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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

Interviews

B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

Photo: JPI

Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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Y&R's Eric Braeden "40 Years As Victor Newman" Celebration (PHOTOS)

ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

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The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

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Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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General Hospital

Airdate:2-21-2020

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