to you John-Paul. I’m sure you’ll be great on whatever project you take on…I look forward to falling in love with you all over again! 😉

rebecca1
rebecca1

Hahaha…after rereading my post it might look to some like he had a relationship with Bo! I just segued into that thought…just mean great father/son-type rappost
that emanated off the screen.

rebecca1
rebecca1

now again in English! LOL…meant… great rapport!

SiteAdvocate61
SiteAdvocate61

Rebecca,don’t sweat it. I totally agree with your comments. JP has always been one of my favorite actors since I began watching OLTL in mid 2006. I enjoyed how Frank and Ron made a responsible loving dad out of a smarmy playboy. Rex was more than Shane’s father,he was his best friend and you rarely see that. This show was known for displaying that side. I enjoyed JP’s down to earth interview with Michael very much.

KatieK
KatieK

JPL is the best! I really hope he finds something. I could easily see him pulling off Adam Newman on Y&R or bringing him on as Dylan on GH. But, Ill watch this new show, it has so many of my favs.

Potato hip
Potato hip

Loved this interview, disappointed to hear they don’t want him for Dillon Q., but maybe they will call him!

rebecca1
rebecca1

He would make an excellent Dillon! Could totally see him in that role.

Harry
Harry

And OF COURSE Frank Valentini never called him. Why am I not surprised to hear this?

Bennie
Bennie

I have been searching and searching to see when you would start acting again. I am very happy and you can count on me, I will be watching everything you do! Break a leg John Paul!

louisa
louisa

I loved this interview too! And I adore him. Always have, but after reading this really revealing interview, I love him even more. I miss OLTL and Rex so much!

He is too good for a sitcom. Plus, sitcoms don’t last. I would love to see him on GH as Dillon. I hope he finds a nice wife very soon.

Diane Hunsel
Diane Hunsel

Beacon Hill… please what station, time and day is it going to be on? I hope it will be on tv and not the internet, but I will watch it anyway. There is a lot of great stars from One Life To Live that I have missed.Thanks

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

GH should call him to be Dillon. He’s a shoe-in for the recast. As for the online version of OLTL, I think we all had the question of nudity, etc. Obviously it wouldn’t happen (disappointingly) since the swearing did not kick off well, due to people unwilling to get into a change. I hated Rex, but due into J.P. as an actor and would like to see him back on television.

Joe
Joe

You will see me at Big Bertha!!!! haha
I miss JP on TV. He would be great as Dillion Q! WIsh he would get the role!

heidi
heidi

Another great interview Michael and JPL… thank you!!! Miss JPL and wish he could be Dillion on GH. He could be with Maxie when she comes back… since we don’t have my fave Bradford as Spinelli!!!

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

If he’d like to do both a sitcom and play Dillion, GH would be the perfect place to do both…lol(i know im poking fun at the soap with my sitcom crack but i do like the show regardless of its sitcom silly moments and characters!!!)

ScoobyDum
ScoobyDum

If General Hospital ever wanted to do a long flashback, he could be a young Stefan Cassadine…Are you listening Cartini?

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Thank you for another great interview. I really enjoyed JPL on OLTL (my favorite soap).

Anyway, Beacon Hill looks like it has great potential. Best wishes JPL on all your future projects. We have missed you.

jbj
jbj

Thanks so much for this interview, MF! I missed him on the PP version of OLTL, because I think they let Bo, Nora and Natalie have a lot more fun than on the ABC version, and I would have enjoyed Rex’s running commentary. That said, I totally get his conflict and he has probably grown a lot more from his Hollywood experience.

This interview was also an interesting follow-up to Dirty Soap, which gave some insight into his personality and relationship with Farah Fath. I’m not at all surprised she broke up with him so soon after, because she really seemed to be in denial about his potential for homesickness from leaving his actual and work families. More than once, she out right mocked the things that seemed to make him genuinely happy. Most revealingly, the few times we saw him be really serious on DS were when FF (or one of her advocates) would bring up marriage or kids, which back then he was adamantly against. Part of him, deep down, must have known she wasn’t the one (and I don’t blame him), since he’s now thinking about staring a family.

Terri C.
Terri C.

Hi John Paul, You will always be Rex, but I wish you success and much happiness. With you looks and the person you seem to be , you are in line to find a wife and have a happily everafter with children. Bless you and welcome back to the light!

lenafreed
lenafreed

Loved JPL as Rex – I will be watching Beacon Hill and hoping it is picked up for cable TV!

Omar
Omar

Good interview and wish him all the luck..A bit taken a back with the “wanting a wife and child” comment, you can have a child and still be who you are JPL, have a loving partner and still be a father with a willing female “friend”..I look forward to BEACON HILL!!!

sandy
sandy

I love JP and would like to know where can I watch Beacon Hill

david1964
david1964

Ok, I’m really confused. He wouldn’t join the on-line version of OLTL which was already a well established show on ABC. But he did agree to join “BH” which is online, not knowing how well the show will do. Huh? That makes no sense.

Jim Reasoner
Jim Reasoner

JP, you truly are very gifted. I always looked forward to your scenes with all of your co-workers especially the ones with Robert Woods. It was obvious that you were friends on the show and in real life. Your ad lib moments cracked me up! Especially when you made movie references without caring that it didn’t matter if no one else but you and Bob got it. Not that it matters, I got it! Subtle humor is a sign of intelligence and you are swimming in it. Thanks for all the great scenes on OLTL and I look forward to watching you excell in the industry…………..Jim R.

Joan Brigham
Joan Brigham

I miss Rex (John Paul) most of all. He lit up the screen and he and Gigi (Farah) were magical together. I still won’t watch anything on ABC due to their inhumane treatment of their soap stars. Their viewership tanked after the Boycott began, and has yet to recover. I sincerely hope that John Paul will return to television soon, he makes a show worth watdhing.

Kim B
Kim B

Farah is better off, she’s happy engaged and very obviously in a much better place. I don’t think JP has done anything at all since OLTL.

General Hospital

GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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GH's Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stacy Haiduk and Eric Martsolf Talk Kristen & Brady’s Twisted Relationship : The Mask, The Deception, The Sex

Last week on Days of our Lives, Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) was able to get the man she craves in between the sheets.  So, just how did that happen when Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) had no idea she was alive?  Well … he still doesn’t, really.  You see, Kristen returned to Salem disguised as another ex flame of Brady’s, Nicole Walker (who everyone believed died in the warehouse explosion).  And Kristen has been parading around town donning an incredible likeness of Nicole’s face – via a prosthetic mask – and some other tricks to sound and look just like her!

Kristen’s goal is to infiltrate Salem, remind Brady of the love and passion they shared, take over DiMera Enterprises, and who knows what else!  And everyone who stands in her way, better watch out as we have seen! We are speaking to you (the late) Ted, and (once kidnapped) Kate, et al.

Fans of the NBC daytime drama series have followed the tortured relationship between Kristen and Brady for years and through many plots; Kristen was first played and brought to life by Eileen Davidson, and for well over a year now by Stacy Haiduk.  Not only has Haiduk reprised the role of a frustrated, vengeful Kristen, she is also playing at times multiple roles: the wacky and often misunderstood, Susan Banks, Kristen playing Susan, or Kristen pretending to be Sister Mary Moira.

As for Daytime Emmy winner, Eric Martsolf, this latest story arc puts him front and center as viewers watch to see if what Brady senses, and the clues, and the feelings he is having, bring him to the conclusion that he has been duped by Kristen, and that her horrendous scheme – pretending to be Nicole (Arianne Zucker), and dumping Nicole’s longtime love Eric (Greg Vaughan) to be with him have a result that is unexpected or catastrophic!

Michael Fairman TV sat down with Stacy and Eric for this conversation about: all the plot twists, and playing the drama and the humor of the situations they find themselves in as actors in a wild story that only head writer Ron Carlivati could pen and keep the audience on the edge of their seats in the process. Check out this oh-so-fun, direct, and enlightening chat with two of DAYS most shining stars.

Photo: JPI

Eric, what has it been like working in this part of your storyline; where there’s the character of Kristen in its many forms: Arianne Zucker playing “Nicole” (but it’s really Kristen), Kristen as Susan, and the real Kristen, etc?

ERIC:  It’s been a nightmare Michael.  (Laughs)  I don’t know who I’m sleeping with anymore.  I’m at the point where I go home at night, and I just tug on my wife’s cheek just to make sure that she is not my ex-girlfriend from high school.

When you first heard of this storyline, and that it was going to facilitate how Arianne was going to come back to the show… and that it was supposed to be Kristen in a Nicole Walker prosthetic mask with a voice alternator, what went through your mind?

ERIC:  I think in the back of Ron’s Carlivati’s (head writer, DAYS) mind, he was thinking to himself, “This dude started his soap career on Passions, he’s okay with this kind of thing,” and honestly, nothing surprises me anymore.  When you’re thrown into that supernatural, crazy reality, doesn’t-live-here sort of atmosphere for you first soap gig, you don’t sweat a mask and a voice modulator.  That’s just par for the course.  My biggest problem was the body thing … that Brady is not able to distinguish one body from the other, because I would as Eric.  My God, I know every inch of my wife’s body.  So, it’s difficult to get my head around that, but at the same time, I’m going with the whole “love is blind” thing here. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

(Laughs) I was going just going to say that Brady would absolutely know Kristen’s body from how passionate their relationship has been in the past, as well, he would Nicole’s body from his relationship with her.

ERIC:  Since Kristen did finally just succeed – let’s use the word in “seducing” him, and using her wonderful feminine wiles as only Kristen has to get Brady in to bed, there was also another twist.  What plays after that is that he notices the tattoo that’s been removed, and she plays it off as scarring from the fire.  What’s going through his mind as he is making love to Nicole is a “Kristen train”.  He can’t get Kristen out of his mind, and the guilt that he feels about that is horrendous.

Right! Brady is thinking: “Why am I feeling this when I am supposed to be with Nicole!?”

ERIC:  Right!  Brady has been waiting for a relationship for God knows how many years now – at least a successful one.  He is so eager to have this work, even though he has been concerned about how Eric (Greg Vaughan) would feel about this.  In Brady’s mind, Eric is done with Nicole.  He’s good.  He loves Sarah (Linsey Godfrey).  This is fair game.  Brady and Nicole have always been close … they’ve been close before … so, for him, it’s, why not give it a fair try?   However, he finds himself now thinking about another woman the whole time.  That’s rough.

Courtesy/NBC

Do you think in the back of his mind, that this whole time, he possibly knew that “Nicole” was Kristen?

ERIC:  Well, you just have to wait.  There will be a reveal eventually, obviously, but until then, let the games play on.

So, once Brady and “Nicole” have sex, he keeps thinking about Kristen?

ERIC:  Constantly!  She just plagues his mind.  I think he’s realizing that his affection for Kristen is anything but dead and is very alive, and I think this is Kristen’s master plan from the very beginning.  She knows that she pervades his soul, and once she does reveal herself, I would guess he would probably be surprised, maybe a little angry, but in the end … you can’t deny what your heart and your body wants, right?

One of my favorite recent scenes had Brady half-naked and Kristen as Susan getting into his room, because she was looking for the MIA Nicole mask she so desperately needed.  She finds herself gawking and lusting after Brady under her disguise, and he tries to remove himself from the situation and says, “Susan, I’m going to get in the shower…”

ERIC:  Yeah! And, “It’s not going to happen, baby.”

What was that like doing that scene?

STACY:  I loved it!  I thought Eric was brilliant in it.  I watched it, and I thought, “Oh, my God!”  (Laughs) It is one of my all-time favorite scenes.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  Kristen is a tiger.

STACY:  She is a tiger.  She’s got a goal, and she is going to go after that.  She has obstacles that are going to come in-between her goal, but she will go after whatever she wants.

When Stacy comes in to Brady’s room as Susan, were you not laughing?

ERIC: No!  I thought she was hot. (Laughs)

STACY:  He did … he loved it.  You liked me, didn’t you baby? (Laughs)

ERIC:  I don’t think anybody can deny that Stacy Haiduk’s portrayal of Susan Banks is ridiculously good.  Everything from her delivery … to her facial expressions.  I think it is amazing.  I mean, it is corny, and it is fun, and soaps need characters like that once in a while to lighten the load of the heavy dialogue and the drama.  It’s a welcomed addition.  So, I love playing scenes with Susan.

Photo: JPI

Eric, you always have been able play the straight-man so well in comedic scenes with impeccable timing,

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STACY:  You’re brilliant, Eric.

ERIC:  You guys are being very nice to me.

STACY:  You are.  I remember on the day how much fun we had, but then, seeing it back and the crap that I was giving you, and just the stuff you were giving back was so beautiful, and innocent, and so alive.  It was so funny.

Does Kristen think that now that she finally got Brady into bed that she won … that she got what she wanted … even if she had to don a “Nicole” mask to do it?

STACY:  Well, no, because she still can’t be really Kristen.  I think she is grateful that she gets to be with him.  That’s one of her biggest goals: to be with Brady and she wants to have him fall back in love with her again.  But for her, now it’s all about, “How do I reveal myself so that he doesn’t get scared away?”  That’s the toughest part for her.  Kristen’s love is so deep that it goes beyond this mask.  So, how is it going to be when he sees her?   Is he going to freak out?  What’s going to happen?

ERIC:  Did you think Kristen would be a little pissed off and think, “Oh my God.  He did go for Nicole?”

STACY:  Yes!  I do, because she’s like, “Finally, I got him!  But wait a minute … did I get him because I was Nicole … or because I was Kristen?”  As Kristen, she always believes there is something deeper between them and a deep connection.  That remains a driving force to her.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  That’s why I love these characters so much, because of you and the history of Kristen with Brady.  She’s always wanted him as much as he has wanted her.  She’s always wanted to be loved.

STACY:  Yes … and very much so.

ERIC:  Kristen had always wanted to be a part of the DiMera Empire, just as Brady has always wanted to be a part of the Kiriakis Empire, and they’ve always wanted love.  They’ve never had it.  They believe in the back of their minds that anything is attainable.  So, I can see why Kristen would just forgo the Nicole disguise and just go, “He wants me.”

STACY:  Kristen wants to believe that Brady knows it.  She says to herself, “He knows it’s me inside and behind the mask.  When he finds out, he will fall back in love with me.”

Now that she actually had sex with Brady, wouldn’t that make Kristen even more insatiable to be with him? Like, “I’ve got to have him!?”

STACY:  The fear is still .. what happens she takes this mask off?  She always says, “I’ll reveal myself, but I have to do it slowly when it is the right time.”  I think there is that built up frustration now for her, absolutely!

Photo: JPI Studios

Arianne Zucker really has Stacy’s mannerisms down as Kristen.  It really comes into in scenes where “Nicole” goes off on someone or loses her temper.  Eric, you have worked with Arianne for years on this show.  What do you think about her performances in this storyline?

ERIC:  I have worked with Ari over the years, and I have enjoyed it a lot.  Ari did do her homework.  She did study Stacy’s tape, and she watched her mannerisms, and she took it very seriously.  I know that because she is a hard worker, as much as a goofball as she is, she does work hard, and she wanted it to be good.  I think my favorite parts were the Kristen meltdowns.  You have to understand though; Stacy and Ari get along very well!  They’re kind of two peas in a pod.  So, it wasn’t a big stretch for her to take on how Stacy would play those types of scenes.  They’re both animated, they’re both wild people by nature, and so, it was a good fit.  It was a smart idea from the writers.

STACY:  It was a good fit!

ERIC:  I’ve been out with the two of them, and it’s hard to tell the two of them apart. (Laughs)

STACY:  We are just like two cuddly bunnies.

ERIC:  They’re like flirting with each other, and hugging each other.  You find yourself thinking, “Are they going to start ordering the same food at the same time?  This is getting weird. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

In the recent scene that aired; where Kristen as “Nicole” turns off the light while having sex with Brady, is she worried her plan will now go awry?

STACY:  Yes.  I think she is worried about her body because it is burned.  You know, how they take a tattoo off, and it’s as painful as can be.  Not that I’ve had that done personally.  I like my tats, but I hear it is painful.  So, in the storyline, the burn is that pain that she has and the tattoo. There’s a part of her that thinks,  she has to cover it up, and turn the lights down low.

ERIC:  “Nicole” is sleeping, and Brady is rubbing his hands over her shoulder and touching her body, and as he goes over the burn marks.  He sees a flash of the tattoo!  That is a pivotal moment when he starts to put some pieces together.   He thinks, “Woah! That’s exactly where that tattoo was.”  It’s a slow little rollercoaster ride.

Courtesy/NBC

In the past, Kristen then played by Eileen Davidson, drugged and raped Father Eric.  Stacy, did you ever see that story arc?  Literally the sex scene is playing on the screen at Kristen’s wedding to Brady and then all hell breaks loose.  This to say Kristen is notorious for the ways and the lengths she goes to get her men into bed.

STACY:  Yes! I saw her Eileen do those scenes.

ERIC:  You also saw how close Kristen and Brady were to their dream, to their happiness, their goal, which was they were going to marry each other.  Brady is looking upon his loved ones in this town and thinking, “I know what you all think of her, but I’m going to show you our love on this screen, and once you see the connection that we have here as a couple, you all are going to be convinced that we belong together as well.  This is the happiest day of my life,” and the screen comes up and it’s his brother banging Kristen instead.

Marlena (Deidre Hall) played the wrong DVD!

STACY:  It was so good.  See, I try to find as much info as I can on the character’s past, because all of the time I’m trying to find where these characters have been in their dark and twisted past.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  You’re putting your own stamp on Kristen.  You got a direct call from DAYS casting department, didn’t you … when they were recasting the role?

STACY:  Yes.  You have to understand, I had two really separate characters to play when I was on Y&R.  One was a doctor, and one was this crazy passionate, wild, little minx.

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GH's Rebecca Herbst Chats On 'Friz', Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

ERIC:  I will say to find the wild and the beauty in one package is not easy in any town, yet alone Los Angeles.  I’m glad they called you, because you have that.  You have that villainous nature, but you also are able to show a vulnerable side to Kristen that is going to be a lot of fun and interesting to see.

Stacy is one of those people that will leap off of the screen at you and you will remember her.  She is one actress that will have fans talking about their work, like when you played crazy Patty Williams on Y&R.  The audience was on the edge of their seats going, “Oh, my God!  What is Patty going to do next?”

STACY:  I never knew what she was going to do!

Photo: JPI

Eric, has Stacy come to you at any point where she been overwhelmed by the task at hand; playing Susan while playing Kristen, etc, and the two of you have a moment where you work through some of the challenges of complex scenes  … and ones where she is playing multiple characters?

ERIC:  We’ve had many moments  to speak of.

STACY:  I always come into Eric’s room, and am like, “I’m scared!”

ERIC:  It’s funny you mention it.  We have had some very emotional scenes, and Stacy – who cares so damn much about this job and portraying this character correctly – that she gets a little overwhelmed, and the material that they give her is overwhelming for any anybody on any level.  I have looked at her in the eyes, and said, “You’ve got this gig.  You are this character.  You are knocking it out of the park.  Just do it.  Just be you.”   I can’t wait for people to see some of the stuff we have shot recently and have been doing.

Photo: JPI

Stacy, do you think Kristen can be redeemed? Many characters on daytime … and on DAYS … have done horrible things and later turned over a new leaf.

STACY:  The thing is that villains are bad and all that other crap, but they’ve got a lot of stuff going on inside and insecurities, and they’ve got a heart.  I’m sorry, the villain with a heart of gold, can be very  true.  I never see villains (and I play them a lot) as bad.  You have to find where it comes from … how far does this go … where did that little seed change … and what made them go into the dark, but also, where is the good?  You want to bring the good to it, too.

ERIC:  Let’s face it!  Star Wars is all about Darth Vader and how he became that because it’s intriguing.

Because of the pace in which DAYS tapes its episodes; do the two of you find time to run lines together before you go hit the set?

ERIC:  We are running out of time to run lines.  It’s pretty wild.  Funnily enough, I was recently filming a movie and I was so underwhelmed at the pace of everything.  I’ve gotten so accustomed to moving at this militant style, that as hard as it is, it is preferable to me now.  I almost like it because you don’t have time to overthink what you are going to do, and you end up getting more visceral and natural reactions to the material.  You can overthink a scene, and you can come to a wrong performance that way.  When you burn your fingers on a hot stove, that’s the most natural reaction you are going to get.  You can’t have ten minutes to think about how you are going to scream about that pain.

Photo: JPI

But, would you like the pace of shooting the show to be a bit slower?

STACY:  I would like to, but I do think sometimes just jumping in, and going and seeing what happens is great.  I love that.  I do appreciate that.

ERIC:  It’s scary.

STACY:  It is scary.  I would love if we would get to do a rehearsal and then two takes just to see, and then they can mix  together what happens.  Sometimes I am hard on myself as an actress.  I’ve always been.  It’s that jumping in when you only get to do one take.  You have to just give it everything you’ve got.

ERIC:  You can have a second take.  Want me to give you a little secret?  All you have to do is screw up your last line.

STACY:  I can’t do that.   I don’t even need it to be perfect because nothing is perfect.  It doesn’t matter what I’ve done if I sometimes don’t feel it.  I need to feel it when I’m on that set.  I need to feel something because when I shut down, I close myself off.  It’s like an athlete who has just got to  train as hard as they can to reach their goal.

ERIC:  You’re an Olympic swimmer!

STACY:  You’ve got to do it as hard as you can.  You practice, and you practice, and you practice, and you practice, so that when you come to that day, you do the best you can, but sometimes you are disappointed because you didn’t get that one last thing you had hoped for.

Courtesy/NBC

How do you view what happened to Eric with Kristen, who disguised as Nicole, tricked Brady into bed with her?  Some fans commented that that they thought it was akin to a rape.

ERIC:  No, I would disagree with that theory.  I believe there is a high degree of deception in this, but there is a willingness on behalf of Brady.  He’s not drugged.  He’s not being forced to do anything.  Deception, yes.  Rape, no.

Stacy, what do you think?

STACY:  Total deception.  There is no rape.  There is absolutely no rape.  These are willing participants; he just doesn’t know exactly who he is dealing with.

ERIC:  I appreciate the context of how somebody could construe that, and the seriousness of the matter.  I don’t think it really has a place in this particular storyline.

Do you guys think that Brady and Kristen are each other’s star-crossed lovers in a weird, twisted, bizarre way?

ERIC:  I don’t know.  I think they’re magnetism can’t be denied.  I think the hurdles that they’ve jumped through are astronomical.  Will they end up together in the end?  Who knows!  Will there ever be an end?  Who knows!  It’s definitely been one of, if not the most, in-depth relationships Brady has ever had.

Photo: JPI

And intense!

ERIC:  Yeah.  They’ve just gone through so much to be together, and when you do that, anybody who is married knows that, that’s where the good stuff is; the wars that you win together and the battles that you go through.  When you come out of the war, and you’re still together, that’s the bond.  That’s what lasts.

What would Kristen do if she couldn’t have Brady in the end?  Would she find a new obsession?  What if she could not nab her man?

STACY:  Wow!  Hmmm. (Laughs)  She’s going to get her man.  She wants her man.  She wouldn’t settle.  She’d keep fighting.  I would say to her, “Kristen, keep fighting the good fight.”

So, do you think Kristen will reveal herself to Brady sooner than later? Will Brady figure out what Kristen has been doing to get to him?  Will Brady turn Kristen away if he knew she was alive and back in action  … or would he fall back into her arms? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Rebecca Herbst Chats On ‘Friz’, Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

Last week, Rebecca Herbst celebrated her 22nd year playing fan favorite Elizabeth Webber (now Baldwin) on General Hospital.  She made her on-screen debut on August 1, 1997.  And in those two decades plus in Port Charles, Liz has gone through many a rocky relationship, plenty of drama, and carried out some misdeeds of her own.  But one thing is for sure, Becky is loved by the fans of the long-running ABC daytime drama series who always want the best for her, and for Nurse Elizabeth.

Recently, ‘Friz’ fans got a moment they had long been waiting for when Franco (Roger Howarth) and Liz, and their friends and family (and some enemies) shared in their wedding reception.  But can their happiness last?  According to two psychics, Sibley Gamble (Veronica Cartwright) and Chelsea Lambas (Jen Ray) that Franco has run into in recent weeks, he better be careful.  That has made Franco concerned, while Liz is trying to get her family all on the same page, and it looks like her boys are coming around to loving and accepting Franco, too, despite what Liz’s ex Jason (Steve Burton) may have to say about it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Rebecca  at the GH Fan Club Weekend, where she made a welcome appearance, to talk about: how she sees Elizabeth’s relationship with Franco, her talented on-screen sons, and how Liz has grown-up since she started on the series, and more.  Here’s what Becky shared with us below.

What did you think of the long-awaited wedding reception of Franco and Liz?  The show finally gave them this joyous moment; after their jailhouse nuptials. Did you feel like the way the wedding actually went down it felt like it cheated the relationship, or did you like it?

REBECCA:  I felt the jailhouse wedding was a bit of a cheat, because they had tried two different times to have a really glorious wedding, so to do it in a jail cell was not the most desirable place. (Laughs)  However, the fact that the characters did actually get married and nothing came in between was a plus, and so, hey, they’ll take that.  Later, when I read in the scripts that there was going to be the reception, I was shocked, because I really didn’t think it was ever going to happen.

Photo: ABC

Do you think the fans were getting to the point where they thought this was never going to happen, also?

REBECCA:  For sure.  We all thought they Franco and Liz were never going to have their moment, or their honeymoon or any of that. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that not only did they write it, but it was beautiful!  It was also visually beautiful.  They put a lot of effort and thought into the show itself, and nobody died, and nobody fell through the roof.  Well, it was kind of funny that Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) got pushed off the ‘Haunted Star’, but according to Elizabeth, that’s just fine that Obrecht got pushed off the boat. (Laughs)  She didn’t die, so everything is good, but all in all, it was a really wonderful party.

What did you think when they had all of Elizabeth’s sons performing a song for the happy couple.  It was so cute, and touching.

REBECCA:  Oh, my goodness.  Those were real tears I shed.  That was so sweet.  So very, very sweet of them.

Photo: ABC

The show is growing the boys, so now you, as Elizabeth, have some young actors to play off of in your scenes.  How do you feel about that?

REBECCA:  Oh, I love it!  For so long, Elizabeth would only talk about her kids, “My boys, my boys, my boys, my boys in the attic.” (Laughs) Now, she has relationships, and very different relationships with each one of them.

I think that echoes real-life too.  A mother has distinct relationships with each of her children.  That’s what I like about Liz with her sons.  And as a mom in real-life as well, I am sure you can relate to this.

REBECCA:  Yes, my relationship with all of my kids is completely different, and I really love that it’s true for Elizabeth’s kids.  I attribute a lot of that to the writers, because they definitely write our relationships differently.  Aiden (Jason David) is still this baby who Elizabeth coddles and protects.  Cameron (William Lipton) is expected to be the man of the house and take care of things, and sometimes Elizabeth feels like she puts too much responsibility on him, but he is going to protect his mom no matter what.  Hudson (Jake) is so wonderful, too.  The fact that I have been blessed with three beautifully smart little actors is just a win for me.

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about Aiden, who had been bullied at school by the other kids.  Do you think that story will be fleshed out?  It seems it may have been put on pause, because it would be an important story to tell for parents with LGBTQ children, if that is how GH ultimately chose to tell the story.

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REBECCA:  It is an important story.  I would love to tell the story.  There is a great message.  I don’t think we touched on it enough.   I think, for now, the best way to put a button on it is to send the message that we should accept our children with all of their wonderful attributes and personalities and whatever their interests, and let’s not label children, and listen to them and support them.   We should just all be kind.   I was sad when I would read some of the tweets about the story.  It saddened me to read people’s harsh opinions towards Elizabeth’s acceptance of her child.  Some people said that we should not be doing a story like this, and then there was the other half who said, “Just because he is a baker, doesn’t make him gay,” which is 100% true.

True!  TV viewers have certainly seen a lot of straight chefs on foodie or cooking shows, for example.

REBECCA:  Absolutely!  All three of my children in real-life love to cook.  There is nothing wrong with that.   I think we need to just continue to love Aiden no matter what, and he is not different than any of the other kids.

Photo: ABC

William Lipton has been amazing as Cameron, right?

REBECCA:  Amazing.  I know!  He is not only a great little actor, singer, and performer, but he has this beautiful little face, and he is such a grounded young man.  He’s a really sweet person.  You can tell he’s been raised in a really great house, and he has an amazing mom.

Because you are such a “mom’s-mom” in real life, do you think that helps you in how Elizabeth reacts to her children?

REBECCA:  I think so.  I always ask permission from my on-camera kids before a scene: “Is it okay if I kiss your little head?  Is it okay if I put you on my lap here?  Is it okay if I put my hands on your face?”  I’m not their mother, but when I think about what I would do with my real-life kids,  they’re always getting kissed and hugged and held by me, so I want to make it look as real as possible.  I have to think, “What would I do if this were Emerson?”  He’d be on my lap, and I’d be kissing his little neck.  So, then I have to ask Jason, who plays Aiden, “Is it okay that I kiss your neck, and if I kind of just like snuggle you?”  All three of my on-screen kids are so great, because they’re like, “Yeah, sure.  We don’t care!” and not all stage kids are like that.  They all are receptive of my love, and they just let me do it.  I think that is what is so sweet.

Photo: ABC

What do you think of this whole pairing of Elizabeth and Franco, and that you were paired with Roger Howarth?  Elizabeth has had many relationships on the show, so where does her relationship with Franco fit into her list of romances/relationships?  Do you think Franco is one of her great loves?  Over her life, Liz has had a lot of ups and downs, and at times, has not made the best choices for herself, or the choices she made just haven’t worked out in her favor.  I think we all can relate to somebody whose choices don’t work out the way they envision them to be.

REBECCA:  For sure.  I think each of Elizabeth’s relationships have been so different. Just to talk about a timeline: she was a little girl when she was with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson), and as she’s matured, so have her relationships.  However, I think the relationship she has with Franco is her first real adult relationship; in that she not only does respect him, but she respects herself.  She is not afraid to stand up to anybody for the sake of herself, or her children.  I think that is the difference.  In the past, she has been a little so head-over-heels in love that she would do anything, and now, she knows who number one is, and that’s her children, and she puts herself first now, too.  Before, Elizabeth did not matter to herself.

Photo: ABC

I thought Elizabeth treated herself badly.  Is there a self-loathing?  Did you ever that figure out as an actress where that comes from?  Do you think it was from when she was raped years ago?

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REBECCA:  I think it went deeper than that.  I think it was because her parents left her at such a young age, and although they were doing great work for whatever they were doing, she was left as a child.

So, she felt something was wrong with her if they left her behind?

REBECCA:  Yes.  I think that’s where her lack of self-esteem came from.  She just didn’t have that support at home when she needed it the most, especially when she was a teenager.  You need your parents around you to tell you that things are awkward and weird, and you’re changing, but you’re going to be okay.  She didn’t have that, and so, she kind of had to figure it out on her own.  She did it through her relationships with men, and she didn’t have men in her life who were telling her, “You’re going to be okay,” except for Lucky, but that was a younger relationship in her life.  Now, as more of an adult with Franco, he tells her she is going to be okay.  Franco believes in her as much as she does now.

Photo: ABC

What’s the best part about working with Roger … and what’s the most challenging part?  Is it some curve balls that might come from when you are going live-to-tape?

REBECCA:  For me, I know I can totally work around whatever comes out of his mouth. (Laughs)  I’m good with that. (Laughs)  The most challenging thing about working with him is that he is constantly losing his glasses, so he can’t see his scripts.  It’s always at the end of the scene.  It’s like, “Where are the glasses?” (Laughs)  So, if losing his glasses might be the most challenging thing, then I’m a pretty lucky girl!

Where does Jason (Steve Burton) fit into Liz’s life at this point? 

REBECCA:  We’ve not really established that.

Courtesy/ABC

Since Jason has been back on the canvas, not much has been played between them.

REBECCA: They had a relationship, they have a relationship, and they have a friendship.  It should be played.

What would you love to see happen to Elizabeth story-wise, that perhaps you have not gotten the opportunity to play?

REBECCA:  I would love to see Elizabeth be happy with Franco and just explore whatever that means for her in a long-term, adult sense (because she doesn’t really know how that is yet), an adult happiness, while trying to navigate the kids’ lives, but also having a friendship with Jason.  I think that would be interesting, because she has always held a torch for Jason.

Photo: ABC

Viewers are currently alarmed that Franco has been receiving warnings from two psychics.  On last Friday’s episode, Franco is clearly afraid to take a drive and in Cameron’s new car (the one Oscar gave him) due to the psychic, (Chelsea) telling him: “Don’t take that drive!” Does Elizabeth have something to be worried about? 

REBECCA:  Yes, but she’s going to hang on to Franco, and make sure nothing happens to him … until he doesn’t come home (laughs) …  and then she’ll be calling Jason! (Laughs)

So, what did you think of the sentiments shared by Rebecca?  What did you think of the Friz wedding reception, and Liz and Franco’s relationship?  What do you think of Liz’s relationship with her children?   What are your hopes for Liz moving forward? Comment below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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