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The Melissa Archer Interview – One Life to Live

© JPI Studios

© JPI Studios

Natalie Buchanan had endured so many setbacks and so much sadness in her young life that it’s hard to imagine that there is more just around the corner.  But there is.  After all this is soap opera, and One Life to Live. Actress Melissa Archer has been winning raves for over eight and half years as Natalie, the feisty, take-no-prisoners, and loveable young heroine.  Melissa’s strength and raw vulnerability make Natalie’s perils ring true to our hearts, no matter how outlandish they may be.  Take a look at her current state of affairs.  Natalie is still getting over the loss of her husband Jared, who was shot to death by the evil Mitch Laurence.  In retribution, Natalie stabbed Mitch.  Her one time beau, John McBain covered for her, but all went awry when somehow with the machinations of an evil police commissioner, (thanks, Dorian!) Mitch got away.  And now this week, his reign of terror goes to new levels of debauchery!

In this On-Air On-Soaps interview, Melissa fills us in on tomorrow’s road to disaster as several of your favorite residents from Llanview are involved in a car crash that is set to change the course of many lives. So, how does Melissa feel about a re-teaming with Michael Easton (John) in the romance department, and the strange, yet loving relationship between sisters, Jessica and Natalie, and working with her on-screen mom, the legendary Erika Slezak?  Her answers may surprise you.  And in Melissa’s opinion, of all of Natalie’s moments, (and there are plenty) which one did she think she hit out of the ballpark?  A Soap Opera Digest winner for Outstanding Newcomer in 2003 and a winner for Favorite Triangle in 2005, could this be the year that Melissa scores a Daytime Emmy nomination for Supporting Actress?  We shall see.  But in the meantime, here are the thoughts from one of daytime’s most compelling young actresses on her juicy role.

MICHAEL:

There is so much coming up for Natalie, but I wanted to go back a bit in time to when Jared died, and those incredible performances you gave at the graveside.  Were those hard to pull off, or do you love getting the chance to emotionally go there?

MELISSA:

Thank you.  It’s a double-edged sword.  It’s hard, but I think that is what is so gratifying about it.

MICHAEL:

It brought us back to a few years before when Natalie thought John was dead, and viewers witnessed your gut-wrenching performances.  And now Jared is gone.  What goes on in Natalie’s mind, in terms of handling all the loss and grief?  It’s almost too much for one person to go through in such a short time frame.

MELISSA:

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It’s funny, outside of Natalie looking at it. She has had so much tragedy with the men in her life.  Most of them come back, though. (Laughs)  Imagine it actually happening to a human being who would actually lose so many people in such a short time in their life. It’s a little heartbreaking for that person.  I think that is the thing.  For each love interest and new found thing in Natalie’s life, she took from what she had with the old and you have a growth, and you bring that into the new relationship.  You are going through the process all over again. Then with that person dying, it’s a whole new tragedy in itself. Then of course, how do you deal? That is the next question.

MICHAEL:

How was working with John Brotherton (Ex- Jared)?

MELISSA:

Amazing!  He was awesome.  He is a nice guy, professional and positive, and it was nice to work with him.

MICHAEL:

Now we come to what looks like, or shall I say certain signs are pointing to, a re-emergence of the Natalie and John romance. Why do you think Natalie and John work so well together?  Do you and Michael Easton talk about how that relationship comes across on-screen?

MELISSA:

I don’t know that we have really discussed how it comes across on screen, but yeah, I think it was always an interesting story.  I think what made it so interesting for so long is that they never, until the very end; they never had a committed relationship.  So there was this wanting, and wanting, that built for so long.

MICHAEL:

Natalie is always compelled to help John!  But this time the stakes are very high.  Jessica is in big trouble.

MELISSA:

Courtesy/ABC

Definitely!  She is determined to help John and it’s double sided, but she is more determined to help her sister.  Natalie knows John is the person who is going to help her, and not only that, but she had the guilt associated with the fact that John has been covering for her stabbing Mitch.

MICHAEL:

Yes.  Natalie did stab evil Mitch, and John seemingly will do anything to keep Natalie in the clear of any crime.

MELISSA:

Yes, and this is a little payback to him to say, “Thanks, and let me help you now.”  I think that is the relationship they have had for a really long time.  One helps the other, and they have always had a friendship.  Even though they have not been in each other’s orbit there is always this care for one another.

MICHAEL:

How is Michael Easton to work with?

MELISSA:

I love working with Michael.  He is fabulous, hard-working, and I like what he brings to the story.  He has a very interesting character to play.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

He is not your typical soapy actor.  When something happens to John it’s so devastating to watch because of the way Michael plays him.  The character is very contained.  So those big emotional moments are wonderful to see.

MELISSA:

I think that is what makes him so interesting, because it’s not the typical character.  And, as the character is challenged, it’s challenging for those involved with John.  The goal sometimes for Natalie is to reach the underside of what he hides.  I sometimes think that is a big drive for her.  John is so quiet.  I think Natalie appreciates that to some degree, too.  I think because of where Natalie is in certain points of her life and because she is a feistier character, she could relate to certain things with him that other people couldn’t.

MICHAEL:

In a recent interview I did with Erika Slezak, (Viki) for Advocate.com, I asked her about working with you as her on-screen daughter.  I want to read to you what she had to say and get your comments.  Erika stated, “I think Melissa is one of the best actresses we have ever had on our show.  I know Melissa personally, and I know what she does on-screen and it’s riveting.  I adore that child and I think of her as my own.  Now I think she lives on another planet, but I have told her that.  She cuts through all the nonsense and gets to the heart of who Natalie is.  She has passion and she is the sweetest goofball.”

MELISSA:

I love her! (Laughs) It’s funny, because I have always felt like Erika is a part of my family.  I know it’s television, but Erika has always been so wonderful about taking me under her wing.  I always feel like I can go to her for anything, and she is fabulous to work with.  She is a giving actress, but it’s more than that.  I feel I can learn so much from her, and I appreciate what she brings to the table in helping me, and her professionalism.  It’s so awesome to have that opportunity to work with her!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Would you agree with her goofball comment?

MELISSA:

Yes. Absolutely!

MICHAEL:

We love that about you!  How are you a goofball?

MELISSA:

I am goofy!  I am kind of random and I say silly things sometimes and I act crazy (in a good way), sometimes.  I have a different way of thinking at times. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Tomorrow on OLTL, there is a huge car collision. Natalie has already taken off for Llantano Mountain to try and save Jessica from the clutches of Mitch Laurence, and she is on her way up there with Brody and John in tow.  You are driving the car?

MELISSA:

I am driving the getaway car and it was fun.  I will be honest. I was hoping because there was a remote involved, that we would be driving the getaway car.  I thought it would be so cool, as it is in the movies. 

MICHAEL:

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Will Natalie be donning an incognito Chauffeur’s hat?  After all, our three heroes are trying to out-run the cops!

MELISSA:

Yes.  At some point in it, yes I do.  It was a lot of fun to tape this.  Even though it wasn’t driving on the road, it was still really exciting.  They have the car moving, as if you are really moving.  But I will tell you; I thought I would be a much better pretend driver! (Laughs)  I know how the car feels when I am driving, and how much the wheel turns. But, I guess it depends on the vehicle.  For the getaway, this was more of a rugged SUV vehicle.  So I guess I thought the wheel would be tougher.  I kind of thought the wheel would not turn as much, and production had to tell me that I had to move the wheel more because it looked like I wasn’t doing anything.  I thought I was being really cool! (Laughs) And I was bouncing it too, since it’s a rugged SUV.  So I thought it would bounce more than it would shake.  Apparently, it did not read well, so we had to change that. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

You went on location for these exterior scenes. Where did you shoot them?

MELISSA:

The location was the loading ramp outside of the building formerly known as All My Children’s studio, where we are moving to this month.

MICHAEL:

This crash involves many people!

MELISSA:

It is going to involve many people and in reading the scripts, it was kind of exciting. Listen, we are very lucky. We have an amazing production team to make things look as good as they do. When I first read it I was like, “How are they going to do it in the studio?”  They were able to just pull it all off with stunts, and pyrotechnics, and so much more.  It was so cool and looks amazing to me!

MICHAEL:

Once the car accident happens, can we expect a big moment between Natalie and John?  That is what we have heard and long time fans have been begging for. But it seems that Natalie gets very close in proximity to John, and in her delirium thinks she is kissing Jared?

MELISSA:

© JPI Studios

We can say that there is a major moment the week of February 8th for anyone who ever loved John and Natalie.  It’s totally unexpected.  Yes, she thinks she is kissing Jared.  She does not realize what she is doing in the midst of it, but at some point she does.

MICHAEL:

Is Natalie in physical danger?

MELISSA:

Natalie is in physical danger from the car crash.  I am trying to get to Jessica and that is the initial goal. There is something major that happens to them.  The car crash happens, and the stakes were already high, because we have to get to Jessica.  Then this collision happens and then it throws everything off course. Then the stakes are magnified.

MICHAEL:

How do you like the real possibility of working with Michael Easton again in an on-screen romantic relationship with John and Natalie?  And wait….there is another huge complication, John’s current girlfriend, Marty!  I see a triangle!

MELISSA:

Oh yeah! And of course, there is the issue of Marty.  To have a triangle is exciting!  They are fun to play.  I have been in quite a few triangles: Evangeline/John/Natalie, and then the John/Natalie/Cristian, and then Cristian/Jen/Natalie, and at the beginning there was the Jessica/Seth/Natalie triangle.

MICHAEL:

So of all those triangles, what was your favorite to play?

MELISSA:

I think the longest was Evangeline/John/Natalie, and I thought that was a lot of fun. I also would have to say I enjoyed the Cristian/Natalie/John triangle because it was kind of nice to be the apex!  I will say that, too. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

February sweeps seems to be can’t-miss soap opera television at One Life to Live. There is this big issue of Mitch.  Did you ever take issue, as an actress, of trying to justify Mitch’s actions?  Some of it just seems so ridiculous, out there, and borders on absurd!

MELISSA:

It’s a funny thing. You have heard strange stories in real life where you are kind of dumbfounded these things can actually happen, but they do.  And to say that this one man can get away with so much, yeah maybe, but you have to take into account the place where it’s happening.  It’s happening in Llanview!  And in Llanview you can do many things. (Laughs)  And what I like about Mitch is that he is the bad guy who never dies and comes back.  I think that is what is great about Mitch.  He is always there to haunt and bring about great story.  He gets away with so much, and that is what makes the stakes so high of, “Oh, my God! How did he come back from the dead?  I thought he was dead this time.  And now look what he is able to do?”  And it is believable in a way because he has a cult and he has a lot of followers.  You hear about this in other states, where the law enforcement is involved in the cover-up.  So is this completely inconceivable?  No, its not!  It can happen.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Roscoe Born as Mitch Laurence?  Natalie had had quite a history with this evil incarnate.  She was married to him at one point in time!

MELISSA:

Roscoe is amazing!  He is able to deliver every single time.  I feel his job is one of the hardest because he has to play not only evil, but also a cult leader.  So he has scriptures and all sorts of stuff he has to pull off and come across like he is so evil.  And truly, Roscoe is a very nice man, and a pleasure to work with, and very funny.  He is so good at what he does.

MICHAEL:

Ok, Melissa, but do you guys ever chuckle in rehearsals?  It’s so twisted!  I mean there were many group and family scenes where Mitch just pops up.

MELISSA:

Sure, oh yeah!  The first day he came back on the show this time, Mitch steps into the doorway of the greenhouse and his line was like, “Daddy’s home.”  It was so eerie!

MICHAEL:

What about when Mitch popped out of Jared’s casket at the funeral?  It was funny, sick and twisted all rolled in to one and there you were playing it for all its worth and delivering another Archer bravura performance!

MELISSA:

It was an interesting thing.  As an actress, I felt that for Natalie to be able to make this higher stakes for her, she would have to have the hope that Jared was not really dead and this was all a bad dream.  Because for her, it’s obviously happened some other times to several other men on the show that have died, who ended up not being really dead.  But she believed as this casket was opening that it was Jared, and that everything was going to be OK.  And then of course, when the casket is fully opened and out comes Mitch, it’s this shock and horror and almost like speechlessness.  Natalie goes to say something, but it’s like, “I can’t even believe this is happening.  How did this happen?  Mitch is supposed to be in prison!  What is going on?”

MICHAEL:

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I thought it was good that this time when Mitch came back to the show, head writer Ron Carlivati and OLTL executive producer Frank Valentini, changed Mitch back to the cult guy with his minions.  It stayed true to the original origin of the character.  Now, what about Mitch’s daughter and your sister, Jessica?  I mean after all, Jess’s alter ego, Tess, tried to kill Natalie, but somehow they worked through that.  Now, of course, Natalie is trying to save the poor girl before Mitch erases her memories with electro-shock therapy. It seems like no matter what Natalie and Jessica go through they somehow end up still being sisterly. (Laughs)

MELISSA:

I think that is the best part of Natalie and Jessica.  They have always had such an interesting relationship; going from Natalie pretending to be her friend to revealing that she is not a nice person, and then trying to throw her off the stairs, and then later, somehow finding a way to not only become sisters, but friends. They have their moments, like when Jess was Tess, and Natalie did not like Tess, and Tess did not like Natalie.  There were obviously problems there, and yet at the same point in time, she was able to recognize it was Tess and still love her sister and come out of it having a relationship with her. What is cool about it is even though Natalie did not grow up with Jessica; the sisters have a lot of what you hear people say about what it was like growing up with a sister.  You can love each other to death, and then kill each other the next day.  I think there are more loving times between them then not.  But, I think that they have had their problems.  I like playing both ends.  That is what makes it so real and relatable, except when they want to kill each other.  They use bombs and secret rooms! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Since the time you premiered on One Life to Live, what scenes stick in your mind as the moments you are most proud of playing Natalie?

MELISSA:

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There have been moments where I thought, “Wow, I did a really great job,” and then there have been other times later on where I felt I did a better job.  I think I feel I have grown as an actress.  But I think I am most proud of the storyline with Jared dying.  I think it’s been most gratifying for me with my work.  I felt really good about my performance.  I can’t say that I felt I loved it every single time, but I put my heart and soul into it, and I really liked it.

MICHAEL:

I also thought it was very poignant how Charlie and Natalie would bond together and help each other through Jared’s death.  Most touching was when he came to the grave and held Natalie.  How is working with Brian Kerwin (Charlie)?

MELISSA:

Working with Brian is great, too.  He has a way about him that is so natural.  He has a likeable quality, not only his personal self, but as his character.  And even when Charlie does wrong he is a likeable guy.  I think it was really, really nice that Ron wrote us having that connection over Jared’s death.  And it’s not each of them grieving on their own, but also to find comfort in one another.  I found it a nice touch.

MICHAEL:

What does Natalie think of Marty?

MELISSA:

In one way, I feel like even though Natalie is trying to be the adult, and it’s a fact of life, it’s always hard when you see someone you were involved with move on, even if you are emotionally over that person.  I think that Natalie has grown up herself, so I don’t think that the animosity is there. Just as John and Natalie have not been in each other’s orbit, neither have Marty and Natalie for a long period of time.  There is not a lot of animosity there, but I think Natalie might feel at times a little threatened by Marty.  I am not sure if she even realized that.  I don’t know if she recognized that she feels threatened.

MICHAEL:

It will be interesting to see how this plays out; when John and Natalie reconnect and Marty is on the outside for a minute.

MELISSA:

© JPI Studios

I think that is why I like this triangle as well.  I feel Susan Haskell brings a lot to Marty, not only the way she plays it, but how it is written for her.  I think it just aired recently, where Natalie went to therapy with Marty, and it was interesting.  Susan really played the part of being the therapist trying to help this person, but also the moments where we see what Marty may have actually been thinking.  I saw the show where Marty was talking to her therapist.  The therapist was saying to her, “Well, maybe it’s because she was talking about your boyfriend.”  And I liked the way she played it because, again, it wasn’t a person recognizing that they feel threatened.  Now, it brings a cool dynamic between these two women in that they are trying to be adult about this. But, they are really feeling something else.  Then eventually, the question becomes, “How long are you not going to be an adult about it?”

MICHAEL:

So, can we then expect a complex human triangle?

MELISSA:

It’s hard to say how it will play out, but I think it’s going to play out interesting, because Marty, with her psychological background, is trying to have a grasp over her feelings and be the bigger person.  And Natalie usually struggles with that stuff, in general. (Laughs)  It will be interesting to see if it will become catty or not.  It’s a soap, and that makes it fun to always see a little cattiness!

MICHAEL:

When fans meet you, what do they say to you the most?  Do they tell you who they would like Natalie paired with romantically?

MELISSA:

It varies.  I still hear people say that they want Natalie with Cristian.  So I think that is what makes soap fans so great.  It’s not just one thing.

MICHAEL:

What can we tell Natalie fans to look forward to in February?

MELISSA:

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We have seen Natalie grieving, then driven by revenge, and now she is driven to save her sister.  Then something happens with the crash that alters her reality.  Something unexpected is going to happen with John, and when that happens, things change even more.

MICHAEL:

So, is Natalie finally moving through her grief and ready to move on?

MELISSA:

I don’t think Natalie is over her loss for Jared.  I think she is struggling on how to deal with it as I think anybody would in that situation. In February, it becomes trickier. You will see her struggling with all of her feelings, and desperately trying to pinpoint what is real and what is not.

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Cyn
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Cyn

Wonderful interview..love getting a small peek into Melissa’s mind…Adore her and Natalie and can not wait to see what they are up to next.

Rae
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Rae

Thank you for a great interview! I’ve loved Melissa Archer ever since she set foot in Llanview. I fell in love with Natalie and Christian but when John McBain entered the scene, I knew they were done. Melissa and Michael Easton have such chemistry…they sell a love story like no other pairing on the show. I have patiently waited for a John and Natalie reunion and it sounds like it may be on the horizon. Kudos to Melissa for doing such a remarkable job with her role!

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

Loved the interview! Melissa is such a class act! I love her! And, I agree that I think the Jared death story is among her best work. She really knocked every scene out of the park. I am personally thrilled that she and Michael Easton are working together again. They have special chemistry and I love the connection between John and Natalie. I have waited – impatiently – for a reunion and I sincerely hope that OLTL will not disappoint me!

Nilsa
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Nilsa

Great interview! Love Melissa. I loved and enjoyed her with John Brotherton(Jared). I miss Jared and Natalie. Natalie’s true soulmate and love of her life!

Eliza
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Eliza

Great interview, Melissa has always been my favorite actress and I am so happy she is finally getting some long overdue praise. I love her Natalie and Michael Easton’s John together and so happy and thrilled they are going back to them.

Debby
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Debby

I simply adore Melissa. I don’t think she’s ever received the recognition for her acting that she derserves. I would love to see her win an emmy this year. I am so excited to see John and Natalie together again. I have waited for a reunion for a long time and I’d have to be honest enough to say if I don’t get one this time, I’ll quit watching for good.

Mary
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Mary

Thanks for the interview! I love Melissa and Natalie is my favorite character. Great interview.

Gin
Guest
Gin

Thanks for the MA interview. Love Natalie Buchanan Banks. MA has been doing some great work and brings so much energy to the roll. Also, thanks for the pretty, pretty pictures. Jared and Natalie are missed and those pictures are gorgeous.

Trudi
Guest
Trudi

Thank you so much for the fabulous interview with MA. As always you seem to know exactly the questions I would like to ask if given the opportunity and get straight to the heart of the character. Natalie is such a fascinating character and has a rich and complex history with so many other characters on the show, it’s really fun to hear Archer’s take on things.

Ginger
Guest
Ginger

So excited to see John and Natalie reuniting on screen. They are amazing together. So glad Melissa is getting much deserved praise for her acting. She is the best.

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

A wonderful interview! Melissa deserves all the recognition for her acting of late, she has been fantastic. Great to see her front and center again. I am absolutely loving the John, Natalie and Brody scenes; their chemistry is fabulous together and they play off one another so well. Sure hope we get John and Natalie back together, they light up screen and bring out the best in the characters and actors.

Christina
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Christina

Melissa Archer and Michael Easton are AMAZING together! I loved Christian and Natalie at one time UNTIL Michael Easton came on screen and they were it for me! John and Natalie are true soulmates and simply belong togehter. I am soo hoping for a reunion, and it sounds like it is coming. Thank you, RC!! Just do my pretty Jolie justice!!
Melissa deserves a ton of praise as does Michael Easton! I LOVE THEM TOGEHTER!!

Denise
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Denise

Its past time for Melissa to receive a Emmyy Nod! Melissa is doing awesome work in this Mitch SL. Iam very please with this interview, its always great to see the real Melissa shining thru!

Nakita
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Nakita

Thank you for this interview. I absolutely love Melissa Archer! I’m not a soap watcher but I flipped threw the show one day, saw her and was hooked! She just has amazing chemistry with everyone. There’s just something about her that fascinates me and I can’t get enough.

Sandy
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Sandy

What a fantastic interview!!! Loved Melissa as Natalie on OL and I am really looking forward to see what happens in February. I truly hope that it leads to my fab couple (john/nat) being reunited and having a committed relationship without any outside interference.

Lucy
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Lucy

Thank you for a wonderful interview. Natalie is my favorite character and Melissa is my favorite actress. She is the reason I watch OLTL and look forward to her scenes. Here;s hoping she is nominated for an Emmy this year. I also hope Natalie and John will be together again.

Doe
Guest
Doe

Another great interview, Michael. I go along with your fans.I also love John and Natalie’s chemistry. Michael Easton portrays the strong silent type and Natalie bounces right off the screen. Melissa has really grown as an actress over the last few years. You love to look at her combustability. But she is truly beautiful. I know something is coming up tomorrow after watching today.There are at least three cars heading for a collision. There should be some exciting days ahead. Go get that looney Mitch! I still think that obsolete contraption he is using to repress Jessica’s memory is hysterically… Read more »

Shelby
Guest
Shelby

Thanks for sharing this interview. Melissa You are such an amazing actress!!! Even though I didn’t like the Natalie/Jared paring, I thought you did an amazing job with his death and the scenes leading up too his death. Especially the ones w/ John(Michael Easton)!!! I love the fiesty Natalie…and John always knows how to bring that out in her. 😉 Your chemistry w/ ME always rocks the charts and I think that’s why your one of the most poplar couples on daytime. 🙂 I cannot wait to see what the two of you do with this next storyline….I have no… Read more »

Christine
Guest
Christine

Thank you for the great interview with Melissa Archer. She is a wonderful actress and a class act. She and Brian Kerwin have been particularly phenomenal in the aftermath of Jared’s untimely death. And thanks for the Natalie/Jared pictures. “Jarlie” will always hold a special place in my heart, as they brought me back to watching a soap after several years of “soap retirement.” Melissa and John Brotherton (another class act) never disappointed me in two plus years, and I thank them both for giving their all and making me believe that Natalie and Jared are the loves of each… Read more »

semaj
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semaj

bring on jolie again i loved them can’t to see them together again.

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

Thanks for the interview. Love Melissa and am excited about what is gonna happen next.

Arls
Guest
Arls

I enjoyed reading MA’s interview & found it very interesting. I am overjoyed to hear that it is a very good possibility that there will be a reunion of some kind between Natalie & John McBain. The chemistry they have is over the top & I can’t think of any other couple that I love seeing in a scene better than the two of them. John comes alive so when he is with her…….. & vice versa. Someone mentioned that Jared was the love of Natalie’s life but I can’t see how they could say that. Maybe because they were… Read more »

Chontil
Guest
Chontil

I am a John and Natalie fan. I love MA, she is my favorite soap actress.

sammy
Guest
sammy

What a nice article. I loved Jared and Natalie but I am really starting to like John and Natalie alot. I think she has chemistry with everyone.

Christina
Guest
Christina

I know I defintely enjoyed this interview with Melissa Archer! She;s one of my favorites. And I am so hoping that we longtime fans get a reunion for Natalie and John. The chemistry with her and Michael Easton is absolutely incredible! These two melt my screen. Please, OLTL, give your fans a John and Natalie reunion!

shay
Guest
shay

I hope that natalie and john are going to get back together . Aubrey and Joey she is not a match for him he belong with kelly . I am tired of this tess wish she was gone and jessica was back with brody and not with ford.

vicci
Guest
vicci

I just love Melissa, she is a real good actess. I don’t miss a day of one life to live because i can’t wait for John to find out that Natalie’s baby is his One life to live could not of found a better person to play Natalie. Natalie deserves to be happy and her and John look good together. I love you girl keep up the good work.

kathryn63
Guest
kathryn63

THAT IS WHY SHE NEEDS TO BE ON GH WITH MICHAEL ASAP WITH HIS HAMILTON FINN CHARACTER!!!!! THEY NEED TO BE RE-UNITED ASAP JOHN&NATALIE ARE THE LOVE OF EACH OTHERS LIVES & COMPLETE & UTTER SOULMATES!!!!!!! JARED ABSOLUTE NOT I HATED HIM SOOOOO MUCH & WAS SOOOOOOO WRONG FOR MY NATALIE! I WAS SOOOOOOO HAPPY WHEN HE DIED & WAS OFF THE SHOW!!!!!! NOW ME&MA NEED TO BE ON GH TOGETHER HIS HAMILTON FINN CHARACTER ALONG/WITH WHOEVER CHARACTER SHE WOULD PLAY. IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW ASAP!!!!!!!!!!

nina
Guest
nina

Just finished rewatching the last few seasons of OLTL and damn Melissa is an amazing actress. I was happy to find this article and read her thoughts. Jared’s death really was some of her best work on this show and Jared/Natalie was definitely missed. I love seeing relationships in soaps that are built on so much love and trust and free of ridiculous internal drama. They always had each other’s backs and supported each other and it was surprisingly realistic for a soap romance.

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If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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