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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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Bellamy
Guest
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… Read more »

Karen T
Guest
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
Guest
Timmm

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

Trish
Guest
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.… Read more »

Jolene beth Morgan
Guest
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’,… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

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

kuikui
Guest
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
Guest
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.… Read more »

Gabrielle
Guest
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… Read more »

Nanci
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Carolyn
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On Dina’s Death & How It Will Impact Jack, His Final Scenes With Marla Adams & Taping During COVID-19

The Abbott family is reeling from the death of their mother, Dina Mergeron, who passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last Friday’s episode; signaling the end of an era for Dina’s portrayer, Marla Adams.  In a pivotal and heart-breaking scene, Dina shares one last goodbye with her children: Traci (Beth Maitland), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and of course, Jack (Peter Bergman).

Today, the drama continues as the Abbott’s grieve Dina’s death and its aftermath while they remember the life of their flawed mother. This puts Jack at the epicenter of the family, and like it, or not, the new head of the clan.  What does the future hold for him now?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman, who has embodied Jack for over 30 years on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, to get his thoughts on: how Y&R needed to handle Dina’s death within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, what he felt about playing those final scenes with Marla Adams and the significance of the ‘teardrop of love’, and a preview of what fans can expect in the coming days as the impact of Dina’s death will be felt by the Abbott children and extended family.

 

An actor’s actor, you can always expect a conversation with Peter to be forthright, candid and enlightening, and this one was no different.  Here’s what one of the genre’s absolute best had to share about the significance of this story and more.

How has it been returning to Y&R during the pandemic?  I bet you never thought in all of your years in daytime, that you would be doing your scenes socially-distanced, sitting or standing, so far apart from your castmates.

Courtesy/CBD

PETER:  Just getting back to work felt great, loved that.  I wasn’t involved really in romantic scenes at this point, so that I didn’t have to do.  So, all in all, I was very happy to be back, and socially-distancing didn’t really bother me at all, and then Dina died.  Doing that from six feet away was just awful.  You saw the limits at a time where not any of us could be within six feet of each other; where you would usually hold a hand, stroke a brow, and talk softly.  So, I think the writers did what they needed to do to make it work for Dina’s exit.  We are in the middle of COVID, in case anybody forgot, and so you have to ask, ‘Does America really want to watch an elderly woman die in the middle of the Abbott living room or anywhere else?’  So, we had to have Dina’s exit without looking at a dead body, out of respect for the times we are living in.  We had to do a strong, powerful, pivotal scene with our hands tied behind our backs.

Courtesy/CBS

It’s so interesting that you say that because that’s how I felt watching it, knowing what it would have been like, if Jack, Ashley and Traci would have been with Dina at her bedside, up till the end, for instance.  But all of that said, Peter, I got so choked up in your last moments with Marla.  Jack is just sitting there and Dina is telling him how much she loved him and you’re doing the thing that only Peter Bergman can do as the tears well-up in your eyes.  As we have talked about previously, my mom died from complications from Alzheimer’s, so these are always tough types of scenes for me to watch.  I am sure it was also for those in the audience, who have lost a loved one to this disease, many of whom reached out to me on social media following its airing.

PETER:  It’s got to be tough for you to watch.  I get that.

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

Yes, so I felt for Jack and Dina in the moment as a son and his mother.  But what did you think about how the scene was written, and what Dina was saying to Jack and his sisters as her final goodbyes to her children and their reactions to it?

PETER:  As written, something in this necklace triggers something in Dina that brings her out of a stupor, brings her out of the murk, the fog for a brief instant to tell the people who she cares the most about that she loves them in slightly different ways.  I have, with everything in me, a struggle to always add in there, “I have a complicated relationship with my mother.”  I’ve added that line in there so many times over the years, you have no idea.  It was a complicated relationship because by the time she dies, there is no kind of straightening that out, there is no kind of Jack looking for answers. The depth of what Ashley is feeling, what Traci is feeling, what Jack is feeling, were kind of lost because of the way we had to do it. The writers had to do it, so I’m not blaming anyone, but because of the way we had to do it, there was no, “Wow, why isn’t Ashley crying?  Why is she just so stoic that this isn’t touching her at all?” because she can’t go there. Traci feeling like she found her place in the family simply by Dina saying, “You’re the beating heart of this family,” and Jack, who is doing the right thing, “She should leave peacefully, she should leave feeling loved, we should all be here, we should give her nothing but love,” damn, this is complicated.  You couldn’t have any of those things.  .  Hopefully, some of that slid in there and we wedged some of those complexities into it, but it was hard to write a complex scene with the situation as it was.  We needed to get it done it one day.  We did not need to drag this out.  Again, were it not COVID time, sure, let’s drag it out.  Let’s spend some time on this.  People die.  Let’s watch the family process a death.

Photo: CBS

I just think of what it all means for Jack moving forward.  Dina basically tells him, “You’re in charge of the family. Look after the family.” That’s kind of where it’s been going for Jack this whole time.  I don’t know if that’s what Jack wanted, but that’s where he is ending up.

PETER:  Right!  That’s where he ends up, and you know, this has been a long time coming.  Dad dies, and it is pretty clear that he’s got to step up, and his mom comes into town, and she’s not just his mother.  She’s Ashley’s mother; she’s Traci’s mother, we’ve got to look out for her and give her the dignity and things like that.  Now, there is just no getting around it.  Jack is the head of the family.  That’s the way it fell.  Twenty-five years ago, was Jack ready to be head of anything?  Absolutely not, but I think enough has happened to Jack now: enough heartache, enough growth, enough introspection, enough losing people, that Jack might just be ready for this job.

Courtesy/CBS

When Marla Adams came back to Y&R 2017, and they started telling the Alzheimer’s storyline, it brought up such abandonment issues for Jack and rightfully so, about how a mother could just leave her family and children,  Throughout all that,  you did such poignant work.

PETER:  I wanted that to be in there at the very end.  One of the powerful parts in this whole thing is that Jack wanted to scream at Dina every bit as much as he wanted to hug her.  That was there for quite a while, and Jack had to kind of come to terms with, “Hey, you’ve been leaning on this excuse for quite a time.  She’s here.  She can’t do you any harm.  She feels bad about what happened.  What do you want, Jack?”

Photo: CBS

One of the highlights of this storyline was when Y&R explored the history and relationship between the siblings, Jack, Ashley and Traci.  We saw their younger versions as the show flash-backed to when Dina left John and the Abbott family.

PETER:  Between the writers and Peter Bergman, we built this story that the night that Dina left, Dad was upstairs with the girls, they were weeping inconsolably, there was no fixing it, there was no telling them that everything was going to be all right.  He didn’t want to lie to them and say she will be right back, he told them, “She’s not coming back,” and he comes downstairs, and Jack is fourteen-years-old, and a little confused, but decided to say to his dad, “Hey, can I help?”  He looks across the room, and his dad is weeping, first time he had ever seen that.  His father is weeping, and he said, “Jack, you’re going to have to help me with the girls.  I can’t do all of this,” and it changed Jack’s life forever.  Jack was a parent to Ashley for a good part of their relationship.  So, all of this stuff with Jack’s identity, all of the fighting with Ashley, all of the Jabot madness is Ashley finally getting to say, “I don’t need a father!  You’re not my father.  Stop talking to me like you’re going to fix things for me!  I’m sick of it.”  All done by Dina … all truly caused by Dina.

Courtesy/CBD

In my interview with Marla, she told me that at the end of her last scene, you and many others came back to the set to pay tribute to her.

PETER:  We did.  The show had arranged it, and Tony Morina, the executive producer, stepped out on the soundstage with a microphone, and Marla sat on the sofa in the Abbott living room. Tony began telling a lovely, lovely story about how far back his relationship with her goes because Marla and Tony wife’s, Sally Sussman (Ex- head writer, Y&R), also had a long-standing relationship.  Tony was just so grand and gracious in saying that there are some people who, if they weren’t an actor, they’d be this or that or the other thing, but that Marla was born to be an actress.  That’s what she is, and it was so generous.  I think she got three and a half years that she didn’t expect to get out of this.  It was supposed to be a six-month storyline, and four years later, she was still there, and it was a good thing for her, and a unique story turn for the rest of us.  It really was.  It was a powerful thing, and now the Abbott family has a new shape.  There are three adults there: Ashley has established her independence, she is not around as much, she is back and forth between Paris, and Genoa City, Traci is trying to be as supportive and kind as she can be, but essentially, Jack is in the big house by himself.

Yep!  Well, now we’ve got to find Jack a good woman.

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

… Or a bad woman!  I’ll take him in a relationship with someone to stir things up.  I also hear coming up, there will be the reading of Dina’s will.  Is there anything you can tease about that?

PETER:  There is a will read, yes.  No one knows what to expect, and Dina … in the end… comes through for almost everybody…

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

PETER:  Yep… really comes through for almost everybody, and you know, the Abbott children are wealthier, and all three of them are alone, and in no small thanks to Dina for that.  These are three adults who have been very unlucky in love.  Of course, this is the next challenge.  I don’t mean to assume that I have any idea of what you went through in losing your mom, but there is a point at which you also have to let go and say, “Okay, now it is just me, and what do I want to do with this life?  I’ve used this as a reason not to move forward for a good while.  What am I going to do now?”  I think the next turn in the Jack Abbott story comes pretty organically.  Dina’s death frees Jack to be just as alone as he has ever been.

No matter what Jack does, including the bad things, you always see the inner-pain that is very palpable within him, as you have portrayed him.

PETER:  Yes, but he really has grown in the last 30 years.  Jack is hungry for more right now, and he couldn’t really be that way with Mom in the house.  He didn’t have time for that.  Now he has all of the time in the world.  So, we’ll see what he does with that.

Courtesy/CBD

I understand there is a funeral for Dina, but it will be off-camera?  I guess, because of COVID, it is better that way.

PETER:  That’s true and it’s off camera, that’s correct.  What’s important at most of these things isn’t what happens at the gravesite, it is what happens at the reception afterwards, and that is also a fun turn.  So, they all agree as a family they are going to do it at Society, and they kind of close the joint and make it their own little party, and someone shows up who isn’t expected, and it throws a really, really different vibe into the whole thing, and everybody has to adapt.  It’s actually fun, what it turns into.  It turns into a memory fest with crazy stories of Dina.

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite moment, or memory, of a scene you played with Marla?

PETER:  I think I had a day where Jack tried to get through to her and tell her, “Do you realize the damage you did?  Do you realize?” and she wasn’t able to take it in, and he went to Traci, and he said, “I want to shake her.  I want to yell at her… and I want to protect her.”  I thought there was something just so rich about that.  That was my favorite moment, my favorite part of it, when Jack finally said, “She’s going, man.  We’ve got to get this conversation done now.  We’ve got to talk this through,” and he was too late.   She was too far along with Alzheimer’s.  She wasn’t up to it.  She couldn’t do it.

Photo: JPI

And now here is Jack; and his parents are both gone.  There is no Jerry Douglas or Marla Adams on the show as both John and Dina have passed on within the history of The Young and the Restless.

PETER:  Again, you were generous enough to share your own personal experience, but isn’t it amazing?  Wow, you’re the grownup now.  Isn’t it amazing?  That’s what the Abbott’s are going through: just what you went through.  There is no older generation to turn to for anything.  We are the older generation.  It’s powerful stuff, and I’m really, really grateful for anytime that Ashley, Jack, and Traci are together talking about those things, talking about, “Wow, okay, that just happened… where do we go from here?”  It’s going to be really interesting.  If you asked me, “Over the last 30 years that you’ve played Jack Abbott, have there been many times where you’ve thought, ‘I’ve got no idea where this is going!’”  I would say, “Yeah, right now.”  I’ve got no idea where we are going with this.

Courtesy/CBS

There has been much speculation that the “teardrop of love” necklace will lead Jack to a new romance, or some new adventure in his life.  They spent a lot of time mentioning it in short order, that it would seem it’s not just to bring Dina some closure.  What are your thoughts on it?

PETER:  I think it has legs.  I think you’re going to hear about it again. There is something in there, and I don’t know if it’s the teardrop’s magic charm or that its history is not what it was, or it gets stolen.  I don’t know, but I think we have spent enough time saying ‘teardrop of love’, that there could be a story there.

In Dina’s final moments where Jack brings her the ‘teardrop of love’, wasn’t it symbolic to her because it was her acknowledgement of having her family back together and with her at all times? There is a back-story to that piece of jewelry as well.

PETER:  The point of the necklace is, “This was when I was truly happy, when I had this necklace, when it is all back together,” and maybe we are to know something more about the teardrop…?  I don’t know.  So, this was a gift to her before Jack was born.  She wore it home from the hospital when she brought him home, but we don’t know exactly what year she got it, and we don’t know exactly what year she lost it.  It was stolen, and it was on the black market for a while, and Victor (Eric Braeden) was looking into it.  It was clear that it was very important to Dina.  So, Jack, against his own wishes, said, “No, I’ve got to do the right thing.  I’ve got to try to trace this thing down.  It clearly means something to her.  Maybe she is trying to tell us something.  God only knows.”  So, he did the right thing, not because, “I want to make Mommy happy,” but because he forced himself to do the right thing, to find the damn necklace, and to see what this is about.  Then, we saw the affect it had when he gave it to her.

Photo: CBS

It’s always good to chat and check-in with you during these key and historical moments in the life of the character of Jack Abbott.  There have been many throughout your time on Y&R, and it will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

PETER:  It will be, and I’m telling you, this is a real moment.  Normally, we just go from one story into the next, into the next, and this one has been hanging for so long that, “Okay, now that it is over, wow, what is going to happen to Jack?”  I’m just as curious as everybody else.

So, what do you think will happen next for Jack?  Did you reach for the hankies in Peter’s final scenes with Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Marla Adams Talks Her Final Scenes As Dina Mergeron, The Alzheimer’s Storyline, and Her Touching Farewell

Today on The Young and the Restless marks the end of the enduring run of Marla Adams in the role of Dina Mergeron. In story, Dina passes away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a storyline that started four years ago when the CBS Daytime drama brought back the character and Adams; and one that has deeply affected many in the viewing audience who have also had their own personal experience of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease.

If you have not seen today’s episode yet, you may not want to read any further, but needless to say, make sure you have the hankies ready for Dina’s final moments with her children and how she leaves this earth, which will be remembered for quite some time to come.

Marla originated the role of the rich and spoiled Abbott matriarch back in 1983 and portrayed the role on and off for what amounts to five decades. Her classic scenes with Jerry Douglas (Ex-John), Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and so many more from the iconic soap, always made for great and complex stories.

 

With this her final airdate on Y&R, it also puts an exclamation point for Marla on an incredible daytime career having also appeared on: The Bold and the Beautiful. Capitol, Days of our Lives, Generations and The Secret Storm

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adams in this very special conversation where she shared with us how it was to play these heartbreaking last scenes, the importance of the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace to the story, how Y&R gave her the most overwhelming and beautiful send-off, and her ‘thank you’s’ to all of you, who have been her extended family and are sad to see her go. She is one-of-a-kind …and now, here’s Marla.

Photo: Getty

Marla, I am so glad we have the opportunity to chat in this full-circle moment as you have brought the character of Dina to a close.

MARLA:  It’s such a joy to talk to you.  It seems like yesterday and an eternity as well.   I thought of you so much, and I remember talking to you specifically with all of the different interviews over the years, when I was at the studio.  But I will always remember the interview you did with me and Beth Maitland (Traci), my darling soul sister, and you talked to me about your mother who has since passed on from Alzheimer’s.  I’ll never forget what you had to say all those months ago

Photo: HallmarkChannel

Yes, and when as audience members we watch these stories unfold with characters we have loved, or watched on our screens for years, and there is a death, we feel connected to them as well.  And in this case, as a child who has lost a parent to Alzheimer’s, like many in the audience, you ask yourself first, “Can I watch this?” It hits very close to home, but I’m sure when people watch today’s episode of Y&R and see Dina pass away, they will be extraordinarily moved.

MARLA:  Oh, my gosh.  Wait until you people see Friday’s show.  I know they will be moved.  They should be!  I’ve got friends who I’ve already said to, “Get your Kleenex box out.”  It’s so beautiful what happens at the end of the episode.

Courtesy/CBD

How did you feel about playing Dina’s final scenes?

MARLA:  It was wonderful because it showed her lifetime of sorrow and regret, and what was so wonderful was the fact that the hero of the whole thing is the kindness and respect that she really did have for her whole family.  They had the most beautiful sendoff for me.  They sent me a limo!  I went to the studio, and dear Patti Denney (Make-up artist, Y&R) was there, of course with all kinds of makeup and everything else, and she looked like she was entering the ER room for Covid-19, because of all the safety protocols we must have.  It was unbelievable, the kindness that was served to me.  After we finished taping my final scenes, I came back to the soundstage and they totally surprised me.  Dear Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) and Sally Sussman (Ex-head writer, Y&R) were there, and Tony spoke about me, and so did my Y&R extended family and on-screen children: Peter Bergman (Jack), and Beth Maitland, and Eileen Davidson, and much of it was put on tape (see excerpts in video below).  Afterwards, Tony gave me beautiful flowers.  I was driven back home after this, and I felt really special, and it was just amazing to me. I had written Josh Griffith (Current head-writer and co-executive producer, Y&R) a ‘thank you’ for writing the show with his wonderful people, but I never heard back, but when I walked in my apartment, the phone was ringing.  Guess who?  It’s Josh!  He said, “I waited until I knew you would be home to thank you,” and I felt so lovey-doved up, I couldn’t believe it.  I want to read something to you that I received in the wonderful flowers that came the next day from CBS Daytime executive Margot Wain and others.  The flowers were so big that they didn’t fit on the bar!  The card read: “Thank you for bringing the amazing force that is Abbott matriarch, Dina Mergeron to countless fans of The Young and the Restless.  Your vast contribution to Y&R and CBS for more than five decades is unparalleled.  We are forever grateful for all you’ve brought to Y&R as both a consummate professional and a cherished co-worker.  All our best wishes.”  I was just so touched by the sentiments.

Photo: CBS

I also want to share something with you.  When it was revealed in the promo that came out last week that this would be your last show, I received so many notifications on social media, saying, “Oh, my God!  We love Marla!  You have to interview her!”  You are loved by the Y&R fans.  I hope you know that!  They’re sad to see you go, because you’re a legacy character to them, and soap fans have deep connections to characters that have been on their favorite soaps for decades.

MARLA:  Five decades!  My God!  I’m eighty-freaking-two.  I can’t believe it.

Courtesy/CBS

In story, Jack was on a mission to get the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace back to Dina before she died, hoping that she would have one last moment of lucidity and would recall it and it would hopefully make her happy.   He moves heaven on earth to get it, and does, and brings it to her and viewers saw her reaction. 

MARLA:  The necklace had never been anywhere before in story except recently, but I said to myself that I would play it ‘quietly and graciously’, because it made for such a beautiful moment for Dina with her children.

Courtesy/CBS

For Dina, the necklace was a symbol of remaining connected to her family and her children, even when she was not with them all of those years.  In your final scenes, Dina had these moments to say goodbye to each of your children.  Do you remember looking at Eileen, Traci, and Peter taping those highly emotional beats?

MARLA:  Yes, they were so there for me.  They are an extended family that is so precious to me, and playing this iconic character has been, too.  I remember when Sally Sussman told me a few years ago, “ I’m going to bring you back on The Young and the Restless, but you’ve got Alzheimer’s,” and I said, ‘What!?  You’re bringing me back so you can kill me off?’ and she said, “Oh no, it’ll be about a year.”  That dissolved into four years, and now five decades had passed and I was still on Y&R.  I am beyond grateful.

Courtesy/CBD

As an actress, was it hard to play Dina’s final moments when she goes to the light to join her beloved, John?

MARLA:  It was heart-wrenching for me.  In the story, Dina died when she went outside and to the front door of the Abbott home.  They did not tell me before-hand, and that’s why it was so wonderful.  I hope they came in for a closeup of that because I had no makeup on, it was beautiful, and then, Dina said, “Oh, John.”  I’ve done everything from movies, to daytime, to nighttime, to Broadway, but that was the iconic moment for me, to do this gig with wonderful, wonderful actors and friends, and to do this particular storyline.

Photo: CBS

It was 1983 when you first appeared on Y&R.  And through the years, Dina did not do such great things! She had an affair with Brent Davis who was the biological father of Ashley that caused such a rift between mother and daughter for years.  She abandoned the Abbott children and walked out on them and her marriage to John, and that’s just for starters! Dina was a complicated character. Did you love the fact that she could be very selfish at times?

MARLA:  You think?  That’s why I loved her.  Of course!  I can be very selfish, too.  You have to be selfish if you’re an actor, good God. (Laughs).

Courtesy/CBS

It was great that The Young and the Restless brought you back four years ago so that through the telling of the Alzheimer’s storyline that Dina was able to somewhat repair her relationships with her children.  Obviously, over the last many months the audience could not witness the more day to day progression and toll the disease took on Dina and her family in its final stages, but unfortunately with the way COVID-19 has affected shooting daytime soap operas, and all of our lives, including safety protocols, I am sure plans had to be altered,

MARLA:  Of course.  As an actress, this was the most important role of my life, and to have her final moments spread out in one day really is because of all of the fans who have been writing in and wanting to see Dina again,

Photo: CBS

People were rooting for you to win the Daytime Emmy back in 2018 when you were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. That must be a nice moment to carry with you from playing Dina’s final storyline.

MARLA:  Yes, and I should have won!  Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) was furious. (Laughs)  He said, “What do you mean, darling, you should have won!  Goddammit!” He’s a wonderful man and a good friend.  He came to pick me up several times to go to the studio for my last few shows, and that’s the kind of mensch he is. So, I feel just so blessed and I feel great love and loss.  I would like Dina to come back as a ghost, but I have no idea, if that will happen or not. But if the fans would be interested in seeing Dina as a ghost … make sure to write in to the show and tell them!

Courtesy/CBS

Speaking of the fans that have followed you for decades on Y&R, what would you want to say to them now that Dina has passed on?

MARLA:  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all of the love, the support, and the chance to play Dina out… and I’m thankful that you cared, and loved her, up till the end.

So what did you think about Dina’s final moments on today’s Y&R? Will you miss Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first check out the special behind the scenes tribute for Marla, followed by The Michael Fairman Channel’s interview with Marla and Beth Maitland from Y&R’s 45th anniversary celebration referred to during the above conversation.

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Interviews

B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Talks Steffy’s Opioid Addiction Storyline, The Emotional Scenes & Adjustments Made Due To COVID-19

If you have been watching CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful over the last two weeks, you have witnessed the compelling and important storyline unfold with Steffy Forrester (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) at its epicenter.  In a harrowing tale of opioid addiction that can so easily happen to anyone given the circumstances, the daytime drama took on a social issue prevalent and rising in our society today.

This story gave Daytime Emmy-winner, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood another chance to shine in some of the most deeply affecting episodes and scenes in soaps of 2020.  In story, after Bill Spencer (Don Diamont) accidently hit Steffy with his car while she was on her motorcycle; she became hospitalized to treat her injuries. Once there, she met new love interest, Dr. Finnegan or as the show calls him “Finn” played by newcomer, Tanner Novlan. Finn prescribes pain medication for her. But before you know it, once Steffy is out of the hospital and back at home she struggles with the pain and the isolation of her life, and the losses she has experienced over the last many months, and before you know it, she is addicted, and no longer getting the pills from her doctor, but by any means possible.

Last week, we named Jacqui’s work the ‘Power Performance of the Week’, but we are also giving it to her again this week for her masterful performance on Tuesday’s episode, where Steffy breaks down after being confronted by Finn, Liam (Scott Clifton) and her father, Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) and finally coming to the stark realization that she is an addict.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood after all the key scenes had aired to: get the inside Intel on what went down taping those moments, and how the show made some important decisions amid the coronavirus pandemic about the telling of this storyline. Here is what Jacqui had to say about: her co-stars, herself, and what she learned about those who struggle with addiction.

Courtesy/CBS

How did you feel about being handed the ball to tell this important story, and how much were you told ahead of time?

JACQUELINE: Originally, I was told that we were going to tell this story, and that was before Covid-19.  So, it was literally the week before we went into lockdown, and we were about to dive into this story. Obviously, I am so grateful to be able to tell this story because traditionally The Bold and the Beautiful has a long list of social stories that we are known for telling.  It is something that that we need to talk about because it is happening, and it is happening everywhere.  Someone knows somebody – it is in our family, or our friends are dealing with this, and I didn’t realize how close to home it was for so many people.  I think that with our show, the way we balance drama, and romance, and real social issues that really touch people, is special.  I noticed that throughout this week with so many people reaching out to me.  People who are police officers, to people who actually work with people who are addicted, people who were addicted have reached out to me.  There have been a lot, but I’m very honored, again, to dive into this story.

A lot of fans and viewers remarked along the lines of “Wow, Steffy got addicted very fast,” because it felt like the story kind of accelerated itself, and some people are like, “Well, they just told it too fast.”  I wondered how you felt about that, knowing what you know about soap operas and research you may have done on addictions.

JACQUELINE:  I did some research on YouTube on opioid addiction from first-hand accounts of addicts and the effect on just them, but also on the grief it had caused their families. I originally had mistakenly thought, “It must take years to become addicted,” and I was very surprised by how quickly and easily one can be trapped in pain management, and many cases are heartbreaking.  You always think, with opioids, “Oh, this can’t happen to a lot of people,” but it’s not just, “Oh, the ‘crackhead’ down the street…”  It could be a mom, or these people who have a surgery, or an accident, and then they just get on these pills, and it happens so quickly.  Yes, the storyline happened extremely fast, but there is truth to it because addiction does happen very quickly in this world.  The other thing I have to say, I think what Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) did so elegantly, is that we were going to tell this story, and we were going to tell this story for a very long time.  I love that he was very perceptive to this – that we are in a dark time right now.  It’s a dark world, and I think that it is important, again, to shed some light on this, but we didn’t want to necessarily drag it on too long because it’s like, you watch every news outlet, and it’s depressing, and it’s depressing everywhere.  Before Covid-19, this story would have been a lot longer, and I think it was kind of realizing, “Let’s take it back.  But, let’s dive into this.” I think we were also being mindful of the viewers because we are shedding light on this, but also, opioid addiction had now skyrocketed through this pandemic, and this quarantine.  I think, again, it’s important to tell this story, but we didn’t want to be another show that is just so depressing right now during such a depressing time.

Photo: JPI

Right, so the story won’t be as elongated , but obviously, she will always have this addiction now, which is always great as a character, to delve back into, that Steffy will have in her physical and emotional make-up now.

JACQUELINE:  Absolutely.  She will always have that.  She will always have to be mindful of it.

What did you think about Dr. Finn in all of this?  Do you think that he should have caught on earlier that this was happening to Steffy?

JACQUELINE:  (Laughs) Yes, absolutely.  I think, Steffy was pretty good at hiding it from him, especially the last time when she invited him over, and she said she didn’t need the pills.  However, on Tuesday’s episode when there was that huge explosion, and he really got to see that visceral side of Steffy as defiant and angry, that was a lot for him to take in.  Tanner has been doing such an incredible job of diving into this and telling this story, but yeah, you wonder if Finn noticed, but again, I do think Steffy was pretty good at hiding it.

She was pretty slick, but when she got the pills from Vinny, I kept thinking, “What did he give her?”, because they seemed awfully strong, or laced obviously with another drug. 

JACQUELINE:  When Steffy got the pills from Vinny, that was the first thing I said, “Is this just opioids?” Now, she’s getting it off the street, and we just don’t know.  It’s laced with God-knows-what.  She has no idea because she’s not getting it from an actual doctor; she’s getting it from Vinny.

Courtesy/CBS

So, when Tanner came to the show, did you read screen-test with him?  What was your initial thought of him and Steffy finally having a potential new relationship?

JACQUELINE:  He is absolutely wonderful.  It’s funny because we have a lot of friends in common, and he is a fellow Canadian, and we bonded over that.  He originally screen-tested, I think, a few days before we went into lockdown.  So, who knew that we were not going to be able to work with each other for months and months and months, but he has been completely added to the group, and it is a different world that we are navigating, especially with how we are filming on set and the 8 feet apart rules, and you have these emotional scenes, and you feel like you just want to grab someone, and hold them, and cry.  I have so many fans going, “My God, I just wanted one of the characters to hold you!” and then you’re like, “COVID,” and nobody can really touch me, so…

Photo: JPI

Isn’t he kissing his wife though as your stand-in?  B&B alum, Kayla Ewell?

JACQUELINE: Yes, yes he is!  I just thought it was priceless that, how long have I been on the show, that Steffy has just been pining away for Liam for years, and years, and years, and finally gets the go-ahead, and she’s going to get a new love interest, and I’m like, “Woo-hoo!” and then, COVID happened, and I find out, “Your love interest is going to be a doll!”  So, he gets his wife, which is great.  My husband has been completely supportive, but my husband has not come in.  I don’t think it would work playing opposite him as Tanner, but his wife actually has a very similar look to me, which is great.  So, she’s been in a few times, which has been amazing!  I get the foam doll. (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

I was just thinking it’s so funny, too.  Steffy FINALLY gets a new man, but she is with a doll! 

JACQUELINE:  I know, I know.

Photo: JPI

What’s great about when you get to play these kinds of emotional levels in an addiction storyline … or anything that kind of flips the character’s mental state, is that you get to see the anguish.  You know, we’ve never seen Steffy discuss or really say anything about having Beth taken from her, whom she raised her as ‘Phoebe’, and then losing Liam to Hope, and this is kind of addressing her pain through this story arc, which I thought was really good, that it wasn’t just swept under the table.  The characters, the audience, and Steffy were realizing that she had emotional baggage and distress over those losses.  How did you feel when taping those scenes with the confrontation where she pulls out a switchblade on Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang), Ridge, Liam and Hope (Annika Noelle)? Those were great scenes. 

JACQUELINE:  Thank you, thank you.  We didn’t know how we were going to be able to do these scenes.

Because of the social distancing?

JACQUELINE:  Well, yeah, social distancing!  We did it in one take.  It was a long 10-12 page scene.

Photo: Gilles Toucas/Bell-Phillip Television

Well, the final 7 minutes of that episode were just a riveting; which included that knife scene, which in itself was gut-wrenching to watch, as I assume it must have been to play?

JACQUELINE:  It was a big scene, and it was a big, emotional week for all of us, obviously, and I couldn’t have done it without my cast.  They were so phenomenal as well.  We were trying to think, “How are we going to do this?”  Thorsten Kaye came up with this idea that Steffy should have a knife because Ridge would want to go to her and grab her, and the only thing that would maybe keep him away.  She is so angry, and she does have so much emotional baggage, and yes, she is in pain from her motorcycle accident, but I think that a lot of people saw in that phone call from Hope, where Hope said, “Oh, Kelly wants to spend another night,” that was that whole mental shift of, “Oh, my God, this is my worst fear.  It’s finally happening.  My daughter doesn’t want to stay here.  I am truly alone.  I don’t have anybody.”  Her life up to now has been about raising Kelly, and then that was that whole baggage unload – the pain of all of the years of what the Logans had done to the Forresters – it was just a domino effect. She obviously is not dealing with the pain in a pragmatic way.  I think Steffy was using the pills to mitigate her misery, physically and emotionally.

Courtesy/CBS

I think there were two turning points … after the switchblade incident, when she finally realized, “Oh, my God, what am I doing?  I’ve got this knife,” and she gets rid of it.  She does seem to have these moments (in that episode and the one that aired Tuesday) where she realizes, “Oh, my God, I’m messed up,” which were heartbreaking moments.  Do you remember playing that moment of, “Oh, my God, I’m an addict,” where Steffy admitted it out loud?

JACQUELINE:  Yeah!  It was extremely difficult.  I’m really good at being able to work on set and being able to leave it behind.  That’s the one thing that people will say to me, “What is it like off of set?  It must be so emotional for you!”  Once we say cut, I’m done.  I don’t mentally check out from the scenes, but I’m just able to let go because we just have so many episodes and so many emotional scenes, but I have to say this took a little while to shake.  I had to get into my car, and I was still emotional, and I had to put some good music on, and blare it, and drive home.  To know that these things are happening in the world and it is happening to so many people, it just breaks my heart, and I still get emotional about it.  It is gut-wrenching to know that this happens.  When I have those emotional scenes, (especially like that) I can’t fake it.  That’s just not who I am.  I can’t just fake cry to get through it.  Yeah, I’m an actor, but even though we film so quickly, even though it’s usually just one take, even though we are crying all day with all of these scenes, I really like to emotionally get there.  Obviously, over the years, I’ve learned to get there quicker, and I am really proud of myself for that, but what you see is what you get.  Those are real emotions.  I am just as present as I possibly can be in that scene and just listening to Ridge, and Liam, and Finn and just taking it all in – then Steffy realizes that she is addicted, just that moment of everything breaking down; her whole world was falling apart.  I think it was an important moment, but we were just really there for one another in that scene.

 

Scott Clifton, I just really want to say, throughout that week, had to play annoyingly holier-than-thou with you as Steffy.  People were annoyed with Liam.  He was the perfect annoyance to get her really pissed off!

JACQUELINE:  Yeah, I know!  It was actually funny at one point because so many fans were like, “Steffy was out of her mind!  She was clearly on drugs!”  I love the Steffy fans who were like, “Liam is so wrong!”  You could see how loyal the fans were.

Courtesy/CBS

They were!  It was great, but Liam was super annoying. That being said; did you watch back last Friday’s episode where after Steffy runs out, the camera pans to Scott, and Liam breaks down and cries?  So good. 

JACQUELINE:  Yep, yep.  I know, it was so good, and that was him!  That’s what I find so beautiful is that when you are in that scene, you don’t know what the reactions are going to be, and I know that was so true and authentic of Scott.  It was a genuine emotion that came out of him. I hadn’t seen him break down in a long time, but it was so unexpected, but I was glad to see it, really glad.

Photo: JPI

We haven’t seen Bill Spencer come to Steffy yet.  How does she feel about that?

JACQUELINE:  That’s a good question.  I don’t know how Steffy is going to feel about that.  I think, obviously before the addiction happened, she would blame him for hitting her on her motorcycle, but you never know, things could change coming up with Bill and Steffy.

Well, he will probably blame himself now for the addiction, I would think, because he hit her.

JACQUELINE:  I think so, too.  That’s one of the things he may be playing in those scenes.  So, we shall see.

Courtesy./CBS

Talk to me about Thorsten Kaye in those scene with you as the dad, because in the episode we saw Tuesday, there was a powerful moment when he just sat beside Steffy, but not holding her at the very end.  I thought that was a very nice touch given also Covid-19 protocols.  At that point they weren’t dragging Steffy out into a rehab facility.  We just watched him sitting there quietly while Steffy had this reckoning to herself. 

JACQUELINE:  I really liked it.  I liked that we had a lot of those chill moments of taking each other in. Thorsten and I get along so well.  We’ve just always had a bond, and I love working with him because in rehearsal, we do something one way, and then, again, when you’re filming, it’s always so unexpected, you don’t know what he is going to throw at you, which makes you be even more present.  It’s a tough scene.  I was feeding off of him and vice versa, and I’m sure he was putting himself in that situation of God-forbid if his daughters were in this situation, and you know, I’m looking at him in that father-daughter moment and seeing him become emotional for his daughter.  It just kills you, it really does, but it was a heartbreaking moment, but I like how we ended the scene: with something as very simple as sitting beside each other.

Courtesy/CBS

Your fans and the soap pundits are saying that obviously you have your Emmy reel for next year, it’s done.  It’s right there.  This may just make you a two-time Lead Actress Daytime Emmy winner.

JACQUELINE:  Aw, that’s so sweet.

It is great for you because you have an arc of a story there to tell, and we’ve talked about this before – an arc of a story for a submission in Emmy competition seems what many of the judges like to see and can understand because they watch the performer in scenes from the progression of a story.   

JACQUELINE:  Definitely, and it was nice to know that I was going to do this story and that we were going to tell this story, but once we came back months later, I didn’t know that we were still going to dive into opioid addiction with Steffy, because again, with our show, and with a lot of soaps, storylines change all of the time. I am very grateful for it.

 

So, what can we tease?  Will Steffy get Kelly back, or will she be estranged from her for a little bit?  What do you think?

JACQUELINE: I think that Steffy is a strong woman, and I think she will come back stronger than ever, and I think she will get her daughter.

Courtesy/CBS

You should be very, very proud of this work, Jacqui!

JACQUELINE:  Thank you.  I am.  During the week, when we had all of the dialogue to do, and it’s a different world now when you’re taking care of a toddler, and then with the Covid-19 protocols, and then you get the story, (and again, so grateful for it), but it was so much dialogue, and going back and forth, and making sure you’re bringing it emotionally, and it was extremely challenging, to say the least,  But, I am really proud of myself that come that Friday I was like, “Oh, my God, we did it.  We did it!”

What have you thought of Jacqueline’s performances in the opioid addiction storyline? Were you glad to hear the show decided not to drag out the story due to the times we are all in? Do you feel this storyline was powerful and could help those in need of help? Share your thoughts on the interview with Jacqui and more via the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

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

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Airdate: 10-08-2020

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