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THE KRISTEN ALDERSON INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

alderson_main.jpgThis week on One Life to Live, Starr is on a collision course with discovering the truth about the baby she was set to give to Marcie McBain, before the baby supposedly “died”. But as fans know, Jessica’s alter ego, Bess, switched the baby after Jessica lost the child she was carrying on one unforgettable night in Llanview that has created some of the most riveting drama in the shows history. Add into the mix, another eventful Llanview High prom, this time featuring the musical act, The Pussycat Dolls, and Starr is in a for one hell of a week.

Kristen Alderson has displayed her acting chops as Starr, from her teen pregnancy storyline and its’ aftermath, to the complicated and tumultuous relationship with Starr’s father Todd, and with her former boyfriend, the drug-addicted Cole. These moments have given Alderson all the material she needs to justify her finally being nominated and winning the Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series. She hopes to find out if she will be in contention this coming Thursday, when the nominations are announced in New York.

Watching both Kristen and Starr grow up before our eyes, made her soaps “little girl”. So much so, that fans can’t believe how both the actress and her character have matured on-screen. Daily, soap fans and soap pundits can’t wait to see Kristen’s knockout performances. The actress has also become a strong and leading advocate in speaking out on teen pregnancy and the importance of teens and their parents being able to talk about sex.

We are thrilled to bring to you this interview with Kristen!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Do you think Cole and Starr will end up together again? Many are rooting for them, but their lives are certainly making it complicated for these teenagers to get back to their relationship.

KRISTEN:

I think they have a lot of drama going on in their lives right now, but they are getting closer and closer. I think maybe something will develop after all the drama dies down; with him going through so much, and her going through so much, and going through so much together. They have really realized that they need each other to help one another out. They’re realizing they are working better as a team than alone. I don’t really know if it’s anything romantic, quite yet. They are putting that on hold while they have so much to deal with.

brandon.jpgMICHAEL:

This past week she helped Cole with his drug addiction. How did that go for you?

KRISTEN:

Actually, in the scene where they are in Starr’s bedroom and he is detoxing, I thought Brandon did a phenomenal job on that. I could not wait to see the air shows, because it was all the ‘buzz’ around the studio how amazing he was.
I was in the scenes with him and caught up in the moment, and kind of shocked
at how realistic it was. It scared me. You know how traumatic things happen, or you see someone that you care about going through something, and it’s so emotional for you that you forget about
it a little, and this is how I felt about this. Brandon did such a great job and was so believable. I don’t remember that much
of it and that is why I was so interested
to see how it came out.

MICHAEL:

This week, and through May Sweeps, the investigation into baby Hope’s “death” is front and center!

KRISTEN:

Yes, there is going to be a lot that is uncovered about baby Hope’s “death”, and a lot of drama. It’s amazing and it’s stuff no one can miss, and if you miss an episode you are going to miss something. I think that what’s so great about it. It’s all coming out and building up to this big explosion! It will be really interesting to see what happens, and I think the fans will freak over all of it!

kristen_baby.jpgMICHAEL:

So, does our Starr finally learn the truth that her child did not “die”?

KRISTEN:

Yes, she finds out. I think it’s going to be quite overwhelming for her. The biggest thing is, while this is so amazing, she is like, “Oh, my God! Now I have this huge decision! Do I keep her? Or, do I still give her to Marcy?”

MICHAEL:

I know! We all know that sadly, Kathy Brier (Marcy) and Chris Stack (Michael) are exiting the show shortly. So the mystery is: are they going to leave Llanview with a baby in their arms?
Or be dejected, and leave Llanview
and start a new life?

KRISTEN:

Right. You don’t know if the baby is going with them. You know, the baby could be taken off everyone’s hands, and there are a lot of possibilities, and it involves almost everyone in Llanview. It’s been amazing to tape it all. Every time I get a script, I go “Oh, my God! This happens?” It’s exciting!

MICHAEL:

Kristen, you have been front and center all year long, and last year, too. If you don’t get the Emmy this year, I am going to throw a fit! You should have won it many times over, already. What did you submit? The nominations will be announced on Thursday… our fingers are crossed!

KRISTEN:

I submitted the episode when Starr first found out that the baby had died. She was in the hospital and she was talking to Blair and Marcy, wondering why the baby had not come back yet, and she is all excited. Dr. Joplin comes in with the horrible news, and we all figure it out right then and there. I think what was so great about the scenes was that everyone did such a great job. It was so realistic! I tend to get caught up in the scenes, as well. So, I watched my tape, and I am really happy with it. The other years that I have submitted my stuff, they would go, “Oh, you deserve it!” But, I never felt worthy of it. But now, I really feel confident with what I submitted.

oltl_prom.jpgMICHAEL:

Prom is this week, too! Oh, boy, drama! And top pop recording act, The Pussycat Dolls, performs for the kids of Llanview High! How was having them on the show?

KRISTEN:

I love them! They are one of my favorite bands, and I was freaking out. I was so excited that they were at One Life. What’s kind of fun about the prom scenes is that Starr and Cole have been going through so much drama; they haven’t had the chance to be their age and relax about stuff. They kind of go there to take their minds off everything. By the end of the night, they realize they can’t take their minds off of it, because their daughter is being exhumed that night. It’s hard to think, “Oh, Yay! The Pussycat Dolls!” As soon as they stop performing, when you are going through such a tough thing like that, it’s hard to not think about the reality.

pussycatdolls.jpgMICHAEL:

Did you get to meet and talk with Nicole Scherzinger, lead singer of the Dolls?

KRISTEN:

I did. I got to meet all the girls and they were all so sweet. Nicole was actually sick that day and you could not really tell because she was so professional, and she still went out and gave it her all. I said to her, “How are you feeling? I hear you are feeling sick?” And she went, “I am deadly sick.” But they were sweet, and it was great to have them on our show.

MICHAEL:

Trevor St John (Todd) and you are so terrific to watch as father/daughter… and so is Kassie DePaiva, as your mom, Blair. Do you have a close bond on and off the set?

trevor_kristen.jpgKRISTEN:

We all really do. I actually think what makes that bond stronger is that we are all really goofy people. We just laugh constantly. Even when we have serious scenes, there are times where Trevor says one thing and he knows it will crack me up in a scene that is not so traumatic. We all know how to crack each other up. We have a blast, and whenever we are rehearsing our lines, we at least run through it a couple of time in funny voices before doing it normally.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the duct tape scenes where Starr was held hostage by former Marty gang rapist, Zack Rosen?

KRISTEN:

I thought they were so fun! I was on set going, “I get to be duct taped? How cool!” I know it may sound sick that I thought that was cool, but obviously, it was not real duct tape. So it was not sticky, nor did it hurt. I think it’s exiting to do stunts like that and to do daring things on the show. Zack was saying a lot of creepy things about Starr, and it was all very different. I have never performed material like that where I had a creepy guy coming on to me. I mean it was gross, but kind of funny. It was interesting.

MICHAEL:

Ron Carlivati (Head writer, “OLTL”) and you have an amazing collaboration in bringing Starr’s story to life Starr now seems she is way beyond her years in age, and that she does not enjoy certain aspects of being a teenager anymore. Is that how you are playing her?

duct_tape.jpgKRISTEN:

I realized it after watching the show of her giving birth. Also, after Starr went in to confront Todd and make him admit what he did. I just walked in and I had this different demeanor. I went, “Wow! Starr’s changed so much.” I think the storyline matured me, in a way. I did a lot of interviews about teen pregnancy, and really got the issue out there. I felt like I went through it myself, and learned a lot from it. It’s kind of matured me along with my character, and it’s had an affect on both of us.

MICHAEL:

Now, let’s turn to Starr’s relationship with Mr. “J”. Does she still have feelings for her former teacher, or is that over?

KRISTEN:

I think she was on the rebound and missed Cole. He was her best friend, and she wanted to be with him so bad. Langston is her best friend, but at the same time, Cole was going through terrible times like Starr was. She really related to Cole, because she was at the same maturity level as him. She lost Cole to drugs and she could not get him back, and she felt, “I am too messed up on my own. I can’t be helping him or I will go off the deep end.” So she went off and found this other person to replace her feelings for Cole, not only as a friend, but in another way. I think most of it was not sexual, but more out of desperation.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Scott Clifton, who plays Schuyler Joplin?

KRISTEN:

He is amazing! I have known him for five years, ever since General Hospital. We used to do fan events together. He actually thought our age difference was so much more than it was. We are still 6 or 7 years apart. We were out to lunch one day and he says to me, “So you are 14, or whatever, right?” I go, “No, my 18th birthday is coming up,” and he goes, “You are going to be 18?” And I go, “Well you are like 27 or 28!” And he goes, “No, I’m 24.” And we were shocked, because he was always like my older friend, Scott and my buddy. And I was like “little Kristen” to him. So, to find out that we were then playing opposite one another was fun and crazy. When Scott auditioned for the role, I was ecstatic because we were really good friends. He is super sweet and fun to hang out with. Scott said to me, “I was so excited when I found out I would be working with you!”

scott_clifton.jpgMICHAEL:

Do you think their feelings for one another will be revisited, or is this romantic “thing” permanently squelched?

KRISTEN:

I don’t think that it’s going to come up later on. Starr and Schuler talked about everything that went on
and they realized what happened. Starr apologized and let him know that is not really how she felt. So, I think Schuyler had feelings for Starr because he missed Stacy, and she had feelings for him because she missed Cole. So they both understand what happened.

MICHAEL:

Over the next few weeks, are we going to need “hankies” when the bombshell drops about the baby-switch?

KRISTEN:

I know that Starr, and Marcie, and Jessica, and everyone are going to need “hankies”, and so I think the audience will, too! This will happen during the next few weeks and beyond. What’s so great about this storyline is that it is written so that it never ends. It’s written in a way that has explored everything, and has not been cut short, and nothing has been left out, or any important moments or decisions that characters have to make. It’s an actors dream to be on a show where you can develop the character in its entirety.

MICHAEL:

You have been so active in speaking on the subject of teen pregnancy, since Starr’s situation with that began well over a year and half ago. You spoke at seminars and symposiums, did PSA’s, and have really taken the issue and the responsibility of your television role to heart. Why was this so important for you to be speaking out on this very important social issue?

starr_cole.jpgKRISTEN:

It was really important for me to connect with my fans about the storyline I was doing, because I have been on the show for 11 years now. The audience sees me as their “little girl”. I really wanted to let them know how I felt about doing the storyline, and that I wasn’t forced to do it. I felt it was an important issue to get out there. I really wanted to connect with the audience and get this message out there that this does happen to people’s little girls. It’s not just, “Oh, that won’t happen to her,” because everyone thought, “Oh, that would not happen to Starr,” and it did. It happens to children of parents all the time. So, I think it was a really important issue to get out there, and also to kind of express my feelings about people being able to discuss things with each other. I think talking it alderson_dressup.jpgout with someone is the most important thing in someone’s life. If you cannot talk about things with someone… your parents, friends or family… if you can’t talk it out, there are going to be problems, and that is sometimes what happens with teenagers. They feel like they don’t have someone to talk to about sexual issues. So I really wanted to get out there and say, “Please, parents talk to your teens. It’s a really awkward issue but I’m telling you, you are going to feel better about it after, because it can prevent stuff from happening.” That was so great about doing my blog, “Start talking with Kristen”. I thought it was going to be a really big deal to do this storyline, but I had no idea how big it was going to be, and how much a success it would be, and how much I would personally learn from it. Once I was exploring it more and more and more, and learning the statistics of how many teenagers get pregnant, I thought. “We should really do more about this,” and it was great that we could!

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hey this is amy willard i have been a fan of one llife to live for a long time now i watch it every week day it comes on i really like the starr and cole storylines kristen alderson is my rolemodel for soaps tv i really love her i wish i could meet her i am 26 years old and i also think brandon buddy is cute and hot to i like him to and i think that kristen and him should be together in real life and i like how kristen talks about pregnany that is good

Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmy Preview: Patrika Darbo Talks On Her Nominated Performance in ‘Studio City’

In Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST) former Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, Ex-Shirley, respectively) is one of the notable nominees of the night for her powerhouse performance as Violet in Studio City.

Darbo is always working on projects in Hollywood, and her resume is long … whether it is in sitcoms like Seinfeld, series like Desperate Housewives, daytime dramas, the hottest digital drama, commercials, and more.

Having a complicated history with the Emmys; Patrika has won a Primetime Emmy for her work in Acting Dead, had her previous Daytime Emmy for The Bay rescinded, and now has a shot at another one when the winner is revealed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category in which she is nominated.

Studio City was nominated for 8 Daytime Emmys this year including for Darbo, and series creator and star, Sean Kanan (Ex-GH, B&B, Y&R).  The show tells the tale of the cast of a fictional daytime drama as they navigate through the chaotic world of soap operas and their own very messy personal lives.  In it, Darbo delivers a tour de force monologue which just might have sealed the deal for Emmy voters.  She has already won, along with Studio City castmate, Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), an Indie Series Award for her work, when the two actresses tied in their category.  They are both nominated together again for the Daytime Emmy.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Patrika to talk playing those heavy emotional moments in Studio City, longevity in Hollywood, and Emmy night.  To watch the first season of Studio City via Amazon Prime Video click here, and to watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys click here.  Now here’s what Patrika shared with us.

Photo; JPI

We all knew that your memorable scene in Studio City was so strong.  Your performance is really such a standout that I just thought, “Of course she is going to get nominated for this,” and you did!  How did you feel about this nomination?

PATRIKA:  I have been through the many ways that Sean Kanan has put this show together.  I mean, he has worked on it for a long time.  I read for it with him, as his mom, being a comedy, and now we’ve gone all the way to the dramatic. I think Sean did some pretty good rewrites and gave me some great, meaty material. I so appreciate the fact that he recognized the fact that I am not just a comedic actress, that there is a dramatic part of me.  

Photo: StudioCity

The big moment in Studio City for your character was just so heartbreaking.  Did you deliver that performance in one take?

PATRIKA:  Yes, and then of course I had to do it a couple of times because we had to see it from Sean’s side for his reaction shots to what I was doing.  I come from the school that even though the camera is on my back, it is now on my partner’s front.  So, I tried to give Sean as much to react to when the camera was on him as when it was on me, and I got the same from him, so it was a very nice collaboration.

I watched Sean in that scene.  He was so good in it.  So, whatever you were doing, it triggered such honest reactions from him.

PATRIKA:  I think just as far as actors go; it is not that we always have to remember that it is not about us as an individual.  It is about the end product, and the end product is about who you are working with.  I got from Sean things to work with that made Violet’s emotion’s there, and then I wanted me to be able to take my emotions and give them back to him.

 

Photo: StudioCity

Was it hard to go there for you, to that deep emotional place; that Violent had been traumatized in her not so humble beginnings in Hollywood?

PATRIKA:  You know, I have great admiration for all of these women who have come forward in the whole #MeToo movement.  I have always been a short, round, fat, little character woman, who was never approached in those ways.  So, there were things I couldn’t relate to.  I had to go to my own personal darkness, which is mine to use when I need it, but to try to be sure that I made sure that women who had faced what I was talking about could appreciate that I was showing tribute to them, because that is a horrible thing, and any kind of situation when you are bullied into something that you don’t want to do or taken advantage of, those kind of situations.

For Violet, all of this stemmed from her desire to be in show business; that at an early age she found herself in a horrible situation with a scuzzy show biz type.

PATRIKA:  Yes, she got into town and it was like a dream come true. She got invited to parties, and everything was wonderful, and “Oh, he’s going to put me in the movies,” you know.  I think that’s what happens: Hollywood is so glorious, and kids come in and get off the bus to be a star, and the first thing you have to do is wait tables … and the second thing is sometimes when you are very pretty, and thin, and attractive, and bad things happen, and I’m not just saying it happens just to women.  It happens to young men as well, and it can happen to some older people.  It’s just a thing that we have now identified, and I think people are being made aware of it.

Photo: JPI

It almost seems like you get nominated for all sorts of things in you career: primetime, daytime, stage etc.  Have you ever figured out in your own mind, why you think you get the recognition? 

PATRIKA:  I think because people know me, and I try to give out what I want back.  You know, I treat people the way I want to be treated, which means that if there are a thousand things you’ve got to watch, and you go, “Oh, there’s Patrika, let’s see what she is doing now!  She’s always so nice to me,” they take a look at my work.  Do you know what I am saying?  It’s a numbers game.  We think about how many are in primetime at this moment, and even though there are only four soaps left on the major daytime calendar, there are still the new digital shows that are coming up.  I think I am very fortunate that people know my name, they know me, and they want to take a look and see what I am up to again, and the young actors and actresses that I mentor, and kids who I’ve work with, the most important thing, I always say, is to be nice.  No one should have to tell you that, but sometimes you have to reinforce it and say, “You know what?  The casting assistant today is the casting director tomorrow, the assistant director today is the director tomorrow.  The kid over here is the writer today, and tomorrow he is the show runner.”  I don’t think you should approach your life like “What’s in it for me?”

Photo: wireimage

What did you think of the whole of Studio City?  I think it’s a little gem.  I loved its look and feel, as well.

PATRIKA:  As we go along in this digital world, it is becoming more film-like, more real life looking.  We’ve kind of gotten away from the flat, three-camera take.  It’s bringing more things to life, and people are just enthralled with it. This is the new genre of the hour-long soap.  I think with the attention span of people these days; digital drama they may wind up enjoying more and because it looks more real, they will enjoy it more.

You were in a middle of a firestorm, in 2018, when your Daytime Emmy win for your wok in The Bay was revoked.  Did you at all think about that when you found out you got nominated For Studio City?

PATRIKA:  At first, you kind of go, “Are they giving me this nomination for this reason?” but then you kind of go, “You know what?  It really has nothing to do with NATAS.  It has to do with my peers appreciating my work.  So, I know even though I had some problems in the past, NATAS was so apologetic and they’ve made a lot of changes to try to make sure that things like that don’t happen to anyone else, which I am so appreciative of, but this nomination came from my peers.  So I feel I earned it, and I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened in the past except for the fact that there are changes that are for the good.

Photo: Studio City

Now, you are nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category along with your Studio City co-star, GH’s Carolyn Hennesy.  You both tied in this category at the recent 11th annual Indie Series Awards as well.

PATRIKA:  Carolyn is wonderful in anything that she does.  I wish Sarah Brown had been nominated for her work in Studio City, too.  She is a wonderful actress. You kind of go, “Oh, they didn’t acknowledge her this time,”  but it’s like she is still in the show, the show is going to keep going, so she will have another opportunity for people to recognize her work.  Listen, Carolyn and I could cancel each other out this time, because people know us and like us and appreciate our work.

Photo: JPI

As a working actress in Hollywood, how to you feel about production starting back now for several shows, and concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the show business community with the loss of so many jobs over the last several months?

PATRIKA:  I think there are still going to be concerns.  Listen, my husband has a heart problem.  He’s had a couple of stints, so he is going to be a high-risk.  So, if I am asked to go to work, I want it to be very safe where I am going, so when I come home, I don’t bring something to him, or I don’t get anything.  I think we are all going to be a lot more careful, but I think what people have to realize in general is that it is not just the actors who did not have work.  There are the camera people, there’s the director, there’s props, there are the electricians, there are a lot of people involved to make a show, whether it’s a daytime show or it’s a film.  So, things will be a little different.  There are going to be a lot of changes, but I’m hoping that we will at least get back, and are safe, and that we take care of each other.

On virtual Emmy night this Sunday, will you be participating and watching from home?

PATRIKA:  I’ll be at home, absolutely.  I’ll be trying to figure out how to push the Zoom button or the what button, and trying to figure out the computers. I’m a dinosaur in a digital world, but I’ll be doing my best!

So, will you be rooting for Patrika in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category on tomorrow night’s Digital Drama Emmys? Did you see Studio City and if so, what did you think of it?  Do you hope Patrika comes back to daytime soon? Comment below.

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Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmys Preview: Graham Sibley Talks On His Nominated Performance In ‘Dark/Web’

In one of the hotly contested contests on Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Graham Sibley is going for gold for his riveting and tense performance in the 7-time nominated series, Dark/Web. Sibley’s work had been recognized in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category.

In Dark/Web, Sibley plays Leland, a ride share driver who’s just trying to make it through the night when the app on his phone takes on a frightening intelligence and tells him he has to make the world a better place, even if it means he has to kill to do it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Mr. Sibley to get his thoughts on: playing a ride share driver, being given this tour de force role in such a unique series which landed him an Emmy nod, and much more.

And, don’t miss the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys beginning at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST here, and you can watch the entire Emmy-nominated season of Dark/Web via Amazon Prime Video here.

Now here’s what Graham had to share with us below.

Photo: Dark/Web

In Dark/Web, you were in the first installment of the season, correct?

GRAHAM:  Yep, so it’s an anthology show, and there is a narrative through in that goes through it as well. I’m in the first episode.  It’s called, “Rideshare,” and it sort of explores this ride share driver named Leland Adler.

What can you share about your interpretation of what happens in your Emmy-nominated performance?

GRAHAM:  First, I have to say, Boman Modine, Matthew Modine’s son, is a real talent.  He’s just a really adept storyteller, and he wrote a fantastic script for “Rideshare”.  In Dark/Web, each one of these anthology episodes are written and directed by different people. There is an overarching narrative that goes through that, and there are these individual episodes which are directed by other artists, guest writers, and directors.  So, Boman wrote and directed our episode.  He wrote a really complex character who is a new husband and father, who loses his job and is forced to get into the ride share business, and he is kind of desperate, and he needs to provide for his family, and there is sort of dark web that starts to infiltrate this app.  Leland starts hearing a voice through his earbuds, and you don’t know if he is going crazy … or if he is really hearing these things.  You’re assuming he is really hearing these things.  This character is sort of victimized by this presence.  Over the episode, he starts to give into this because the messages he is getting through his earbuds, through this voice, through the dark web, is information about who these people are who are his passengers, and the terrible things that they have done.  He starts to get messages that he should maybe start to get rid of some of these people, and so he takes the leap and does, and that causes this reaction in him.

Photo: IMDB

Dark/Web in its totality is about a genius programmer whose disappearance leads to these strange stories that are interconnected.  When you speak of the ride share theme and episode, it harkens me back to the character of Travis Bickle played by Robert DeNiro in the classic, Scorsese film,Taxi Driver.

GRAHAM:  Oh yeah, of course.  I think as you go through the journey of “Rideshare,” at the beginning of it, you don’t think Leland is troubled.  He is okay, and then by the end of it, you’re like, “This guy is okay, but something is happening, and now he is on this mission, and now he has done these things that he can’t ever go back on.”  It’s interesting, and it’s interesting that you’re making a parallel with Taxi Driver because Travis was convinced what he was doing was right.  I don’t know if my character at first is.

Photo: Dark/Web

You have not been a ride share driver in real life at some point … or have you?

GRAHAM:  You know… I haven’t.  But, I did sign up when I booked this job.  I went through the process of it just so I would know what it was going to be like.

When you submitted your reel for the Daytime Emmys, did you submit a few scenes, or how did you put your submission together for the competition?

GRAHAM:  I had so much material to choose from.  I was so fortunate to be the lead in this episode, and the episode I think is 25 minutes. It was really hard to pare it down, but I got it down to about 9 or 10 minutes that I felt told the arc of his story.

It’s always important to tell an arc because it does feel like, for the most part, the winning reels are the ones where somebody who doesn’t know the show or your character, could literally follow from point A to point B, if they’re a judge.  You have some solid competition in your category as well! 

GRAHAM:  There are some really amazing performances and some really great actors in the guest performer category, so I’m just honored to be in with their names. Rene Hagler had a couple of different episodes in Dark/Web, so we did not share any scenes together, but he is great.  Lin Shaye and I did a movie together a couple of years ago called Grow House, and then I’ve seen Scott Turner Schofield’s work in Studio City, who is amazing, and Mary Beth Pell, … she’s a legend!

Photo: GSibleyInstagram

Of course, you end up nominated the year that it’s the virtual Emmys. So, what will you wear to the virtual Digital Drama Emmys?

GRAHAM:  I don’t know!  I’ll send you a picture! (Laughs)  If you look on my Instagram, my wife. Marilyn and I staged a picture, because we were like, “Well, we are never going to be able to go to the Emmys,” so we staged a picture with our boys in our backyard with a kiddie pool and us lounging with drinks, and I was in a tuxedo, and she was in this beautiful yellow dress.

What are the names of your boys?

GRAHAM:  They are twins, Lyon and KP, and they just had their first birthday on July 2nd.

Photo: GettyImages

Now, let me ask you this. If they say, “The Emmy goes to Graham Sibley,” what would it mean to you if you were awarded a Daytime Emmy? 

GRAHAM:  I think what it would mean to me is that it would sort of be a pat on the back to say, “You did something that made someone else feel something.”  I hope that’s what we are all aspiring to is to either, be in our own lives trying to make someone feel something, or in cinema or in television or the web.  I’d just be like, “I was honored for being truthful, and that’s cool!”

So, intrigued to see Graham’s performance in Dark/Web?  Who do you think will take home the gold in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series on Sunday night? Comment below.

But first check out this promo for the Dark/Web series featuring Graham which has been nominated in multiple Digital Drama categories for the Daytime Emmys.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Greg Rikaart Talks The Complex Life of Kevin Fisher, His Co-Stars, and COVID-19

This week, fans of The Young and the Restless are getting to go back in time and see some of the memorable moments from the dysfunctional, complicated, yet loveable Baldwin-Fisher clan in encore episodes.

Daytime Emmy-winner, Greg Rikaart has brought his A-game for years as the misunderstood, often misguided, but beautifully redeemable flawed character, Kevin Fisher. From his troubled past to his relationships with his brother, Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and his mother, Gloria (Judith Chapman), Kevin has been one of Y&R’s more intriguing characters always bouncing from the  heavy drama to the comedic, all in the more than capable hands of Rikaart.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Greg to get his thoughts on: looking back at some of these key episodes in Kevin’s past, what it was like working with former on-screen love interest Emily O’Brien (Jana), his current on-screen love Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe), and first meeting his on-screen family.

As many are aware, back in March, Greg came down with the coronavirus and it took quite a toll on him. With what is happening now in our country with the spike in the pandemic, he also shares his perspective on what he went through, and reminds us all that COVID-19 is no joke; it’s real and taking people down with it.  One of the best guys we know … and one of the finest actors we know … here’s what Greg shared.

Photo: JPI

It is Baldwin-Fisher week on Y&R.  What do you remember when you first came to the show?  And what was your recollection of first meeting Christian LeBlanc?

GREG:  When I first came on, it wasn’t to be Michael’s brother.  So, I had been there already, and the first story that I was involved with was the internet predator storyline with Christel Khalil (Lily).  So, I had been there a while, and then I think Christian and I had, of course, crossed paths in the hallways, and we had a mutual friend, so we had even gotten together for lunch, and he kind of gave me the lay of the land a little bit.  It wasn’t until we had a fan event, and Jack Smith’s (Ex-writer and producer, Y&R) daughter, Asia, who had worked on the show for a little while, saw Christian and me sitting next to one another.  She said, “I never noticed that the two of them look like brothers,” and I think that’s where the impulse came from to make us related as brothers, Then after we found out that was happening, that’s when Christian and I got to know each other better and said, “Hey, let’s invest a lot of time and effort into making this relationship real.”  There was so much bad blood and history and a lot of stuff to play.  We really spent a lot of time really working on those early scenes when we were trying to figure out what the dynamic was.  I have really fond memories of all of that.  I think I have a great time working with Christian and developing the relationship, and also, it was so nice becoming a part of a family.  I think having a family on the show made me feel like a more integral part of Y&R.  It was a really great time.

Photo: CBS

What do you recall when Judith Chapman first came on to the show as your mother, Gloria?  

GREG:  Briefly, we had Joan Van Ark playing Gloria, and then, when they had cast Judith, I didn’t read with her.  I think Christian was the one, who had auditioned with Judith, but then I happened to be up in the office one day, and I saw her, and I kind of put two and two together, and I said, “Hey, wait, I think we are going to be working together!”  I also remember the way she jumped right in and filled some pretty big shoes epically … and really made the character her own, and again, added a fantastic layer to what the family dynamic was.  It was really wonderful.

Photo: CBS

I’ll never forget the scene when Kevin says goodbye to Gloria, which was your exit from Y&R.  It was a five-hankie moment.

GREG:  Oh, yeah.  It was so easy to play because I was leaving, and the hardest scenes were the ones where I had to say goodbye to Christian and to Judith because like I mentioned, we had invested so much into the relationships and into the characters, and so there is a lot of love, and I think the boundaries get blurred.  There is love between me, and Christian, and Judith, and love between Kevin, and Michael, and Gloria.  It was hard of all of those different reasons.  So, it was easy to channel it into Kevin having to say goodbye to Gloria.

On today’s encore episode of Y&R, we are going to see the ashram wedding between Jana (Emily O’Brien) and Kevin.  I loved you and Emily together!

GREG:  Me too!

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Emily and the whole Kevin and Jana story because it was crazy! Jana was so quirky and off-kilter and so, at times, is Kevin.

GREG:  I think Emily came on when Lynn Latham was head writing the show, and Lynn, who I think is wonderful, is a bit off-kilter herself, and I mean that in the best possible way.  Lynn always had streaks of wild colors in her hair.  I think in some ways, Jana may have been a manifestation of some part of Lynn.  Every week or two, Jana would say something, and we found out some other absurd thing in her past where she had been a paraglider at one point, for example, and all of these strange things, and you can sort of throw everything into the kitchen sink with that character, and it all sort of worked.  That was sort of happening when Kevin was very early on in his road of rehabilitation; I think it made sense for him to be with someone like that, although I think Jana’s off- kilter was certainly a little more straight and narrow than his. Jana was a good influence on him.  I loved their dynamic; I loved their relationship.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about filming the ashram wedding?

GREG: I remember how beautiful the set was. It took up half of the stage.  Emily looked so great, and I remember not wanting to see her before Kevin would have seen her.  I remember the vows being really nice.  I believe it’s the episode where they first meet, Michael’s dad, who is the minister played by Michael Gross.  It was fun that we had a great centerpiece of a story, but it also propelled story for the rest of the family.

Photo: CBS

Coming up on Friday’s encore episode of Y&R: Kevin defends his relationship with Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) to Gloria when is mother makes a “festive” return.  What was your initial reaction to being paired with Liz, who you were already good friends with?

GREG:  I was excited.  I think Liz is great.  We had wanted to be working together.  For a long time, we had lobbied for it.  I didn’t know what capacity it was going to happen in, but I think linking us romantically was really fun.  I think the world of her, so I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

When you look back at winning your Daytime Emmy, and all of the early storylines, do you wish Kevin were more like how he was then with his dark side, or do you like how the character has evolved? It would be hard to sustain a character being destructive and so dark for years and years on a soap without being shipped off the canvas at some point for crimes. 

GREG:  It’s kind of a mixed bag.  I think, certainly some of the stuff earlier on was more challenging, but I also appreciate and really love some of the more lighthearted stuff that Kevin gets to do.  I think when any combination of the Fisher/Baldwins are called in to be a bit more of the comic relief, I think that provides a fun element too and works nicely on the show.  I am absolutely grateful for the longevity.  It might be hard to sustain a character like Kevin the way he was early on, but it sure is fun to do stuff like blowing up restaurants or burning them down.

Photo: JPI

Have you watched any of the episodes so far this week on Y&R … and watched yourself in your earlier years? If so, what did you think?

GREG:  I watched Monday’s episode.  On one hand, it’s really fun to take a trip down memory lane, and there are moments that I remember, and then there are moments that I don’t.  So, it’s fun to rediscover things that way.  Also, I think I had maybe a false sense of my ability early on and what I was capable of.  Watching some of those earlier shows reminds me of how much I’ve grown, not just with Christian and Judith, but everyone there who I have continued to work with.  I think I feel a lot more confident about my acting ability today than when I look back.

You got the opportunity to come back to Y&R after being let go, how does it feel now?

GREG:  I was thrilled to come back.  I think Josh Griffith (head writer, and co-executive producer, Y&R)  really took some big swings to right the ship by bringing back Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and Mishael Morgan (Amanda), and me, and Liz. I was grateful to be included in all of that and just thrilled to come home.  I’m glad that the last chapter wasn’t the last chapter for me.

Photo: RikaartG

You came down with the coronavirus and publicly let people know what happened to you and how you were feeling along the way.  As someone who has gone through getting very sick; how frustrated are you right now with what you see going on in California and Los Angeles, and the rest of the country as this pandemic has spiked, and there are new daily all-time highs in deaths and cases?

GREG:  I’m pretty frustrated.   It’s not over.  I’m negative now for the virus.  I am well on my road to recovery, but this is not a two-week recovery, and then you’re in the free-and-clear.  I’ve had some substantial post-viral issues that I was dealing with for a while.  It is insanely frustrating to see people not taking this seriously, and I continue to take it as seriously as I did in the beginning because there is no guarantee that antibodies really protect you from anything.  I feel just as vulnerable as the next person to get sick.  It’s mind-bogging to me that something as simple as wearing a mask over your face became politicized. I think we should all look to New York to follow their model for how to get back on track because they did it right.  California is different in the sense that New York had one epicenter for the entire state.  It was New York City where the battle was happening, whereas in California, we are a larger state geographically and population wise, and there are different heavily populated areas like Orange County versus Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and every place in between.  It is hard to shepherd 50+ million people through it as opposed to maybe a more tightly packed group of 10 million New Yorkers, but I still think Governor Cuomo of New York deserves all of the credit he is getting for handling this.  He is really the only one, the only politician who is kind of getting his people through it… at least in America.

Photo: RikaartIG

As a father, how do you feel about what you see happening with opening schools vs. not opening schools, and this debate?  Safety should come first, but you see how this is being politicized as well. Parents need to get back to work, and want their children safely in schools, but how can that be when the pandemic is raging?

GREG:  There is no decision that anyone can make in today’s world where there is not some level of risk that you take on; whether it is going to the grocery store, going back to work, or sending your kid to school.  I understand that there are parents who need to work and don’t have the luxury of childcare, and they need their kids to be in school.  I know there is a lot of evidence suggesting that kids are not specific transmitters of coronavirus, and even if they are, even if they do come down with it, they tend to fare quite well.  So, of course, no judgement on any parent who makes different decisions if they are well thought out, educated decisions and you’re using science to arrive at your conclusion. But for us and my family, I think we have a very intimate understanding of how serious this is.  You know, Monte is only in preschool, but his preschool went back last week, and we are just going to keep him home until we feel like we are ready to send him back.  At his age, I’m not concerned about there being things that he’s not learning.  I’m concerned about him socially, and developmentally with what he is missing out on, but we are finding ways to do things socially-distanced with friends and to socialize him that way, and we are fortunate in that we have childcare.  So, we have two extra hands on deck, 40 hours a week, which is super helpful, as there are no easy choices these days.

Photo: JPI

Y&R is going back into production this week.  Knowing what you went through with COVID-19, any trepidation on your part?

GREG:  I think going back to work would for sure do me some good emotionally, but like I was saying earlier, there is no decision that you can make these days where you are not taking on some level of risk.  So, I am excited.  I am also a little anxious.  We will see how it goes.

I was so concerned for you, as so many of your colleagues and friends were too, when we saw how you were kicked by this virus.

GREG:  It was awful, truly awful, and I hate to complain about it when I have a lot of gratitude for how much better I fared than so many other people.  I am out of the woods for sure, but if I exert myself a little too hard for a few days in a row, I have a day where it can be hard to get out of bed.  I have some friends who are dealing with even more substantial post-viral fatigue.  One friend of mine, he hasn’t gotten his taste or smell back for over three months, and doctors are skeptical that he ever will now.  So, fortunately, I’m not dealing with any of that, but you know, it’s hard to not wish that it just never happened, and that I was physically who I was a few months ago.

Photo: JPI

Closing out our conversation on Kevin Fisher, if you had to explain to another human being who doesn’t watch Y&R, who Kevin is, what would you say?

GREG:  I would say that he is the lovable ne’er do well.  Someone who messes up often, but I think he has earned a place in people’s hearts where they are forgiving of him when he does mess up, or they’re rooting for him to make better choices. When he does make good choices, they are into his choices.  I think that’s a good handle on who he is.

So, what is your favorite moment or story in the history of Kevin Fisher? Are you enjoying this week’s encore episodes on The Young and the Restless?  What do you think about the views shared by Greg, as someone who has gone through battling the coronavirus? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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Maurice Benard as Sonny. KassieDePaiva as Eve

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Airdates: Wk of 8-3-2020

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