Connect with us

Interviews

The Lauralee Bell Interview – Family Dinner

lauraleeMain.jpg
She is a member of daytime drama’s number one family…. the Bells. She is an actress, entrepreneur, wife, mother of a two, and now she can add “director” to her life credits. Lauralee Bell is one of soap opera’s most recognizable performers from her 18 years on The Young and the Restless playing “Cricket” as a young teen, to the more mature version of “Christine”. Reprising her role on occasion, the actress left the show full-time several years ago to pursue outside projects and interests. One, being her successful clothing store, “On Sunset”, which has a long list of celebrity clients who frequent its home on stylish Sunset Plaza, and the other, continuing to play different roles in prime time episodics and film.

However, today is a big day in the accomplishments of Lauralee. In a new project created and produced by her and her husband, Scott Martin, a new three-minute web series, “Family Dinner” launches online at www.familydinneronline.com. and www.funnyordie.com. In it, she plays an attention-starved mother, who along with whacked out family members and special guests, discusses anything but what to eat for dinner! Co-starring the legendary Phyllis Diller, the sexy and funny Dan Cortese, and the hilarious Aaron Lusting (Ex-Dr. Tim, “Y&R), you can expect one dysfunctional family gathering after another. The second episode will be posted the following week and premiere on June 17th at www.familydinneronline.com, with more hopefully on the way!

With the dramatic returns of Thom Bierdz (“Langley” or Phillip Chancellor III) and Tricia Cast (Nina) to the canvas in Genoa City, many soap fans are now clamoring for Lauralee’s return to “Y&R”. It’s something she tells me could not be so far out in the future. In this revealing interview, Lauralee discusses what it was like as a teen working romantically with Bierdz, who later would come out and admit he was gay. Having your father being the legendary Bill Bell, your brother being the Daytime Emmy-nominated Brad Bell, and your mother being Lee Bell, a legend in television herself, could be quite intimidating, but Lauralee excelled on her own. One of “Y&R’s” all-time most memorable heroines shares with me emotional moments and thoughts about her dad, and what she thinks of “Y&R” these days under the expert hands and guidance of sister-in-law, Maria Arena Bell.

So, what was dinner like at the Bell house? How does she feel about Bierdz, now? How funny is Phyllis Diller? And, when can we expect her back in Genoa City? Only the one woman who grew up living and breathing soaps, who searched and found an identify all her own apart from her family’s legacy, would know. Here’s Lauralee!

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]

MICHAEL:

We are sitting at your store, “On Sunset” in Los Angeles conducting this interview. And your retail-clothing store still seems to be going strong. Did you ever think it would last this long?

LAURALEE:

It’s been almost nine years ago when I started this. I put too many things on my plate and I always thought I could handle that, but now I realized you have to prioritize. I am going to “ixnay” a few on the way. I can’t lose the husband and the kids! (She laughs) The store is managing through this difficult economic time, and it’s definitely another agenda in my life.

lauraleeSunglasses.jpgMICHAEL:

Your new web series, “Family Dinner”, premieres today online and I laughed
so hard at the trailer! How did this come
about? Is it your brainchild?

LAURALEE:

It is. I thought of it years ago and put in on the back burner. As time has gone by, I realized it was a one set feature with a low budget, which in this day is necessary. What my parents taught me is that a character-driven show will attract people, and you will get to know the characters and you don’t need all the hoopla. If you have great actors and sit them down at the table, and get them involved in their lives, you have something there. It is a three-minute episode, with time to get to know the characters, and we will talk about different things. Everyone needs a good laugh. At the end of the day with these hard times, everyone goes back to his or her families, because that’s all you got. And here is this crazy group. So, you can judge your family against this nutty family, and calculate how crazy your own family really is!

acting.jpgMICHAEL:

You had told me for years you strived to play the “bitch” after playing Miss Goody-Two-Shoes for so long on “Y&R”. This new character you play, strives to be on “Oprah”?

LAURALEE:

She does. She is just a burnt out, attention-needing mother, who is unfulfilled in her marriage. She loves her kids, but she just wants some “me” time, which any mother who has children, can relate to. You kind of get through the infant stage, and the time flies by and you lose a little bit of yourself. In “Family Dinner”, her kids are grown and now she thinks, “It should be about me. Everything should be about me.” She is nuts in the first episode and a little tamer in the second, and if we make a bunch more, she will only get more and more out of her mind. It’s very easy for me to play, as I lived this to a tinier degree, but I am in the same spot. OK, the kids are now in school and I am crazy to do so many other things. The Young and the Restless taught me it’s OK to make insane faces on camera and push it and scream. So I have incorporated that… and then to sit across from the amazing Phyllis Diller, you can’t help but be inspired by her level of great comic genius.

MICHAEL:

How did you get Phyllis involved in the project?

phylllisDiller.jpgLAURALEE:

My mother, Lee Bell (co- creator of “Y&R” and “B&B), has known Phyllis for years. I had seen Phyllis here and there, and only recently have they become inseparable, which is so cute. I told my mom that Scott and I were going to shoot this, and I said, “We are having a hard time casting grandma,” and she said, “Well, I am seeing Phyllis tonight.” I thought, “That is very sweet mom. But, she is Phyllis Diller and we are doing a three-minute web series. OK, you can try.” Then the next day, my mom did not mention anything about it. So I thought, that was that. Then the following day, my mom called and said, “Phyllis just called and she has to play grandma. She wants to play this woman,” and I said, “C’mon!” By later that afternoon, Phyllis and I were on the phone like two little girls giggling about how she should look and what she should wear. I was like, “You can wear and look however you want, if you really just come to this table.” And sure enough, three weeks later, she showed up and everyone on the set was blown away. She brought books and autographs and signed everything, and she steals the show!

MICHAEL:

Dan Cortese also makes an appearance as a reality show producer, who is considering doing a reality show on this dysfunctional family!

LAURALEE:

Dan and his wife, DeeDee…we have been best friends for years. My husband Scott and I, have dinner with them once a week. I have never asked him for a favor, so I said, “It’s a weekend. I know you are doing other things,” but he showed up. Aaron Lustig (Ex- Dr.Tim Reid), and I have been friends since his time on “Y&R”, and as soon as I knew we were going to do this I said to Scott, “There is no other husband to me than Aaron… Sorry”. (She laughs)

danCortese.jpgMICHAEL:

Who else is involved?

LAURALEE:

Phyllis is the middle of a line, and we hear this crazy voice, and its Jo Anne Worley from Laugh-In. Then, Cheri Oteri from “SNL” came over! She said, “I have been the biggest fan of yours since “Y&R”, and I am freaking out. I said, “You think you may want to come and join us for dinner?” I think we shouldn’t be surprised if we see her in the future.

MICHAEL:

So where can fans see all the hilarity?

LAURALEE:

On June 8th we would love for everyone to go to www.funnyordie.com, because it’s a great site, but our home site is www.familydinneronline.com.

MICHAEL:

Do you have more dinner-table scenarios, past the two episodes that will run online?

LAURALEE:

I have written episodes three and four. I would really like to incorporate fan ideas. Right now, it’s so hard to get anything published, and it’s very slow here in LA. So, if a “John Smith” from Tennessee comes up with a great idea, we will shoot his concept idea in LA, and put “Concept by John Smith” and we will give him a writing credit. We are going to do that, and we have recipe ideas, because who knows what we are going to have on the dinner table. We have a lot of little side goals that we hope to do in the future, but yes, I have many ideas.

lauraLeeScott.jpgMICHAEL:

You also directed “Family Dinner”. How was it to be in charge?

LAURALEE:

I have to be the actress first. But, I liked being in charge of this because everyone was so talented, that directing this was a piece of cake.

MICHAEL:

So, you and your husband Scott, started your own production company… Martin-Bell Productions.

LAURALEE

We started a production company. We have something in pre-production for possibly October, and it was great to work with Scott. He is so visual and an amazing photographer.
To be at that table, I needed someone’s eyes to watch all the monitors.

MICHAEL:

Switching gears, Lauralee, in my recent interview with openly gay actor, Thom Bierdz (“Langley” or Phillip Chancellor III “Y&R”), I asked him, “When you were the part of the “darling” couple on the show as Cricket and Phillip, did Lauralee know of your sexual orientation back then, and did you have any discussions with her about it?” He replied, “You know, I really have to have a talk with Lauralee and find out what she did know then. In my recollection, we had one discussion about it at a very awkward time. I don’t know her take on it. I know that Lauralee is an extremely open minded person today, but she was a teenage girl at that time and I was ten years older than she was. I would love to talk to her more.” Can you respond to that? At one point, did you have a crush on him?

LAURALEE:

Did I know with Thom? Sure, I had a crush on him. Probably, when I was working with Thom, I was fifteen or so. I am about as open as they come, and I think there are a lot of woman who are quite hot myself. In fact, our website guy and editor, left last weekend to go ride the San Francisco to Los Angeles AIDS/Lifecycle cross state challenge. I gave them huge checks and I made them “Family Dinner T-Shirts”. But back to Thom; what’s so crazy is when you work on a soap you learn so many lines and forget them so fast, and so my recollection is not so good, but I felt we did have the “talk”. I almost feel it was when we were off the show, though. And if it was, as I say at the end, then he knew it would be such a non-issue to me. So, I believe we talked about it when I was a bit older. We have stayed friends.

bierdz.jpgMICHAEL:

Are you happy the show brought him back, with a potential for him to be part of a gay storyline?

LAURALEE:

I am so glad Maria Arena Bell (co-executive producer and head writer, “Y&R”) is bringing him back, and hopefully, it should be a storyline where everyone learns from it. I wish Thom could get married to a man on the show. It would be so great. We need that.

MICHAEL:

Are you considering returning to “Y&R”? Now, seems like the perfect time!

LAURALEE:

Of course it’s possible, when you bring back Thom Bierdz and Tricia Cast (Nina)…

MICHAEL:

We are all waiting for you!

LAURALEE:

Well, that’s very kind, and if it’s the right thing, I would. I am so geared up into my own little projects right now, but there are a couple of things where it would make sense. For the funerals, and when Danny came back for our party, that kind of made sense. But, I knew it would be a couple of lines here and there, and wouldn’t have any meaning. And if I come back, I really want it to count. I wanted it to be a helpful discussion for Phillip, or Nina, or Paul. I don’t think I would come back for a long period of time. But, I certainly would be open to it.

MICHAEL:

Has Maria talked to you about returning yet? I am assuming that call to you happens quite often!

LAURALEE:

I get the call every two months. I think it’s understood with the right time and the right people. As I say, with Thom and Tricia back, my curiosity with each person piques more and more. It does make sense for me to come back into the fold now, and I would love to work with Thom. I saw a flashback the other day with Nina and Phillip. It was so weird, when you see all those scenes… and oh, the hair! Michael Damian (Ex-Danny) and I had bad big hair back in that day! (She laughs)

lauraLeeMaria.jpgMICHAEL:

“Y&R” has been on fire lately and it’s been an extraordinary show since Maria took over the reigns and Lynn Latham left. Why do you think it’s working?

LAURALEE:

I think it’s because Maria studied with my dad. (The late Bill Bell) I remember my brother, Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, “B&B) and Maria sitting in conference call meetings. I would peek in and I knew they were on a couch for five hours, and then they weren’t even done. Maria has written tons of things, and as always, had great remarks whether it be for her magazine articles or scripts. She is extremely familiar with the show, which is important. You can’t come in and watch 20 episodes from the past of “Y&R” and think you get it. She knew my dad, and she knew his formula, which was again, characters and the people. I love how much Maria is using Jeanne Cooper (Katherine). I mean, how can you not?

MICHAEL:

When you turn on “Y&R” now, what stories are captivating you or tantalizing you?

LAURALEE:

Again, being so close with Tricia, I am just so glad to see her there. I am watching Paul and Nikki pretty closely. I start to itch a little bit when I see them kiss! Just because I have grown up with Jeanne Cooper, anything she is doing I am excited about. I have a special place for everybody, and I love seeing the show. I did not see it for the last few years, because I would be dropping off my daughter at school at that time. I would feel terrible when people would say, “Did you see it?” I am not a TIVO person. So by the time I get everyone situated and done, I am tired. I don’t want to have an accumulation of 6,000 shows to view. So, this is the first year I have been able to watch “Y&R”. With Maria at the helm, and so many of my friends back, it’s wonderful! I race back home with my salad and watch it. I am watching it on SOAPnet, too. What a gift that is. It’s so nice to have an option!

lauraAndLauraLee.jpgMICHAEL:

Did the Abbott dining room scenes from the past give you any inspiration for “Family Dinner”?

LAURALEE:

Yes, and what I used to love about the show was the Abbott dining room scenes. When I would watch Terry Lester (Ex-Jack) eat and talk at the same time, it was such brilliance that I could not wait for the next Abbott dining room scene. “Family Dinner” is a quirky, dysfunctional take on it and what people do as a family.

MICHAEL:

I had read in the TV Guide interview that your family dinners at the Bell house were not your presumed stodgy dinners. Tell me about dinner in the Bell house.

LAURALEE:

It was called a tray table. On Sunday we would have tomato soup and noodles. We would go from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin through Genoa City, and stop at the Cheesebox and get a hunk of salami, and a hunk of cheese. We would grab our trays, and walk by this kitchen counter that was never secure, and would catch on your clothing and snap back. No one ever fixed it! We would walk to a room and watch some sort of game show. As long as we were together, and yelling out answers, we would not talk. People would say, “You are a very close family, but you never talk!” and I would say, “My parents’ life was TV. It was a release to not think, and just eat. There was no formality at all.” It cracks me up that people think we had these traditional Bell family dinners.

billBell.jpgMICHAEL:

Do you miss your Dad?

LAURALEE:

I miss Dad more now then right when he passed away. It’s just different. I remember him not sick. I think about him all the time, and my kids love going to his gravesite, which is so cute, and so beautiful. I have gotten certain projects on his anniversary, or his birthday, or close to Fathers Day. This one is launching close to Father’s Day, so it’s weird! I know he would love the humor in “Family Dinner”. He was the most comedic guy around. I would say to him, “Can’t Cricket be funnier?” and he would say, “Well?” He was a serious writer, but to release it all, he was “Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky”. I kind of see it mirrored now with how actors approach my brother, Brad. My dad’s door was always open, and he would joke and pat people on the back, and be a bit sarcastic. He was a bit of a hound dog, too. He was funny and casual.

MICHAEL:

What do you think he would say about “Family Dinner”?

LAURALEE:

He would love that I am doing something with Phyllis Diller and he would probably say, “He loves that it is character-driven”, and he would say, “That it is a little goofy, and you should drag the story a different way,” but I am purposely doing this. But when you get kids at the dinner table things get thrown out constantly that are like, “What?” That’s real life. I don’t think people sit down and say, “Well, tell me about your day?” This is talk about peas and carrots, and dogs peeing, and just chaos. If you have young kids, really that’s your life!

michelleandLaura.jpgMICHAEL:

Brad got nominated for a Daytime Emmy for “B&B”, for Outstanding Drama Series.

LAURALEE:

He is amazing, and how he juggles four kids, a great wife and all of this, I have no idea. But I just hope this is his year that would be a dad’s dream come true. My dad could never believe we all were getting into the family business. He wanted it, if we were qualified. He was tough. I remember the first time he felt I really gave it to Phyllis on “Y&R”. He would come up to me and go; “You really gave it to her today. Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) did her thing, and you really gave it back!” That was such a great day for me. He was tough with Brad. He would be very proud and so would my mom. Brad in his own right, is a great boss, approachable, likeable, and fair. I don’t understand any other way to be, honestly.

MICHAEL:

What would you like to see happen with this project?

lauraLeeCute.jpgLAURALEE:

I just want the opportunity to have all that swells around in this brain to come out. When I was holding the slate for “Family Dinner” and it said “Director”,
I looked down and went, “How did this happen?”

MICHAEL:

In closing, if you were to tell people why they should watch “Family Dinner”, what would you say?

LAURALEE:

I would say, “Make sure you watch “Family Dinner” because there are great things to smile about in the world right now, but sometimes you need an extra boost. Hopefully, in these three minutes
it will put one on your face.”

Interviews

OLTL’s Erika Slezak Recalls Viki’s Breast Cancer Battle, Pays Tribute to Andrea Evans, and Shares Heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Those Who Reached Out on the Passing of Her Daughter, Amanda

One of the all-time classic breast cancer storylines of the soaps was that of Viki’s on One Life to Live. Back in 2000 and into 2001, the character went through many trials and tribulations trying to face the disease, which again afforded the iconic Erika Slezak to be featured in another dramatic storyline, which at the same time helped so many female viewers.

As part of last week’s virtual event, Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up To Cancer – We All Have a Story, Slezak chatted with co-host Michael Fairman about her remembrances of the important storyline, the passing of her co-star, Andrea Evans (ex-Tina) to breast cancer, and took a moment to address the fans and those who reached out to her following the sudden death of her daughter, Amanda Davieback at the end of January of this year.

While Erika has still been in mourning, she took the time to be a part of the night and wanted to contribute her voice to the benefit, and we cannot thank her enough.

Photo: ABC

Speaking on how Viki dealt with her diagnosis of breast cancer, and at the time being in a relationship with a younger man, Ben (played by Mark Derwin), Erika shared, “It was a very good story to tell because Viki, who had always been strong and by herself and tough and ‘I can deal with anything’, suddenly couldn’t deal with it. She was afraid. There was the whole relationship with Ben that was going on, and she didn’t want him to be a part of it. So that was separate, and the day that Vicki checked into the hospital, the last shot was me sitting on the end of the bed, sort of my dangling my feet over it, completely alone because she didn’t want anybody else to know.”

“Ben was around in the hospital and eventually found out that she was there and wanted to be a part of her life. But she didn’t want it,” Erika added. “She couldn’t deal with it. It was a frightening thing for her because it had been caught too late to treat. She had to have a mastectomy and a reconstruction and she had never been faced with such a very personal trauma. I mean, yes, she had Niki and all the others (Viki’s alters), but this was a physical thing that she could not control. It was a very powerful story, I think.”

Photo: ABC

One of the memorable moments from the story was when Viki sang the Gloria Gaynor hit, I Will Survive. Slezak remembers, “That was at Crossroads. She was singing to herself, I Will Survive, and she was desperately trying to believe it, as we all do when we deal with something horrible.”

In tribute to her former co-star, Andrea Evans, who started on One Life to Live as a teenager in 1978 and who died in July of 2023 at 66-years-old, Erika expressed, “Andrea grew up so beautifully and she was so talented that the person that she really was, who was a a kind and loving woman, could play so many different levels of Tina. I had such admiration for her for that. It wasn’t in her nature to be Tina, but she played the hell out of it. She really did. Her first day on the show, her hair was down to the back of her knees. She was just a kid, and she grew up to be a wonderful woman.”

Courtesy/SRodriguez

Speaking emotionally about Andrea’s personal life, Erika recalled, “I think one of the proudest moments of her life is when she got her daughter Kylie, she was so happy. Audrey, Andrea’s mother, used to bring Kylie to the studio, all the way from California she would fly in. I first met Kylie when she was a year old.  I watched her slowly grow up and it was wonderful. Andrea was a fabulous mother. I never met her husband Steve. I wrote to him after she passed, and he wrote me back a very, very sweet letter. But when Andrea met Steve, it was like her life was almost complete, and then she had Kylie, and that was complete. And it is so, so sad that she died so young.”

Photo: JPI

During the conversation, Erika took a second to acknowledge all those who contacted her with their condolences, thoughts and prayers on the passing of her daughter, Amanda, sharing, “I thank all the fans and the people who have written to me. I’ve saved every single card. I’ve responded to every single person because the amount of people who reached out to me is just astonishing. I have a pile that it’s two feet high of cards and letters that people wrote to me. And I’m very, very grateful because this is the hardest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

You can watch the conversation with Erika below on the replay of Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up to Cancer. The six-time Daytime Emmy-winner appears at the 34:17 mark in the show. Below that is a playlist of scenes from Viki’s breast cancer storyline on One Life to Live.

Now let us know, what did you think of Viki’s breast cancer storyline? Erika’s words on the late Andrea Evans and her “thank you” to all for sending their condolences to her and her family during their difficult time? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

Y&R’s Eileen Davidson Talks on Ashley’s DID Storyline, the Challenges of the Alters, and Working with Trevor St. John

The Young and the Restless two-time Daytime Emmy-winning actress, Eileen Davidson, has recently been given the ball by series executive producer and head writer, Josh Griffith to tell the ltin the latest of Ashley Abbott’s emotional struggles. This time, Ashley has splintered into multiple personalities: Ash, Mrs. Abbott, and Belle.

Given Ashley’s history (which has included several mental breakdowns), Y&R has chosen to revisit her psyche in a brand new twist in 2024 by launching a Dissociative Identify Disorder storyline. When things spiraled downward to her marriage to Tucker (Trevor St. John), and a flashback to a car crash which took her unborn baby in 2003, Ashley began to hear voices in her head and her alters began to emerge.

Speaking live on a virtual appearance on Tuesday on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Davidson shared her thoughts on the storyline, how she crafted Ashley’s various alters and what she thinks of her co-star, Trevor St. John.  Here’s a few key remarks from the chat below.

Photo: JPI

Eileen talked about Ashley’s overall emotional make-up, explaining, “Everybody always talks about her being so strong and so together, and they don’t like seeing her weak. I’m like, ‘Ashley’s never been as strong and together. She’s had issues from the gate out of the gate … years … forever.’  She had amnesia. She had all sorts of issues. I love her fallibility and her vulnerability.”

Taking on the different personalities is a challenge, but Davidson pointed to one, in particular, that she feels is the hardest to play, “Ash has been the most difficult one,” explained the actress. “Because I didn’t want to do anything too broad and too ‘teenagery.’  So it was just trying to be honest about somebody who’s kind of young and sees the world in a certain way and is perhaps defensive and is an angry teen.”

Photo: JPI

However, embodying Ms. Abbott was a lot easier for Davidson. “It wasn’t hard for me to figure her out,” she expressed. “It was the very first time she was introduced on paper. She’s in Tucker’s hotel room. She’s breaks in. I’m like, ‘Okay. she’s sitting in the chair and it, it says kind of like a ‘Sharon Stone-type moment.’  I felt pretty comfortable embodying that in control, kind of toying with a man. She knows how to put on vulnerability and softness to get what she wants, but is always in control. And her ugly side shows more and more as the story has been coming out.”

The newest alter to emerge was Belle. Davidson shared how much she knew of the alter before she began playing her, stating, “They gave me southern, flirtatious, likes tequila, and always looking for a guy’ and I was off to the races. It’s been really, really fun for me. I didn’t want her to sound like she’s from the South completely, because Ashley is not from the South. It’s just a persona of how Ashley thinks a southern person sounds. So, she’s not playing a southern character. She’s playing a personality that thinks she’s southern. It’s very different.”

Photo: JPI

Currently, it looks like Tucker’s life may be on the line as Ashley’s alters want to get rid of him once and for all.  Eileen explained why, revealing, “The most fascinating thing about DID and what I kept trying to inject into the performance is these alters are created to protect somebody. They all believe they’re protecting Ashley. Ms, Abbott thinks the way to protect Ashley is to kill Tucker because Tucker’s caused Ashley so much pain. So I mean, from that aspect, it’s good daytime drama.”

A lot of times in DID storylines, a very traumatic event from the childhood is revealed which caused a person to fracture into a multiple personalties. When Davidson was asked if she thinks something will come to light that the audience never knew happened to Ashley, she responded, “You would think so, right?  I mean, why not? The one thing that’s true about Ashley is that she had a traumatic childhood. Her mother abandoned her when she was very young, and then found out in her early twenties that her father wasn’t her biological father. So, who knows what happened. Whether or not they choose to explore that, I’m not sure. You have to kind of keep reinventing things to keep them interesting. I think like that stands true for characters (on a soap) as well.”

Photo: JPI

Over the years, Eileen has worked with several leading men. When asked how she feels the dynamic is working with Trevor St. John, she enthused, “I love working with Trevor. I just told him you breathe fresh air into the scenes. We work well together. We don’t really know what the other one’s going to do (in a scene), but we play off of each other. There’s a huge trust factor and that has been there from the get-go. When I first started working with Treb, I told him, ‘We got lucky.’ When you meet somebody out of the the blue and you start working together, we just had something and it just worked beautifully. I always know that when I work with Trevor, it’s going to be a terrific experience.”

Photo: JPI

Watch the full conversation with Eileen below.

Now let us know, which of Ashely’s alters do you enjoy seeing the most? Do you think something happened to Ashley as a child that we never knew about that is causing her DID? Share your theories via the comment section below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

(INTERVIEW) William deVry Talks on His Roles in Hallmark’s ‘A Whitewater Romance’, New Film ‘Pocket of Hope’ and His Time on the Soaps

For soap favorite, William deVry life-after-daytime has been reinvigorating, filled with new projects and new directions. This Saturday, May 11th he can be seen in the latest rom-com from Hallmark, A Whitewater Romance (8pm ET/PT) starring Cindy Busby as Maya and Ben Hollingsworth as Matt who play intense business rivals, and featuring Will as Jim Burdett, set against the backdrop of the outdoors and Canada.

In addition, Wil has been busy prepping other projects in which he is executive producing and starring including: Colt & McQueen and Christmas in Bordeaux, and producing and starring in a very dramatic departure for deVry, as the lead in the new true-life story feature film, Pocket of Hope.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wil to get the lowdown on his latest and upcoming roles, his expanding career aspirations, and to get his reflections on his three main soap roles: Julian Jerome on General Hospital, Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and Michael Cambias on All My Children. Read on for what deVry has been up to of late and his reflections of the past.

Courtesy/Hallmark

In A Whitewater Romance, you play the character of Jim Burdett, tell me about him?

WIL: My character runs this whitewater rafting company and the deal is that there’s a corporate retreat that is organized at my company. Jim is sort of old school. He’s been running the company for quite a lot of years. Jim’s not social media savvy. In the story, Maya and Matt get there, and they end up obviously enjoying themselves at this corporate bonding retreat. They discover that Jim was going to close down the company. He stayed open specifically to accommodate this corporate retreat. And then, of course, Cindy Busby’s character, and Ben Hollingsworth character do this little online thing for Jim and get business booming. Before he knows it, the entire summer is booked with clients and they basically saved his company. It’s a feel-good movie with beautiful, stunning locations.

And, are you a good guy in this?

WIL: It’s almost like, wait!  Will is playing good guy? It’s funny because our director, Jason Bourque knows I’ve been playing bad guys for so long. Even the Christmas movie that I did with Terry Hatcher, Christmas at the Chalet, I went through such an arc. My character was so focused in his business and kind of unhappy because he was living his life for other people, and you don’t really realize that you might be slightly unhappy because you don’t take time to do inventory for yourself. In A Whitewater Romance, Jason had this idea that I was this really kind of ‘happy-go-lucky’ guy. And by the second day of shooting, he goes, “I think maybe Jim is a former military …” We both laughed because it was a subtle joke, because you know, I can be a little bit serious.

Photo: Willdevry

How was it to work with Ben and Cindy?

WIL: Great. Cindy being a lead, they set an example for everybody. Cindy is so low key and very friendly, and basically the trailer door is open if you want to discuss anything. Ben was also a producer on this. He might have had a little more stress on him than just sort of acting. But honestly, you couldn’t tell. Both of them had a good sense of humor. I would work with either one of them in a heartbeat again.

You have some exciting news to share; as you are about to be the lead in a new film?

WIL: Yes, I’m the lead in a new film called Pocket of Hope. It’s based on the true story of Chad Gaines, and I am playing Chad. It’s a beautiful movie. It’s in the present day with Chad talking with his daughter. He’s always been reluctant to share his past with her, and because there was a lot of trauma involved, he didn’t really want to put her through that. She’s no longer a young lady and so he feels now is the time to share that. There are a lot of strong flashbacks in the movie. It goes back between the past and the present, which I think is really engaging. The budget is well over a million dollars. We start filming at the end of May in Los Angeles, and then we will go on location in August to shoot the remaining scenes.

Courtesy/Willdevry

How do you feel about tackling a dramatic role such as this with tough subject matter?

WIL: It’s a heavy-duty role. There’s a lot of responsibility. I’ve prepared my whole life for these kinds of roles. It’s really exciting to play a true life individual, who has a story to tell. I think it’s a great honor for me and for the director/producer David Kohner Zuckerman, as well. David is wanting to do Chad’s story justice. We’ve got a good team for this. Robert Altman Jr’s, Cora Atlman, is playing my daughter. When you find a troupe that you like to work with and you can collaborate with, you stick together. So, we have David, as I mentioned and also Deran Sarafian, who is consulting on the project. Deran and I have been working on my other project together, Colt & McQueen. We are the luckiest people in the business right now to be working with Deran. He has had a lot of successful pilots that he’s done for Fox, ABC, and NBC and also Marvel and Netflix shows. He was also a producer on House for Fox.

Photo: Willdevry

In Colt & McQueen, you play a former LAPD detective, right?

WIL: Correct. He was basically dishonorably discharged for something that he didn’t do. He is going be trying to clear his name of any wrongdoings. However, in order to make a living, he sort of does these unsanctioned assignments for the captain of the LAPD, who is also on his way out. He’s a good guy. Kin Shriner (Scott, GH) is in it and he kind of plays a man of the streets who goes by “The Professor.” Rebecca Staab (Elizabeth, Port Charles, et al) is in it, and she plays the character with the code name “Leather Jacket” within the LAPD system. We go into production on it in July.

You’re doing your own projects now. That must be liberating in some ways and harder in others.

WIL: I just said, “Look, if I’m going to stay in this business, I have to have some control over my career now as opposed to just auditioning blindly.” That can be a frustrating process. I am learning a lot because I’ve never produced before or executive produced, but the effort is there, and the will to do so is there.

Photo: RStaabIG

Speaking of projects, you have another one you are working on, a romantic comedy called Christmas in Bordeaux. What is the theme of that one?

WIL: It’s a tale of family traditions, renewed passions, for love and life and spiritual and cultural awakenings. Finding value in the time we have left. And of course, a happy ending for all involved.

As an actor, when you finally get to the point where you get to act you probably really enjoy that. It’s just the challenges of all the things it takes to get there that can be daunting for a performer.

WIL: As an actor, you have to be so good and so comfortable and embrace the rejection. The rejection has to feed you. It can’t defeat you. However, I kind of do take everything personally. If a casting director doesn’t want to bring me in for something that’s their prerogative. I don’t really get angry about it, but I take it personally because I kind of feel like, they should bring me. I can’t just sit back and accept my fate based on other people’s ideas of what I’m capable of or not capable of. Sometimes my resume is a benefit, and sometimes it’s a detriment. It’s up to me to change the narrative.

Photo: JPI

What would you want to say to the GH fans who had been so supportive of you through the years?

WIL: It blows me away how loyal they are, and their passion. I want them to be of aware that. I’m excited to work for myself, and if that doesn’t work out, I am very comfortable going on to do something else with my life. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) and I had talked about it at one point, and how she absolutely loves the business. I have other things that interest me and move me. I hope every single fan of Julian Jerome comes along on this journey with me.

Photo: JPI

Looking back, do you think your best role on the soaps was Michael Cambias on All My Children?

WIL: I think with Michael Cambias that All My Children destroyed the character. I sat down with the executive producer at the time, Jean Dadario Burke, and she said, “You’ll be here as long as you want. We did a focus group and you’ve got a 96% approval rating. That’s through the roof.” Two days later, I was called back into her office as they had fired the head writer. I was told Megan McTavish was coming back and they were going to make my character irredeemable, which as everybody knows, Michael Cambias went on to do horrible things to Erica Kane’s (Susan Lucci) family and then he was off the show.

Photo: JPI

Then, you went on to portray Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and the heartbreaking suicide storyline which saved Katie’s (Heather Tom) life, but cost Storm his.

WIL: Storm had a lot of potential. When you’re going through such a beautiful, heart-wrenching, horrific story like that, I wanted to give the audience a lot of credit. Soaps have a smart audience. I wanted them to go on the journey with me. I didn’t want to ruin it for them by playing the problem. I didn’t want to create the drama before it was time to pay the price, if you know what I mean. I allowed it to play out on-screen without any foreshadowing. I think that’s why it worked and that’s why it broke everybody’s heart, and I think that’s why it won a Daytime Emmy for Best Drama Series. Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) trusted me with a vehicle that ended up being the Ferrari for that year. I’m eternally grateful to him.

Photo: JPI

Do you ever check out General Hospital nowadays to see how your old castmates are doing and what is happening in Port Charles?

WIL:  I like to check in. I like to see what Kin Shriner (Scott) is up to, and I like to see who’s showing up and who’s going. I like to see Maura West (Ava) who is such a terrific actress and who played my on-screen sister. We had such a good working relationship and I hope she is on the show forever.  I was happy with my eight years on the show. I knew for 18 months it was time for me to leave. I knew in my heart the character was done. Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) was thrilled with how I left the show. Those six and a half years on General Hospital were a lot of fun. I really loved going to work.

So, will you be watching William deVry in ‘A Whitewater Romance’ this weekend on Hallmark? What do you think about his upcoming projects and roles? Miss him on daytime? Comment below.

 

Continue Reading

Video Du Jour

Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

Recent Comments

Power Performance

Michael Easton as Finn

General Hospital

Airdates: 5-20/24-2024

Popular