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The Michael Park Interview – As The World Turns

Photo Credit: JPI Studios
Michael-Park-200x300

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

On As the World Turns, it’s finally “Michael’s Turn”. After languishing on the back burner for quite some time, actor Michael Park has gotten the story of his soap opera lifetime. Michael’s endearing and sturdy portrayal of everyman Jack Snyder has made him one of daytime’s most treasured performers. CBS and ATWT heavily promoted and revealed that Brad Snyder (played by Austin Peck) would be killed off, and with that huge payoffs and stories would explode. And they did, and it did not disappoint critics or viewers. If anyone had caught each episode of ATWT since Jack accidentally shot and killed his brother, you have witnessed must see daytime television. But to On-Air On-Soaps, the standout is Park’s heartbreaking star turn as a man racked with guilt for shooting his brother and how it literally spins his whole life out of control.

Now with the shows Never Surrender Tour in full force, which features Jack hitting the road after the tragic event and ATWT visiting cities around the US in a huge promotional boost for the soap, viewers are getting the chance to see a cast of characters that have been off the canvas for quite some time. But of all the returns, the most highly anticipated was that of Carly, played by the returning Maura West. And that means that Carly and Jack, long-time star-crossed lovers, may yet get another chance at love, or will they?

In this On-Air On-Soaps interview Park talks openly about his new storyline, the exit of Austin Peck, ATWT’s cancellation rumors, and re-teaming with Daytime Emmy winner, West.

MICHAEL:

Since the episode where Jack accidentally shot and killed his brother Brad, As the World Turns fans have been watching you give the performance of your career!

MICHAEL PARK:

Let me start this off by saying the performances across the board have been outstanding. Terri Colombino (Katie), and Austin Peck (Brad)…I mean, I don’t think Austin has done better. He has hit every mark perfectly, and I love this ghost story. I think it’s really something else because I think he and Trent Dawson (Henry) work really well off each other. The writing has been spot on and I think Chris Goutman (exec prod ATWT) has come up with a perfect story arc. It is a perfect storm of good soap opera, period.

MICHAEL:

What went through your mind when you found out the show was planning on killing off Brad, and thus Austin would then be leaving the show, which would then propel Jack into major story?

Brad dies.MICHAEL PARK:

I immediately said, “Please tell Austin it was not anything that I wanted. Tell him it was not my fault.” There has been all this hoopla on how the two of us did not get along. I think it was more hype than anything else. Regardless, he has been doing phenomenal work and I was proud of it. I am happy for the show, and the bottom line is people are talking about As the World Turns and that is what we needed, and at that point we did not even have Maura West (Carly) back yet. What a great set-up for her return to the show.

MICHAEL:

Jack’s journey: from the scenes when Brad died and he felt so guilty, to dealing with his family; Janet and Liberty and his son, Parker, of what he had done were such gut-wrenching moments. Were they tough for you to play?

MICHAEL PARK:

You know it’s crazy, I was thinking of that myself. I have an older brother… and keep in mind on ATWT Brad is younger than Jack. But I do have a brother in real life, and I am thinking while Austin is laying there, “If that was my brother…” and the feeling comes up and the subject matter is heavy, and this also meant… Austin is leaving. I drew from a lot of things. I had a sibling that past away. Did I draw from that? Yeah. And looking at Teri crying that alone will get you, and Terri was beside herself and it was just phenomenal.

MICHAEL:

What can you tell us about the reports that Austin was indeed, “fired”?

MICHAEL PARK:

Look, he did not get fired. We needed to facilitate Brad going away to facilitate story and unfortunately he was collateral damage. What a firestorm it started because the fans got very upset. But the story that happened because of that was so gorgeous, and so many people benefited from it. Most of all, I believe the fans did. And it’s not over yet, because the Christmas Eve show will knock your socks off! The Christmas Eve show is one of our most beautiful shows of the year, I think.

MICHAEL

Will we need hankies?

Michael and JanetMICHAEL PARK:

You might keep em’ nearby, for sure.

MICHAEL:

Jack is the everyman that we can all relate to, which is why he is so beloved. Question: Do you want me to pick out your Emmy reels for you now?

MICHAEL PARK:

Stop it! Don’t talk like that!

MICHAEL:

Your scenes with Mick Hazen as your son Parker, and Julie Pinson as Janet, were also poignant during Jack’s torment. How is working with Mick and Julie?

MICHAEL PARK:

Working with Mick is so easy. He is so present with me and we have a wonderful relationship outside the studio. We are very close and Julie Pinson is a pro.

MICHAEL:

You want to know what drove me up a wall? Janet harping to Jack, that he had two beers and had been drinking the night he shot Brad. She wouldn’t stop bringing it up!

ColumbinoMICHAEL PARK:

Look, Julie made it work and again it’s for more collateral damage. She had to do that in order to facilitate Jack feeling so rocked with guilt that he takes off, because no one is forgiving him. Katie is really the only one forgiving him. Katie! She has been giving Jack the gift of forgiveness, and she should be coming down on him the hardest. Jack living in the same house as Liberty, Brad’s daughter, and the fact she hates the sight of Jack at that moment, he just has to get out of there and is overwrought with guilt.

MICHAEL:

How was it going town-to-town on the Never Surrender Tour of Jack’s journey?

MICHAEL PARK:

Bringing the show to the fans was another one of Chris Goutman’s ideas. You know, it was busy! It was a lot of work! I visited those cities a few times in a couple months… first doing publicity there and then coming back to shoot the scenes. It was very taxing on the home life and Maura just had her fifth child in real life, and she is going everywhere with me. I believe out of it came wonderful story, if you put aside Carly teleporting to cities from Oakdale! (Laughs).

MICHAEL:

Jack visited with Mike, played by our favorite Mike, Mark Collier.

CollierMICHAEL PARK:

That was really special. For a couple years there ATWT was writing in characters and recasting them and rewriting the history along with those new characters. For example, with bringing Brad back, you had to rewrite the history of Jack and his mom and dad, too. Austin worked out that his Brad was this off the wall kooky guy. When they brought Mike on he was very serious, and keep in mind the relationship between Jack and Mike, Carly slept with Mike! So there was a lot of history set aside in order to tell story and it was great to see Mark Collier’s Mike. No slight to Jon Prescott. Now Peter Parros (Ben), the man is beautiful number one. He is rock flipping solid! I don’t know how old he is, and I don’t want to know. (Laughs) He is just a masterpiece, and seeing Lesli Kay (Molly) again, well she is another masterpiece, and to top it off, Paul Leyden (Simon) is back.

MICHAEL:

Now in the story, Jack wants Simon to come back to Oakdale. Why?

MICHAEL PARK:

Simon was involved in an art theft and Jack shows up and says, “You are needed by Katie. Now I don’t know why she loved you, but she did love you and now she is in trouble and you need to help her.” Jack has this stuck in his craw that he has to mend this broken heart of Katie. That is why he goes to see Mike, but Mike has a new wife and baby, so Mike steers him towards Simon. Jack is vehemently opposed to being in Simon’s orbit because of the history between Simon and Carly. As reluctant as he is, it may be the only other person that could help Katie and that is why he tracks down Simon. He can’t finish the job though, and thank God. Lo and behold, Carly shows up to help him out, because Carly knows Simon better than anyone (Laughs).

MICHAEL:

Now coming up next week, things get really upsetting around Thanksgiving for Jack.

Simon Jack and CarlyMICHAEL PARK:

Simon is a master of disappearing and that is pretty much what he does. Jack takes it really hard and thinks it’s his last shot at finding Katie any kind of happiness. So he goes on bender a little bit. He hits the bottle.

MICHAEL:

With a recovering alcoholic Carly nearby? What?

MICHAEL PARK:

And it’s really ‘lousey’, too, to get drunk in front of Carly who just got out of rehab. That’s basically what happens. The tease is Janet finally decides to go looking for Jack. There is a moment when Carly may be tempted to drink. There is a moment when Carly and Jack could end up hitting the sheets, and Jack does not remember what happens, and in that same moment Janet shows up.

MICHAEL:

The “super couple”, if you will, of ATWT as anyone knows is Carly and Jack. Why do you think it has clicked for you and Maura and for the fans?

Carly and JackMICHAEL PARK:

You say we are a “super couple”, but we have not been together for years now. No slight to Julie, no slight to Annie Parisse (Ex-Julia Lindsay), no slight to Sarah Brown (Ex- Julia Larrabee)….I have been blessed to work with all of these wonderful actresses and I don’t know why, I really don’t. Jack met Carly in late 1997 and we have garnered these wonderful crazy and fanatical fans, and they kept us going, really. Without a fan base, you don’t have a “super couple”, and it’s magic for me to work with her. We know each other so well and we pick each other up, and it’s been a great working relationship for over a decade.

MICHAEL:

When the two of you see the scripts where it feels like the same ol’ same ol’ of Jack and Carly splitting up and then getting back together again, does it feel like as actors, “Oh God, here we are again… been there, done that?”

MICHAEL PARK:

Isn’t that always the case, you recycle story. This reunion, if there is one, may be more of the same, but I hope it isn’t. There is a lot to overcome. Jack has to remain non-judgmental and has got to change, and he has not the right to judge anyone, says he. He has no right to judge a soul. He has taken a life!

Jack Shoots BradMICHAEL:

Do you think Jack will ever come to terms with what he has done?

MICHAEL PARK:

It’s a question of Jack forgiving himself, it really is. I don’t think it ever will be the same with Jack and Liberty again, and with his actions of what he did to Janet. I think there were some bridges burned between the two of them that I don’t think will ever be mended either. Because of who he is, and Janet being the good catholic girl she is…they try to stick together, and a lot not only happens on the road, but a lot happens back on the home front, too. So she is no angel in all of this.

MICHAEL:

Maura West’s Emmy reel last year, not only featured an outstanding performance by her but by you as well. In those episodes, Carly was trying to lure Jack back into her life and into her bed.

MICHAEL PARK:

In the past four or five years, I have submitted the same four or five reels as Maura. (Laughs).

MICHAEL:

How odd, right? You were excellent, too. Ah, the Emmy game! Maybe this year do not submit a scene with Maura in it or double check with what she is submitting. (Laughs) But the two of you are so good together. Were there a couple moments in the past where you felt that you and Maura rocked and were awesome as Carly and Jack?

MICHAEL PARK:

The break up scene when they broke up four years ago. That was a special time for both of us and the first time we really showed each other a different side of our characters. That is saying something since we have been working together for over a decade and again, I have said this before, the first time they fell in love in the cabin. It’s a special union that Jack and Carly have, and whenever they give each other those special glances and looks, it means something. When it is written really well for the two of us, it’s wonderful!

Maura WestMICHAEL:

So where else will we see Jack and Carly on the road?

MICHAEL PARK:

We have seen New York, Pittsburgh, South Carolina and then Jack and Carly go on a trip to Detroit..dot..dot…dot..

MICHAEL:

ATWT’s has had cancellation rumors swirling that the show is next on the chopping block since the demise of Guiding Light. You must be concerned?

MICHAEL PARK:

To comment on it makes it real. I lost a couple nights sleep there and I am not going to lie to you. What is happening with ABC switching All My Children to Los Angeles, and budgets are being cut across the board and every show is feeling what Guiding Light was feeling, and what As the World Turns and One Life to Live is feeling now. I have kids I have to feed, but I know I will be working, God willing.

MICHAEL:

Now two time Daytime Emmy Winner Tom Pelphrey (Mick) has started on ATWT. Have you even had a chance to work with him?

MICHAEL PARK:

NO!! I would love to work with him. There are other rumors that more people are coming and I love it.

MICHAEL:

Jack has been on the back burner for years now, until this huge, shall I say, shot in the arm. Was it tough just languishing for so long, when Jack is really one of the leads of the show?

Michael ParkMICHAEL PARK:

It was. I felt like for the first time I was working for my guarantee, and it was right around the time those rumors were coming out of the possible cancellation and so it was hard-core.  It was not like I had not been on the back-burner before, but this particular time was pretty stressful.  And everyone needs their turn, and if this is the payoff for being on the back burner, than boy, I am very fortunate and thankful.

MICHAEL:

You are also set to start in Martha Byrne’s new web series Gotham, which premieres next week on November 23rd at www.gothamtheseries.com.

MICHAEL PARK:

Yes. We shot three episodes, and it was fun. It’s great seeing all the people I used to work with at ATWT outside the studio. We shot it at Martha’s house, which is as much of a mansion as you can possibly get.

MICHAEL:

So you play Richard Manning, a very wealthy man?

MICHAEL PARK:

Of course I do! (Laughs) He is a playboy, and he is the most eligible bachelor of New York City, a JFK Jr. type, if you will. Richard manages a hedge fund and is in a bit of a jam, and we don’t know why. But, he has been married and in the process of getting a divorce. He has got two kids, and that is all we know of this guy. There is a bit of mystery about it. Back in high school, Richard and Catherine, Martha’s character, dated a bit and they are reunited at this St. Jude’s benefit, of course. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How did your participation in the project come about? I am assuming Martha came to you and said, “Want to be in my webisodes?”

Michael ParkMICHAEL PARK:

Well, we went out to LA and talked to a bunch of people and found out the state of the union basically, and where daytime television may be going and what we can do to spark interest in certain shows. A person told us, “Take the project in your own hands and try to make some buzz with it on the Internet, because that is where the next wave of entertainment is going.”

MICHAEL:

Are you a partner on the project?

MICHAEL PARK:

Actually not, it’s all Martha Byrne’s and her amazing idea. I hear Kin Shriner could be involved now, and Anne Sayre and Lisa Brown, as had already been reported, are working on the show. I am very happy with it.

MICHAEL:

Will you continue on with Gotham?

MICHAEL PARK:

Sure, as long as Martha will have me, or until she kills my character off. (Laughs)

General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright Talks on Mob Boss Carly and Her 30-Year Evolution in Daytime

She’s a fierce, force to be reckoned with, one who delivers raw and emotional performances time and time again, while never forgetting from where she came, and always willing to pass on to her newer co-stars’ the wisdom she gained from the grind of performing in front of the camera in the toughest acting genre there is … daytime drama.

General Hospital’s Laura Wright’s (Carly) real-life soap journey actually has a very humble beginning when in 1991 – fresh off a job at a gas station – she landed in Corinth and the role of Ally Rescott on ABC’s Loving.  Up next, a jaunt to its re-imagined version, The City, until the series ultimate demise in 1997. But that was just an appetizer for soap fans of Wright’s burgeoning talent, when next she ventured to Springfield and CBS’ Guiding Light to take on the role of a stripper with a heart-of-gold who ultimately would be crowned a princess, Cassie Layne. Then, after a popular 8-year-run, she would head to General Hospital, and one of the most coveted roles in soaps, that of Port Charles’ Carly Corinthos following in the footsteps of powerhouse actresses, Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun. In her 20th year in daytime, Laura took home the gold for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series back in 2011, and that brings us to now.  Next week on June 7th, marks Laura’s 30th year in daytime filled with memorable on and off-screen moments that she has cherished.

Meanwhile, currently on GH, Laura is getting to play Carly in a whole new set of circumstances as she enters her three-decade soap anniversary. In story, we find Carly stepping up to run the mob, now that she and everyone else believes her husband, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) is dead, and while her best friend and mob enforcer, Jason (Steve Burton) had to go on the run. And from the looks of it, Carly is adjusting to the mob boss role quite well … but is she really?

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Laura to get the lowdown on Carly’s life without Sonny, which has pushed her front and center into managing crimes and misdemeanors, mafia-style, all to protect the ones she loves, and to reflect on her amazing ride in daytime; which has made her one of the all-time leading ladies of the soaps.  Here’s what Laura shared about it all.

Photo: ABC

When you first found out what the structure of this storyline was going to be, where Sonny was going to “die” along with Julian (William deVry), and then he turns up alive and has amnesia, what was your initial thought?  Did you know how far they were going to take this for Carly, as far as her now running  the mob in Sonny’s place?

LAURA:  I had no idea about the mob part of it until about two months ago. As far as Sonny having amnesia and having another life now, I love those kinds of stories.  It also gives you as an actor something to play, and what else are you going to do with Sonny and Carly?  You can’t really break them up.  You’re talking to the person who is game for almost anything, so I loved it.  What does Carly’s life look like now as everybody believes that Sonny has died? How does she even take care of herself?  For me, it gave me great material to play because of how it all started to crumble.  Ava (Maura West) takes Avery, Cyrus (Jeff Kober) starts taking over the territory and the town, and Carly starts losing all of this security in her life as she knew it in trying to protect her family, and it was scary for her.

Photo: ABC

Of course, viewers could see where this storyline was heading once Carly lit in to Nina (Cynthia Watros), when Nina was in Nixon Falls and saw that Sonny was very much alive! You could see that Nina was going to seek revenge on Carly and not tell her about Sonny, aka “Mike”, all the while getting closer to him.  What do you think Carly would do if she found out that Nina was with Sonny and kept it from her?

LAURA:  You know, Carly before taking over the mob would have been awful, but now… and I was thinking about this the other day …  I’m like, “Carly would go after her with a gun!”

For years, I’ve always loved this idea of, “What if Carly became a mob boss?”

LAURA:  If they did have Carly go after Nina, then Jason and Sonny would be like, “You cannot do this.”  I think there is this blind rage, at least for a moment.  It can’t just be standing there and yelling at her, do you know what I mean?  Carly would probably take action and then Nina would disappear, or it’s like ‘get me away from her because I am going to kill her’ for what this woman did.  So, you have to have at least an episode of that before you come to your senses and realize that you have children and responsibilities, and you’re going to have to do this the right way, but you have to have the moment of losing it.  It’s stealing their life.  It’s great stuff.  My other thoughts are, “Poor Cynthia,” (laughs) because she’s got to be the nicest human being on the planet, and she is so fun to work with, and so great and committed, so we are going to have some interesting times getting through whatever they write.  I have no idea what they’re writing by the way, and I have no idea when it’s going to happen, but I am sure it will be great.

Photo: ABC

With the way GH shoots their taping schedule, I am assuming now you barely see Maurice, because you are basically in two different parts of this interconnecting story?

LAURA:  We shoot by set.  So, if Maurice is working in the morning, and I am scheduled at let’s say at noon, by the time I get there, he’ll be gone.  So, it’s fascinating. It’s kind of running parallel of what is happening on and off screen because I don’t see him at work, either.

Photo: ABC

Carly seems that she is becoming pretty comfortable in this mob role.  There was a scene that recently aired between Diane (Carolyn Hennesy) and Carly, where Carly was discussing her options of what to do with Gladys (Bonnie Burroughs).  Does Carly like the power this brings her?

LAURA:  I think so, but it’s not like she’s sitting around going, “Oh, this is amazing.”  It’s seriously what she has to do.  What she is seeing is that there are so many moving parts that she didn’t realize how difficult it was.  Sonny made it look easy.  There’s not a time to even take a breath.  You’ve got to always be on your toes.  You know, she is doing it in ‘Carly fashion,’ so it’s always entertaining, and trying as a woman to put out all the fires, but there’s 20 fires behind it, because there is just someone constantly trying to take your seat, trying to hurt your family.  There’s just always something to look out for whether it be from the other families or law enforcement.  I think that Carly is surprised that she is good at it and surprised at how making these decisions is becoming easier and easier for her, but I don’t know if she sits back and enjoys it.  At this point, from air to what we are taping, the decisions don’t stop, and the danger doesn’t stop, and more decisions have to be made, and there is no one else to do it.  This is a world that is life or death.  This isn’t like, “Well, if they don’t like me, I’ll just find someone else to do the job.”  There’s nobody else to do that job.  It’s not that world.  You don’t get to walk away, and she is learning that more and more, as she plays in the big world.

Photo: ABC

So, Jason went on the run with Britt (Kelly Thiebaud).  How does Carly feel about that?

LAURA:  Britt saved his life.  She said that on camera.  “She saved your life; she can take you wherever.  I trust her.”  Carly saw how Britt stepped up and helped him.  I don’t think there is anything else that Carly is thinking right now.  Carly doesn’t have the luxury of being old Carly and being snippy, catty, wanting to vet every person in Jason’s life.  It’s just not her reality right now.  That would be a luxury if she could go back and be that person, but that’s not it.  Right now, it’s assessing the situation.  “Is he safe?  Is she taking care of him?  Great.  I don’t care about anything else right now.”  This is the difference between old Carly and mob-boss Carly.  Those days are gone.  She would give anything to go back to those days because she didn’t have to have the world on her shoulders because Jason was safe, and Sonny was alive.  It’s not where she is now.  It’s a different dynamic that she was forced into.

Photo: ABC

When you and Steve Burton are in scenes together, whether it’s just in your eyes, or expressions or emotions, there is so much going on, or at least that’s how it plays to the audience.  Is the relationship between Carly and Jason one of your favorites to play, because it’s so unique and deep rooted into their history? 

LAURA:  Oh, I love the Carly/Jason relationship. It’s the loyalty and that their dedication to each other is unbendable, unbreakable.  It’s so unwavering.  It’s great to play because it’s like being in a really good relationship, even though he’s not her ‘person’, but he kind of is.  It’s being in a great relationship that means that you get to be 100% you and everything that means, and that person loves and accepts you. There’s such incredible love and freedom, and that’s what it’s like to work with Steve because Steve approaches our scenes – and almost every scene when I watch him with other people – that there is no undercutting judgment, only help.  If I’m struggling with a line or I don’t want to do something, he’s either like, “Yeah, I agree. That’s unnecessary; cut it,” or he gives me a really great way of looking at it, where I’m like, “Oh, that is a really interesting thing, thanks!”  So, then you have full freedom to feel and play and do anything, and that’s kind of what you see.  There’s just a confidence, and I think it is also the relationship.  I think it has to be there when I work with Steve because the relationship between Carly and Jason is that way.

Photo: JPI

Carly and Jason accept each other for who they are, all their flaws, and the dangers that come with their lives.  Wouldn’t you say?

LAURA:  She accepts him 100% for who he is.  She wants to manipulate the world around him, so he is safe, and perfect, and always there, but she still accepts him when nobody else does and vice versa.  He knows that Carly is going to destroy things, and mess up, and spiral.  Like, she had that scene where she said, “Even when Jason knows I’m wrong, he supports me.” It’s really that right there that is everything between the two of them, and it’s the hardest thing to find in any relationship, real life, TV, etc.  We always want to change people to make them be who we want them to be so that we feel okay. It’s a great soap opera relationship because it causes conflict in every other relationship that they have, which is great for storytelling in a show because then there is always a challenge, always a hurdle, always a problem built-in if you need drama. It’s because there is so much acceptance and unconditional love and support that they are free to be who they need to be, and I feel that as an actor working Steve as well.  I think that’s what you see when you say there’s ‘a lot going on’.

Carly’s plan for Gladys took quite a turn!

LAURA:  Well, Carly thought the second that Cyrus finds out that Brando (Johnny Wactor) is the father of Sasha’s (Sofia Matteson) baby that Cyrus is going to want to take him out, so she basically said to Gladys, “Look, I’ll set you up.  I’ll give you all the money you want.  Hell, I’ll even buy you a house.  Leave town, but you have to tell everybody that you lied about Jason,” and she doesn’t bite the bait.  So, you then have Carly saying, “Well, we can do this the easy way where I just pay for your life and you go, or we can do it the hard way,” and the hard way is me letting her know that, “You have a grandchild on the way, and your son is going to be murdered if you don’t do this for me,” because it puts Cyrus back in prison because he is on probation, and he has now obstructed justice.  It’s all on Gladys’s testimony.  That was Carly’s plan.  Right now, her biggest threat is Cyrus and obviously as viewers have seen things did not go as planned!

Photo: ABC

June 7th you will be celebrating 30 years on daytime! Do you remember your first day on Loving? What happened?

LAURA:  I do.  Oh, God!  I remember what dress I had on.  I remember how my hair was.

Were you like in “Oz”?

LAURA:  I looked like Oz. (Laughs) I looked like Dorothy… the dress they had me in, the hair, are you kidding?  I didn’t know what a boom was!  I was really loud.  I had one line: “Grandma!” and that was it, and then they had to note that because I kept saying, “Grandmaw,” and they were like, “It’s not ‘Grandmaw.’  It’s ‘Grandma.’”  Then, I did whatever they said at first, but then the longer I was on the show, I was like, “I say ‘Grandmaw.’ I’m not saying ‘Grandmuh.’ I don’t care. (Laughs) Everyone gets their own personalization of how they say what they say.”  That was my big argument, and now I’ve had a thousand arguments over 30 years, but that was my first big pushback because I would be doing, what in my mind was great work.  I got all of the lines out, my God, and that was before we could do pickups, and when we shot the show in order. Those cameras had wheels. So if you were on set, and they shot the scene before us, you had to be ready to go, and they would fly down the studio on those cameras to set up to start shooting the next scene.  If I got through a scene and they had to do it over again because I said, “Grandmaw,” I would be so angry. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

Who helped you the most on Loving?

LAURA:  Nada Rowand, who played my grandmother, Lisa Peluso, who played my aunt on the show, and Eric Woodall was my best friend and he played Matt Ford.  He and I would get together every Sunday night, and here’s a little bit of trivia for you … Eric lived with Billy Porter! They graduated from Carnegie Mellon together.  So, I would go over to his apartment, and on Sunday night, we would go over all of the scripts together for the whole week because Eric graduated from Carnegie Mellon; I worked at a gas station. (Laughs) We had very different talents that we were bringing to the table for this soap opera job.  Eric helped me a great deal, my gosh, and so did Bernie Barrow (Ex-Louis).

Bernie was an amazing actor and the only Daytime Emmy winner, ever from Loving!

LAURA:  I had scenes with Bernie because he played my grandfather on the show. I had no idea about half the notes that they were giving me. Bernie would pull me aside and explain what they meant and teach it to me in a way where I knew how to incorporate it into my scenes and adjust and take the notes.  He was extremely helpful.  Then, there is the famous Noelle Beck (Ex-Trisha) story, where two weeks after starting the show, Eric and I were invited to go to the Daytime Emmy Awards.  I was dying because I grew up watching daytime television, and I grew up watching the Daytime Emmys.  So, when I was allowed to go, I told my mom to ship me my prom dress from my senior year of high school, which was this poufy, emerald green thing, and it looked like something from Dynasty with jewels all over it.  I got it, and I was so excited, and everyone on the show was like, “Oh, my God, someone has got to tell her … she cannot wear that dress.”  I didn’t know you could go to wardrobe and ask to borrow a dress, because I’d only been on the show for two weeks maybe.  The same day, they came to me and said, “So, if Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica, AMC) doesn’t win, you’re going to be interviewed on Good Morning America the next morning about how the gas station girl got a job.”  So, it was a big deal. I’m getting ready for the Emmys, and to put this emerald-green dress on, and there is this knock on my door, and it’s Noelle Beck.  She has this beautiful, black, strapless dress. She’s like, “Your dress is beautiful, but I don’t know, I think this is really simple, and I think you might really look beautiful in it if you want to try it on.”

Photo: JPI

Her dress?

LAURA: Her dress! It was a dress that was in Noelle’s closet on the show because she went to wardrobe and was like, “Laura cannot wear that emerald green prom dress.  She will be laughed at.”  I would have been mortified because I did not know what people wore.  I had never been to a red carpet! Noelle went to wardrobe, and they all came up with this dress, and so she came to me and said, “Your dress is so pretty, but I think this might go better with Eric’s suit,” or however she sold it! I tried it on, and I just felt so sophisticated, and I was like, “It’s okay if I wear this!?” and she’s just like, “Oh, my God, yeah!”  When I think back to that story, I’m like, ‘thank God for Noelle Beck’.  It was one of the funniest stories ever, and her dressing room was right across the hall from me, and she was from Maryland; I was from Maryland.  She was like a sister.  Noelle was always looking out for me, personally.

Photo: ABC

Over the years, you have become one of the great leading ladies of daytime.  Was there a moment, when you were like, “I’ve got this down now … I really know what I’m doing.”

LAURA:   There have been different moments.  I remember the first time where I felt like ‘an actor.’  It was when they shot and killed Casey (Paul Anthony Stewart) on Loving, and he had to die in my arms.  I embodied something and felt it in a way that was different.  I didn’t know what it was at the time because I was playing my emotions of Paul leaving the show. I was really confused because I was like, “Do I really like this guy?” like in real life, because I didn’t know.  I didn’t have any tools of acting to know how to separate.  I was so in love with the characters’ love story, which was also my feelings at the time because I didn’t know the difference.  I didn’t know where Ally stopped, and Laura started.  I was just kind of playing myself.  I remember they called Paul to the set for a goodbye, and they were giving him a big cake and everything, and I could barely hold it together.  I couldn’t believe he was leaving.  I was like, “You’re going to say, ‘I changed my mind,’ right?” and I really believed that.  I really was like, “There’s just no way he’s going.”  Then, we had to shoot his scene, and I was very emotional and upset.  But, it was the next day where I had to go and play the scenes where he is dead and talk about it to the family, and that was when I just lost it.  I just changed as an actor in those scenes.  I remember having an opinion.  When the writers were telling me the story that they were going to tell, I remember saying, “Well, I think the interesting moment is she is not going to believe it,” and they were like, “What do you mean?”  I say, “When she comes home from the hospital, I think she needs to be like, ‘We have to go back.  Casey is at the hospital, and he needs us,’ and they were like, “That’s such a great thing to play.”  That’s what shifted for me.  I just remember there was a moment where Ally couldn’t lie anymore. She couldn’t convince herself, and then she had to tell her son that Casey wasn’t coming back.  I really understood what it was to get lost to a scene; what it was to not be Laura going, “I’m going to act now and play this scene.”  I learned how to become the character and transform in the moment.

It’s was on-the-job training.

LAURA:  Oh, for sure on-the-job training, because I went to one acting class thinking that in New York City I need to know what I’m doing, and I was so terrified to get up and speak in a scene that I literally could not talk.  I couldn’t even function outside of the safety of what I knew on a soap opera set.  I had that happen with my meditation teacher training a few years ago.  I almost left the training because it was terrifying for me to get up and not know what I’m going to do and have the script, no cameras in front of me!  It was very bizarre.

Photo: CBS

And later, Guiding Light came your way!

LAURA: When The City got canceled, I shot a pilot that did not get picked up, and my agents were like, “What do you want to do?” and I was like, “I’m really good at daytime… can we just stick with that?  I don’t really want to do this auditioning thing.” So, then all of the sudden within a week of me saying, “I think I’ll do daytime again,” I had a screen-test for All My Children and Guiding Light at the exact same time.  I was like, “What are the parts?” and I wasn’t going to pit them against each other because my agent was like, “It’s bad taste. We don’t represent that kind of negotiation.” You have to pick because before you go into any screen-test, you already have a pre-negotiated contract, and the deal has been placed.  So, you know going in what your situation will be.  So, it was All My Children, playing a doctor, or a stripper with a heart-of-gold on Guiding Light.  It was the role and that Guiding Light just had a better money offer that pushed me towards that screen-test. Then, I had to go in and meet Paul Rauch (Former EP, GL) before I screen-tested, and then Jim Brown and Barbara Esensten who were now the head writers at GL. They wrote for me on The City.  They were the ones who said, “Let’s get Laura Wright in here and see if she wants to do this.”  It’s interesting, because when they were shooting Annie’s (Cynthia Watros) big trial on Guiding Light, and Kim Zimmer (Reva) had these incredible, long days and tons of dialogue in the courtroom scenes. Then, they throw this screen-test at her with me in the middle of the afternoon! I remember when we were doing the scene. Kim had jumped to another part in it, and of course, I knew the script backwards and forwards because I’ve had it for a week and a half.  Kim had probably looked at it that day because she’s got a thousand other lines that she’s learning for that week of shows.  We were in the middle of the scene, and they’re rolling cameras, it’s very emotional, we’re going at each other, and Kim had jumped to the next page of a line, but I knew exactly where she went, so I went right there. We got back on track and ended the scene, and Kim goes, “She just saved my ass in that screen-test!” and we just started laughing.  It was a great moment.

Photo: LWInstagram

The cast of Guiding Light was so amazing!

LAURA:  So amazing, and that’s where I met my man.

Wes Ramsey (Ex-Sam, GL, now Peter, GH) at the time had a crush on you if I recall the story.

LAURA:  Yes, he had a crush.  I don’t know if he wanted to go out with me because when I first came on, I was pregnant, so that would have been weird! (Laughs) We have a funny story that he told me four years ago when we got together. Wes was going through old photos that he had logged into his computer and was trying to put things in different files, and he’s like, “Oh, my God.”  He had come back a few times on Guiding Light after he’d left, and one of the times was after I’d had my son, and this was when Richard had died, and Cassie had chopped all of her hair off.  So, he was going through these photos and he showed me that he had snuck a picture of me.  (Laughs) Then, he’s like, “See, I told you I had a crush!”  I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so funny!”

Do you and Wes run lines together at home, even though you are in different storylines on GH?

LAURA:  If he needed me too, I would, but Wes has a totally different way of learning his lines than I do.  His prep work is very different than mine.  His is very professional and probably how you should do it. He is a Juilliard graduate.  So, he was taught well, and I’ve just figured it out.  Mine is just pure survival …’the gas station girl’.

Photo: ABC

What was the impact Guiding Light had on the trajectory of your career?

LAURA:  Guiding Light was 100% an actors show. They told a different kind of story, and the actors across the board were serious and wanted you to take it just as seriously. You were either going to sink or swim on that show, and I had to figure out how to swim. I think I spent the first six months in my dressing room crying when I wasn’t on set, trying to figure it out.  I was really taken care of on Loving.  I was 20-years-old when I got that part, 27 when I left. When I went to Guiding Light, it wasn’t like I wasn’t taken care of and protected, but it was a new energy. No one knew me.  No one knew what I was capable of.  I didn’t even know what I was capable of at the time, and you weren’t going to phone it in there.  I started working with Kim Zimmer and Jordan Clarke (Ex-Billy Lewis).  My God, you’re thrown in with people who make you feel things and play things that are uncomfortable, because that’s what we do as actors.  We make it uncomfortable, and we stretch the boundaries, and we play these emotions that are so raw and real.  One day I was freaking out over a scene with the characters of Edmund and Dinah, and I just said I would never do this.  I was just adamant. The director, said, “We have to do this.  So, you have to give me one reason where you could stay in this room.”  I said, “I guess my daughter could walk in the door, and I don’t want to leave her,” and he goes, “Great!  That’s great,” and I go, “Or…” and it just opened this door of there’s a thousand ways I could play a scene.

Photo: CBS

When you came onto General Hospital and embodied Carly, did you feel like this was it now… and that you were in command of your craft?

LAURA:  No, because it took me a long time to get comfortable.  I’m the fourth Carly, so you want to honor what they’re writing, you want to honor the fans and what they love about the character, and there were three women who played her before me and somebody loved something about all of them. So, you want to bring that, as well as make your own mark.  You’re taking over a leading female role of the show with that much passion and dialogue that comes with the character, so it was a lot of pressure at first, but I was excited for it.  I showed up every day ready to kick ass, but as far as feeling like, “Ha ha, it’s mine; I’ve made it!”, I’ve never felt that.

Photo: ABC

I have spoken to many of your co-stars through the years, and they often share how you helped them within a scene, or with something they were struggling with.  That is where experience can be a great asset for a performer in this medium.

LAURA:  As a female lead on the show, I do think it’s important to lift other women up to become their own female leads, and I do mean that.  If I’m working with someone, and I see them get a note that they don’t understand, or it’s a technical note, but gosh, it’s an important scene for them emotionally, anything I can do to help them in that moment, whether it has anything to do with me or not, I am there for.  There was a bathroom scene that I think aired a week or so ago with Carly and Sasha.  In the scene, Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) has all of her makeup in front of her, and the shot they need to get is through the mirror.  Sasha has a full conversation with Carly, who is standing upstage. It’s very difficult to do that when you don’t have rehearsal time to figure it out. They gave her the note that they needed her to say her line into the mirror, or they can’t get her face, right? I’m like, “Hey, do you have any idea how you’re going to do that?” because it’s so hard! I wanted to help. Having 30 years’ experience in something feels great, and it’s shocking because where did those 30 years go? What incredible memories I have, but what it’s gifted me the most is being able to help people through my experience, and through what I have learned along the way.  The whole show shines when we all shine, not just when one person does.

Photo: LWrightInstagram

What do you think your late parents would say about your 30 years in daytime?

LAURA:  Oh, they would be so proud… so happy.  It’s just so crazy that it’s been 30 years, and 2020 being the longest year with what we all experienced with Covid-19.  Looking back on my daytime career, I don’t know why, the shows didn’t let me go. I think it really was work ethic.  I can really say my work ethic is a huge part of me sticking around because I never got lazy.  I was never not going to figure it out.  I was never one to show up not knowing her lines, or being a problem, or not caring. I think that’s what kept me going, and then listening, watching, feeling, and I’m just so grateful.  I’m like, “Wow, what a ride!”

Photo: ABC

… And what can you say about what your time as Carly has meant to you within your now illustrious daytime career?

LAURA:  I love every second of it.  It’s my choice how I show up on that soundstage.  After 30 years, I am not bored.  I have had my moments of trying to find the fun in it and caring about Carly’s storyline at the time. That’s my own choice though, right?  It’s a choice – how I choose to show up every day there – and what I choose to find interesting and challenging, and I do.  No matter what storyline they’ve given me, I can choose for it to be, “Okay, I’m here.  I’ve been doing this for so long, I could do it in my sleep,” or I could choose to show up and go, “Where am I going to kickass today?  Where is the moment?”  Now, I don’t love the amount of time it takes for my hair to get blown out; I’ll be honest (Laughs). I’m an antsy person.  But when I get on set, it’s my choice to find the love and the fun of it, whatever that is for me.  I choose to open up every script I get, the second I get it, and am always excited to see what I’m doing.

Photo: ABC

Finally, what would you say, as a tease of what we should look forward to in the coming weeks involving Carly?

LAURA:  All I can say is there is amazing stuff coming, amazing performances, amazing excitement, amazing heartbreak, amazing surprises.  It’s all coming.

So, are you into Carly running the mob? What do you think will happen when and if Carly finds out Nina has been with Sonny aka Mike for months?  What has been your favorite moment of Laura’s on the soaps throughout her 3 decades in daytime? Share your thoughts and congrats to Laura in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Telma Hopkins and Bryton James Talk on their ‘Family Matters’ Connection, Amanda Sinclair’s Past, and the songs of Tony Orlando and Dawn

This week, kicks-off a very special guest appearance by Telma Hopkins on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.  Hopkins plays Denise Tolliver, a private eye with some very important intel for Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan), about her past, her father, and her biological family drama.

Photo:CBD

Telma’s guest stint on Y&R reunites her with her dear friend and former on-screen son, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) after they appeared together on the late 80’s and 90’s sitcom Family Matters.  Fans of the comedy series remember a very young Bryton as Richie Crawford and Telma as his mother, Rachel.  Year laters, they now have the opportunity to work together in Genoa City.

Photo: CBS

In a new interview out today on the Michael Fairman Channel, Telma and Bryton chat virtually with Michael, and we learn that Telma is a longtime fan of Y&R, a huge fan of Mishael Morgan’s, and just how Denise Tolliver’s arrival in Genoa City will set the stage for fireworks to come.

And while Telma and Bryton reminisce about first their first impressions of each other on the Family Matters set, we also delve into another key part of Hopkins career as part of the iconic singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, whose hit singles included: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole’ Oak Tree”, “Candida”, “She Don’t Love You” and more.

Photo: CBS

So, excited to see Telma and Bryton together again? What were your first impressions of Telma as Denise Tolliver on today’s Y&R? What is your favorite Tony Orlando and Dawn tune? Did you watch “Family Matters” with Telma and Bryton years ago? Share your thoughts in the comment section.  But first check out their full interview below.

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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: Daytime Emmy Nominations Special 2021 Replay

Last night, during the Daytime Emmy Nominations Special Livestream on the Michael Fairman Channel, 15 nominated performers who will be going for gold on the upcoming 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, shared their reactions and their excitement at learning they were in the running in the major Daytime Drama performer categories as chosen by their peers.

Throughout the livestream, the actors also shared what scenes they chose for their reels in the competition that landed them in the top spots in their respective categories.

Photos: ABC, CBS, JPI, NBC

During the broadcast, Michael welcomed: The Bold and the Beautiful’s Darin Brooks and Courtney Hope, General Hospital’s, Maurice Benard, Finola Hughes, Max Gail, Briana Lane and Dominic Zamprogna, The Young and the Restless’ Bryton James, Melissa Claire Egan and Alyvia Alyn Lind, and Days of our Lives nominees: Victoria Konefal, Cady McClain, Wally Kurth, George DelHoyo, and Tamara Braun.

In addition, NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp shared insight into this year’s nomination process, the year in daytime, and teased what to look for on the upcoming Daytime Emmy Telecast on June 25th on CBS, where the award show recently got a two-year pick-up.

In case you missed it, enjoy this kick-off to Emmy season and watch the Daytime Emmy Nominations Replay below.  Then let us know what moments you enjoyed the most during our show, and who you are rooting for to take home Emmy gold 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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