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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 »

Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Newman Kids Talk 48th Anniversary, Storylines, Camaraderie, and Take the Trivia Challenge

On Friday, to celebrate the 48th anniversary of The Young and the Restless (which premiered back on March 26th,1973) Michael Fairman chatted virtually with the actors who comprise the adult Newman family children; Joshua Morrow (Nick), Amelia Heinle (Victoria), Mark Grossman (Adam), Hunter King (Summer) and Melissa Ordway (Abby).

During the conversation, on You Tube’s the Michael Fairman Channel, the actors discussed what it was like coming into the iconic Newman clan when they first debuted, behind-the-scenes moments and laughs they share working with each other, and what it has been like for them to share scenes with their iconic TV father, Eric Braeden (Victor) and for some of the kids, their on-screen mother, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki).

In addition, each touch upon their current Y&R storyline where:Nick is involved with Phyllis again, Adam is on to Chelsea, Victoria is trying to be in the woman in charge of the company and she finds herself boyfriend-less, Summer has her hands full with the arrival of Tara Locke and Sally Spectra who may all destroy her relationship with Kyle, and Abby wanting to have a baby via surrogacy with the sperm donor being Devon.

Later, Michael plays a round of “Stump the Newman” trivia where the actors are put to the test to see just who knows the history of the Newman clan best. Watch what happens when the mention of the notorious and ill-fated reliquary storyline is brought up!

Joshua, Amelia, Mark, Hunter, and Melissa also express what it has meant to them to be a part of the legacy of The Young and the Restless, and still later Joshua’s daughter, Charlie, even makes a special guest appearance.

Now watch the conversation in full with the Newman kids below. 

Then let us know, what was your favorite moment of the interview? How do you hope their current storylines resolve? What was your favorite and least favorite storyline of all-time for Nick, Victoria, Adam, Abby, and Summer? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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