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The Lauralee Bell Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: CharlesBush.com

Photo Credit: CharlesBush.com

If you are watching The Young and the Restless this week, the past is truly being revisited, which will have far reaching consequences for many of the citizens of Genoa City!  To kick things off, Christine (or known best to those from her past as Cricket) has just returned to Genoa City with a job to do, and Danny Romalotti has returned to check in on his son Daniel, after all the young man’s trouble with Daisy!  So enter soap favorites Lauralee Bell (Christine) and Michael Damian (Danny), who after a long stretch of time not being on Y&R together, finally have their reunion!  And it’s quite a spectacular one!  The old on-screen lovers end up hitting the sheets in short order!  But then comes the fallout!  Where do these two go from here?

But that is only half of the story!  As Lauralee talks and previews with On-Air On-Soaps, there is much more to her exciting return and the upcoming components of this story, where an unsolved crime puts her smack dab in the middle of all the controversy.  Cricket was run down by a vengeful Phyllis back in the day, and Phyllis never paid for the crime!  She got away with it!  Now with evil Ricky, the bad seed spawn of Paul and Isabella wanting to teach Phyllis a lesson, old wounds and old rivalries will be reopened, which gives the actors in this story some meaty material to sink their teeth into.

So, how does Lauralee feel Y&R is doing, while the series is receiving such backlash from fans unhappy with many of the current stories?  What was it like trying to capture the magic decades later with Michael Damian on-screen?  And, will this story be the one to finally make Lauralee want to stay on Y&R more long-term?  The answers to these and more burning questions can be found below in our conversation with the always “tell-it-like-it-is” Bell!

MICHAEL:

Finally, soap fans get to have both you and Michael Damian on Y&R at the same time and in scenes together … and in bed together!

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

On last Friday’s air show, I would say it was how a classic Bill Bell moment would be where we built it up to where Danny and Christine just see each other!  Then came the three day Memorial Day weekend!   For me, as a viewer, I really get into stuff like that.  It was almost painful to have them just stare at each other, and so Tuesday’s episode was intense, and then Friday’s episode is wicked.  Every day is intense, but where Michael Damian and I had big scenes was on Tuesday and then Friday.  Those are the big days.  My time is not quick this time around at Y&R.  I am there.

MICHAEL:

What really brings Christine back to Genoa City this time?  All of a sudden there she was!  Did it make sense to you why was she was there?  Many times you have chosen not to return for a guest-arc to Y&R if it didn’t feel right to you.

LAURALEE:

Well, it did make sense for her to come back.  Genevieve is in such hot water, and it has become a much bigger issue than the Genoa City cops can handle.  It is now a federal investigation.  So it did make sense that Christine was there, and it did make sense for Danny to be there with all the stuff going on with his son, Daniel.  That is what I was so excited about, because it wasn’t really forced.  I did like that we were both in Genoa City, but did not see each other the first few days we were back.  A lot of things occur in these few weeks!

MICHAEL:

The cool thing about how Christine and Daniel were brought back onto the canvas was they were there for completely different reasons, which I thought was a good way to write it.

LAURALEE:

I liked that, too.  So we are having scenes and then all of a sudden on Tuesday’s episode Danny and Christine end up in bed, and that is a shocker!  That is showing again the growth and the history of the couple, but the growth of them as adults knowing they can just do some things on the spur of the moment, where it’s like, “I have a couple days with you and I am going to make the most of it.  And after that, we will deal with it.”  The history of their relationship justifies basically anything at this point.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

After they have sex, some territory is covered about their relationship and if they could ever be back together.

LAURALEE:

At the end of it all, there is a question of, “Do these two want to get back together?”  It really comes down to logistically how would they make that work?  He loves being a rock star and she loves working for the Justice Department … and who is going to give that up?  It sounds great and could be fun for a couple of weeks, but the reality is; who is going to drop everything?  Which one of us is going to drop everything and go to the other and really be happy?  I think they both love their careers so much that the sacrifice would cause them to hate being with the person that they wanted to be with, because they changed their life.

MICHAEL:

Then they come down the stairs from the GCAC from their romp and who should be there but their exes, Phyllis and Paul!

LAURALEE:

I think there is a little bit of  “Sorry, we don’t want to hurt you.”  But you know what?  None of us are technically together.  Paul is going through a lot, so he doesn’t need that in his face, but it is touched on so briefly, which I think it’s great.  We are all adults and Paul has been with Nina, so there are no dibs on anyone.  But it is always nice to throw something back in Phyllis’s face!  Lord knows, she deserves everything she gets.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Your return is part of this overall story arc of the show reopening the cold case of when Cricket was mowed down in a hit and run, thanks to Phyllis, who has never paid for her crime.

LAURALEE:

There are some scenes coming up with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) which I will need to ask the production manager to get me a copy of the old scenes, so I know what I am talking about.  I don’t mean the actual hit and run, but there are scenes around that time that I start snipping with Phyllis over.  The lines are great, but I would like to have that vision of what I am talking about. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Phyllis hated Cricket!

LAURALEE:

Yes she hated Cricket.  It’s interesting.  I didn’t remember that Paul and I were about to get married, but she apparently saw Danny and I saying goodbye to each other and it made her very upset.  Cricket was on to Phyllis’ shenanigans.  For some reason, I feel like Paul and Cricket had people that were angry with them because of their work.  So it was always just assumed that it had to be someone from his P.I. work, or Cricket’s legal work, that had a vendetta against us.  I don’t think Phyllis was ever really considered.

MICHAEL:

So this cold case involving Cricket’s hit and run is really the spark for Ricky’s revenge plot against Phyllis, and there seems to be lots of twists coming up with many long time favorites involved in it.   How has taping gone have so far, in particular the scenes with Michael Damian?

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

When Michael Damian and I were sitting there running lines, it was interesting to see the crew there and their reactions to us, and when Michael and I taped our goodbye scenes.  It was so intense and people came out and said, “Oh my God.  That was very emotional.”  It’s Cricket and Danny, and that is one of the reasons I did not come back a couple of years ago when Michael was back.  Because if you don’t do it right, it could go wrong.  I have to say this was done so well, in terms of the reasons why they are there … the surprise of seeing each other, the intense quickness with them recognizing even though they have not seen each other, the connection is there.  They have such a strong connection, and then it’s goodbye.  That is why I have been eager for people to tune-in.  If you don’t watch Y&R that much anymore, but you were a fan back then, you have got to watch these episodes.  Watching the last few days of episodes with Jack and Victor and Nikki, these seem to be really strong shows.  And what is great now too, is that there is a lot of suspense.  You have Ricky getting creepy on everyone.  I kind of like those feelings where you are nervous.  I think there are multiple emotions going through the viewer’s mind when they are watching these days.

MICHAEL:

But Danny comes to town, and then is gone pretty quickly.  What’s up with that? How much of Danny/Cricket can we expect to see?

LAURALEE:

I think we are on for five days together.  Danny is on tour ‘baby’ and he has to get back on the road!  We were laughing in rehearsal when Danny tells Cricket he has to go.  It’s like, “Hello?  Maybe you should have told me this four hours ago, before we hopped in the sack.”  What is so great with Cricket at this age and point in her life, as we saw with Nick, I think she is very much in control of this, as you saw on Tuesday.  She is not the weak “Oh, I am not so sure if this is the right thing to do.”  There is none of that in her anymore.  There is the kindness in her, but no longer the naïve or scared side to her.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

So, Danny calls you Cricket, and not Christine!

LAURALEE:

I know, and he had to!  What was great about it was how it was addressed.  Michael, Michelle Stafford and I have this great scene where he is defending Cricket.  Phyllis says, “You know what? You have to move on, because she has.  Her name is not even Cricket anymore.  She is working woman.  So you have to get on with it and not live in the past!”  I am all for calling out what the audience was thinking and she nailed him with, “What era are you living in?”  To Nina and Danny, she will always be Cricket!

MICHAEL:

Should we expect some key showdown scenes between you and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis?)

LAURALEE:

I work with her a bit more coming up.  She came up to me my first day back and she was like, “I love what your character brings to the character of Phyllis. I immediately feel like the old Phyllis.“  I think people love seeing her like that.  I think by making her pregnant and having her do all these weird things because her hormones are out of whack, that is the Phyllis people want to see.  They don’t want to see her motherly and sweet, or if they do, they want to then see her flip out the next day so you can see she is not entirely stable.   What is great about their dynamic is… you can grow up, but it’s that deep- seated jealousy that is always there, even if you are sugar coating it.

MICHAEL:

Jeff Branson (Ronan) is coming back to Y&R, too!  Will you be working with him? Do you think Ronan and Christine could have a thing for each other?

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I did not know that at first, but I got my scripts for this week and we are working together.  Jeff is a really good actor, and I like Christine and Ronan.  There is an element of “Have those two gotten together?”  We both try to play it like that, because again, you don’t know what we do on our off hours.  I think that is what is so fun about playing my character now. You can sort of manipulate the story a bit, because I am off the canvas a lot and the audience has no idea what I do with my nights … whether Christine is drinking scotch alone, or at a strip club?  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

If you and Jeff Branson could both stay on the show long enough, (laughs) what about a Phyllis/Ronan/Christine triangle?  Phyllis was having sex with Ronan!  And Phyllis is pregnant with what we believe is Nick’s child… but what if it is Ronan’s?

LAURALEE:

I know!  How crazy was it that those two hooked-up?  And again, having all of us back now make senses, and it is all very justified.  Now with Michael Baldwin becoming the D.A. and then Heather Stevens coming back into his life.  I met Jennifer Landon (Heather, Y&R) and she is great!  What I can tell you is Jennifer is very real, there is nothing in her acting that will come across forced or fake.

MICHAEL:

Y&R has taken a hit by its fans in recent months with consistent criticism that the stories are not to their liking, and it doesn’t feel like the show they remembered wanting to tune-in to every day.   They have been very disgruntled, to say the least.

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

My big request to people is this: I know the story is there and I understand people are frustrated, but I am just saying, if you are going to give it a week and you are asking for classic Y&R, then you have to watch this week!  This is the beginning of a lot of good story.  I am all for watching shows that I don’t like and saying, “Why are they doing this? Why are doing that?”  I think what we can all agree on is it’s a lot people you know so well.  And I love watching a scene where you could have no dialog, and you put five Y&R characters that you have grown up with, you just know what they are all thinking about because you know them so well.  Everyone has their dynamics with everybody, and this is the time to watch.  If we don’t do in story what the fans are hoping for, it will break my heart, but I really feel like they are strong shows.

MICHAEL:

So has this return whet your appetite for possibly making it the real deal and coming back to the series on a more permanent basis?

LAURALEE:

Judging by what I will be taping next month, it looks like I will be around for a while.  There is a pretty steady amount of Christine.  But you know me!   I always like to wait to see how it is received before I make any other commitments.  I really have a bunch of shows that I am pitching full force right now, so I am in that mode to get them out.  I don’t want to commit to anything, but fingers-crossed, I can move forward with one of these.  And by the way, they are not my web projects.  So I believe things happen the way they are supposed to.  I will be on a ton on Y&R in June and July.  Then I will be taking a trip with my kids, and then we will see in August if this was all successful.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

How was it for you, personally, working with Michael Damian again?

LAURALEE:

He is great!  It was odd, I have to say, because we haven’t seen each other in years. Rebecca Street called me and said, “I’m in town”  So we arranged to have lunch together and 40 minutes into the lunch she said to me, “Do you ever talk to Michael Damian?” And literally within 30 seconds he tapped me on the shoulder!  He happened to be in the same restaurant!  So that was so weird.  And this was not intentional!  And after that, I had not seen him in 2 years.  You can’t spend the kind of time Michael and I spent together, without having a really tight relationship.  It was great seeing him at Y&R.  But I did tease him that he was telling the same jokes he did back then.  Some things never change.  (Laughs)  But it was nothing but great, and I think it showed on camera.

MICHAEL:

Who do you think is Christine’s true love?

LAURALEE:

That is a tough one!  It’s hard to pick between your first and then your adult relationship. I think she only has two true loves, Danny and Paul.  I think there is always something about your first love, because it was the first time you ever experienced those feelings that are that intense.  On the goodbye scene, you will see how intense Danny and Cricket’s relationship is.  They weren’t planning on this.  It dredges up feelings.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Speaking of dredging up the past, the Danny/Cricket romance was 80’s Y&R, and you wearing the typical look of the times, and sporting the big hair!  Can you look at those episodes and pinch yourself at all the cool things you did in story, or are you mortified when you see yourself in those days?

LAURALEE:

I am mortified, and that is why I never read the message boards.  I would be the first one to say that I looked ridiculous, but that is what it was back then.  I wouldn’t be defending how silly we looked, but it was a sign of the times and it is funny that I now can say, “We look better now than we did 20 years ago!” (Laughs)  You have got to laugh at yourself.  I am always trying to find the humor in everything and people take life to seriously, and if you do, you will just stay locked up and cry all day.

MICHAEL:

Where is Christine at with Paul?  The two of them to me look like there is still such love there between them.

LAURALEE:

I don’t think that is done.  Doug Davidson (Paul) and I purposely play that they still do love each other where we can.  With Paul and Christine, when they need support, or help or a friend, they always go to each other.  It’s hard to do that without crossing the lines for Paul and Chris. 

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: CharlesBush.com

So what do you hope unravels as the story kicks into high gear and Phyllis’ crime could be exposed?  Do you hope that it will put Christine in grave danger from Phyllis or Ricky?  Or, do you hope she will be able to finish the job she originally set out to do when she returned to GC?

LAURALEE:

It’s too soon for me to say.  I would like to play both, knowing that there is huge danger and fear looming for her, and also knowing she has a job to get done.  Christine comes to help Paul do a whole background check on Ricky and finding out his past, but she really comes back because she knows Paul is not doing well and that he needs some guidance. (Laughs)   I am just a flight away from Genoa City via Washington D.C.! (Laughs)

 

 

 

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Michael
Guest
Michael

Michael, you had to know that Lauralee wasn’t about to badmouth her sister-in-law, Maria Arena Bell. I don’t even know why you asked her about the extremely negative publicity that the show has been getting thanks in large part to MAB’s horrific writing of the show. For her and for the sake of “family harmony”, she had to keep her personal opinions about Maria and her writing to herself, even if she absolutely HATES what Maria has done to her late father’s show. I’m now in Week 4 or 5 of not watching Y&R. I refuse to watch the drivel… Read more »

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Michael I am with you 110% but the Bell family has always been about nepotism as a lot of familes are and that is fine but MAB to my knowledge had no previous writing experience. This could be a good plot if I was writing I would have the character Ricky whack Daisy and pen it on Phyllis. It would be a kick to have some Karma finally come back to her, it is amusing how they have whitewashed her character to complete boredom.

jackie
Guest
jackie

michael i need { ya to stay on young ^ restless ‘
huge fan of you _ on the show + danny w / christine + late 8o _
great seen you + jackie } no#1 fan

tash36
Guest
tash36

Hi Michael. How r u? Yes, I am asking same question and I know u r tired me asking. Bit do u have any news about Jack Wagner returning to GH and reuniting with Kristina Wagner(Felica) and Maxi? I wish they bring him back. I hope u have good news about that or any info y
ou can,give us fans.
Again Michael I thank,you for answering my question. I appreciate it so much.

Tash10204@aol.com

jackie
Guest
jackie

how are ya michael _? miss seen ya on the young & restless _ so much +
great to see ya on the show with laurnelle _ { danny & christine __
* how is your music coming along & movies _ coming out soon _
*
i appreicted you staying with the show +
*
i am hard of hearing + and talk + & single +
*

jackie
Guest
jackie

wish you was coming to pgh pa – so i can met you in person = handsome -& tall –
as i remember danny and chrisitne married – and have children _ and become granparents – when they do marries + please – michael + as danny +
love ya * you need ya & christine toqther ] please =please & stay on the show

Stacy
Guest
Stacy

They really need some good story lines. Who ever was writing the story lines in the mid to late nineties did an awesome job. After that, I basically stopped watching . They have to realize that y and r is shown in many countries including the one I’m from. They have to please the world, not just America.

Alyssa
Guest
Alyssa

I hope someday you can be back on The Young and The Restless for good. I am a huge Danny Romalotti fan. And a huge Cricket Blair fan also. You two are my fav couple on Y&R. I hope they can get back together. Well thanks for reading! Bye

~Alyssa~

Susan
Guest
Susan

After reading this interview almost a year after, I have to say almost if not everything has changed. Almost all the people mentioned in the interview are gone. Christine is now back with Paul. The question I would love to ask Lauralee now is: Is Paul the great love of her life because she gave up her job in DC in order to make the sacrifice of moving back to GC with the man she loves. I remember her stating to you that logistically speaking, she cant give up her job for Danny.

General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Chats On Mia St. John’s Powerful Interview on ‘State of Mind’, Winning the Daytime Emmy & Sonny’s Future If Carly & Jason Get Hitched

Since the launch of Maurice Benard’s You Tube series, State of Mind, he has welcomed numerous guests who have opened up and shared their struggles with different aspects of mental health.  But this Sunday, July 11th, Maurice will share for the first time his powerful and emotional sit-down interview with Mia St. John; one that he reveals was one of the most moving of his series thus far.

With Maurice being a huge boxing enthusiast throughout his life, having St. John, who is a boxer, herself, on as a guest was, of course, special. However, as soap fans know, Mia is also the former wife of the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters, Y&R) and they shared a son, Julian.  Both men died, tragically. Julian, suffered from a long-history of mental illness, and his death was ruled a suicide, and Kristoff was consumed with grief following his son’s death which ultimately set him on a downward spiral.  Kristoff’s death was ruled accidental caused by hypertrophic heart disease; which was exacerbated by alcohol use.  In the conversation with Benard, Mia opens about her own personal struggle with addiction and how she coped with these two devastating losses. (See an exclusive preview clip below within this interview)

It’s also been a whirlwind year for Maurice. He just took home his third Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series during the 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards for his moving portrayal as GH’s Sonny Corinthos, as he goes through all the stages of a child watching his father, Mike Corbin (played by Emmy-winner Max Gail) slip away due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Since the Emmy broadcast was pre-taped due to Covid restrictions, except for revealing who the winners actually were, Benard shares what went down when his name was called watching the show from home with his family.

 

And … things are heating up on General Hospital!  For months, Benard has been playing an amnesiac Sonny aka “Mike” who has become taken with deceitful Nina (Cynthia Watros), who knows he is alive and well and living in Nixon Falls, but fails to tell her nemesis Carly (Laura Wright), or anyone else in Port Charles.  With everyone believing Sonny is dead after his showdown with Julian Jerome, Carly and Jason (Steve Burton) find themselves having to save Sonny’s territory and go up against the five families.  So, what are the besties deciding to do? Get married! And as viewers saw, Carly recently removed her wedding rings to Sonny.  So, now the question on GH fans inquiry minds is; will Sonny get his memory back in time, and stop Jason and Carly from tying the knot?

Benard weighs-in on what the future may hold for Sonny, the difficulties he faced during the Covid-19 lockdown with his mental health, his conversation with Mia, and much more.  Here’s what Maurice shared.

Courtesy/StateofMind

Having Mia St. John on as your guest on the upcoming episode of State of Mind was quite emotional for you. What can you preview? 

MAURICE:  I can say that during last ten minutes, there’s a lot of spiritual stuff going on.  I felt it.  She’s very tough.  You can tell that she doesn’t want to hurt anymore, and with me, I don’t know for sure, but I think she felt safe and protected.  We got into Julian and Kristoff and what happened.  I’m pretty sure I asked her and said, “I’d like to get into something.  You could say ‘no’ to me.  It’s fine,” and she told me the whole story.  Michael, I know you were friends with Kristoff, you’re going to really be moved because I was extremely moved.  It really, really hit me hard, because of what I’ve just been through during the pandemic. I just felt the need to be there for her.  I mean, I have that in me anyway, but with her, I did because it seemed like a lot for someone to go through.  I didn’t know Kristoff.  I met him once, and we talked for a bit.  He seemed like a great guy.  I knew he was a great actor because I watched his work.  I do know that everybody seemed to love him, but through State of Mind, it seemed like I got to know him a little better through Mia.  I was looking in her eyes, and taking it all in, and she was telling me everything.

Throughout your series, you seemed to have become more comfortable in the role of the interviewer.  It’s quite the switch isn’t it from always being on the other end as the interviewee.

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve gotten better.  You know what it is with me, and somebody said it, I’ve got a curiosity that I love to hear people’s stories, and I have a way to make people comfortable.

Photo: KSJIG

Does it help you in listening to what other people have gone through in dealing with your own struggles with mental illness?

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve said it before.  It’s like therapy for me.  After Mia, I was drained, but in a good way.  In the beginning of doing “State of Mind’, I was just learning.  I wish I was more well-rounded in my intelligence.  I barely graduated out of high school, but as far as what it is with me, if I know something like acting or mental health, I really completely know it.  I’m into it.

How did the interview with Mia come about?  Did you ask her to come on State of Mind?

MAURICE:  I know who is involved with mental health.  I know who would be interesting to interview, and then I reach out, and I have people coming who are not in the soap world.  I have a WWE person; I have a TV critic, etc.  So, I asked her, and Mia said ‘yes’, and then we did the interview.  I’m a huge boxing fan.  So, to be able to talk to her about boxing and things that happened to her right before her fights, I was just really fascinated.

That is right in your wheelhouse!

MAURICE:  Way up my alley!  If I could have more boxers on, I would love that.  I love sports, but boxing is my one sport, so I was like a kid in a candy store talking to Mia.

How do you feel Mia is doing as she has been very open about her battle with alcoholism?

MAURICE: Any time you’ve been through that much, I think it’s a daily struggle for anyone. In addition, there is a really great organization she works with that I hope people will check out as she is trying to help others.

In terms of all of your State of Mind’s, did this one impact you in a different way?

MAURICE:  The good thing for me about State of Mind is that I learn from each person about things that I didn’t know.  For instance, coming up I have: Linsey Godfrey (Ex-Sarah, DAYS) who got hit by a car.  I mean, you could read about it, but when you’re talking to someone, things come out.  That’s what I love about doing this show.  Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R) didn’t know anything about mental illness, personally, but he talked about mental illness more than anyone!  I said to him on the episode, “For somebody who doesn’t know anything about mental illness or didn’t have someone with it, you talk more about it,” because he had a curiosity on the subject.  Mia’s was a little more because of the boxing and how deep we went with her talking about death.  In an upcoming episode with Ken Shriner (Scott, GH), he teaches me a lot about death.  When your parents die at 16, I don’t know how you could keep going.  He taught me how.  It was beautiful.

Photo: NATAS/CBS

Let’s go back to a few weeks ago on June 25th and you win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  How did you find out you took home the gold?

MAURICE:  I was at my place in LA with my son, Joshua and my wife, Paula and we were watching the show.  When they called my name, I was very moved to watch my wife and my son get so excited, it really was sweet.  I liked my speech even though people had a problem with it, which is fine.  It’s always great if Max Gail wins or I get a win, because it’s the Alzheimer’s storyline that gets the attention.  And as I told you already, my dad has Alzheimer’s so it makes it even more personal.

And as you know, my mom had Alzheimer’s and died.  That’s why what you and Max did together on-screen together felt so real and raw and touched so many people – especially those who have a loved one going through this now, or that has passed.

MAURICE:  Yeah, it’s tough. I truly believe with this Emmy win, that it is the Alzheimer’s that really pushed it over the edge because it was a real story, greatly written, everybody deals with it, including you, including me, and you just can’t help but have a feeling about it.  You know, if I have a reel that shows me as Sonny yelling at people, beating people up, it’s not going to give you the impact.

Photo: NATAS

Was it weird coming to the stage and doing a pre-taped Emmy acceptance speech knowing that everybody else that was nominated had to do one too?

MAURICE:  Well, thank, God I didn’t have to do it in front of actors; I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it.  It’s weird, right?  I knew I had to adjust.  When I’ve won before, it’s in front of a lot of people, or semi-in front in a lot of people.  So, with this year, your energy is different.  So, you can’t act in a speech like that, because then it would seem kind of over the top, maybe.  So, I just made a speech that I thought would work for what I was doing; which is kind of acting because I didn’t want to come out and say, “Oh, my God!  I can’t believe it!”  So, I said, “Okay, I’ll thank the actors, I’ll thank Frank, and I’ll make it about Alzheimer’s.”

Photo: GFrancisTwitter

I know some fans on social media jumped on the comment you made within the speech about ‘being the star of the show’ and you did tweet out that you went to Genie Francis (Laura, GH) to make sure there were no ruffled feathers there.

MAURICE:  I went to Genie because I thought, I don’t want her to take what I said personally, and she’s like, “What are you talking about?”  Sometimes I respond to a negative comment on Twitter with an emoji which can incite people.  So, I decided, “I’m not going to do that anymore. No more responding.”  Like I always say, you want to be loved and you want to be hated.  You just want to be loved a little more. So, I stopped with the child’s play.  I’m cool with it.

It seemed that things got twisted up, because you had related in the speech, that Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) came over to you and said you have to do the storyline, because you are the star of the show, when you were overcome in the screen-test with Max Gail. 

MAURICE:  Sometimes people love to change the narrative.  If you watch everything … they say what I said, but they don’t say that I also said ‘Alzheimer’s’ was the star, but I’ll take the hit.

Courtesy/ABC

I recently posted a clip of my interview with Cynthia Watros from the red carpet at the Daytime Emmys saying how she is so thrilled and honored to work with you.  How is it working with Cynthia?

MAURICE:  Let me tell you about Cynthia, and this is just my experience because I don’t know her that well.  We hadn’t worked together before. First of all, we tend to overlook, because of her character and the story, or whatnot, is that she is a real actress.  Let’s not forget that, I know she did Lost, and I didn’t watch her on another soap.  I know from working with her.  She can act She makes adjustments, and she listens, and I’m really happy to be working with her.  She is just stuck in a circumstance that is not her fault, but you know what, like I said today I think on Twitter to somebody, ‘but wait’.  I’ve been working this last month doing some scenes with her, and when you see that, there’s a little bit of magic in there!  I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world, I’m just saying there’s a little magic!

Photo: ABC

Have you liked being “Mike “and not having Sonny’s memory because it opened up the story?

MAURICE:  I know people think this story is my idea, like I needed a break or something.  It has nothing to do with me needing a break.  They came to me and said they were going to do this story.  I said, “Let’s do this!”  I’ve been enjoying this.  It’s a different energy.  The energy that Sonny has is dark.  It’s like in third gear.  Mike is like in first gear, calm, relaxed, happy.

You’re just realizing that now?

MAURICE:  (Laughs) Well, I guess until you’ve gone somewhere else you really don’t know.  Often times, when I do movies and other projects, it’s often the same kind of energy that Sonny has. I’ve never played a character like “Mike” where it’s a whole other feeling!

Courtesy/ABC

Is it more challenging to play a character like Mike?

MAURICE:  No, easier!  Sonny can be difficult to play.  But guess what?  The audience – at least my fans – they don’t care how happy I am or whatever, they are screaming “Go back to fricken Sonny!”  I like that in a way, but I didn’t know that it was going to be this vocal from people.  It’s not that they hate Mike, they just want Sonny, and Cynthia is put in a tough situation because of her history in that character.

So, now everyone saw last week that Jason and Carly have decided they have to get married for the sake of the business with Sonny believed-to-be-dead.  What did you think when you heard that they were going in that direction with the story?

MAURICE:  Well, I was the last one to know.  I didn’t know they were going to get married until I heard about it in the makeup room.  I think the first thing I thought of was … we are all going to be having some great scenes coming up, like, “Alright.  Let’s rock and roll!  Let’s do it!  I’ll get into this character of Sonny when called upon.”  It might be and dark and the whole thing, but once I’m in there, I’m fine.

Courtesy/ABC

It would seem if Carly and Jason do actually get married, it’s not going to be an easy road to reconciliation for Carly and Sonny down the line.

MAURICE:  No.  I would say not.  The thing about Sonny is that it’s what Sonny does best, or what I do playing him best, is betrayal.  So, for him, this is not a good thing.  I would assume he’s just going to go, “What the…” and all hell is going to break loose.

Sonny’s body washed ashore and he was very much alive, while the search and rescue mission quickly became a recovery.  Once again, law enforcement in Port Charles isn’t very good! (Laughs)

MAURICE:  So, there you go.  It’s going to be a bigger fight.  It’s going to be a great fight when Sonny does return.

Photo: ABC

Fans are predicting that Jason and Carly are going to be at the altar, and Sonny is going to walk in alive and well with his memory back to the nuptials!

MAURICE:  Well, however it goes, I would say, just let them just watch the fireworks as they unfold.

But you’re enjoying this story?

MAURICE:  I’m cool, man.  I will say this, I’m glad that I have been given this last month playing Mike, and the Nixon Falls story.   I don’t know how much more we have ahead.  I just know that what we’ve taped has been really cool, and I’m glad that they gave me that.

Photo: ABC

I know that the coronavirus pandemic and its isolation was rough for you.  What can you share, and how did you find your way out of a downward spiral?

MAURICE:  Yeah, Covid was just one of those things where I was hit with a lot of different things all at once, which was …  GH shutting down production, my book tour not being in New York (although the book ended up probably doing better because of the pandemic, which was interesting) … my mom and dad moved out …  and I thought it was the end of the world.  We all did at some point, and it all hit me with a rush of anxiety that I had never felt before in my entire life, and it was four months of terror … way too long. I was shaking like a leaf, not sleeping, it was tough.  What I tell people is that when you go through these things, it will pass.  I know, for me, four months was too long, but it did pass.  You’re better because of it.  You can take one of either two roads.  You can get worse, and you can say, “I’m a victim, I’m a victim,” or you can take the other road and say, “I’m stronger now.  Look at what I’ve been through,” and then, look at what happens … a year and a half later, look at what my life is.  I have a pond here at home, and I used to run around this pond crying my eyes out, every morning crying, like I couldn’t do it anymore, and a year later, I walk around the pond like it’s the greatest thing in the world, but that’s what this is, this mental health.  You can think you can’t go on, but then it rewards you with a better life.

Photo: Noah Harmon

I was going to say, that’s pretty profound.  When you were going through the four months, did you think you were going to come out of it okay?

MAURICE:  No,   I’m going to be honest.  I finally got on Lexapro after three months.  If Lexapro didn’t work, I can’t say positively what would have happened.  It gradually made me feel better.  Like I have said, if GH had called me a month before, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the storyline.  It would have been the end.  I wouldn’t have been able to go back to work, because I was in that state of mind.  So, they called at the right time.  I went back to work and I was on Lexapro.  The thing about Lexapro is – and we always tell people to get professional help. There are a lot of people like me, and I’ve got to say, first you get professional help because you’re on the brink of whatever.  So the first five days of taking Lexapro, you feel worse than you did just before you started taking it, and that is scary because you’re like, “I can’t take this.  This is horrible,” and then I stayed on it.  It got gradually better, and just a month and a half ago or so, I weaned myself off.

How are you feeling now?

MAURICE:  Oh, let me tell you, the day that I weaned off, was a Thursday, and I wasn’t going to take it, and I was on my bed, and I felt the greatest I felt maybe, ever.  Now, I’m not saying people should go off it, whatever, because I was on it for like 8 months or something, but it saved my life like lithium for my bipolar disorder, and that’s an amazing thing that these pills could do.  What happened with me with the pandemic is that I had never really taken anything for anxiety.  I had only taken lithium, and I’d been on lithium for 30 years, but for anxiety, I never wanted to take anything, but if you’re bad, if you’re like (you know those gears I’ve been talking about) in 4th and I was like in 5th gear, you’d better get some help, man, because you can’t get off it on your own.

Photo: State of Mind

I want to conclude checking in on your dad, Humberto.  When did you learn he had Alzheimer’s, and how is he doing now?  

MAURICE: It’s been a while since I found out.  I didn’t really want to talk about it, and then I did something in People magazine with the book, and I asked him if I could talk about it, and he said “yeah”.  So, it gave me the green light, and that was maybe 10 months ago.  He’s actually doing good.  It’s slowly kind of happening but that is how the disease works.  This has been a really great conversation, man!

So, what do you think will happen with Sonny aka “Mike”? Will he return to Port Charles before Carly and Jason tie the knot?  Have you been watching Maurice’s State of Mind series, and has it helped you with any of your mental health issues or concerns? Were you happy that Maurice took home the gold this year for his portrayal in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Shares Her Emotions & Reactions On Her Second Daytime Emmy Win for Lead Actress

Last Friday night on CBS broadcast of the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy Forrester) took home the gold in the hotly contested Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category.  This marks Jacqui’s second win.

MacInnes Wood’s performance in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline, that aired in 2020, was the ticket to victory for the talented young actress and new mom to her second son, Lenix.

As viewers saw, the Emmy telecast was pre-recorded including all the nominees taping acceptances speeches ahead of air; with the winner being revealed for the very first time on the broadcast.

 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Jacqui post-Emmys, to find out how she felt about her speech, her emotions at having her name called for the second time in her career, and how she felt Steffy’s addiction storyline resonated with so many people at home, and obviously, the Emmy voters.  Here’s what she had to say …

Photo: NATAS/CBS

What was it like for you to do have to pre-tape your acceptance speech?  Yours, actually came off very in-the-moment, because you kind of stumbled over a word, but it seemed like you were very excited.

JACQUELINE:  Yeah!  I was very excited.  Of course, it is strange to do it that way.  I am very grateful that I was up to my nose in The Bold and the Beautiful scenes and dialogues in the week and the days before, that whole week.  I wasn’t sitting around going, “I’m going to rehearse this in the mirror.”  I just wanted it to be very heartfelt and real.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t like last time – I truly was not expecting it the first time I won.  I think that this time I wanted to be mindful of who to thank and talk about the story, which was so important to bring up opioid addiction, and I really wanted to thank Brad Bell (executive producer and executive producer, B&B) for giving me this story, and allowing me to tell it, because it was such an important message to tell.  Even though this year’s Daytime Emmys were shot differently, I was still nervous. I was so excited to get on a stage. Last year, we were on a Zoom, so it was nice to be able to do this on a stage again.

So where were you on Emmy night?  Were you watching the broadcast at home?  

JACQUELINE:  I was at home, and I was with my friends and my family.  To be honest, it was such a fun way to do it.  Even though it was so wild the way that we shot it – they do this on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Sometimes they’ll do it live, but everyone has their acceptance speech.  I was just happy during the Emmy taping day to be dressed up, wearing high heels, and to be with my cast, Then, I got to celebrate watching it with my friends and family.  It was so cool to find out in that moment, then afterwards we ended up going out.  We went to Ronn Moss’ (Ex-Ridge, B&B) house for a party, where Ronn was performing, and it was great to be with some of the cast and have everybody together.  So, we danced the night away, and it was so much fun.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Of course, if we had been able to be at the Daytime Emmys that way would have been great, but it was nice to be able to go, “Okay, I can celebrate in my casual clothes, and dance, and not be uncomfortable.”

Photo: JMW Instagram

Were your children, Rise and newborn Lenix, with you watching when their mom won her second Daytime Emmy?

JACQUELINE:  My children were with me, and we celebrated together, and of course they don’t really understand what is going on, but they just saw all of us jumping around.  I probably scared my 4-month-old.  My mom ended up watching them.  Then, we all went out.  So, it was a good night.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

Did you have an inkling that you were a frontrunner to take home the gold as Lead Actress for your work in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline?

JACQUELINE:  Were there times when I thought I could win?  I wasn’t sure, but I knew what we did was very special.  The first time I won, I was very proud of myself knowing I had to do all of these long scenes, but I was not expecting to win.  This time, I thought there was a possibility, and I wouldn’t say that it’s all because of me.  I know it’s cliché, but honestly those days when we were filming, you could just feel the energy.  Everyone brought it.  We do film so quickly, and some performances are great, and some of them aren’t, whether it’s because you don’t sleep that night, you don’t know your dialogue that well, you don’t understand why your character is doing a certain thing, but you’re trying to figure it out.  When we were filming these scenes, I thought it was just such an important story to tell, and I felt like everyone gave it 110%.  I looked at everyone, and I knew we were all connected, and even though it was such a heavy storyline, there was something so magical those days and those weeks of filming.  I was so proud of everyone, and it wasn’t something that was like, “Here I am forcing myself to cry,” I was like, “I am just going to be in this scene and really tell this story that millions of people have gone through.” When I watched back those scenes after they initially aired, it was not only about the cast, but it was just how the audio had been added, how the directing was done (since we had to be six feet away from each other because of Covid-19 protocols) which made it all come to life.

Did you think when you came into this medium that you wind up being a two-time Daytime Emmy-winner?  Was it something that you aspired to have?

JACQUELINE:  I think yes and no.  I can’t sit there and say, “No, I didn’t.”  I have goals for myself, and you want to manifest some things, so I wanted to visualize that one day.  I’m in this industry, and I want to do the work, and I eventually wanted to have the Emmy one day, absolutely.  I’d be lying if I said, “I just want to go with the flow, and if I get an award, great.”  No.  I definitely thought about it and said, “Okay, this is something that I do want one day. I didn’t think I’d have two!  I just wanted an award, one day.  So, I think that’s amazing in itself, but I am very honored.

Courtesy/CBS

So, during the Lead Actress nominee package during the Daytime Emmy broadcast, they showed the gut-wrenching clips of yours, where Steffy admits in front of Ridge, Liam and Finn, “I’m addicted.  I’m addicted.  I have a problem.”  Do you remember performing those scenes?

JACQUELINE:  You know, you remember it sometimes as if you’re out of your body. In that moment, I remember being so in my body, but in a good way.  To say those words, to finally realize how heavy – even in talking to you right now – my body feels heavy.  I felt the weight of what Steffy was finally admitting. It broke Steffy, and it broke me.  I’ve never been in that position, but I did my research, and I looked up people who have suffered from addiction and the families, and to look over at Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) and see the heartbreak in his eyes, in Ridge’s eyes, to see what Steffy was doing to other people – she realizes in that moment, “Oh, my God. I am addicted.”  Looking back at those scenes, there is just so much truth in them, and for so many people who have been there.  It just breaks my heart that people have to go through this every day.  People sent me messages from all over the place, it was amazing.  I couldn’t believe the number of direct messages they sent me on my Instagram.  It was pretty incredible.

Courtesy/CBS

Your performance just felt so raw and real, which is why I think it registered with people who have been in that situation, and for the peer vote for the Emmy.  Whenever I talk to other actors about what they look for in judging other performers work, they always say they look for the truth. They don’t want to see a false note delivered in a performance.

JACQUELINE:  Absolutely.  For sure.  That’s why I’m so proud of everyone in the scenes because they all gave that.  It wasn’t like you look over at a cast member and went, “Oh, what’s my line?”  We were there.  It just gave me goosebumps.  It isn’t just my award.  It was everybody’s award.  When you get to really feel like you’re really alive in these scenes, living in those scenes, it’s such an incredible feeling. After this win, I am just riding the wave right now and really just enjoying it.

Photo: MFTV Inc.

Well, I’ll finish on this last question: How do you rate our Emmy photo together this year? (Laughs) We have well-documented our issues taking a decent photo together; usually because we break up laughing trying to take one.

JACQUELINE: (Laughs) I mean, okay … I am happy that we had those LED bars of light.  We have to have LED lighting around us 24/7.  So, I’ll give it a 9.5 rating   Moving forward, we need indoor, 3-4 LED lights, and we’ll be good.  Now that I have two Emmys, I’m going to be asking for that lighting moving forward … now that I’ve turned into a diva. (Laughs)

Share your congratulations to Jacqui via the comment section below … and let us know your thoughts on her winning her second Daytime Emmy – this time for Steffy’s powerful opioid addiction storyline.  But first, check out our red carpet interview with more with the eventual Lead Actress Emmy winner.

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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Lead Actor Nominee Red Carpet Interviews

Tonight on the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards five talented actors will vie for the gold in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category during the Emmy broadcast, which airs on CBS and streams on Paramount + beginning at 8 p.m. EST.

During the Daytime Emmy Red Carpet event featuring nominees and presenters, four of the five nominated actors were able to make the festivities, missing was daytime favorite, Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) of The Bold and the Beautiful.

Michael Fairman chatted with GH nominees: Maurice Benard (Sonny), Steve Burton (Jason) and Dominic Zamprogna, plus Days of our Lives nominee and also a GH cast member, Wally Kurth (Justin, Days and Ned, GH) to get their thoughts on what this nomination for their work means to them, what performances they submitted for Emmy judging, and what it has been like to be a part of the collective daytime community.,

Check out our red carpet Lead Actor nominee interviews below, and make sure to check out more nominee and presenter conversations on the Michael Fairman Channel.

Now, let us know, which actor you are rooting for in the Outstanding Lead Actor category? Let us know your pick in the comment section.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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