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The Kristoff St.John, Mishael Morgan & Bryton James Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photos: Ed McGowan & CBS

Secrets and lies are true staples of any daytime drama series, but recently on The Young and the Restless, the collision course for the truth to come out was set high above the sky, and the reveal plummeted the characters not only to the ground below, but also sent one spiraling downward so fast that he can’t catch a break!  The build-up had been a long time coming as Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John) quickly married the former revenge-filled Hilary Curtis (Mishael Morgan), but all the time she was making goo-goo eyes with Neil’s son, Devon (Bryton James) … And Devon was lusting after Hilary like he has never lusted after any woman before in his life.  While those two couldn’t keep their hands off of each other and fell deeply in love, Neil became blind in a freak accident.  After months of trying to cope with this life-changing ordeal, he regained his eyesight just in time to catch Devon and Hilary in the throes of passion!

After returning to his old friend, the bottle, (Neil is an alcoholic) and lowering the boom that he can see and witnessed his wife and son’s betrayal, the duo and their relatives had no where to hide on the plane ride from hell, when Neil shocked the passengers just before their flight crashed! That was just the beginning of the next leg of this twisty tale.  Now Neil is downing booze, disillusioned with his son and the woman he said his “I do’s” with, and doing anything he can to numb the pain of this most bitter of all revelations.  But wait … there is more!  Last week as Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), a battling alcoholic herself, tried to get Neil to stop drinking, she decided she was going to get them both to an AA meeting pronto, but she failed to mention to Neil where she was actually taking him!  When he found out, Neil who was in the passenger seat of the car Nikki was driving attempted to grab the wheel from her and they hit none other than Christine (Lauralee Bell)!  After Paul (Doug Davidson) arrived on the scene and the fallout was revealed, Christine lost the baby she was carrying.  Paul blames Nikki, Nikki is covering for Neil, and thus we have yet another leg to this story!

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with the three stars who are putting the drama into CBS Daytime – Kristoff St. John, Mishael Morgan, and Bryton James – to get their take and thoughts on: all things Hevon, their fractured on-screen relationships and if they can ever mend, how far will the number one soap opera take down the once steadfast Neil Winters, and so much more.  Insightful, funny as all get out, and three of the best reasons to tune-in every day to Y&R … here is what Krisoff, Mishael, and Bryon had to say about it all!

MICHAEL:

Kristoff, you have been given some great material to play, and it’s so nice to see you really have scenes to sink your teeth into: Neil returning to the bottle and being so angry and dishing out such venom to his son Devon for the affair with his wife, and then the recent turns of events with Neil and Nikki running down Christine with the car.  What do you think about all if this?

KRISTOFF:

Courtesy/CBS

It’s great to have material.  It’s refreshing to go over the script and see something you can really be proud of doing, and come to the studio and get suited up and do your job, because on the way home you have to live with yourself. 

MICHAEL:

Bryton, you were ten years old, like last year (laughs) and now you are leading man, hoping into bed and having hot sex with this hot woman on-screen!  Is it strange?

BRYTON:

Yes, it’s strange for me too! (Laughs)  I think the story has been great, and as the plane crash was upon us, we were all trying to figure out how Neil was going to find out about the affair.  We all had our ideas of how it was going to play out, and how we wanted to play it.  That crash came out of the blue and really set up all of this other stuff in the midst of having us repair the affair.  I like the position Devon is at now, where he is trying to help Neil from this point on, and move forward after this accident.  It’s going to be difficult to mend their relationship, and I am happy about it.  From where Devon is coming from he is like, “Yeah, that happened with Hilary, and we can’t change it.”  I think if Devon and Neil really sat down and had a real conversation, and if Devon really spoke truthfully about the whole thing, and Neil was honest about it himself, he knew Hilary for two seconds before they got married!  It made sense for the story, because he was coming off the heels of Leslie (Angell Conwell) breaking his heart and looking for love.  I think if everybody was more honest about the situation then I think they could come to some understanding, because it was not like Neil and Hilary had this long history and enduring love with each other.  The attraction between Hilary and Devon was somewhat established before Neil and Hilary got together, and then circumstance led them to where they are now.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Mishael, everyone was talking about your performance when Hilary shocked the audience, and Neil and Devon, by telling them from her hospital bed that she basically screwed both of them over, and it was all part of her revenge plot!  What did you think about those scenes?

MISHAEL:

I was so excited to get to play that scene.  I knew she was just doing that to help the situation for Neil and Devon to mend their relationship.  It was just so much fun to play, and the different levels of one character is always fun.  She has been nice, but she can be mean, and she still has this underpinning of wanting to be with the man that she loves.  I honestly think she loves both of them.  She sees that both Neil and Devon are essentially destroyed because of her, and now she just wants to fix it.  She doesn’t want to be the person who destroys the men she loves most in the world.

MICHAEL:

When you heard you were all going to be a part of this “Flirt with Disaster” storyline via a plane crash, what were your thoughts?

MISHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

I honestly loved it.  I liked lying there in the fake snow and falling asleep! (Laughs)  I got to take a few naps during the shooting days, which was great! (Laughs)  These idiots kept waking me up, and Kristoff stepped on my foot.  I was like, “I’m sleeping here!  I am trying to take a nap.”   They gave me a pillow, and it was fine!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Neil then took off and wandered the wilderness in the snow there for a bit, and was pretty out of it.  What was happening there?  Where did he think he was going? (Laughs)

KRISTOFF:

Where was I going?  (Laughs)  I went looking for help.  He wasn’t drinking then, but he was coming off being drunk, and he was having a bad hangover.  He left the lovesick couple behind, and then he was getting the shakes, and he went to find help.

MICHAEL:

What were your thoughts on the major showdown scene on the plane when Neil reveals he can see, and lets Devon, Hilary, and Cane (Daniel Goddard) et all, have a piece of his mind? And what about that briefcase Neil hung on for dear life? (Laughs)

KRISTOFF:

Courtesy/CBS

I thought it was very imaginative to have this story unfold on a plane 33,000 feet above the ground.  I thought the dialog was on-point.  There were a couple of things I did not agree with that actually came out very well.  As far as the briefcase, I am not sure what the point was of that.  But I do remember after the plane crashed, it was revealed Neil’s mementos were in the suitcase.  Amidst all the corn there was some good popcorn! (Laughs)

BRYON:

I thought it was great for the fans watching the show, because what could be more dramatic than having everyone involved stuck on a plane together, and of course, the drama of a plane that crashes, and who is going to make it, and all of that.  It’s a soap opera, and so it’s drama at it’s highest.  I loved the scenes on the plane as all the emotions got to come out, and everybody was very raw in front of each other.  There was no hiding.  And at that point, there was nothing to hide, because we couldn’t.  I was really happy with it.

MISHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Yeah, I was really happy with it.  I just felt like: “What’s in that briefcase” (Laughs)?  I thought it was so great how they did it, because you are stuck together and forced to deal with what everybody had done to everybody else.  Hilary is forced to deal with and face all of the people she has been lying to forever! (Laughs)  She just goes from one lie to the next, to the next!  This is like her third life of lies.  It was so much fun to be around these amazing actors all day.  It was a long tape day, but we worked really hard to get through them, and the sets were awesome.

MICHAEL:

Do the three of you have fun with each other doing this story?

KRISTOFF:

I hate not coming into work and getting to work with them.  These two are some of the greatest people I have ever worked with.  It is non-stop laughter when we get together.  I think the key is that we respect each other, and we know when we get on the stage we are going to take care of each other, and there’s a lot of generosity … and that is happening not only on stage, but off the stage.

MISHAEL:

Kristoff is the biggest jokester!

KRISTOFF:

Courtesy/CBS

And then there is Daniel Goddard (Cane), but he is not with us in this room right now.

MISHAEL:

When the three musketeers get together – I mean, Daniel is the worst, but get the three of them together – Kristoff, Daniel, and Bryton – and then it’s just a whole mess.

MICHAEL:

Can we talk about Lily being a raving bitch throughout this story?  She told Devon she can never really look at him again after knowing he had the affair with Hilary behind her father’s back!

BRYTON:

I know, and Lily (Christel Khalil) was the first person to tell Devon that he should go and try to get Hilary in bed in order to get her away from Neil. 

MISHAEL:

I remember that she did say that.

BRYTON:

Courtesy/CBS

She doesn’t remember it! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:

It was her idea from the beginning.

BRYTON:

Lily said, “Go into the room, and get her to come to your suite, get her in bed, and then I will have Neil come in and catch you!”  She wanted to break them up.  She wanted that to happen.  Devon needs to bring that up to her!

MISHAEL:

Yeah, Devon should bring it up and say, “This is what you told me to do in the first place!”

BRYTON:

Right!  It’s like, “You wanted this Lily, so I just took it to the next level.”

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Mishael, when you and Christel taped the recently aired hospital scenes where Lily told Hilary to get the hell out of Genoa City, that was another bitch-fight.  Did you two have a good laugh over that after you finished the scenes?

MISHAEL:

Oh yes.  We laughed so hard at the end of those scenes, and those are so much fun.  To be able to say those things to someone, and then have no repercussions to worry about after what you said and after the fact … is great! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Kristoff, is Nickel going to be a new supercouple?  Have you been surprised that you are being partnered in story with Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki)?

KRISTOFF:

Honestly, I have worked with Melody for years, and never worked consistently with her, but I haven’t forgotten what good humor she has.  Melody has a lot of levity.  I wouldn’t have paired us like that, and I wouldn’t have thought that it would be a great thing, but evidently it turned on some more lights and future possibilities.  What kind?  I don’t know.  Are these characters a match made in heaven?  No, but they are going to cause some waves, I can imagine, and with Victor (Eric Braeden) being at the helm of the Newman family, I don’t think he would care for the Stanford grad with his wife.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Christine gets hit by the car, and Nikki takes the wrap for a drunken Neil, who grabbed the wheel in deviance when she was trying to take him with her to an AA meeting.  How does Neil feel about all of this and that Nikki is covering for him, and taking the blame?

KRISTOFF:

Christine (Lauralee Bell) is taking the hit for one bad moment in time with drunk, surly Neil, and it happened in a millisecond.  Now that Christine has lost the baby, it’s probably the worse thing that Neil has been through since Carmen Mesta’s (Marisa Ramirez) murder.

MICHAEL:

Oh, Carmen Mesta!  (Laughs) Remember her?  Oh, Kristoff, the many women that have passed through Neil’s life! (Laughs)

KRISTOFF:

Let’s see, there was Eva Marcille as Tyra … and who did kill Carmen Mesta? (Laughs)

BRYTON:

Photo Credit: CBS

Jana (Emily O’Brien) did it!

MICHAEL:

So, is Devon going to be there now as Neil is spiraling to an all-time low in his life that truly started as a result of his son’s betrayal with his wife?

BRYTON:

I think no matter what Neil says to Devon, post Neil finding out about Hilary and him, Neil is still Devon’s father.  He is still the man that saved his life as a young teenager, and he is at his lowest time right now, and of course, his family is going to be there for him, whether he wants them to, or not.  So, that is where Devon’s head is at.  I am sure Neil does not want Devon around, and there will be some resistance following on the heels of what he has done.

MISHAEL:

And Hilary is going to help him!  But I have to still play that I did all this for revenge to try to push Neil and Devon together, but she still cares about Neil, and she still feels responsible for everything that happened, and the fact that now he killed Hilary’s mother and Christine’s child.  It’s a full circle, killing a mother and then a baby.

MICHAEL:

Mishael, many people keep forgetting, what did Neil exactly do to Hilary’s mom?

MISHAEL:

He was just drinking with Hilary’s mom, and then she died.  And then he gets screwed over by another wife, and he goes drinking, and then a baby dies!

KRISTOFF:

Courtesy/CBS

This poor guy!  That’s terrible! (Laughs)  But seriously, I do appreciate having this great story, I really do!  It’s been a long time coming, and I wouldn’t have expected any of these twists.  I think Chuck Pratt Jr. (head writer and executive producer, Y&) hinted to me about it, and he tries to not let too many people in on things, but I did get told that I would start having a fall.  I do not know what is happening next, except Neil is in real trouble, and this is the worst chapter of his life.  He will probably rise out of it.  I think that he would.  However, another worst chapter would have been when Neil did go to the slum gutter of Genoa City and he slept with Serena (Gretchen Palmer) and ended up getting Todd Bridges, AKA Juice, on his back who takes Neil back to the hood the Winters’ lived in … and then he robbed him! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The scenes that aired last week, when Neil told Devon to go buy some booze and go to a hotel room and start drinking, was so riveting.  Neil was relentless, and hurt at the same time spewing this venom at his son.  Devon just had to stand there and take it.  I thought those were great scenes.  What did you guys think of those?

BRYTON:

I did not like my performance in it on that day, but everyone else liked it, so …

KRISTOFF:

Courtesy/CBS

Well, wait…actors are insecure and yet cocky at the same time.  I think it’s the insecurities that are covered by the cockiness.  This dude isn’t cocky, so I know when he talks about the scenes, and not feeling 100% about them and wanting to do a take over again, he’s very real with it.  I understand it, but on that episode I don’t know what you saw, but you poured it on so thick that a pancake never saw syrup like that.

BRYTON:

The content of the scenes, and the writing of what Neil was saying to Devon is what everyone has been waiting for … the “you’re not my son”, and nothing could be more impactful than that.

MICHAEL:

Is Neil really there with basically disowning Devon … or is he just lashing out?

KRISTOFF:

No!  He is really there for the first time with this young man, because he did take him in and made him his own son, and also because he did not have his own son, except for Moses, and Moses left for a long trip to Poughkeepsie! (Laughs)  One thing I’ve got to say is that I was complaining recently about some kind of story point to, of all people, Eric Braeden.  We were in his dressing room shooting the you-know-what, and I explained this to him, and he looked at me very seriously and he said, “My God, man. You know where we are, right?”  And I go, “We are at Television City.”  He says, “We are doing an f**ing soap opera! This is what you get you get when you are doing a soap opera.  It’s fantastical!  It’s all over the place … from the sublime to the ridiculous!”  And that’s what I have to keep remembering.

MICHAEL:

Can we talk about hash tag Hevon, and how the fans have been such a major part of this story every step of the way via their social media presence?

MISHAEL:

Courtesy/PinterestYR

That’s been awesome!  We loved that.  We have the best fans, ever.  We get gifts, left, right and center!

BRYTON:

The fans are the reason this story is what it is, and the reason we are still a couple, per se on the show, and why they put so much into this trio’s storyline.  The fans think about it all, and all of the pieces.  Half of the fans think we’re awful for what we are doing, and then the other half wants to see us together even though we are doing bad things.

MISHAEL:

I think it’s more like 90/10 (laughs), but most want to see us together!  The fans were the voice for Hevon doing everything

BRYTON:

And we are not even a couple yet, to be honest.

MICHAEL:

Well, it looks like the writers are going to keep them apart for as long as they can, and Hevon will have to continue to have stolen moments together, probably for the next five years! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:

Well, that is what they love about Hevon … it’s those stolen moments.  It’s the fact that these two people can’t be together, and the struggle for love.

BRYTON:

Courtesy/CBS

I think they will love us even more when we are together, to be honest.  You can’t play the things you want to play with the person on the show all out.  You can’t play the little nuances of a relationship, and make people fall in love with what we have, when we are constantly trying to not show it.  I think there are so many other things to build upon, and fall in love with.

MICHAEL:

What have been your favorite moments to play in this entire storyline, thus far?

MISHAEL:

I think it was just going at these guys the other day, when Hilary was in her hospital room, and seeing their faces!  They just played the shock so amazingly well.

KRISTOFF:

I really like the marriage scenes that took place.  I liked the drama that was playing out that was pretty palpable, and seeing how much Devon and Hilary loved each other, even way back then.  I knew when I was looking at that moment on stage that this was going to be a rather long story, and that it would finally payoff.  Acting-wise, I loved confronting Devon at the GCAC after he found out and discovered his wife and him having sex. Believe it or not, another favorite of mine was the one scene with this young lady, of knowing she has been deceiving Neil, and he had just gotten off the elevator at Jabot.  I just felt so much between us.  I don’t know if it’s what acting chemistry is all about, or what, but never have I felt it more in the story than that time.

MICHAEL:

When the three of you found out Neil was going to be blind, what did you think of the set-up of the story?  How difficult was that to play?

MISHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

It was difficult.  Kristoff could not act with eyes, and so he was always looking away the whole time. I am sure it was more difficult for him, because he did not know where to look.  He was amazing throughout that story.

KRISTOFF:

I thought it was the biggest challenge that I have had ever as an actor.  I can see why certain actors win awards for delving into that character’s body issue and being blind, because you have to put a lot of attention into the detail.  I was thrown into it pretty quickly.  I did no research, and did not look up it up online, because I didn’t want to know.  I just wanted to play it.

BRYTON:

For the story, and the drama of the situation with us having an affair, it was great, because there were a lot of different things we got to play.  In story, we were right at the moment, which was going to be the hardest thing in the world, which was to tell Neil the truth about us before he went blind.  Then, having to know that now we are going to have to do something that is more difficult, which is try not to be together, which is almost impossible, while helping Neil through this while keeping our secret.  It was a great twist for the plot.

MICHAEL:

Kristoff and Bryton, you both have Pre-Noms for this year’s Daytime Emmy race.  What did you submit for the first round, and then the final blue-ribbon round of judging?

KRISTOFF:

Courtesy/CBS

For the pre-nomination I submitted a scene with Angell Conwell, where Neil is desperately trying to talk Leslie into marrying him, and giving it a last ditch attempt for her to change her mind.  For the final round, I submitted the first of the two-day episodes where Shemar Moore returns as Malcolm.

MICHAEL:

Kristoff, I loved those scenes between Shemar and you, but I know a lot of fans voiced on social media that they thought they were a big nothing.

KRISTOFF:

Well, thank you.  I know a lot of fans thought it was a big nothing, but I think they are talking about the place, the time, how long he was there for, and what they had to go through, discuss, and talk through.  There were a lot of issues up front, but I have to say it could have been worse, though.  We didn’t return to the GCAC weight room and have to talk about this stuff, and Malcolm shouting, “Neil, spot me!”  And Neil going, “I can’t.  I can’t see you!” (Laughs)

BRYTON:

The first round I submitted scenes with Mishael and I in the elevator at the Jabot offices, the day after her wedding to Neil.  Devon has been drinking a bit, and he tells her for the first time, that he loves her.  For the final round, I submitted scenes with Mishael and me in the laundry room at the GCAC, where I tell her I am going to leave town, and she tells Devon not to go, and so he questions: “Why does she want him to stay?”  She finally admits she still has feelings for him.  That is followed by a scene with Kristoff, where Neil convinces Devon to stay in town and finish whatever unfinished business he has, which little does he know, is his wife!  I liked those scenes, because I liked the material, and it had different levels of myself in it, and different emotions and feelings.  No one is harder on myself than I am, and so it’s really hard for me to say that it deserves to win something.  There have been other years where I have felt I have had much better work, but of what I had to choose from I just thought that this was the most decent.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Mishael, how has this experience been for you, being on the number-one soap opera in America?

MISHAEL:

It has definitely been one of the hardest jobs I have ever had, and the pacing that they shoot at is just insane, and on a completely different level.  I don’t think I have ever worked like this.  I have worked on some very low budget stuff in Canada, where you don’t get a lot of takes.  Here at Y&R, our scenes are literally done in one take.  But it has been such a fun experience.  I never anticipated how much of a family it is here, and how close-knit everyone is, and how amazing it is.  It feels like you are building relationships for the rest of your career.

MICHAEL:

Bryton and Kristoff, did you think you would be on Y&R for as long as you have, with all the regime changes, and characters coming and going throughout the years?

BRYTON:

I have been on the show for 11 years, it feels less.  However, I did think I would be here this long.

KRISTOFF:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Not a chance did I think I would be here this long.  It was the early 90’s when I arrived, and I was coming off of Generations.  And by the way, I happened to love the Carmen Mesta year 2006!

BYRTON:

I went deaf that year!

KRISTOFF:

That was all the sign-language stuff, and then that bled into 2007! (Laughs) I can remember feeling times were getting tight here, and the purse strings were getting tighter.  I know there were thoughts of: “If you aren’t an asset, you are a liability,” and if you are not on stage and you are not performing, then you are a liability.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what can you say for fans to look forward to, as the story between Neil/Hilary/Devon continues to unravel from here?

BRYTON:

We don’t know how it’s going to unfold, but Devon and Hilary are going to do everything and anything to help Neil.  There are more twists coming, and whatever happens to Neil it’s going to be the beginning of Devon and Neil’s relationship mending through Christine losing her baby, and all of that.

MISHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

She’s got to do this behind their backs, and manipulate things to try and get these two back on track with each other.

KRISTOFF:

As I look at this storyline, it’s got Shakespearean qualities. It kind of has this Romeo and Juliet, and the Capulet’s and the Montague’s quality to it.  This story is classic by design, and it also has just amazing potential to take us into other areas, like this one here is talking about – she is going to find redemption, and she will.  For what her self-sacrifice is going to be, the audience again will love her.  That’s the whole idea of being a villain, and then coming back strong.  This feels a little like “Rear Window” and Jimmy Stewart as he sits and looks and watches the apartment building across the way where he watches everyone in their separate little cubicles.  This is our cubicle, where you can’t help but peer in and want to see what happens.  You see the star-crossed lovers.  You see the father who can’t see anything, and you are vying for them both in a strange way.  There are the haters, and there are the lovers, but you can’t tell me that is not good story.  Eventually, Jimmy Stewart will solve the entire thing, and everything will come out, and that is what is happening right now.

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Laurel Twist
Laurel Twist

Just as I suspected. Neil being the cause of the accident, which killed Christine’so baby, IA a ruse to redeem Devon. I can not begin to tell you how much I despise YR, right now. The ONLY fallout that matters is Hevon’s separation. Well, that is bull crap. Pratt is killing the show just like wiser people warned.

Does anyone know why the hell Nikki would risk everything for Neil?! More bs!

Joan
Joan

I think its absolutely disgusting of Devon, who use to call neil Dad,but since he took up with Hillary he referred to him as Neil.Its disgusting Devon did this. Not just once with Hillary, but before with Tyra. I think Devon has whatever Neil dishes at him. Please don’t bring Dru back into the mix, as it has been Wayyyyy to long to justify her not coming back when Lily was dying. or Cane thought to be dead, or Neil blind. to much time has passed to be believeable for her to suddenly appear. even amnesia ,is corny as she was well known as jabot employee etc… leave Dru Dead. Let Hillary be written off the show and the winters and ashby family can heal again. and for pete’s sake move it along with Adam and Chelsea. we have waitd long enough.

Bellamy
Bellamy

Great chat. Props to all three actors for this story. While I didn’t always like the turns it took it they’ve all done stellar jobs.

You don’t often root for the cheaters but I can’t help but root for Hilary & Devon. Ya’lls chemistry is INSANE and really shows through the screen. I don’t think Neil should have ever been inserted romantically but now that he has I enjoyed the fallout. KSJ confronting them was great.

I’ve really grown to love the character of Hilary and Mishael’s scenes in the hospital were STELLAR. I was so excited when she did that! LOVE the layers your bringing!!

Bryton seems incredibly humble but you sir should also be proud cause you’ve done some fantastic work. Your feeling are so evident on screen.

You can count me as a Hevon fan 🙂

Karen T
Karen T

I wish Neil would go find Dru over that cliff.

I hate how he always has to be with a new lady on the show. Just leave Hilary & Devon together.

The writing is so heavy handed to make Neil out to be a saint. But the audience hasn’t forgotten he’s cheated on multiple women in the past…and now killed a baby letting an innocent woman take the fall.

Timmm
Timmm

Let go of Dru. Unless they recast her, the former actress is psycho!

Trish
Trish

Devon and Hilary brought me back to this show in Dec 2013 after a 3 year hiatus. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that the show just randomly went in another direction by quickly marrying Hilary off to Neil.

So now here we are over a year later and I’m still waiting. My patience is very short. How much longer must we wait.

I’m surprised to find that Bryton wasn’t happy with his performance. He’s always great in every scene. I don’t think I’ve witnessed a bad performance from him the entire time he was on the show.

Looking forward to what’s next!

Jolene beth Morgan
Jolene beth Morgan

In my humble opinion, I believe that Mr. Pratt is doing an Amazing job! The new storylines with all the twists & turns have given even more dimension to the show! I just would like to see more of ‘Victor ‘ & ‘Nikki’ the way they use to be together; romantic and loving and just to be able to see the tender love story between them once again. Yes there has been many breakups between them , too many I think, but the love was always So Very Romantic between them. Like a dreamy fairytale! As far as the ‘Neil’, ‘Devon’ & ‘Hilary’ storyline, I have enjoyed it!. It has allow all three wonderful actors to show off their Great talents.

Timmm
Timmm

I agree. 2014 sucked. Charles IS in Charge and doing well.

kuikui
kuikui

I despise the show even more now that Pratt has taken the reign. I think that is totally disgusting what Devon and Hilary did to Neil . For Devon to feel that saying he is sorry
and over time all will be forgiven. He is one selfish scum rat. Both he and Hilary need to leave town for good.
Do not care for either character.

Michaela
Michaela

Good interview.

I loved Devon and Hilary from the moment they started bantering and flirting towards the end of 2013. Never in a million years did I think the show would go the route they did. That said, nothing can touch the chemistry Bryton and Mishael bring to the characters and the story. I’m especially blown away with Bryton, he has held my attention in this story from the get go. His first major romantic story on the show, and he’s knocking it out of the park. I hope he gets the writing that showcases his talent even more now.

I can’t help but mention that I’m really excited to see a young, gorgeous, popular and electric Black couple on YR. When’s the last time that happened? It’s nice to see that representation on a soap.

Gabrielle
Gabrielle

I love Hilary and Devon!

After my fave soap was cancelled I had quit watching daytime for a while. But a couple years ago my college roommates and I happened to come across YR & it was a scene featuring Bryton and Mishael and they made me interested again. I really like the characters and hope they continue to grow. 3/4 of the cast of YR have cheated and or killed someone, so I don’t see that being a big deal. It is a soap after all!

As for Pratt, I’m interested to see where he’s going, I’ll give him till the summer. The disasters were fine but at the moment I’m seriously disliking the scooby doo gang murder mystery rip off of PLL & How To Get Away with Murder. Seeing them on screen 5 days a week every week is making me want to tune out. Pratt needs to work on balance.

Nanci
Nanci

Torally agree about the cabin murder mystery.
If Austin even is really dead, that is.
I can only take so much of the Scooby gang,
but especially Summer. I have already had
enough of her!

Mary Jonas
Mary Jonas

I adore HEVON. They were an absolutely delightful surprise to Y&R last year. It is good old fashion naughty soap messiness. I like the drama but please PLEASE let them get married and have a baby someday. That Bryton is so fine!

wolfy
wolfy

If I were able to ask one final question, it would have been, “So, Kristoff, would you say that Melody’s character of Nikki is Neil’s Jimmy Stewart’s foil, Kim Novak, and that they are both wondering who that murderer is killing Austin across town in the cabin that they saw through the rear window?”
wolfy

Christie
Christie

Michael, thank you for this interview. After watching YR for over 30 years, it has been wonderful to see the show invested in a young Black couple. Daytime is severely behind in representing the diversity of our society, so it’s wonderful to see Hevon be allowed the opportunity to be as Soapy, as everyone else.

I’m also really happy for Bryton. During his tenure on the show, he has received some great material to play, but hasn’t always received the credit or attention for his talent. It’s wonderful to see him no longer flying below the radar.

tony f
tony f

can i ask why people on these sites are so rude and disrespectful. if you dont like something, why cant you just say that if you must say something. you dont like this writer , that actor , that storyline. my feeling is that for those of us who get downright bitchy and behave like a–holes, its a indication of how immature some of us are. If you don’t like a product or a service or it constantly disappoints, why are you still using it? I rarely post messages but I’ve never seen people as rabid as so called “soap fans”. For every 1 comment that may be constructive, there are probably 10 that are down right mean. Grow up!!

Carolyn
Carolyn

The Neil/Hilary/Devon debacle is great, especially now that it’s moving along a bit. All three actors are doing a great job with this story. I hope it continues to move along now that the pace has picked up a bit.

Clearly Neil and Hilary do NOT belong together, but I’d like to see how his relationship with Devon finds its way.

I do hope YR won’t disappoint in making Neil accountable for his drinking and its consequences; that would be the only upside to the disastrous car accident.

Timmm
Timmm

I will say this, I never thought the Winters family would survive my FF button but they have with their recent story. Like Neil, hate Devon, and Hillary is just a bitch!

damien
damien

the hevon storyline is a big highlight during my y n r viewing! have always enjoyed the winters and finally feel they have overcome the drucilla curse( neils storys have always been b storylines overshadowed by dru s departure)
If only leslie would appear to represent neil once its discovered he caused christine s miscarriage and rekindle his romance with her!! and tyler could also return to support abby who s also hit rock bottom!!

Diamond
Diamond

Will you please end this plot with Hillary and Neil and his son. This is not interesting, it is very boring. And for goodness sakes, end that plot with the two Jacks. This is STUPID!!!!!!!!

Please bring back Michelle to play Phyllis again. Gina cannot play that role like her. Gina act like she is trying to act so hard to play that role, but it was such natural acting for Michelle.

How long are you going to keep Adam a secret. This is getting boring too!

It seems like every six months all the women switch men. All of them have been with family members, friends spouses, friends boyfriends, just a slutty and nasty show. All of them are kissing all these different lips, how gross and germy….Yuck

General Hospital

GH’s Tamara Braun Talks On: Kim’s Plight With Her Son Oscar, Her Relationships With Julian and Drew & Coming Home To Port Charles

When Tamara Braun stepped back on to the canvas of General Hospital back in November of last year, the one-time and wildly popular Carly Corinthos #2 was now taking on the role of Dr, Kim Nero – a single mom of a teenage son (who is very protective of him), top-notch gynecologist in the medical profession, and a woman with a past with Drew Cain (Billy Miller). It was eventually revealed that Drew is her son Oscar’s (Garren Stitt) biological father.

Now as viewers have seen on recent episodes of the ABC soap opera, Oscar’s life looks like it could very well be cut short after the story shocker that now has the young teen diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor from cancer.  Kim had kept the truth from her son until he confronted her upon learning the news on his own (with an assist from Cameron) and putting two and two together.  This sets the stage for some difficult and heartbreaking moments ahead.

As for Braun, she rose to the top as one of soap operas most critically-acclaimed actresses after having the challenging task of taking over the role of Carly #1 in 2001 from three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Sarah Brown.  Tamara not only met this challenge, but made Carly her own scoring an Emmy nod along the way.  After departing GH in 2005, Tamara returned to daytime in 2008 in the role of Ava Vitali on Days of our Lives, which indeed earned her an Emmy.   Next, she headed to Pine Valley and All My Children to take on the role of Reese Williams, the love interest to Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel), who eventually married from 2008-2009.  Tamara even came back to DAYS for awhile in the role of Taylor in 2011, and later reprised the role of Ava in 2015-2016.  With an impressive resume, GH is lucky to have her back and Braun finally felt the time was right to take on a new role on her first soap home  upon her return in 2017.  Viewers hope that they get to see more of those emotionally raw, honest performances that Braun is known for as more layers of Kim are revealed,

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Tamara to get her take on: the latest storyline involving Kim, Oscar and Drew, where Kim’s relationship with Julian Jerome stands, and how she feels it’s important to shed light on causes of the day needing our help and how we can all ultimately live in a kinder, more thoughtful world.  Here’s what Tamara had to shared below.

In the episodes we saw last week, Kim had no choice but to tell Oscar the truth. What have you thought about this whole story where now Oscar is hating his mother, and upset with her, when she did not come forward with the truth about his medical condition to him, because in her mind she was protecting him?

Courtesy/ABC

TAMARA:  Yes, that was reasoning.  She did all of this to protect him so that he could have a normal teenage life without all of that hanging over his head.  What do I think of it?  I think that it has been hard for me, Tamara, to play.  It has been hard for me to wrap my head around why a physician would not tell her son that he’s ill.  It’s also been hard for me to wrap my head around because the way the writers have made Oscar and Kim’s relationship such a beautiful one that has been seemingly full of honesty and openness, that they can really talk to each other, which is one of the things that I really like.  In terms of the storyline, what it does do is create conflict which is what’s needed in shows.  Things can’t be ‘happy, happy, joy, joy’ all of the time, so it’s created conflict for Oscar and Kim and now Drew, because Kim dragged him into keeping the secret too for a little bit. 

Courtesy/ABC

We just also learned that Kim’s reasoning to come to Port Charles in the first place was indeed because of Oscar.

TAMARA:  Like Kim said, she came because she did an ancestry report, and it turned out that he has relatives in Port Charles.  So, she wanted for them to get the opportunity to know him and him to get the opportunity to get to know them.  I’m sure we will learn something about Kim’s past which would explain why in her mind she felt this was the right thing to do.  We know that it seems like a very controlling thing.  As a mother, take the physician out of it, I still think that Kim would have shared his diagnosis with him, but I don’t think one ever knows what they would do in that situation.  You think you know what you would do, but perhaps she felt that she could control it; she could figure it out.  Perhaps, Kim felt that because she is a physician she’ll find some answer, and she’ll be able to fix it.  These are the questions, and these are the things that as an actor, I have to put in my head because it’s not what I believe I would do.  It’s not even what I believe the character of Kim as I knew her would have done, but it’s what the writers have written.  So, they have to have a reason, and I think that it has got to be more than just to create conflict.  That’s what stories rely on.  It’s soap, and a lot of people on soaps have to do crazy things and find out ways to justify them when they seem out of character.

You’re right.  Kim and Oscar had a very open relationship.  Yes, she was a “controlling mother,” if you want to say that, but they were honest with each other.  Garren Stitt has been very endearing in the role.  What can you say about working with him?

TAMARA:  I just adore Garren. I have adored him from the minute I met him.  I think he’s a lovely, sweet, kind person, and I feel so fortunate to get to play his mom.  I really do.  I think he’s wonderful, and I’m lucky.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now as to the situation with Drew, Kim truly did not know he was in town when she got to Port Charles, right?

TAMARA:  Correct.

What does she feel towards Drew now, and does this situation ultimately draw them closer together?

TAMARA:  I think it absolutely draws them closer together, because now they have to deal with Oscar.  Because once Kim accepted Drew back into their lives (she thought he was dead long ago), she opened up her arms to him in the capacity of being a father for Oscar.  Kim has had to deal with everything with her child all on her own for fifteen years.  It’s just been the two of them.  So, I think that at some point it has got to be difficult to allow someone else in to help make decisions, and to lean on, and to co-parent with.  I think it was difficult at first, but I think now she is grateful to have him to share it with, even though they may not see things eye-to-eye all of the time.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you foresee Kim and Drew, at any point, growing closer romantically?

TAMARA:  I don’t know.  It’s not looking like that.  It’s looking like a nice friendship and one that is very caring and understanding, but as of now, I don’t see hints of it.  You never know.  As you know, it’s a soap.  Anything could happen.

How has it been working with Billy Miller? He has also done some wonderful work as the devastated father.

TAMARA:  It’s been great.  The last few scenes that we had to do, there have been those special moments you get as an actor where the angels are just with you.  It all just kind of connects and flows together.   I think we’ve been lucky to have gotten a few of those as of late, and that’s been really nice.

Courtesy/ABC

In story, it was revealed that Oscar could enter an experimental trial that could help his tumor and the cancer, is that what Kim wants her son to do?

TAMARA:  Absolutely, because she feels anything that could possibly save his life or give him more time, she wants for him.

I also like that they made Dr. Terry Randolph (Cassandra James), Oscar’s pediatric oncologist.

TAMARA:  Yes.  Cassandra is really lovely to work with, and she’s just a lovely human being as well.  I’m fortunate right now.  I get to work with some lovely people.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Kim’s going to let Julian (Will deVry) know about what she is dealing with?

TAMARA:  Julian does not know.  Oscar doesn’t want anyone to know and especially Julian.  He wants his mom and dad together, so he’s decided not to let Julian know.  I think only for those reasons.  Kim really didn’t honor Oscar by keeping this news of him being ill from him, so she has to honor him in his request not to share this with Julian.

Is Kim aware of how Cameron (William Lipton) is trying to maneuver himself into a relationship with Josslyn (Eden McCoy)?  Does she understand what’s going on there? 

TAMARA:  Kim doesn’t know anything about it.

Photo: ABC

Does Kim want Josslyn to be with Oscar?

TAMARA:  She does, because she knows that Josslyn makes Oscar happy, and to be happy, is what’s most important right now, because that also can help any type of recovery.  When we are happy, or are doing things that make us joyful, or raise our endorphin levels in a positive way, that’s good for health.  That’s good for recovery, and she wants her son to be happy.  What mother doesn’t want her son to be happy?  Especially now, with everything going on.

Kim was having an issue that Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco (Roger Howarth) knew about Oscar’s prognosis.  Do you think she’ll be more lax about that now, or do you think she’ll be more even intense about people not finding out?

TAMARA:  I think she doesn’t want people to know because Oscar now knows, and he doesn’t want people to know.  I think that she wants to keep his confidence.  I think she doesn’t want anyone else to know because she needs to respect Oscar’s wishes.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think that it’s possible that Drew’s twin, Jason (Steve Burton) is somehow the bio-dad of Oscar, and not Drew?  The character of Jason has a history of brain injuries and trauma.

TAMARA:  I never thought of that! (Laughs)  That would be a fun kind of plot twist!  I don’t think so because there have been lines a couple of times when Kim is with Jason and she says, “You know, you look exactly like him.  It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around that, but you act so differently.”   You know what?  Even if Jason did have a brain tumor, he is Drew’s twin, and Drew is Oscar’s father, so that does still genetically match and run in the family.  It’s an interesting twist there that you bring up!

I remember watching the episode where the audience learned Oscar was dying and I was completely shocked!   I had no idea where the writers were going with it after the seizure.  When the powers-that-be filled you in on what was going on, what was your reaction to that part of the story?

Photo Credit: ABC

TAMARA:  Illness in any form on a soap gives you something to play.  So, that’s good.  When they start saying in the dialogue, “terminal,” you’re like, “What!?” But then you also have people saying, “There’s always hope,” so, you never know where it’s actually going to go, or how the story lines will play.  I understand how people keep saying that it came out of the blue and they didn’t even hint at that.  So, I will say they did write a scene the day that Michael (Chad Duell) lost the baby, and I believe Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Michael were in the church. There was a scene that I was ready to shoot that day, and it was a monologue in the church.  It was after Nelle’s (Chloe Lanier) baby had died and after Kim and Nelle had scenes.  Kim goes to the chapel and she has a monologue talking to God, and it was a bit of a hint, but they had to cut the scene because the tape day ran long.  I didn’t even shoot it.  I think that had they had left it in; people would have been like, “Oh, that’s what that meant.”  I think now that I see the reaction of viewers and you’re bringing it up, that would have been the moment you could have gone to and said. “Oh!  That’s the moment.  That’s what she meant,” or when it happened, the audience have been like, “What’s going on?  What don’t we know?”  I think had that scene been in there, people wouldn’t have been taken aback so much.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what would you say the audience can look forward to with Kim coming up?  Are we going to see her with a lot of stress on her relationship with her son?  Do you see her holding it together, or falling apart? 

TAMARA:  I think probably all of the above… trying to pull it together, falling apart, a rift between them, trying to bring it back together, making mistakes, doing the right thing … I think it’s everything.  I think reality just smacked Kim in the head, and her son… but when you’re so closed and tight about something in life, and when you no longer have control over it… you’ve got your best-laid plans, and you know what they say about your best-laid plans.  (Laughs).  It explodes, and then you have to deal with the aftermath.  So, hopefully we will see some nuance in there.  I’m hoping for it.  Hopefully, we will see Kim and Oscar work through stuff because people make mistakes; people do the wrong things for what they think are the right reasons all the time.  If Oscar is dealing with an inoperable, terminal brain tumor here, then time is of the essence for them to get it together and come together.

Well, I hope that it’s hankie-inducing, poignant and does have those beats for you to play, and they don’t kind of skip story beats.  As you said, time is of the essence for them and there is, usually no matter what, an unbreakable bond between mother and son.

TAMARA:  I hope so, too!  We can keep our fingers crossed for that!

Photo Credit: ABC

What attributes of Kim do you like playing?

TAMARA:  Kim’s no pushover, which I do like about her.  She’s strong, but she’s a quiet strong.  She doesn’t come at somebody charging, blazing, knocking things down or with a baseball bat like Carly does.  She has strength as a woman, and it’s in a very different way.

Do you think Kim is in love with “Charlie” AKA Julian? 

TAMARA:  I think she loves him.  It’s been a long time since she’s been in a relationship.  Her primary relationship, for better or for worse, has been her son all these years.  She’s made him her number one and didn’t feel she had time or that there was anyone who was worth that time.  So, I think that with Charlie, or Julian, whoever the hell he is (laughs)…

… Wait! She knows he’s Julian, right? (Laughs)

TAMARA:  Yes, she knows, but she likes to call him, “Charlie” because of the bar.  It was a cute little thing from the beginning.  I think that he doesn’t pressure her.  It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s light, and that’s what I think she can handle right now.

How has it been playing the mother of a teenager?  Is that odd for you?  It seems like a bit of a jump.

TAMARA:  It seems like a jump from what people have seen me do for a long time.  If you think about it, the last time people saw me on General Hospital with a kid, it was Michael (formerly Dylan Cash), and I mean, not in soap terms, but in real life terms, he was playing I think 6 when he was 8, and now he’s 23 so he would have been playing 21 if he had stayed.

Courtesy: TBraunTwitter

Is it ever odd for you that you aren’t the character of Carly anymore when you see Michael and characters that you have shared and played emotional attachments with your first go-round on GH?  I would suppose as an actress you can switch that on and off, but what about as a person?

TAMARA:  Yes, as an actress you switch it off, but as a person Michael is not the same Michael.  I think if he had been the same because we were so close, and we were so connected it might have been more difficult.  If it were him on set playing him every day, I’d be like, “Hi honey!   Hi my son!”   He was so in my heart.  I think because it’s Chad Duell now playing the part, who is lovely and wonderful, there’s no history with us, and that made it really okay.   I loved Dylan as a little boy.  I still love him.  He stopped in at my fan event, which was wonderful!

When you think back on all of your soap roles, it’s pretty amazing what you’ve done. Although we hated the end of the Reese/Bianca wedding on All My Children, it was the first same-sex wedding, and was a landmark moment.  You were a part of it.  Forget what happened afterwards, but that moment was key.  When you were on General Hospital, you received a Daytime Emmy nomination for your performance as Carly.  And then there was Days of our Lives’ Ava Vitali!  You got to play the psycho.  You won the Supporting Actress Emmy for your performance.  Do you think Ava is somehow still alive? 

TAMARA:  I think she may be alive.   I mean, no one really saw.  They put a sheet over her and rolled her out.  You didn’t see her dead.  I mean, come on now.  Joey (James Lastovic, Ex-DAYS) can strangle, but I don’t know that he’s that strong.  Ava’s got some fire in her.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Such a great role!

TAMARA:  I have been really, really blessed to play very strong or pivotal or interesting, dynamic roles on daytime.  I have been very fortunate to do that, and I have been very fortunate to work with people who allow me to do my thing.  They don’t hamper it.  They say, “Go.  Go for it.”

I love your Instagram posts, and I love when you talk about social issues and things that are important to you.  Could you talk a little bit about how you’re using that platform to make a difference?

TAMARA:  I just like to post things that are important to me. There are a lot of people who are using social media for brand identity.  I’m glad that I don’t even know what that is.  I mean, maybe I should know.  (Laughs)  It probably would be better for me, but –

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You realize on Instagram; if you post a shirtless pic along with a quote from something unrelated and are a guy, or are a very sexy woman, you’re going to get millions of likes.

TAMARA:  Yeah, and that’s not my brand.  (Laughs) I guess if I had to say what my brand is; it would be “Truth. Real. Honest.”  You know, here’s the real deal from me.  I think it’s important to bring awareness to what’s going on that touches your heart.  I think that if you can shed light on issues in a positive way, to make people think, to make people feel; that is important.  I have always wanted to do good things in the world, and you can do that at any place and time in your life as a human being, but when you have a bit of a platform, I believe it is a responsibility to use that to share things of importance to the world for humanity.  We’re given this one life.  Whether you come back, or whatever you believe this is the one life we have, if we don’t do something good with it, what’s the point?   I think there’s too much, “Me, me, me, me, me.”  I mean, that’s what this business is, right?  But we need to step back, and we need to remember that there is a real world going on out there where people are dealing with issues, and we need to be kind.  That being said, I do post stuff of myself, and people want to see it, so I want to give them what makes them happy, but I think that as long as I’m doing that too, I think it also makes people happy to see things good going on in the world, bring light to issues that need light brought on them.  I really just feel that we need more kindness.  We need more positivity because right now is a really hard time in our world, in America especially. It’s important to be more generous and kind-spirited than what we’re so often seeing these days.

So, what have you thought about the way Kim handled telling Oscar of his cancer diagnosis?  Do you hope Kim continues to stay in Julian’s orbit, or would you want her to become involved with Drew?   What do you think will happen next in the story … will Oscar survive?  What has been your most favorite performance of Tamara Braun of all her soap roles through the years? Comment below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Hunter King Talks Summer’s Clash With Phyllis, Seducing Billy, ‘Life In Pieces’ & Being Newly Engaged

On The Young and the Restless viewers just watched the summer of …  Summer!  When the top-rated soap brought back two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Hunter King to the canvas, you knew it was going to be to stir up some major drama.  But, little did viewers know that Summer came back a vixen, ready to steal her mother’s man!

Last month, it became game on between mother and daughter after their epic showdown, where Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) got wind of Summer’s attempts to put the moves on Billy (Jason Thompson) and her plans to meet up with him in Philly! (And that spelled trouble for the couple known as “Philly” too)  Oh yes, and there was that well-deserved bitch-slap!  So, where will it all go from here?

Michael Fairman TV caught up with King where we discussed: Summer’s new attitude, if Summer will get her wish and have sex with Billy, her real-life engagement, and her upcoming return to the CBS sitcom Life in Pieces, and more. Check out what Hunter had to say below.

Summer is so pursuing Billy! When you came back to Y&R, did they tell you we need her to be really vampy and this seductress?  What has happened to her? (Laughs)

HUNTER:  Yes.  I understood where it was coming from, and I was excited to play the same character, but being able to play it totally different.  I get to sort of reinvent her.   I think when Summer went away she discovered herself, and kind of grew into Phyllis’ daughter … maybe.  But I will say, it has been very vampy, and you don’t even know yet what’s to come!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How is working with Jason Thompson?

HUNTER:   Working with Jason is great.  He is always so professional and prepared and always willing to collaborate on scenes.  Jason is just so creative, and so in it, and loves to work so much that he just exudes that the scenes.

Let’s just say when Summer and Billy “finally” hit the sheets … (Laughs)

HUNTER:   We don’t yet … we shall see.  The way this whole storyline unfolds you think it’s going one way and then there is a twist, and then twists on top of twists.  The more layers that come into play you start to understand why everything is happening the way it is.

Now, Summer had no idea that Billy had a gambling addiction, which put this whole spiral of his in motion?

HUNTER:  I guess not?  (Laughs)  It’s hard to know. I would say she evidently did not know about his gambling.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Viewers saw Phyllis slap her daughter in the face as the fight between them escalated; when Summer admitted she was going after her mother’s boyfriend!  How was it taping that scene, and working with Gina Tognoni?

HUNTER:  She’s amazing! Gina didn’t really slap me, but I will say afterwards they wanted to put red blush on my cheeks, and I said, “Oh, just pinch my cheek instead, and I wound up bruising my cheek.”  So Gina goes, “I really didn’t hit her!”  It was the funniest banter on set.  Gina was scary in those scenes, like a good scary.  I went, “Damn!”

On August 18th, you got engaged to your beau, Nico Svoboda.  Were you expecting him to propose when he did?

HUNTER:   I was so shocked, even though I had wanted it to happen, very much.  But, I had no idea when it was coming. It was amazing, and the best day of my life and, we are engaged!

Photo : HKingInstagram

And he got down on one knee for the proposal!

HUNTER:  Yes!  I thought it was sweet.  It’s something you dream about when you are a little girl.

What it is about Nico that makes him the guy for you?

HUNTER:  Besides the amazing qualities he has as a person – he’s compassionate, he’s caring, he’s driven, he’s loving, and just cares for others so much – I love the way that he loves me.  I have never felt so loved before, and so accepted, and he is very supportive of my career.

Courtesy/CBS

Are you excited to go back to your role as Clementine on the sitcom, Life in Pieces?  It is slated for a midseason premiere.

HUNTER:  I am super excited to be back.  We are back taping again   I am excited to do the sitcom and Y&R   As an actress, it’s so exciting to get to do different things:  a sitcom and soaps … why not?! (As noted in the press: King took a three-episode break from Y&R to film some episodes of the sitcom due to a scheduling conflict.)

Then speaking of “All in the Family,” it was just announced, your sister, Joey is coming onto Life in Pieces.

HUNTER:  Yes!  How crazy. She will be on for a few episodes, and it will be fun.  I think we will interact a little bit on the show, and we have never had the chance to work together before.

Photo: HKingInstagram

You and your sister have the funniest Instagram videos.  Do you plan those out?

HUNTER:  Joey is so funny.  It kind of just happens when we get together.  Sometimes we film something and sometimes we don’t.  But Joey is so much fun and my best friend. She is the funniest person in the entire world, and so it’s just easy to laugh when I am with her.

So, what did you think of the showdown between Summer and Phyllis?  Are you glad Phyllis slapped her daughter, or was it a mistake?  What do you think will happen next?  Will Summer ultimately sleep with Billy? Do you want Summer to end up with Kyle (Michael Mealor)? Will you be checking out Hunter on Life in Pieces? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

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Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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