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The Lauralee Bell and Doug Davidson Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

If you watched today’s highly emotional tribute and memorial service to Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless, you may have been caught by surprise, as were the actors who play Christine and Paul!  Of course, we are talking about Lauralee Bell (Christine) and Daytime Emmy winner Doug Davidson (Paul) who have kept the secret that during the memorial, Paul and Christine get married!  The shocking turn of events brings some happiness and hope to a rather heartbreaking day for Katherine’s loved ones, family, and friends who come together in Chancellor Park, the new set honoring the late Jeanne Cooper, to say goodbye to the Grand Dame of Genoa City.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Lauralee and Doug exclusively to get an inside look at what went down during the emotional taping of Katherine’s memorial, especially for these two who had such a deep and close bond to the legendary Jeanne Cooper.  Plus, we learn, what was their reaction when they learned that their characters would marry in the middle of the memorial?  Fitting, or, inappropriate?

For longtime fans of the number-one soap, Doug references throughout our chat the influences of Lauralee’s dad (Y&R creator Bill Bell) throughout this new storyline involving the letters Katherine left for the residents of Genoa City, that for many is a call to action, and for many a time to contemplate.  But for once in soaps, the good girl and the good guy finally get together.  What better way than to have their beloved friend and long time cast mate Jeanne Cooper looking over them from the heavens above onto the soundstage at CBS to watch the fictional union of two of her dearest friends in real life.  Here is what Lauralee and Doug have to share about the experience with all of you!

MICHAEL:

How was it for both of you to perform and participate in the memorial episodes for Katherine Chancellor knowing your deep personal relationship with Jeanne Cooper?

LAURALEE:

Courtesy/CBS

I don’t think Doug and I have ever cried so hard, honestly.

DOUG:

What happened was… the part that got me the first time was that during rehearsal Corbin Bernsen is up there as Father Todd, and where does the play stop and real life begin?  There are these big pictures of Jeanne around, and he started and he got caught up, and we were OK then, but then he goes to read this poem, and so much of the poem reminded me of Jeanne not really being away.  You could feel her presence in the studio.  She is such a powerful force.  Then having her son read this poem about herThen, suddenly Doug was getting more emotional than Paul should …

LAURALEE:

… Right, right!  We were all getting so emotional, especially our row.  If the camera were to have cut to us, it would have been an odd choice.  We could barely keep it together!  But there was one little segment apparently that Corbin said, “When I read it at home and was preparing to shoot the episode, I did not see this one sentence that said, ‘my blood lives within you,”’ or something to that effect.  It just choked him up immediately, because everything was, and is so real.

DOUG:

And, it’s so contagious.  It’s his mom, and you feel for him, and you feel for the loss of his mom, and our friend, and on so many levels, that you can’t anticipate how you are going to react with all of that coming at you.

LAURALEE;

Courtesy/CBS

It was a really hard day.

MICHAEL:

Were the two of your dreading taping the episodes, because of how close real life and art were this time?  Did you like the way the writers decided to deal with Katherine’s death?

DOUG:

What I liked is that Katherine is not off the canvas, and that is the bottom line, and that is why we were both thrilled how it was handled, because she is living beyond her departure through letters she gave to all of these cast members.  All of the letters are changing the lives of the people of Genoa City, and she is now still the topic of the show.

LAURALEE:

I had not really thought about if it would be difficult or not, because I felt like we had been through that.  But in some weird way, this was almost harder than Jeanne’s real memorial.

DOUG:

I think we were all eager to do it, because it was such a tribute to an iconic television character.  So, I think everybody involved in the story was honored to be there.  Our fans deserve a great tribute, and that she be honored in a fitting manor.  I guess if you are afraid of emotion, you have got the wrong job of being an actor on a soap opera.  From my perspective, it was a privilege to be able to honor her.  I don’t think anyone has been honored quite in this fashion: first a memorial for Jeanne, and now her character.

LAURALEE:

Courtesy/CBS

It all ended so nicely, too, because each cast member went up and singly had a sentence about her and for her as they put roses next to her ashes.  It was so well done.

DOUG:

Corbin brought some of Jeanne’s ashes to be in Katherine’s vessel.  It was very cool.

LAURALEE:

It was very intense.  And when you would look to your left and see the camera operators and the boom guys all choked up too, everyone on that set was involved.

DOUG:

There was no way out.

MICHAEL:

So, Paul is the last one to get a letter from beyond the grave that starts the turn of events at the memorial that sort of matches up with what Katherine said to Christine in her letter.

DOUG:

Paul is the last one to get a letter!

LAURALEE:

Christine’s letter said something to the affect of: “No one ever had on their tombstone, you put in great hours.  Take time to look at the sunset and take time to live your life, and if something is right there in front of you that you know it is meant to be, get it.  Don’t waste your life away.”  So the meaning was in there, and then Paul got his letter.

Courtesy/CBS

DOUG:

And Paul’s letter says, “What are you waiting for?  Marry her!”  That is all it said.

MICHAEL:

What happened to Nina (Tricia Cast) in all of this?  On Tuesday’s episode, Kay’s letter impacted her so much that she was ready to let go of Paul, and just in time!

DOUG:

Nina got a letter to forgive.  I must say since that story started, it has been more Bill Bell-esque in the style of the show, and character-driven with a heartbeat.  It has certainly felt more like Bill’s show since her passing, and that is due to the fact that Jeanne Cooper’s Katherine Chancellor is part of the original creation and concept of Y&R.  And, it’s carried through into all the other stories right now.

LAURALEE:

Plus, I hoped the fans loved all the flashbacks during the memorial.  It was great to hear Jess Walton (Jill) talk about how Jill and Katherine met.  And, how she was her manicurist, and that is something you forget.  Even as an actor on the show, to listen to everyone’s little vignette was. “Oh God. I forgot about that.  And Wow, there is such insane history.”  It was just all great!  So Paul says to Christine, “Will you marry me?”  It is a bizarre place, but at least we acknowledge it, like, “I don’t think we should crash Katherine’s funeral!” (Laughs)

DOUG:

But what was your reaction, Lauralee, when you heard about Paul and Christine getting married at Katherine’s memorial?

LAURALEE:

Personally, I did not believe it!

DOUG:

Courtesy/CBS

It was like, “What the heck?”

MICHAEL:

How did you first hear about the shocking fact that Christine and Paul would get married at Katherine’s Memorial?

DOUG:

I heard about it from the wardrobe department.  I was like, “Have they totally lost it?” (Laughs) And I have got to say when we got on the floor; it once again honored Kay and Jeanne.  It sort of all came together there … our emotions and our love for her.  It was about the things that stop us in life that maybe we would not have heard when she was here, but you hear loud and clear when she’s gone.  I will get messages from our viewers that they have so much more attachment to the veterans on the show since her passing.  And there again, they cherish what they lost, and are attaching to the people they have spent 25, 30 or 40 years with.

LAURALEE:

I went for a fitting for a wedding dress, and I was like, “Right?”

MICHAEL:

What did you think about how the marriage came about so quickly?

LAURALEE:

Well, Paul gets down on knee!  And … with Reverend Corbin looking on!  (Laughs)

DOUG:

Courtesy/CBS

Then Jill says, “This will be perfect!”

LAURALEE:

And Christine says, “I don’t think this is appropriate.  It steals focus.”

DOUG:

It makes it so right that it will honor her, in that we are starting a new life together and honoring a life that just past – so it’s a death and birth at the same time.

LAURALEE:

And there were instructions from Katherine, that this should not be a sad occasion but a party, and all of that.  So it did work.

MICHAEL:

You must have been concerned that this would come off as a bit odd?

DOUG:

In the beginning, yes … but then also what came into this was Lauralee’s relationship with Jeanne, and my relationship with Jeanne, and suddenly we looked at each other and we have our own history together.  So, then it becomes about Doug’s working relationship with Lauralee, and Lauralee’s with Doug’s, and suddenly your realize, all of our adult life has been spent in this environment.  Corbin pointed out that over half of Jeanne’s life was spent on Y&R, and suddenly we could all relate to the fact that what Bill and Lee Bell created lives on.  After the taping of the memorial was all done, Corbin personally challenged all of us in keeping the show alive and working as hard as we can.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

LAURALEE:

He challenged us to take this and take it to the next level, and never give up.  Even when you worked with Jeanne, she would force you to work harder to make it a better scene.

DOUG:

At 84!  She would show up, ready to go.  It was amazing.

MICHAEL:

And where do you think things were between Christine and Paul before the letters arrived?  Were they in a good place where Katherine’s influence would have sparked this to happen so quickly?

LAURALEE:

All Christine says to Paul is, “I know you are a little disappointed that you didn’t get a letter.”   She has been away and she shows up and Paul says, “Do you want to just pass on the memorial?”   Christine says, “No, after getting this letter, I feel closer to Katherine.  And, I am sorry you did not get a letter.”   Paul just sloughs it off and says, “I will just share yours.”   But you can tell he is very sad he does not have a letter.  But it was pretty immediate, and probably better that way, because if there was too much thought about it, it would not have worked.  The whole thing had to be spontaneous.

DOUG:

I am delivered the letter towards the end of the memorial service, and I go off to a private area to read it. 

MICHAEL:

So all this time Christine and Paul loved each other from afar?  Lauralee has not been on the show as much recently.

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Well, she moved back from Washington to be with Paul.  I work a bunch more in the beginning of September, so I think things will become clearer.

DOUG:

I understand there were production reasons why Lauralee could not come earlier, and then for Lauralee she had family plans during the summer.

LAURALEE:

I don’t know if I will be on more. I hope so.  I am auditioning and doing my web series, and when I get the call to come back to Y&R, I am happy to go.  It is all good.

MICHAEL:

Nina seemed happy she got her letter, so she was satisfied to let bygones be bygones.  She even was Christine’s maid of honor! But what about Danny (Michael Damian), who Christine has a romantic past with?  He did not look to happy about this union!

LAURALEE:

Nina was happy because she got a letter from Katherine.  She was happy to be acknowledged, same with Danny who said something like, “I’ve moved on.  I don’t care.”  It was pretty funny. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you think Christine and Paul ever stopped loving each other?

DOUG:

I don’t think they ever stopped.  I think they were driven apart by Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and Isabella (Eva Longoria) and if not for that, I think they would have made it over the separation.  But having the two forces; Michael on Chris and Isabella on Paul, it drove a wedge between them when Chris was working in Hong Kong. Upon her return, I don’t think they stopped loving each other.  I think it was all still there.  I think they became jealous, and because of it, it shrouded their love, but if you recall none of that happened naturally.  It was all forced upon.

LAURALEE:

Courtesy/CBS

Paul’s competition really is Christine’s job.  That is her problem.  She has to figure out what she needs more … a career, or a life.  But at this point in life, as people get older this marriage has a better chance of working, because it’s a different stage in your life, and you do realize that life does not go on forever and you re-prioritize.  I think that other than the circumstances of Katherine’s wedding, it was an emotional ceremony, and that they are on now on a very adult level with each other in a different way.

DOUG:

The fact that they have such a strong foundation and relationship beyond husband and wife, is the reason it’s probably going to last forever.  And, I mean forever as anything is on a soap opera. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you think Jeanne would love the fact that Paul and Christine got hitched on the memorial episodes dedicated to the legacy of her character, Katherine Chancellor?

DOUG:

I think you go one step further, too; it was a pairing that was incredibly important to Bill as well.  And for me, it was quite an honor that he picked my character to marry the character his daughter plays.  If you know anything about Bill, he would never do anything like that lightly.  That in itself is an honor, but Jeanne being connected to that goes above and beyond.  There is a video clip of where she is talking to me about Chris that was 20 years ago.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Lauralee, do you think Dad would be proud of this story?

LAURALEE:

I think so.  The history is there.  It defines itself, and the audience knows what we are thinking without speaking, and it’s characters that our so embedded in the show.

DOUG:

We could not have done this without Bill Bell.  This goes so deep into the core and the heart of the entire show, that it’s all him.

LAURALEE:

Friends who never watched the show asked me, “Oh, you’re getting married again?”  Then they asked, “Well, what number is this for you?”  And I said, “Surprisingly, it’s only the second man I have married on Y&R.”   Again, this relationship was not so all over the place, where Paul was with this person, and that person, and Christine was with half the cast.  These two have such a special bond that when you see one; you expect to see the other.

DOUG:

I hesitate to use the word “old-fashioned”, but it was the hero and the heroine, and Bill Bell was very protective of both our characters, and what we got involved it.  I know from my perspective, Bill would never have Paul shoot anybody.  He wouldn’t even let me point a gun.  That is how pure that was…

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

… Or, let you solve a case! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Well, while Paul could never solve a case, Christine could!  She never lost a case in court! (Laughs)

LAURALEE:

When I went to The Bold and the Beautiful Ronn Moss (Ex-Ridge) said, “You’re my attorney?”  And I said, “You’re gonna win!”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do either of you have a favorite moment, or scene with Jeanne?

LAURALEE:

Well, I wouldn’t even know how to describe what we were talking about, but a few years ago, I think I came back for a couple of months.  I had a scene with Jeanne where I am assuming I was talking about Paul.  I bawled in the scene to her, and it didn’t ask for tears.  But in my brain, I had this thing like, “Oh, my God.  I bet I am never going to work with her again.”   Little did I know that she would live two years longer.  But it was so intense for me.  She did not say very much, but all I had to do was look at her, and it was sort of like the trust factor I have with Doug.  It was such a wonderful day for me. There was no panic about how am I going to say this big monologue with this person, and hope that it comes out right.  All I had to do was just look at her.  I don’t know if you can call it a favorite scene, but it was so beyond comfort in terms of working with someone, it was just such a gift that day.

DOUG:

Paul and Kay had a professional relationship, and it was not nearly as deep as Doug and Jeanne.  I have pictures of me in a scene with her, and she always made me laugh.  I would solve crimes, or loved ones for Katherine.  So that made my job kind of difficult. Paul would be sad, but not so heartbroken, that you can’t talk.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS Photo Credit: JPI

So Christine got this makeshift wedding, and wore what she had on for the memorial as her “wedding dress”!

LAURALEE:

Yes.  All the girls give me something borrowed, something blue and there is a makeshift bouquet! (Laughs)

DOUG:

Katherine did not want people wearing black, so no tears, no mourning.  So that colored the palette of what we were all wearing.  It was not a maudlin ceremony, and it took place in a place that never existed before.  So for the near future, this park is named after Katherine Chancellor, and we have scenes there with her plaque on the wall.  We honor her every time the park is up.  That is what I mean she is not off the canvas, and she will never be.  She will live on in the hearts of viewers, and all the people that had a personal relationship with her that remain on the show.

 

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mary jonas
mary jonas

Thank you for this. It was a really nice ending to #rememberKay. I like how it has a deeper meaning because Doug and Lauralee seem so close with Jeanne Cooper. Something sweet.

Dinah
Dinah

The only I dislike about today show, sorry this was should be only about Mrs C, besides they are very boring couple every been on YR

Dinah
Dinah

ever not every sorry

Chris
Chris

I love these actors and the characters they portray! I especially love Jeanne Cooper and Mrs. C. The tribute had some beautiful moments but the wedding was weird and upstaged why we all tuned in. Personally I thought it was in poor taste. I was emotionally involved the first half and then reminded that people who don’t get this show are running it.

JG and JFP don’t seem to know how to write/produce moments and just let that moment have its place in time. There is nothing deep in how they tell story.

Overall the episodes will remain with me because of the fact that we really did lose a loved member of the cast. That’s why these episodes worked.

Jules
Jules

I completely agree with your observation about the wedding. That wedding was entirely unnecessary in this particular episode. It was rushed, meaningless, no depth or poignancy and COMPLETELY took away from the otherwise lovely tribute they were giving to Katherine and Jeanne. Frankly, I would think JC would have been APPALLED that the show would try and upstage, or at the very least compete, with a tribute dedicated to her…in her humorous way of course, but you just know there would be truth behind her displeasure.

And moreover, it didn’t do anything for the characters of Paul and Christine either. I haven’t been watching long, but I do know the couple has been off and on for decades. This insta-wedding did such a disservice to their fans who have waited for years for them to find their way back to one another and get the wedding they deserve.

The episode was a mess and completely disjointed, and it’s a real shame not only because of what it was supposed to be about (which in and of itself is a damn shame), but also because it so easily didn’t have to be this way. I think Josh Griffin THOUGHT he was giving everyone what they wanted, and JFP THOUGHT she was creating her Emmy winning episode- balancing the sad and happy emotions, “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that”- but the final product was just a disaster. What started off as a really strong, sentimental and touching episode dedicated to the memory of one of the most legendary and enduring daytime divas of all time, was reduced to a pitiful, uninspired wedding after switching gears on a 180 degree turn at the next commercial break. RI-DIC-U-LOUS.

Jewell
Jewell

At least Nick and Avery decided to wait.. Paul and Christine only got married because of what Katherine said in that letter.. Also I learned Michael broke up their marriage last time, so Paul asks him to be his best man? Come on..

Mary SF
Mary SF

I watched the memorial shows and I never cried, got a bit misty eye at a few spots, but it was all done like I expected The clips were clips I had seen many times, but I enjoyed them. Maybe fatigue made me feel numb all through it;even the ghost at the end was a sweet, but lack the emotional punch of Edward and Lily’s ghosts going up the staircase did on GH. So here I thought nothing about it was going get me to cry– and then you tell me that Corbin placed some of Jeanne’s ashes in Katherine’s urn– now I am blubbering like a baby– thanks for giving me a real moment to say goodbye to great actress and character.

yogabba
yogabba

Lovin the good use of vets! sweet moments for a longtime couple. me likes. They need Isabella back now to go crazy on em!

Cupcake
Cupcake

Awesome soap I’ve been watching for 40 yrs and will really miss Catherine.

Judy
Judy

Great interview! I loved the wedding and certainly hope we do see more of Christine going forward!

Carole
Carole

Was very disappointed but not surprised that Christine would be suddenly brought into the story line and made the star of the show. The boss’s daughter has always been given the best storylines, clothes, close up shots, etc. Todays episode just proves it and was disrespectful of Jeanne Cooper and all the fans.

yogabba
yogabba

thats a stretch. she hasn’t been on much at all in recent years and suddenly she was ‘made the star’. i think it was just supposed to be cute.

lisa
lisa

It was a surprise – but I liked it.
In keeping with Katherine’s spirit ,I think she would have liked it too.
In death,life goes on.
I was very moved to see Jeanne’s real life son Corbin (Father Todd) performing the service – as he is cast as Paul’s brother on the show – I do hope he will make future visits.
It was a good episode.

Tom
Tom

At first I didn’t understand this storyline choice, but I always loved Paul and Cricket as a couple so I went with it. I haven’t agreed over the past few weeks with every story beat in the wake of Katherine’s passing, but take these memorial episodes as they were: we got a chance to see the show’s veterans in one last hurrah. With far too much of the past year–and years, for that matter–showing Genoa City awash in boring new faces, it was nice to just see the vets and legacy characters as well. We can’t predict what the future will hold, especially in the wake of the JFP/JG falling out, but I appreciate that I got to see a whole bunch of Bill Bell characters gathered together.

Joan
Joan

I know every one is entitled to their own opinion. Paul and Christine have always been a good match. I’m not surprised that they find their way back into each others arms.

Jewell
Jewell

The memorial was beautiful, when they shown the hologram of Jeanne Cooper at the end I lost it.. IMO the wedding didn’t belong at the wedding.. I would love to see Danny come back and fight for Cricket you can see that he still loves her.

k/kay
k/kay

Jeanne Cooper would have loved it Doug & Lauralee she loved hey it was her Dad’s creation you are suppose to love your children, don’t worry it is downhill all the way now The Steve Burton show. JFP you are welcome to it you and the golden boy deserve each other. I just pray that if Y&R goes first and he is out of work RC &FV tell him to kiss off.

Deborah
Deborah

BRAVO! Wonderful article. FAN-DAM-TASTIC Memorial. We ALL Wept like “the Family we are”….Hope the Chancellor Estate has a new portrait hanging over the mantle for the rest of time! Want to see the Duchess of Daytime Every time theyre is someoen in the living room! She will NEVER be forgotten … she’s “just in the next room.” The wedding was bizzare, but it was alright for this life-long fan. Jeanne would be as happy as Katherine that the wedding took place there. So thrilled to learn that she was present in the urn as well. Such a WONDER, REMARKABLE, UNIQUE EVENT and I am soooo proud and happy to have been able to virtually participate in paying my respects through my “attendance.” No other television star, has EVER been honored in such a way, by Millions of sincerely loyal fans. Just amazing, and soooo deserved. Great Lady!

PatF
PatF

It was a bit odd, but I do like that Josh G, who wrote it, was really doing so to keep all the veteran characters involved.

I’m suspecting that’s one of the reasons he was having creative differences with Ms Phelps, because she seems to want to get the show AWAY from our loved characters.

The entire two episodes really were pretty good and honored Kay’s and Jeanne memory. I love the park idea, but it better NOT replace the classic Mansion we want to continue to see.

I hope these new writers, who have no idea of the history of the show are able to continue the show with these characters we love.

Joy Mathys
Joy Mathys

Paul and Chris were my favorite couple when I started watching the show, years ago… and they still are. I loved these two episodes, I love Chancellor Park and I loved the wedding.

H Parson
H Parson

I love both of these characters, but I felt their wedding hijacked what should have been a second episode of our other characters strolling down memory lane.

And I think the park that was named in Katherine’s honour looked fake.

The new sets do not have the warmth of character Y&R sets have had in the past. In particular – the new ranch set is a disgrace. It’s so tacky and cheap looking.

Dee
Dee

I loved the dedication to Jeanne Cooper; glad to see Paul & Christine married and that Michael was best man(CLB is my fav actor) their friendship has grown as has their respect for each other. I think Josh did a great job and was sorry to see him go as I do not trust JFP to keep our beloved characters of the past front and Center..I have loved the fact that Christian LeBlanc Tracey Bregman and Doug Davidson have had more screen time since Josh took over..Now am waiting with bated breath to see how JFP and her cronies handle it. If they mess up me and my 7 friends who Josh got back to watching will all but quit as we almost did under MAB I only watched when CLB TEB and DD were on and you all know how seldom it was under MAB ..I was disappointed to see Josh G. go..lets hope the new writers are worthy of writing Y and R as it is supposed to be written.

Karen
Karen

I thought Katherine’s memorial was perfect. It had me in tears one minute and laughing along with everyone else the next. It must have been so hard for Corbin though. I don’t know how he got through it, but it couldn’t have been more appropriate. I was so happy to see some characters back for her memorial, but missed many others. As for the wedding – I loved it! It was a perfect way to end her memorial. And I have waited FOREVER for Paul and Christine to re-marry. Katherine would have been so happy. Will miss her always.

Agnes McKamey
Agnes McKamey

I wanted to find a copy of the poem that Father Todd read for Katherine. Please let me know since it was beautiful. The memorial service was outstanding and very fitting for a grand duchess!

Andrea
Andrea

If you find a copy of the poem read or even the name and author please e-mail me with the info.

Thanks

ellen
ellen

I’ve been searching for this too as I have an upcoming memorial that this would be perfect for. Thank you

Beacon
Beacon

Bill Bell knew that Cricket belonged with Danny. They were the love story of Y&R in the 80s. If Bill hadn’t have retired, Cricket and Danny would have found their way back together. There’s an episode from December 1995 I have where Danny is visiting Katherine and she tells him that Paul and Christine can’t last because Cricket’s heart is with Danny.

Daphne
Daphne

Actually, Bill Bell idolized Paul and Christine. Bill Bell was also the one who wrote the Danny character off in 1998 and put Paul and Christine back together to work on their marriage. Bill Bell only had the Danny character chasing after Christine while Danny always end up on the losing side.

Michelle
Michelle

Cricket better not hurt Paul. I feel that she is still in love with Danny and Nina still loves Paul!

lisette
lisette

PLEASE TELL ME WHERE I CAN HAVE THE POEM FOR MEMORIAL OF CHANCELLOR OF YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

David
David

In the “you can never please everyone” category I personally thought this week was the best week in YEARS! The day Bill Bell retired was the day the show floundered. Kay Alden did a good job trying to maintain, but after she left so did the heart of Y&R! Stories sped up, didn’t make sense, and bad stories/characters interwove into the heart of the show.

No matter what I think of the show prior to this week JG and JFP did an AMAZING job. Every character that touched Mrs. C was a part of the show. Loved the Chancellor Park. Loved the slow build up of Chris & Paul then their wedding at her memorial service, and LOVED Jill’s speech. I lost it when Father Todd came up in the beginning and at the end. I dunno if it helped Corbin or dug deeper, but everything about this week FINALLY made sense.

Contrary to what people say this memorial will move story forward. Paul & Christine’s wedding (Loved when Jill called her Cricket). Nina forgiving Paul. Cane rushing up to Jill NOT Billy. Victor NOT learning the meaning of life lol I loved this. If they want to win the Emmy for best writing they need to submit this week’s episodes. The ghost of Mrs. C shocked me. I don’t watch GH so I never seen this done. I loved it.

I still want Wendy Riche and Claire Labine as Executive Producer and Headwriter respectively, but if the new writing regime can build off the momentum JG wrote I’ll be ok with that.

jaybird369
jaybird369

OMG!!!!! Leave it up to BOTH Josh Griffith and (especially!!!!!) Jill Farren Phelps to ruin Katherine’s memorial service on Y and R!!!!! That so-called (and forced) impromptu wedding of Paul and Christine was beyond ridiculous. What in the hell were JG and JFP each thinking????? Also, Danny didn’t look too happy as Paul and Christine were renewing their wedding vows. And, as for Nina (my all-time FAVORITE Y and R character…HOLLA!!!!!) being Christine’s maid of honor at the last minute…blah blah blah blah. If I were Nina, I would have left before those annoying and force-fed nitwit nuptials. But, that’s just me. Now that Paul and Christine are re-hitched (yawn), I think that Danny and Nina should hook up…that would truly ROCK!!!!! As for Jill Farren Phelps…STUPID WOMAN!!!!! And the DECLINE of Y and R continues……….

Betsy Dobrick
Betsy Dobrick

Thank you, loved the two-day tribute to one of my favorite stars. I am sorry for her family including the Y&R family. I liked the wedding as it finished off the “party” in a sweet way that was just fine. I loved the park dedication. I will miss her and the reunion was touching. Lots of loose ends tied up and look forward to the life and loves of the characters. She was very special.

Dave
Dave

I felt like Beau Kazer (Brock) should have had a lot more to say about his on-screen mother at the memorial. I felt a bit ripped-off that he was brought back after all this time and the writers had barely written a word for him to speak.

ellen
ellen

Please give the name of the poem read by Corbin (Father Tom) during the Memorial.
I Corintians…which verse was read?

beth ryker
beth ryker

I love Jeanne cooper (mrs.c) and miss her ever day.she was one great lady.she was ever one friend,mom and grandmother.i feel like I loss my mom all over again!!!

Jasmine
Jasmine

I enjoyed the tribute to Jeanne Cooper. I cried when Father Todd first came up, read the poem, married his brother to Christine and when he left. I was leasnantly surprised by the wedding of two of my all time faves. Also, loved Christine’s very pretty blue dress. I hope the marriage will be long and happy. I do hope their will be a complication if Dylan is Nikki’s son, I hope Paul is the biological father.

laryssa troniak
laryssa troniak

is doug Davidson leaving Y and R

General Hospital

GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stacy Haiduk and Eric Martsolf Talk Kristen & Brady’s Twisted Relationship : The Mask, The Deception, The Sex

Last week on Days of our Lives, Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) was able to get the man she craves in between the sheets.  So, just how did that happen when Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) had no idea she was alive?  Well … he still doesn’t, really.  You see, Kristen returned to Salem disguised as another ex flame of Brady’s, Nicole Walker (who everyone believed died in the warehouse explosion).  And Kristen has been parading around town donning an incredible likeness of Nicole’s face – via a prosthetic mask – and some other tricks to sound and look just like her!

Kristen’s goal is to infiltrate Salem, remind Brady of the love and passion they shared, take over DiMera Enterprises, and who knows what else!  And everyone who stands in her way, better watch out as we have seen! We are speaking to you (the late) Ted, and (once kidnapped) Kate, et al.

Fans of the NBC daytime drama series have followed the tortured relationship between Kristen and Brady for years and through many plots; Kristen was first played and brought to life by Eileen Davidson, and for well over a year now by Stacy Haiduk.  Not only has Haiduk reprised the role of a frustrated, vengeful Kristen, she is also playing at times multiple roles: the wacky and often misunderstood, Susan Banks, Kristen playing Susan, or Kristen pretending to be Sister Mary Moira.

As for Daytime Emmy winner, Eric Martsolf, this latest story arc puts him front and center as viewers watch to see if what Brady senses, and the clues, and the feelings he is having, bring him to the conclusion that he has been duped by Kristen, and that her horrendous scheme – pretending to be Nicole (Arianne Zucker), and dumping Nicole’s longtime love Eric (Greg Vaughan) to be with him have a result that is unexpected or catastrophic!

Michael Fairman TV sat down with Stacy and Eric for this conversation about: all the plot twists, and playing the drama and the humor of the situations they find themselves in as actors in a wild story that only head writer Ron Carlivati could pen and keep the audience on the edge of their seats in the process. Check out this oh-so-fun, direct, and enlightening chat with two of DAYS most shining stars.

Photo: JPI

Eric, what has it been like working in this part of your storyline; where there’s the character of Kristen in its many forms: Arianne Zucker playing “Nicole” (but it’s really Kristen), Kristen as Susan, and the real Kristen, etc?

ERIC:  It’s been a nightmare Michael.  (Laughs)  I don’t know who I’m sleeping with anymore.  I’m at the point where I go home at night, and I just tug on my wife’s cheek just to make sure that she is not my ex-girlfriend from high school.

When you first heard of this storyline, and that it was going to facilitate how Arianne was going to come back to the show… and that it was supposed to be Kristen in a Nicole Walker prosthetic mask with a voice alternator, what went through your mind?

ERIC:  I think in the back of Ron’s Carlivati’s (head writer, DAYS) mind, he was thinking to himself, “This dude started his soap career on Passions, he’s okay with this kind of thing,” and honestly, nothing surprises me anymore.  When you’re thrown into that supernatural, crazy reality, doesn’t-live-here sort of atmosphere for you first soap gig, you don’t sweat a mask and a voice modulator.  That’s just par for the course.  My biggest problem was the body thing … that Brady is not able to distinguish one body from the other, because I would as Eric.  My God, I know every inch of my wife’s body.  So, it’s difficult to get my head around that, but at the same time, I’m going with the whole “love is blind” thing here. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

(Laughs) I was going just going to say that Brady would absolutely know Kristen’s body from how passionate their relationship has been in the past, as well, he would Nicole’s body from his relationship with her.

ERIC:  Since Kristen did finally just succeed – let’s use the word in “seducing” him, and using her wonderful feminine wiles as only Kristen has to get Brady in to bed, there was also another twist.  What plays after that is that he notices the tattoo that’s been removed, and she plays it off as scarring from the fire.  What’s going through his mind as he is making love to Nicole is a “Kristen train”.  He can’t get Kristen out of his mind, and the guilt that he feels about that is horrendous.

Right! Brady is thinking: “Why am I feeling this when I am supposed to be with Nicole!?”

ERIC:  Right!  Brady has been waiting for a relationship for God knows how many years now – at least a successful one.  He is so eager to have this work, even though he has been concerned about how Eric (Greg Vaughan) would feel about this.  In Brady’s mind, Eric is done with Nicole.  He’s good.  He loves Sarah (Linsey Godfrey).  This is fair game.  Brady and Nicole have always been close … they’ve been close before … so, for him, it’s, why not give it a fair try?   However, he finds himself now thinking about another woman the whole time.  That’s rough.

Courtesy/NBC

Do you think in the back of his mind, that this whole time, he possibly knew that “Nicole” was Kristen?

ERIC:  Well, you just have to wait.  There will be a reveal eventually, obviously, but until then, let the games play on.

So, once Brady and “Nicole” have sex, he keeps thinking about Kristen?

ERIC:  Constantly!  She just plagues his mind.  I think he’s realizing that his affection for Kristen is anything but dead and is very alive, and I think this is Kristen’s master plan from the very beginning.  She knows that she pervades his soul, and once she does reveal herself, I would guess he would probably be surprised, maybe a little angry, but in the end … you can’t deny what your heart and your body wants, right?

One of my favorite recent scenes had Brady half-naked and Kristen as Susan getting into his room, because she was looking for the MIA Nicole mask she so desperately needed.  She finds herself gawking and lusting after Brady under her disguise, and he tries to remove himself from the situation and says, “Susan, I’m going to get in the shower…”

ERIC:  Yeah! And, “It’s not going to happen, baby.”

What was that like doing that scene?

STACY:  I loved it!  I thought Eric was brilliant in it.  I watched it, and I thought, “Oh, my God!”  (Laughs) It is one of my all-time favorite scenes.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  Kristen is a tiger.

STACY:  She is a tiger.  She’s got a goal, and she is going to go after that.  She has obstacles that are going to come in-between her goal, but she will go after whatever she wants.

When Stacy comes in to Brady’s room as Susan, were you not laughing?

ERIC: No!  I thought she was hot. (Laughs)

STACY:  He did … he loved it.  You liked me, didn’t you baby? (Laughs)

ERIC:  I don’t think anybody can deny that Stacy Haiduk’s portrayal of Susan Banks is ridiculously good.  Everything from her delivery … to her facial expressions.  I think it is amazing.  I mean, it is corny, and it is fun, and soaps need characters like that once in a while to lighten the load of the heavy dialogue and the drama.  It’s a welcomed addition.  So, I love playing scenes with Susan.

Photo: JPI

Eric, you always have been able play the straight-man so well in comedic scenes with impeccable timing,

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STACY:  You’re brilliant, Eric.

ERIC:  You guys are being very nice to me.

STACY:  You are.  I remember on the day how much fun we had, but then, seeing it back and the crap that I was giving you, and just the stuff you were giving back was so beautiful, and innocent, and so alive.  It was so funny.

Does Kristen think that now that she finally got Brady into bed that she won … that she got what she wanted … even if she had to don a “Nicole” mask to do it?

STACY:  Well, no, because she still can’t be really Kristen.  I think she is grateful that she gets to be with him.  That’s one of her biggest goals: to be with Brady and she wants to have him fall back in love with her again.  But for her, now it’s all about, “How do I reveal myself so that he doesn’t get scared away?”  That’s the toughest part for her.  Kristen’s love is so deep that it goes beyond this mask.  So, how is it going to be when he sees her?   Is he going to freak out?  What’s going to happen?

ERIC:  Did you think Kristen would be a little pissed off and think, “Oh my God.  He did go for Nicole?”

STACY:  Yes!  I do, because she’s like, “Finally, I got him!  But wait a minute … did I get him because I was Nicole … or because I was Kristen?”  As Kristen, she always believes there is something deeper between them and a deep connection.  That remains a driving force to her.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  That’s why I love these characters so much, because of you and the history of Kristen with Brady.  She’s always wanted him as much as he has wanted her.  She’s always wanted to be loved.

STACY:  Yes … and very much so.

ERIC:  Kristen had always wanted to be a part of the DiMera Empire, just as Brady has always wanted to be a part of the Kiriakis Empire, and they’ve always wanted love.  They’ve never had it.  They believe in the back of their minds that anything is attainable.  So, I can see why Kristen would just forgo the Nicole disguise and just go, “He wants me.”

STACY:  Kristen wants to believe that Brady knows it.  She says to herself, “He knows it’s me inside and behind the mask.  When he finds out, he will fall back in love with me.”

Now that she actually had sex with Brady, wouldn’t that make Kristen even more insatiable to be with him? Like, “I’ve got to have him!?”

STACY:  The fear is still .. what happens she takes this mask off?  She always says, “I’ll reveal myself, but I have to do it slowly when it is the right time.”  I think there is that built up frustration now for her, absolutely!

Photo: JPI Studios

Arianne Zucker really has Stacy’s mannerisms down as Kristen.  It really comes into in scenes where “Nicole” goes off on someone or loses her temper.  Eric, you have worked with Arianne for years on this show.  What do you think about her performances in this storyline?

ERIC:  I have worked with Ari over the years, and I have enjoyed it a lot.  Ari did do her homework.  She did study Stacy’s tape, and she watched her mannerisms, and she took it very seriously.  I know that because she is a hard worker, as much as a goofball as she is, she does work hard, and she wanted it to be good.  I think my favorite parts were the Kristen meltdowns.  You have to understand though; Stacy and Ari get along very well!  They’re kind of two peas in a pod.  So, it wasn’t a big stretch for her to take on how Stacy would play those types of scenes.  They’re both animated, they’re both wild people by nature, and so, it was a good fit.  It was a smart idea from the writers.

STACY:  It was a good fit!

ERIC:  I’ve been out with the two of them, and it’s hard to tell the two of them apart. (Laughs)

STACY:  We are just like two cuddly bunnies.

ERIC:  They’re like flirting with each other, and hugging each other.  You find yourself thinking, “Are they going to start ordering the same food at the same time?  This is getting weird. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

In the recent scene that aired; where Kristen as “Nicole” turns off the light while having sex with Brady, is she worried her plan will now go awry?

STACY:  Yes.  I think she is worried about her body because it is burned.  You know, how they take a tattoo off, and it’s as painful as can be.  Not that I’ve had that done personally.  I like my tats, but I hear it is painful.  So, in the storyline, the burn is that pain that she has and the tattoo. There’s a part of her that thinks,  she has to cover it up, and turn the lights down low.

ERIC:  “Nicole” is sleeping, and Brady is rubbing his hands over her shoulder and touching her body, and as he goes over the burn marks.  He sees a flash of the tattoo!  That is a pivotal moment when he starts to put some pieces together.   He thinks, “Woah! That’s exactly where that tattoo was.”  It’s a slow little rollercoaster ride.

Courtesy/NBC

In the past, Kristen then played by Eileen Davidson, drugged and raped Father Eric.  Stacy, did you ever see that story arc?  Literally the sex scene is playing on the screen at Kristen’s wedding to Brady and then all hell breaks loose.  This to say Kristen is notorious for the ways and the lengths she goes to get her men into bed.

STACY:  Yes! I saw her Eileen do those scenes.

ERIC:  You also saw how close Kristen and Brady were to their dream, to their happiness, their goal, which was they were going to marry each other.  Brady is looking upon his loved ones in this town and thinking, “I know what you all think of her, but I’m going to show you our love on this screen, and once you see the connection that we have here as a couple, you all are going to be convinced that we belong together as well.  This is the happiest day of my life,” and the screen comes up and it’s his brother banging Kristen instead.

Marlena (Deidre Hall) played the wrong DVD!

STACY:  It was so good.  See, I try to find as much info as I can on the character’s past, because all of the time I’m trying to find where these characters have been in their dark and twisted past.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  You’re putting your own stamp on Kristen.  You got a direct call from DAYS casting department, didn’t you … when they were recasting the role?

STACY:  Yes.  You have to understand, I had two really separate characters to play when I was on Y&R.  One was a doctor, and one was this crazy passionate, wild, little minx.

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ERIC:  I will say to find the wild and the beauty in one package is not easy in any town, yet alone Los Angeles.  I’m glad they called you, because you have that.  You have that villainous nature, but you also are able to show a vulnerable side to Kristen that is going to be a lot of fun and interesting to see.

Stacy is one of those people that will leap off of the screen at you and you will remember her.  She is one actress that will have fans talking about their work, like when you played crazy Patty Williams on Y&R.  The audience was on the edge of their seats going, “Oh, my God!  What is Patty going to do next?”

STACY:  I never knew what she was going to do!

Photo: JPI

Eric, has Stacy come to you at any point where she been overwhelmed by the task at hand; playing Susan while playing Kristen, etc, and the two of you have a moment where you work through some of the challenges of complex scenes  … and ones where she is playing multiple characters?

ERIC:  We’ve had many moments  to speak of.

STACY:  I always come into Eric’s room, and am like, “I’m scared!”

ERIC:  It’s funny you mention it.  We have had some very emotional scenes, and Stacy – who cares so damn much about this job and portraying this character correctly – that she gets a little overwhelmed, and the material that they give her is overwhelming for any anybody on any level.  I have looked at her in the eyes, and said, “You’ve got this gig.  You are this character.  You are knocking it out of the park.  Just do it.  Just be you.”   I can’t wait for people to see some of the stuff we have shot recently and have been doing.

Photo: JPI

Stacy, do you think Kristen can be redeemed? Many characters on daytime … and on DAYS … have done horrible things and later turned over a new leaf.

STACY:  The thing is that villains are bad and all that other crap, but they’ve got a lot of stuff going on inside and insecurities, and they’ve got a heart.  I’m sorry, the villain with a heart of gold, can be very  true.  I never see villains (and I play them a lot) as bad.  You have to find where it comes from … how far does this go … where did that little seed change … and what made them go into the dark, but also, where is the good?  You want to bring the good to it, too.

ERIC:  Let’s face it!  Star Wars is all about Darth Vader and how he became that because it’s intriguing.

Because of the pace in which DAYS tapes its episodes; do the two of you find time to run lines together before you go hit the set?

ERIC:  We are running out of time to run lines.  It’s pretty wild.  Funnily enough, I was recently filming a movie and I was so underwhelmed at the pace of everything.  I’ve gotten so accustomed to moving at this militant style, that as hard as it is, it is preferable to me now.  I almost like it because you don’t have time to overthink what you are going to do, and you end up getting more visceral and natural reactions to the material.  You can overthink a scene, and you can come to a wrong performance that way.  When you burn your fingers on a hot stove, that’s the most natural reaction you are going to get.  You can’t have ten minutes to think about how you are going to scream about that pain.

Photo: JPI

But, would you like the pace of shooting the show to be a bit slower?

STACY:  I would like to, but I do think sometimes just jumping in, and going and seeing what happens is great.  I love that.  I do appreciate that.

ERIC:  It’s scary.

STACY:  It is scary.  I would love if we would get to do a rehearsal and then two takes just to see, and then they can mix  together what happens.  Sometimes I am hard on myself as an actress.  I’ve always been.  It’s that jumping in when you only get to do one take.  You have to just give it everything you’ve got.

ERIC:  You can have a second take.  Want me to give you a little secret?  All you have to do is screw up your last line.

STACY:  I can’t do that.   I don’t even need it to be perfect because nothing is perfect.  It doesn’t matter what I’ve done if I sometimes don’t feel it.  I need to feel it when I’m on that set.  I need to feel something because when I shut down, I close myself off.  It’s like an athlete who has just got to  train as hard as they can to reach their goal.

ERIC:  You’re an Olympic swimmer!

STACY:  You’ve got to do it as hard as you can.  You practice, and you practice, and you practice, and you practice, so that when you come to that day, you do the best you can, but sometimes you are disappointed because you didn’t get that one last thing you had hoped for.

Courtesy/NBC

How do you view what happened to Eric with Kristen, who disguised as Nicole, tricked Brady into bed with her?  Some fans commented that that they thought it was akin to a rape.

ERIC:  No, I would disagree with that theory.  I believe there is a high degree of deception in this, but there is a willingness on behalf of Brady.  He’s not drugged.  He’s not being forced to do anything.  Deception, yes.  Rape, no.

Stacy, what do you think?

STACY:  Total deception.  There is no rape.  There is absolutely no rape.  These are willing participants; he just doesn’t know exactly who he is dealing with.

ERIC:  I appreciate the context of how somebody could construe that, and the seriousness of the matter.  I don’t think it really has a place in this particular storyline.

Do you guys think that Brady and Kristen are each other’s star-crossed lovers in a weird, twisted, bizarre way?

ERIC:  I don’t know.  I think they’re magnetism can’t be denied.  I think the hurdles that they’ve jumped through are astronomical.  Will they end up together in the end?  Who knows!  Will there ever be an end?  Who knows!  It’s definitely been one of, if not the most, in-depth relationships Brady has ever had.

Photo: JPI

And intense!

ERIC:  Yeah.  They’ve just gone through so much to be together, and when you do that, anybody who is married knows that, that’s where the good stuff is; the wars that you win together and the battles that you go through.  When you come out of the war, and you’re still together, that’s the bond.  That’s what lasts.

What would Kristen do if she couldn’t have Brady in the end?  Would she find a new obsession?  What if she could not nab her man?

STACY:  Wow!  Hmmm. (Laughs)  She’s going to get her man.  She wants her man.  She wouldn’t settle.  She’d keep fighting.  I would say to her, “Kristen, keep fighting the good fight.”

So, do you think Kristen will reveal herself to Brady sooner than later? Will Brady figure out what Kristen has been doing to get to him?  Will Brady turn Kristen away if he knew she was alive and back in action  … or would he fall back into her arms? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Rebecca Herbst Chats On ‘Friz’, Her On-Screen Sons & How Liz Has Grown-Up

Last week, Rebecca Herbst celebrated her 22nd year playing fan favorite Elizabeth Webber (now Baldwin) on General Hospital.  She made her on-screen debut on August 1, 1997.  And in those two decades plus in Port Charles, Liz has gone through many a rocky relationship, plenty of drama, and carried out some misdeeds of her own.  But one thing is for sure, Becky is loved by the fans of the long-running ABC daytime drama series who always want the best for her, and for Nurse Elizabeth.

Recently, ‘Friz’ fans got a moment they had long been waiting for when Franco (Roger Howarth) and Liz, and their friends and family (and some enemies) shared in their wedding reception.  But can their happiness last?  According to two psychics, Sibley Gamble (Veronica Cartwright) and Chelsea Lambas (Jen Ray) that Franco has run into in recent weeks, he better be careful.  That has made Franco concerned, while Liz is trying to get her family all on the same page, and it looks like her boys are coming around to loving and accepting Franco, too, despite what Liz’s ex Jason (Steve Burton) may have to say about it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Rebecca  at the GH Fan Club Weekend, where she made a welcome appearance, to talk about: how she sees Elizabeth’s relationship with Franco, her talented on-screen sons, and how Liz has grown-up since she started on the series, and more.  Here’s what Becky shared with us below.

What did you think of the long-awaited wedding reception of Franco and Liz?  The show finally gave them this joyous moment; after their jailhouse nuptials. Did you feel like the way the wedding actually went down it felt like it cheated the relationship, or did you like it?

REBECCA:  I felt the jailhouse wedding was a bit of a cheat, because they had tried two different times to have a really glorious wedding, so to do it in a jail cell was not the most desirable place. (Laughs)  However, the fact that the characters did actually get married and nothing came in between was a plus, and so, hey, they’ll take that.  Later, when I read in the scripts that there was going to be the reception, I was shocked, because I really didn’t think it was ever going to happen.

Photo: ABC

Do you think the fans were getting to the point where they thought this was never going to happen, also?

REBECCA:  For sure.  We all thought they Franco and Liz were never going to have their moment, or their honeymoon or any of that. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that not only did they write it, but it was beautiful!  It was also visually beautiful.  They put a lot of effort and thought into the show itself, and nobody died, and nobody fell through the roof.  Well, it was kind of funny that Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) got pushed off the ‘Haunted Star’, but according to Elizabeth, that’s just fine that Obrecht got pushed off the boat. (Laughs)  She didn’t die, so everything is good, but all in all, it was a really wonderful party.

What did you think when they had all of Elizabeth’s sons performing a song for the happy couple.  It was so cute, and touching.

REBECCA:  Oh, my goodness.  Those were real tears I shed.  That was so sweet.  So very, very sweet of them.

Photo: ABC

The show is growing the boys, so now you, as Elizabeth, have some young actors to play off of in your scenes.  How do you feel about that?

REBECCA:  Oh, I love it!  For so long, Elizabeth would only talk about her kids, “My boys, my boys, my boys, my boys in the attic.” (Laughs) Now, she has relationships, and very different relationships with each one of them.

I think that echoes real-life too.  A mother has distinct relationships with each of her children.  That’s what I like about Liz with her sons.  And as a mom in real-life as well, I am sure you can relate to this.

REBECCA:  Yes, my relationship with all of my kids is completely different, and I really love that it’s true for Elizabeth’s kids.  I attribute a lot of that to the writers, because they definitely write our relationships differently.  Aiden (Jason David) is still this baby who Elizabeth coddles and protects.  Cameron (William Lipton) is expected to be the man of the house and take care of things, and sometimes Elizabeth feels like she puts too much responsibility on him, but he is going to protect his mom no matter what.  Hudson (Jake) is so wonderful, too.  The fact that I have been blessed with three beautifully smart little actors is just a win for me.

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about Aiden, who had been bullied at school by the other kids.  Do you think that story will be fleshed out?  It seems it may have been put on pause, because it would be an important story to tell for parents with LGBTQ children, if that is how GH ultimately chose to tell the story.

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REBECCA:  It is an important story.  I would love to tell the story.  There is a great message.  I don’t think we touched on it enough.   I think, for now, the best way to put a button on it is to send the message that we should accept our children with all of their wonderful attributes and personalities and whatever their interests, and let’s not label children, and listen to them and support them.   We should just all be kind.   I was sad when I would read some of the tweets about the story.  It saddened me to read people’s harsh opinions towards Elizabeth’s acceptance of her child.  Some people said that we should not be doing a story like this, and then there was the other half who said, “Just because he is a baker, doesn’t make him gay,” which is 100% true.

True!  TV viewers have certainly seen a lot of straight chefs on foodie or cooking shows, for example.

REBECCA:  Absolutely!  All three of my children in real-life love to cook.  There is nothing wrong with that.   I think we need to just continue to love Aiden no matter what, and he is not different than any of the other kids.

Photo: ABC

William Lipton has been amazing as Cameron, right?

REBECCA:  Amazing.  I know!  He is not only a great little actor, singer, and performer, but he has this beautiful little face, and he is such a grounded young man.  He’s a really sweet person.  You can tell he’s been raised in a really great house, and he has an amazing mom.

Because you are such a “mom’s-mom” in real life, do you think that helps you in how Elizabeth reacts to her children?

REBECCA:  I think so.  I always ask permission from my on-camera kids before a scene: “Is it okay if I kiss your little head?  Is it okay if I put you on my lap here?  Is it okay if I put my hands on your face?”  I’m not their mother, but when I think about what I would do with my real-life kids,  they’re always getting kissed and hugged and held by me, so I want to make it look as real as possible.  I have to think, “What would I do if this were Emerson?”  He’d be on my lap, and I’d be kissing his little neck.  So, then I have to ask Jason, who plays Aiden, “Is it okay that I kiss your neck, and if I kind of just like snuggle you?”  All three of my on-screen kids are so great, because they’re like, “Yeah, sure.  We don’t care!” and not all stage kids are like that.  They all are receptive of my love, and they just let me do it.  I think that is what is so sweet.

Photo: ABC

What do you think of this whole pairing of Elizabeth and Franco, and that you were paired with Roger Howarth?  Elizabeth has had many relationships on the show, so where does her relationship with Franco fit into her list of romances/relationships?  Do you think Franco is one of her great loves?  Over her life, Liz has had a lot of ups and downs, and at times, has not made the best choices for herself, or the choices she made just haven’t worked out in her favor.  I think we all can relate to somebody whose choices don’t work out the way they envision them to be.

REBECCA:  For sure.  I think each of Elizabeth’s relationships have been so different. Just to talk about a timeline: she was a little girl when she was with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson), and as she’s matured, so have her relationships.  However, I think the relationship she has with Franco is her first real adult relationship; in that she not only does respect him, but she respects herself.  She is not afraid to stand up to anybody for the sake of herself, or her children.  I think that is the difference.  In the past, she has been a little so head-over-heels in love that she would do anything, and now, she knows who number one is, and that’s her children, and she puts herself first now, too.  Before, Elizabeth did not matter to herself.

Photo: ABC

I thought Elizabeth treated herself badly.  Is there a self-loathing?  Did you ever that figure out as an actress where that comes from?  Do you think it was from when she was raped years ago?

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REBECCA:  I think it went deeper than that.  I think it was because her parents left her at such a young age, and although they were doing great work for whatever they were doing, she was left as a child.

So, she felt something was wrong with her if they left her behind?

REBECCA:  Yes.  I think that’s where her lack of self-esteem came from.  She just didn’t have that support at home when she needed it the most, especially when she was a teenager.  You need your parents around you to tell you that things are awkward and weird, and you’re changing, but you’re going to be okay.  She didn’t have that, and so, she kind of had to figure it out on her own.  She did it through her relationships with men, and she didn’t have men in her life who were telling her, “You’re going to be okay,” except for Lucky, but that was a younger relationship in her life.  Now, as more of an adult with Franco, he tells her she is going to be okay.  Franco believes in her as much as she does now.

Photo: ABC

What’s the best part about working with Roger … and what’s the most challenging part?  Is it some curve balls that might come from when you are going live-to-tape?

REBECCA:  For me, I know I can totally work around whatever comes out of his mouth. (Laughs)  I’m good with that. (Laughs)  The most challenging thing about working with him is that he is constantly losing his glasses, so he can’t see his scripts.  It’s always at the end of the scene.  It’s like, “Where are the glasses?” (Laughs)  So, if losing his glasses might be the most challenging thing, then I’m a pretty lucky girl!

Where does Jason (Steve Burton) fit into Liz’s life at this point? 

REBECCA:  We’ve not really established that.

Courtesy/ABC

Since Jason has been back on the canvas, not much has been played between them.

REBECCA: They had a relationship, they have a relationship, and they have a friendship.  It should be played.

What would you love to see happen to Elizabeth story-wise, that perhaps you have not gotten the opportunity to play?

REBECCA:  I would love to see Elizabeth be happy with Franco and just explore whatever that means for her in a long-term, adult sense (because she doesn’t really know how that is yet), an adult happiness, while trying to navigate the kids’ lives, but also having a friendship with Jason.  I think that would be interesting, because she has always held a torch for Jason.

Photo: ABC

Viewers are currently alarmed that Franco has been receiving warnings from two psychics.  On last Friday’s episode, Franco is clearly afraid to take a drive and in Cameron’s new car (the one Oscar gave him) due to the psychic, (Chelsea) telling him: “Don’t take that drive!” Does Elizabeth have something to be worried about? 

REBECCA:  Yes, but she’s going to hang on to Franco, and make sure nothing happens to him … until he doesn’t come home (laughs) …  and then she’ll be calling Jason! (Laughs)

So, what did you think of the sentiments shared by Rebecca?  What did you think of the Friz wedding reception, and Liz and Franco’s relationship?  What do you think of Liz’s relationship with her children?   What are your hopes for Liz moving forward? Comment below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

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Scott Clifton as Liam

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