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The Michelle Stafford Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

Photo Credit: Denice Duff

On The Young and the Restless, Phyllis Summers Newman has dealt with many an issue and conquered many a problem head on over the years, or in some cases, been pretty sneaky in the way she went about it.  But nothing has prepared her for this latest familial drama!  In recent months, on the number one CBS soap, the powers-that-be have been delving into the background of Phyllis’ family with the introduction of her sister, Avery, and with a return now of her dear old dad George, who Phyllis has no love lost. (And that’s putting it mildly.)  The corrupt and nefarious father figure is now on his deathbed at a hospice center, and Phyllis decides she will try to go see him to get some resolution to her tormented past due to her father’s misdeeds.  When she arrives, he insists to his daughter that she falsely accused him of stealing money from his investors, and of his crimes.  However, Phyllis demands the truth, and things take a dramatic turn from there!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Daytime Award wining actress Michelle Stafford, to get her take on Phyllis’s daddy issues, the expansion of her on-screen family, and of course, the men in Phyllis’ life.  Will we finally have that “Phick” reunion that many Y&R fans are longing for?  Michelle fills us in!   Plus, she reveals what it has been like to work with Jessica Collins (Avery), Ken Howard (George), Joshua Morrow (Nick), and one of her new favorite co-stars, Jeff Branson (Ronan), who unfortunately has left the show!

Michelle, who is never one to mince words, cuts right to the heart of the matter on a myriad of subjects during our chat.  But one thing is for certain; this gal knows and understands how to act!  Through performance after performance, no one could refute that Michelle Stafford continues to be an acting force to be reckoned with, which always leaves daytime fans clamoring for.  Who can’t wait to see how Michelle serves up the delicious on-screen life of Ms. Newman every day?  We can’t!  So, here is our conversation with the one and only Michelle!

MICHAEL:

All of a sudden members of Phyllis’s family are sprouting up.  First up was her sister Avery.  And now with this recent storyline, Y&R is bringing back up the sins of the father, with Phyllis and Avery’s dad George, in the picture for just a brief time.  How is it for you as an established character when they bring in more of your family clan? (Although, we have seen the character of George before on Y&R!)

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: Getty images

When they bring in a family member, I am always like, “Oh no,” for a second.  I get nervous, because I already created something for myself.  They actually created something that goes against something we had already played, and so we had to kind of do some shifting.  We have already seen the character of George, her father, and she had already had conversations with him, and we already had seen her mother, Lydia.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Ken Howard as your dad, in these pivotal scenes?

MICHELLE:

He is great, and as you know he is an Emmy and Tony Award winning actor!

MICHAEL:

… And he is the President of SAG!

MICHELLE:

And the President of SAG … and I talked to him about my insurance! (Laughs) We had a good conversation about my insurance.  (Laughs)  Ken had a great attitude and he is a great guy.  He knew he was there to serve a purpose for the story and he did that.  He knew the character was dying.  I actually wished we were playing lighter scenes!  We laughed a lot, and you know I can get people going! (Laughs)  He was awesome, though.

MICHAEL:

In story, Phyllis did not want to go see her dad in the hospice facility, even though he may not make it.  Why didn’t she want to go and try to make peace with him?

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

He is an asshole!  Why do you want to go see an ass?  He iced her from the family.  He is a criminal, and then turned it around and made it look like Phyllis was lying.  He made her the crazy one, and so she left!

MICHAEL:

Do you think this huge issue with her father is what made Phyllis such a damaged person?  She has shown great resiliency in her life, but she has also done some very bad and questionable things along the way.

MICHELLE:

I think every soap opera character is pretty damaged.  (Laughs)  There is not anybody who is not.  I think Phyllis is looking for something she decided must exist in life that maybe doesn’t.  She is looking for something she never had, which is a family unit and real love.  She is looking for that and she is thinking that it should be a certain way, because it is not what she had.  In truth, that thing that she is looking for might not even exist.  But she is trying to find it.

MICHAEL:

Do you think because of her relationship with her father, this has been a cause of many of the issues Phyllis has with the men in her life? 

MICHELLE:

I would say that makes some sense.  I would say she is looking for them to be something she never had.  That is why I say it may not exist, because she is looking for something that she decided must be, because she did not have it.  I will tell you a personal story.  Years ago, I had a lot of friends who were married.  I saw the loveliness of their relationships and how their husbands would do all these things.  I thought, “Wow!  The boyfriend I had at the time doesn’t do those things, so he must be a prick.”  I would end the relationship to find out that they had the same issues in their relationships, but they weren’t letting me see it.  Those kind of relationships that all of us “chicks” look for only exists in movies and TV, really.  In reality, there are differences in life and people have differences, and the key is how you make it work.  Things don’t just magically work. You are making compromises, and that is why relationships work.

MICHAEL:

There was a recent scene between you and Joshua Morrow (Nick) at the Crimson Lights Coffee Shop.  It was just a simple little exchange between the two characters, but you could tell they still really love each other!

Courtesy/CBS

MICHELLE:

Yeah, they do, but I hated that scene! (Laughs)  He gave me the peace sign, is what he did.  As Phyllis in the scene, I was going, “What are you giving me the peace sign for?” So I gave it back to him and I kind of made a face like, “What the hell is that?”  Look in relationships and in your marriage a guy will go, “Hey Dude”.  Dude?  So, it was kind of a real moment, but Phyllis’s reaction to it was, “What? What is this?”  But, Phyllis and Nick do love each other.

MICHAEL:

Why can’t these two get it together?

MICHELLE:

I think because she can’t really trust him and because he has given her reason not to trust him.  Also, I don’t think he trusts him! (Laughs)  I think Nick knows he can be a dog.  He is trying to win her back but she is not really going for it.  Nick is trying and he has his own issues and own demons where women are concerned, and where Sharon and where Avery are concerned, too.

MICHAEL:

I cannot believe that Phyllis would ever go back now to Nick after sleeping with her sister, Avery!  And then of course, there is the whole Sharon debacle!

MICHELLE:

Yeah, I know.   The cool thing is they are not having them jump back in together.  They realize we can’t have Phyllis this desperate for his love, although she is kind of desperate for his love, she really is.  She is not Zen when it comes to him or level headed when it comes to him.  It’s all based on emotion, her love for Nick.  She really, really loves him.  He really cares for her and he brings out a part of her that is seldom seen by others.  He sees her sweetness and a love that is a true part of her.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MICHAEL:

She has been vulnerable with Nick, and that has been hard on her.  Would you say she was vulnerable with Jack?

MICHELLE:

With Jack she did, and she didn’t.  He saw the tough Phyllis, and so she had to be kind of tough with him in the later years.  She always felt she was trying to one-up Jack, and she does not feel that way with Nick.  It’s a different relationship, although her relationship with Jack is very solid and beautiful, too.  She was in love with him, but there is just too much water under the bridge there.

MICHAEL:

I like how Phyllis visited Jack in the hospital the other day, since he is dealing with being paralyzed.  She seemed to care for him and be there to support him.

MICHELLE:

She is a good person for him when he is in trouble.  She will be tough for him.  He will be falling apart and she will be there, and that is their relationship.  Jack would do the same for her.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Jeff Branson (Ronan)?  The sparks really flew on-air with Ronan and Phyllis.  I think that’s putting it mildly! (Laughs)

MICHELLE:

Courtesy/IMDB

I love Jeff Branson so much, I cannot even tell you.  I really loved working with him! You know those scenes where we were making out and we were naked together, sometimes the guys can be pricky, although in my case I have never had that.  Joshua and Peter have always been gentlemen, but it can be an awkward situation for a woman, but it’s not awkward for me because I love to make out … seriously.  It can be weird when someone shuts himself off.  I am talking about when you are so naked with someone and so emotionally naked with somebody, they will put up some walls.  And that is normal; a lot of actors will put up walls.  It’s like, “Don’t get too close.”  Jeff and I did not do that with each other.  We talked about it before, and other actors do that, because they either have a wife at home or a girlfriend or a boyfriend, and they will get flack from them. Or personally, they will feel awkward.  So they will put up some walls.  I said to Jeff, “Let’s not do that.  Let’s be totally enveloped in this thing that we have together. Let’s just trust each other.”   I am not thinking, “You are going to make a move on me.”  We knew that we were not going to do that with each other and it was going to be a very open and vulnerable working situation where we trusted each other as actors.  It was really great.  It was so much fun, and that is what acting is about.

MICHAEL:

So you were aware that viewers thought it looked like you and Jeff were really going at it on air?

MICHELLE:

A lot of people thought we were banging each other.  They told me that!  I know it looked like I was banging Jeff.  I could see where people would think that because we were so open with each other.  A couple of fans said, “It’s so real.  I feel like I am watching you, too.”  And basically, they were watching us.  And that is the beauty and the cool thing about acting.  It’s just being so trusting to be there with that person and make it real and make it truthful.  And so, I loved, loved working with him.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Ronan and Phyllis would have been a good couple, if it could have lasted longer?

MICHELLE:

Yeah, I think they were a good couple. Ronan was really special to Phyllis because he treated her well.  Nick was bad to her, and she really was falling in love with Ronan and then he ended things with her so abruptly, but she did not believe him. She felt like he was just doing that to not get close, and because she was falling for him, she understood. At the end, she knew what he was doing.  I thought it would have been a really great triangle, but Jeff left the show.  I was bummed out that it was going to end, but Jeff wants to do film and I love him as a friend.  So I support anything he wants to do.  I think he is a really great actor.  I want really great things to happen for him.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

What do you think about the sister rivalry between Phyllis and Avery?

MICHELLE:

Jessica Collins and I are still working it out.  It’s interesting the relationship between the two sisters.  We had some scenes we taped recently where we wanted to make it a very complex and odd relationship, and even the scenes where we are at the facility with the dad at the end of the story arc are really interesting.  What I like about those scenes, and how they play out, is that nothing has been resolved.  Phyllis went there for some sort of answer to her life, and some sort of resolution for her life and nothing is resolved.  I think that is really cool.  I think it is very real.  I don’t think that is necessarily what the writers were going for, but I think that’s what turned out.  I think the group of writers we have are very cool.  They are not militant.  It’s not like “No, this is my writing; you have to say it like this.”  They are always in to seeing how something works out.  There is a bit of a soft spot that Phyllis feels for Avery after their father dies, but I think we are going to see this kind of go away and it’s going to go back and forth.  Phyllis is actually going to have a soft spot for her, because it’s her own guilt for not being there for her sister, and leaving her with those freaks!  She has her own guilt, and at the same time, Avery, does things to her that are wrong!

MICHAEL:

Really wrong!

MICHELLE:

It also reminds her of her parents.  Avery is just kind of a symbol to Phyllis of her horrible parents.  Every time Avery talks, Phyllis just hears her dad.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Jessica Collins?

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: PR Photo

Jessica is amazing.  She is so professional and so great.  She is so willing to work scenes out.  We had this scene in the prison and it went on for a long time.  It was an eight or ten minute scene.  So we worked on deciding what is really going on in the scene besides our dialog.  We will sit down and work it out.  We talk about what we are to each other and the relationship. Again, it’s nice that someone is willing in a female/female relationship, to be there for each other emotionally, and asking, “What do you need?”  Let me tell you, Jessica is so great and amazing in these scenes coming up with the dad.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Phyllis is resentful of Avery in that she became a lawyer, while Phyllis had bounced around a bit to find herself and a career?

MICHELLE:

Yeah, I think Phyllis is jealous.  In this scene where they are talking inside their father’s room, at one point the nurse comes out and says, “Avery, you should come in now.”  It was so great, because I was thinking as Phyllis, “What the hell?  Why Avery?  Why not me?”  I thought it was an interesting element.  So in the scene, I am a bit disturbed by why that bitch just came out and said,  “Avery!”  I think Phyllis is resentful that Avery was the golden child and is like, “Why am I the bad one, because I had some integrity?”  Avery was the untouched little sister that did not have to see any of the evil of this family.  I think there is a resentment that Phyllis had, because Avery didn’t have to see it.  And Phyllis is like, “Why did I have to see it and she didn’t have to?”  I think it’s more like Phyllis had to see this with these people and Avery got to live a life of ignorance.  There is jealousy of; why did I not get to live a life with rose-colored glasses?

MICHAEL:

Phyllis definitely came from the school of hard knocks, after all the things she went through growing up with her dysfunctional family.

MICHELLE:

Right!  Phyllis leaves and is like a street person, and Avery becomes this big attorney.  I feel that Phyllis is jealous of that and Avery’s life. That is something that is untouched in the writing, but it is something Jessica and I have created.  Jessica is just a complete doll.  I don’t feel any weird “chick” dynamic with her.

MICHAEL:

We touched earlier on Y&R bringing in family members to beef up Phyllis’s on-air story or back-story.  What did you feel when Jessica came on the show as your sister?

Photo Credit: Denice Duff

MICHELLE:

If they bring in a good actor, it’s great.  And Jessica is a great actor, and so it only aids the long-standing character.  It only aids it unless they stop writing for my character and start writing everything for her character.  Then I will be like, “Hey, what is going on here?” (Laughs)  We had a long talk about the ebb and flow of our characters now.  We created something interesting and I don’t know how it will play out.  It’s fun to work with someone who really cares, and with another woman where I don’t have to avoid slings and arrows! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Deep down, would you say the two sisters love each other, or would you not go that far?

MICHELLE:

Yes, they do love each other because they are sisters and there is that family bond.

MICHAEL:

Did you have any hand in the casting of Jessica as your on-screen sis?  I remember Jessica as Dinah Lee on Loving decades ago!  She was terrific.

MICHELLE:

No, no.  Michael Muhney (Adam, Y&R) actually read with her.  I remember Jessica on Loving years ago, too!

MICHAEL:

Where would you like to see Phyllis go now?  What would you like to see happen to her as a result of all that she has recently endured?

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: Steven Bergman

I believe we need to see Phyllis unravel a bit.  There has been a lot lately with Lucy and the Daisy thing, and Avery releasing Daisy from Prison, and Nick and his shenanigans with Sharon and Avery, and then the father dying.  I think that does affect her.  I think all of this is too much for her and I think we need to see her snap a bit.

MICHAEL:

I would love to see that! 

MICHELLE:

I am trying to work that out!  But as an actor, you can actually weave that in to the writing.  I don’t have to go and pitch it to them, and it serves a purpose.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that we are over with Sharon being a constant issue and thorn in  Phyllis’ side?  They seem to have gotten away from that for a bit, but I suppose it could rear its head at any moment!

MICHELLE:

I don’t know.  I want to say probably not, because Sharon was married to Nick and it’s an ex-wife of Nick’s.  If she was connected to Nick, she will be connected to Sharon in someway, but I think if we do see that again, it needs to be different.  As actors we need to play it differently and they need to write it differently, because the audience does not want to see the same thing.

MICHAEL:

As a Daytime Emmy winner, and one who always supports her fellow actors, how are you feeling about the new Daytime Emmy pre-nomination process?  Do you think on paper, this system seems a fairer way to conduct the first round of voting?

MICHELLE:

Honestly, no system makes perfect sense. It’s an award and there are some people who are always going to think it’s unfair.  I will say, it’s the fairest thing in the world when you get nominated, and it’s the fairest thing in the world when you win, but when you don’t get nominated, it’s so unfair, it’s so unfair.  I mean, really.  It’s the greatest night in the world when you win, but it’s not so fun when you lose. That’s just the bottom line.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Many actors feel that entering their name in competition for the Daytime Emmys is like playing a big game and trying to play it to win.  But so many talented performers have never won or have never had the opportunity to be nominated!

MICHELLE:

Just because somebody has three Emmys and somebody else has zero, in my eyes, it does not make that person a better actor.  It also doesn’t make the person who won, necessarily work a lot, or get a lot of storylines.  I judge and I don’t always pick the person who won.  It’s the way it is.   Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) and Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) have zero.  It’s silly.

MICHAEL:

You just recently received the Media Awareness Award from a wonderful organization, Project Cuddle!  I saw a picture with you and John Stamos from the event!

MICHELLE:

Yes, I did receive an award because of my work with the organization.  John Stamos is the National Spokesman for Project Cuddle.  Debbie Magnusen saves abandoned babies and I have been working with her for five years.  She is a wonderful person.  She started a hotline where if you want to abandon your baby, and don’t want it, she will take the baby no questions asked, and find a home for it.  And also, if you are having problems, and a lot of people cannot afford pre-natal care, she takes them in and gives them care while they are pregnant and then finds a home for their baby when they have it.   I have been working with her to help her get the project known for the last several years.

MICHAEL:

Congrats on that, and how was the night for you?  I saw you brought your posse with you, too! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MICHELLE:

It was a dinner and we fundraised.  Christian LeBlanc (Michael, Y&R) came and Patty Denny, the Y&R make-up artist, and George Guzman, my friend Stacy Francis came who used to be on X-Factor, and some friends of hers.  Shannon Krause who does hair also came and I had my little entourage.  It was so awesome.

MICHAEL:

In closing, the scenes we will see play out on Monday’s upcoming episode, how do you think they turned out when all was said and done?

MICHELLE:

I never like judging myself, or will say, “I hit a home run.”  I will say, I thought Jessica was amazing because her whole world as Avery unravels before her eyes finding out her father was a liar.  I would definitely tune in to see how it all plays out though!

 

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Doe
Doe

Hey, Michael. Michelle is one gorgeous woman, plus being an outstanding actor. I loved her with Ronan. They were so hot! Too bad he left the show. I also like that Michelle is outspoken and tell it like it is. I thought she was excellant in trying to get her father to tell the truth about what nasty things he did way back that caused her to leave the family. Friday , after badgering him, she finally got him to tell the truth about money he stole. And with Avery hearing that, it should make a difference in their relationship. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Good interview once again, Michael. I am looking forward to Monday’s episode….

delta24d
delta24d

Thanks Michael for the interview with Michelle, I am impressed as always by her honesty. She truly is one of the best actress on daytime. As a Phick fan i am waiting for the reunion. Not sure if it will happen, but I know alot of Phick fans would love it. And there is one thing we know, and it is that Nick and Phyllis loves each other.

So thank you again for highlighting her performance.

BETTYEJ
BETTYEJ

I didn’t read the entire article because I got bored with the part I did read. I have never like the character of Phyllis or Brooke on Bold and Beautiful. The only thing these two bimbo’s have in common with Nick and Ridge are sex. Neither of the bozo’s show any respect for them because they never had too. And Phyllis and Deacon dumpster drive was gross beyond words. Just as bad as Brooke’s wall banger with another daughter’s boyfriend. Both of these bimbo’s are way too old for this trashy behavior.

leslie
leslie

This is a great interview. Michelle Stafford is the most natural actress in daytime. She can make any actor look hot. It would have been great to see a triangle with Nick and Ronan. Too bad he had to leave. I love her with Joshua so I’m happy where their characters are heading right now. I can’t wait to see the scenes on Monday. Michelle is always so humble about her performance. It is just another reason she is easy to love.

Patty
Patty

I loved the interview. Michelle and Josh Morrow are pure magic! I’m so happy with the storyline for Phyllis and Phick! As usual, The Stafford is rocking her scenes. MS is such a class act!

Thanks for the great interview Michael!

JimTolkien
JimTolkien

Michael, once again you did it – GREAT JOB!!! What a beautiful interview with Michelle, my favourite actress!! I just love her and her candor…that is all.

She plays my favourite character so well and the reason why I enjoy watching Phyllis. She makes Phyllis so real to a lot of us, flawed and human. And she has such a wonderful take on her character – I always enjoy listening, or reading what she says about Phyllis.

Her onscreen chemistry with Jessica Collins is absolutely terrific and the Phyllis/Avery relationship has become one of my second favourite to watch, behind Phick. Though I didn’t like the Nick/Avery thing..bad move by the writers but it’s a soap lol.

I am going to disagree with Michelle on something though and this will be a first ever lol. I did not enjoy the relationship with Ronan at all…..it came out of nowhere and the relationship came off as self-gratification without any depth. If they were supposed to be falling in love, I sure as heck didn’t buy it or feel it. Yes, they had chemistry between the characters but heck I have chemistry with my shampoo. So that doesn’t really mean anything. For me, the relationship came off as extremely forced and not genuine, and appeared as if they were trying too hard. Onscreen it did not come off as organic but gluttonous in a sleazy way. There is something to be said about having scenes be genuine.

I love the Phick relationship just for the fact that they love each other and they can’t quite get it together but they are always trying to—that’s the beauty of it. I enjoy watching Michelle and Joshua play that very much. The genuineness of a scene that I mentioned earlier is always there with Phick even when the s/l stinks. So my Phick heart wants them to take a chance and try again………………BUT NOT YET. I love that the writers have Phyllis be wary of Nick…it is the right call.

And I am with Michelle on this one….I so want to see Phyllis snap a bit too LOL!!!

Thanks again for a wonderful interview!! 🙂

Shelia
Shelia

Your response was perfectly worded. I agree with everything you wrote here. I wish this was facebook so I could like your post.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Copy/Paste it and put it on Michael’s Facebook page and your’s.

Lorraine
Lorraine

What a great interview. Michelle is always so interesting and fun. Thank you.

Sauza
Sauza

Agree with your comments. I agree I did not see Phyllis & Ronan falling in love. Maybe scenes were cut, but I just saw Phyllis using Ronan to get over Nick & Ronan using Phyllis to get over Chloe.

I’ve can’t say I’m a die-hard Phick fan, but I love the complexity MS’s acting gives to that relationship. All the complexities & issues MS perceives in the Nick/Phyllis relationship really come through in her acting. Phyllis is such a soapy, interesting character, and that is SO much due to MS’s acting talents.

kay killgore
kay killgore

The only thing I am confused about is shenagians with Sharon? I beleive her character and Nick abandoned Sharon with Cassies death and Daniel in the middle of it so Ms. Stafford you are confused ! Personally I think she looks weak when she is paired with JM I don’t care I just wish Sharon would tell them all to go fish. And Ms. Stafford is much better on screen then stalking someone first Daniel, Michael and now Nick! Oh how I loved the days of her independence she was better suited with Jack.

Deltayvonne
Deltayvonne

I believe if I am reading the actress response and your confusion stems from how the “Phick ” pairing began over 6 years ago.

I think every fan knows the story by now, I think Michelle speaking for her character is of course wary and hesitant when it comes to the Nick/Sharon dynamics. He cheated on get with Sharon and got her pregnant, the same thing that happened with Sharon and Nick.

I personally enjoy the dynamics with Joshua and Michelle, the actors have great chemistry That leaps off the screen. I adore the “Phick relationship” because of it’s intensity and rawness.

I also enjoy the Jack pairing, I like them as Ex’s but bonded by their past.

Like Jim, I did not get the Ronan relationship, but it would have been interesting to see a triangle.

I don’t understand the stalking of Danny not “Daniel” comment, this happened over 15 years ago and she eventually paid for it by losing custody of her child and it would take years for a reunion. Phyllis and Michael a different story (?)

Stalking of Nick..this one is new. I never saw it..so I cannot comment.

I think Phyllis has always been independent she has been that and more. She has never played the lady of the Manor. She has always worked and supported self. Her weakness that some see is her because of get love for Nick we are finally seeing as we get her backstory from the story nuggets.

PhyllisFan1st
PhyllisFan1st

Sharon abandoned Nick first by having an emotional affair with Brad before Nick came home with Daniel in custody for Cassie’s death. Phyllis was not ever responsible for Sharon’s “peace of mind”, Nick and Sharon could not mourn Cassie together, by the time Nick came home Sharon was no longer mourning.

Phyllis and Nick (before Paris) completed each other, they were pure magic. MAB for me ruined that with the whole Paris debacle and the stupid carousel crap and the using of Cassie as foreplay for SHICK. I am no longer a Nick fan, and will not be until he admits to both Phyllis and Sharon that he was wrong for the SHICK affair and leaving Phyllis and Summer for a re-do on SHICK that sucked.

Phyllis never stalked Daniel, her son, if you mean Danny, she fell in love with him and wanted the best father possible for the baby she was carrying, the new information we have about “George” makes the whole “Danny” thing make more sense! The Phyllis and Michael relationship then is not the same as the relationship now, since MS was not playing Phyllis at the time, I get how she plays the relationship, it is a part of their past but it does not define them now. AS for “stalking” Nick, I think you have it backwards, Nick stalked Phyllis during the affair, after Nick and Sharon mutually decided to divorce it was Nick that stalked Phyllis and it was Nick that showed up at her penthouse with a rolling suitcase, not the other way around.

Never was a Phyllis and Jack fan, he can never love anyone more then he hates Victor.

RC
RC

Right. tricking someone with a baby is love alright. Phyllis is and has always been a lying, scheming strumpet and I really don’t know what to make of people who defend or minimize the bad things she’s done. She broke up Christine and Danny’s marriage with a lie. How do you excuse that? How do you justify it? “She wanted the best father possible for the baby she was carrying.” Really? So you trap a man because you’re in love with him? GMAFB!

Tess
Tess

I can totally appreciate when an actor has to sell their story and even defend the actions of their character, but I’m a bit disappointed in you Mr. Fairman that you don’t come out swinging a bit more. How about calling it like it is? None of this with Phyllis confronting her father makes sense. I respect that Ms. Stafford acknowledged that it is a total rewrite of her character’s history and that is why I have not enjoyed it at all. Why does it need to be rewritten? Is Phyllis being whitewashed for some purpose? To be better suited to Nick? Why can’t she just be an insecure woman with issues? It’s hypocritical of her character to blame all of her own criminal choices on the behavior of her father and it makes me cringe as I’m sure it did other fans. How would putting her own father in prison then result in her doing the things Phyllis had done? It makes no sense and has been a total fail for this character. I would agree with Ms. Stafford though that she had much better chemistry with Jeff Branson. Do I dare infer that she is diplomatically implying she herself is tired of it Phick too? Not all of the Phyllis fans enjoy phick. The romance with Ronan however seemed real and it could have been the first relationship she had that was all hers, something she desperately needs. It seemed real and I do believe his character is the better match for Phyllis. I would also disagree on the shenanigans comment regarding Sharon. Let’s not forget how phick started which is exactly why the relationship is bitter. Phyllis is second best with Nick and he’ll never commit 100% to either woman. Bring back Jeff Branson or a new man. Like Sharon, it’s time for Phyllis to move on from the immature waffling Nick.

PhyllisFan1st
PhyllisFan1st

what “whitewashing” Phyllis is still PHYLLIS, she knows what she has done in the past, I doubt she has forgotten about the attempt to mow down that dastardly inept bug! to me, that is the only so called “crime” I have SEEN Phyllis commit!

The PHICK affair last 3 months and was over for 5 months with absolutely no sex until after Nick and Sharon mutually decided to divorce. The PHICK relationship began that night Nick came knocking on her door with his rolling suitcase. And don’t forget Sharon was having wet dreams of a life with her lover BIL Brad at that time, she assumed as soon as she got rid of Nick, Brad would leave Victoria!

I will never say Phyllis was “second best” for Nick, she was the best thing for him and with him before MAB tried to channel her inner Bill Bell, which failed on all storyline fronts (JIll as Katherine’s daughter/not Katherine’s daughter, Victor and Ashley, Nikki and the bottle, the Silver Chipmunk, Michael’s father and new sister, and yes the SHICK re-do and the so called prophecy child.

Sauza
Sauza

I LOVE Michelle & Phyllis, but I don’t think she has much to worry about regarding people thinking she and Jeff Branson were actually “banging.” Michelle & Jeff are both beautiful & sexy, but those Ronan & Phyllis hook-ups were trying so hard to be sexy & real that they were anything but. That pairing was SO rushed & forced & TRY-hard that they were almost embarrassingly bad to me. I DON’T blame that on the actors but rather the cheesy, plot-point writing. Nonetheless–rest assured Michelle, I didn’t think from your scenes with JB’s Ronan that anything was going on with you guy’s in real life. Those scenes were just awkward.

I DO absolutely love how much thought MS puts into the motivation of her character. It really comes through in her acting (even when I may not agree with said motivation). And I love that she admits that sometimes the actors have to add motivation & inspiration into their characters when the writers haven’t. MS keeps Phyllis a viable, exciting soap character even when the writing fails her.

gina
gina

Michelle is amzing as always. I love her humility & straightforwardness. She is an asset to the show. Loved the interview! I also love the sister s/l. IMO though they ruined it with the quad. Avery is backburned now bc of it. Their relationship could’ve been more purely unraveled instead of having the character sleep with Nick only bc they wanted to try Phonan. I like JC but her character has weakend due to this quad.
As for Phick, they are constantly full of surprises. They are so controversial it’ s great to watch. Thats why they need no support from others, they do perfect on their own. Josh & Michelle bring a trmendous pairing on screen with Phick. They are the future of Y&R & they damn sure have proved it.

Deltayvonne
Deltayvonne

I wanted to thank you Michael for Michelle’s interview. Well done. I must tell you I giggled non stop at her banging reference. As always she is re-freshing and insightful. As a Phick fan I do hope I get that story.

I am enjoying the slow pace that is been taken with them.

(ignore my spelling errors typing on my blackberry is painful).

heidi
heidi

Great interview Michael… thanks! She is so talented and seems like a great person.

DeeDee
DeeDee

I love how honest MS always is in her interviews. She knows the character she plays, that is for sure. I cannot say I am a fan of blatant rewrites of a characters history but I will give it a go and see where this one takes me.

I am hoping Nick and Phyllis will utlimately get it together. I am enjoying where they are at right now as too much has happened. It needs to build. I love that Phyllis is hesitant.

Good read

sorelle
sorelle

Great interview Michael thanks ! Michelle Stafford is my favorite actress , i love how she portrayed Phyllis, you always feel Phyllis emotion. Phick is my Favorite Couple on daytime , Nick and Phyllis are Magic together i hope they do reunite this time , i love the chemistry Michelle Stafford share with Josh Morrow they are Phenomenal together . i also love the Phyllis Avery dynamic , i think Michelle Stafford and Jessica Collins chemistry is absolutely one of the best i have ever see

Lacey
Lacey

Great interview! Phyllis and Ronan are my favorite Phyllis pairing. In fact, they are my favorite pairing ever on Y&R. In the short amount of time they were together, they slayed. Jeff Branson brought out so much in Michelle. Usually, it’s all about what Michelle brings out of other actors but with “Phonan”, they were both at their best and made the other even more incredible. I have never seen a couple that fit every criteria as amazingly as they did. They connected sexually, emotionally, visually, acting-wise. Just an awesome duo. I love that Michelle continues to state the obvious: that Phyllis was in love with Ronan. That is definitely how it played on screen. Phyllis never glowed as much as she did with Ronan. Michelle was lit from inside when she was around Ronan. I love them and I will be ecstatic if Jeff returns so Phyllis can be that way again. Love, love, love how they created such a remarkable pairing and really collaborated to make it so special. Kudos. 🙂

Terri
Terri

What an awesome interview. Thanks Michael. She is so warm and sincere and so funny. Michelle is my fave actor on Y&R and Phyllis is my all time fave character ever.. she has it all. I loved Phick in the beginning but hated how MAB destroyed the, then I totally fell for Phonan but now JB is gone and I am sad.,.. not feeling phick again.. Nick still has way too much making up to do.

Racheebee
Racheebee

There was zero evidence to back up the claim that Phyllis or Ronan were falling in love with each other. It was nothing more than sleazy random forced trashy bootycalls cause she was pissed at Nick and he got the brushoff from Chloe. The only falling they did was on the top of a desk, floor, or a bed. There was a no chance of this brief fling ending up being something real for many reasons but most of all Phyllis will never stop loving Nick. The entire thing was based on sex with a young horny man who needed a distraction from the murder case and a older angry woman who only went to him cause of something Nick did with Avery that ticked her off.

C hris
C hris

I totally agree with most of this statement,Racheebee, I saw absolutely no way that they would have stayed together, Phyliss is a user, she even said so to Nick ,she called Ronan a diversion, is that what she calls falling for him , Putting Ronan with her was a major major mistake, Love Jeff though ,hope he does come back ,but not to be with Phyliss . She is a great actress though. If JB does come back don’t put him with her. More back story needs to be told with him,and a connection with Nina,even he wanted that.

serena
serena

Great interviews Michael. i love Michelle Stafford she is my favorite actress on daytime tv. Phick is my favorite couple on daytime tv , i hope they do reunite this time ,they light up my screen everytime they are on

Lorraine
Lorraine

What a great interview. I just love Michelle. She is always interesting and fun. And I just adore Phick. Looking forward to their reunion. But I love any story Michelle is in. She is so talented. Y&R would never be the same without her.

kay killgore
kay killgore

I have just watched the episodes and I hate MAB no way would the Phyllis we know have issues over a Fathers ponzzi scheme when she was just a kid! And now we are gearing up for killing Daisy who cares Blah,Blah,Blah. Why do these women need men to make their life she MAB has ruined the character of Sharon and now Phyllis. And fellow readers I am discussing the characters not attacking the actors. You got that!!!

gloria
gloria

Has anyone else noticed that Phyllis repeats her lines at least twice & sometimes 3 or 4 times & a lot of times repeats back the lines of the actor she is speaking to? This drives me nuts. Yesterday during a scene with Daniel he said “I am an adult”-she said “if you are such an adult, an adult, such an adult” “if you are such an adult” She’ll say, “wait” 4 or 5 times & for example Nick could say “I just saw Sharon” she’ll say “you just saw Sharon, Sharon, you just saw Sharon, I can’t believe you just saw Sharon” & on & on. To Daisy-“do you know how to be a mother, do you know how to be a mother” like she is just stuck or something. I do not like this at all & wonder if they write her that way or is this just something she does thinking WHAT? Very annoying.

1MALLOYFAN
1MALLOYFAN

love Michelle Stafford! She is sooo awesome in this role, I don’t care if she is being sneaky or up front (as Phyliss) she is one character that I will root for no matter what. Loved her with JB but since he left, I think Phyliss should get a new guy with not ties to anyone in GC! Great interview Mr. Fairman!

Lisa
Lisa

great interview but WTF with this ‘banging’ business ? Hey Michelle Stafford..people can watch porn if they want to watch actors banging each others on-screen..what about great acting and deep connection about emotional issues between the characters ? geeezzz i mean i am not prude but come on banging is not acting otherwise porn stars would have oscars right now..lol no wonder soaps are mocked for their so called soft porn scenes..reality check it is not interesting guys and can be gross when forced with a no real chemistry ‘we try too hard to be sexy together’ kind of way and it happens often on daytime soaps..
Michelle, talk to your writers to write interesting character-driven scenes for you not some silly nasty ‘banging’ scenes..lol

2Much
2Much

I wish the writers would just leave Phick dead and buried once and for all. They were not a believeable couple “in love” from the start and I still don’t see it. I think Nick just looks like a tool when he’s in scenes with Phyllis. I think the writers just need to let Phyllis and Nick move on and just co-parent Summer. That’s all. Sorry, but I just don’t like anything about Phyllis and her self-serving, self-absorbed, self-righteous attitutde. The character is eating the show and she’s making it unwatcheable for me. JMO.

Cherokeegirl226 (Steph)
Cherokeegirl226 (Steph)

This is a GREAT interview. I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I follow Michelle and Michael on twitter. 🙂

General Hospital

GH’s Coby Ryan McLaughlin Talks: Shiloh’s ‘Dawn Of Day’ Followers, Playing A Cult Leader, And His Co-Stars

Ever since the arrival in Port Charles of the mysterious “David Henry Archer” (Hank) now better known now as “Shiloh” (Coby Ryan McLaughlin), the minds of several members of the community have been revealed to, or have fallen under his spell.

For Shiloh is the cult leader of the group “Dawn of Day”.  He wields his manipulative skills to entrap unsuspecting people in his quest for power and control.   And make no mistake about it … he certainly has a target for Sam (Kelly Monaco), and an ax to grind with her.   For in her past, “the con-artist” Sam apparently swindled Shiloh’s father leaving him with next to nothing.  In addition to that, it has been noted, that Shiloh shared combat time in Afghanistan with Drew Cain (Billy Miller), before changing his name and coming to the town, where says he owes Drew for saving his life.

In story, one of his most loyal followers, Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) was to be initiated in the inner-circle of the cult, and after drinking from the cup as part of the ritual which drugged her, she was saved by Jason (Steve Burton ) who got her out of the “Dawn of Day” house and to a secret location, leaving Shiloh infuriated and needing to cover his tracks.  As the story has played out, we learn that Brad (Parry Shen) has also been bitten by the “Dawn of Day” bug and believes in Shiloh’s musing.  So much so that he wiped the evidence from the cup Krisina drank out of that Jason provided to Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) for testing in the hospital.  The GH audience has also learned that Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) was one of Shiloh’s favorite former members of the cult.  She has revealed she had a child with the guy (the baby she thinks is being raised by Brad) and needs to make sure he never finds out.  But, does Shiloh secretly know?

When we last saw Shiloh on Thursday’s episode of GH, he went into the files of the “Dawn of Day” followers and found Kristina’s.  He opened it, and we finally learn her “pledge” – a deep rooted secret from her past that one must share as part of the journey with the cult.  It revealed, that Shiloh knows that Kristina was abused by her former boyfriend Kiefer and that her mother, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) ran him down and killed him with her car.  Kristina knows about it first-hand, because she saw it happen as she was in the car with Alexis.  What will Shiloh eventually do with this Intel?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Coby Ryan McLaughlin, who has been the catalyst for much of the latest trouble brewing on-screen on GH about: the complexities of playing such a dynamic, and yet terrifying character, what has it been like mixing it up with the stellar cast of the ABC daytime drama series, and what he thinks Shiloh’s next move might be.  Here’s what Coby had to say about all and more!

What do you think about the reaction of the GH audience to Shiloh?  Is it what you expected?

COBY:  I’ve never really played a bad guy like this.  It’s interesting playing a villain because they love to hate you.  I’ll go on Instagram every now and then and throw elbows at the fans.  It’s really a trip.  The thing I like about this guy is that he’s not completely diabolical.  There are other things going on with this guy; he has other agendas as well.  It’s interesting seeing people react to what it is that I am doing while I have a storyline that is playing out.

Courtesy/ABC

It’s is a bit of a trip as you say; because you have to, in many ways, be subtle in the manipulation as a cult leader would do.  Did you do any research on cult leaders before stepping into Shiloh’s shoes?

COBY:  I didn’t do much when I initially got the part, because I actually know some people like this.  I think as actors, one of the most interesting parts of our jobs is that we just get to sit back and observe things about people’s behaviors.  There are certain people who I have come across where my “Spidey senses” start tingling, and you think, “Well, I’m not going to get involved with this person, but what a fascinating individual.  This behavior is so fascinating.”  However, once I started this gig, yes, I did do research.   I’ll tell you, the one thing that a lot of these guys have in common is that they are extraordinarily exuberant.  They have just this energy about them, and they are seemingly humble.  They have these grandiose visions and these delusions of grandeur, but they do it in a way where you’re like, “Huh.  That almost seems kind of normal.”  In order to get a large number of people to follow you, you’ve got to be charismatic, you’ve got to be saying something that people really tap into and want to hear.  The behavior and psychology behind it are really interesting.  I watched this one documentary and these people literally had no idea … until they did.  They literally had no idea that they were in a cult until they woke up, and they were like, “Holy s**t.  This isn’t right.  This doesn’t feel right.”   Shiloh is an interesting role to play, and it’s written so straight down the line that I really don’t have to push anything, because the guy is written as what he is.   It’s really cool to be able to find all of the little things in that character, so I try to make him a whole bunch of different things to different people.

Did you know from the beginning that Shiloh would turn out to be this cult leader in the “Dawn of Day” storyline?  Who did you screen-test with that landed you the part?

COBY:  No, I didn’t know what he was going to be in the beginning.  I knew that he had an agenda, and when Mark Teschner (casting director, GH) told me that he was going to be a cult leader, I was like, “Oh, okay.  I know what I want to do.”   I have always had the opinion that cult leaders don’t come off bad… they’ve got to be likable.  You have to be able to relate to them in a way.  You have to be able to look at them and be like, “Ah well, maybe in certain circumstances what this guy is doing is okay.”  You have to be able to almost justify some of the behavior until you can’t anymore.  I screen tested with Laura Wright (Carly), and she is really fantastic.  We sit in the makeup chair and shoot the breeze all the time.

Courtesy/ABC

So, is Shiloh infatuated with Sam?   What does he ultimately want from her?

COBY:  Yes, but he wants a lot. (Laughs) There’s a lot of backstory to him and what really brought him to Port Charles.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I have conversations all of the time about what this guy really is, and what his ultimate goals are, and that may change.  I think that Shiloh is a guy who has come to find his power, and the more powerful he gets, the more he wants.   You know, I’ve become a fan of General Hospital now.  I never watched the show before I got this gig.  I was a Days of our Lives guy years ago.  Don’t tell anybody. (Laughs).

Okay… we will not tell. (Laughs) Ah, sorry!  That’s got to be in the interview! (Laughs)

COBY:  All of  sudden, I will get a message from HR saying, “You’ve been great, but…” (Laughs)   But as to what Shiloh wants with Sam, you know I will read the scripts in advance, and I’ll start creating certain these things for myself in my own mind, such as: “What if he wanted to screw over Sam because of what she did to his father?”  What if it started like that, but all of the sudden he’s coming into some prominence and he wants to go after Sonny’s empire, and what if he wants to run the whole town and screw everybody…?”  I go through this whole thing.  It could literally go anywhere at any time, which is so cool about the soap world.

Without revealing what it is, do you have an idea of what the endgame is for Shiloh, or do you not?

COBY:  No, I don’t.  I think that it changes.  This is a really malleable medium, I’m coming to discover.  I think that nothing is set in stone.  I ultimately know what I want… just because I ultimately think that the foundation of the whole thing is rooted deep within this individual’s character: his emotional makeup, and how he was treated.  There is a lot of revenge going on with this guy, but there is a lot more than that.  He’s not just motivated by revenge.

Courtesy/ABC

Something had to have happened to him, of course, because you know how it works in soap operas!?  If you’re completely evil or bad, and even if you do horrendous things, and they want to keep you on the show, they have to find a way to humanize the character.  Otherwise, you’re there to cause trouble for a time, and you’re killed-off.  Shiloh’s tentacles seem more far-reaching then viewers first suspected.  He has this thing for Willow, who used to be in the cult, and now he’s got Brad under this thumb. What did you think about how much Shiloh is intertwined with and affecting the Port Charles canvas right now?

COBY:  I think that he is an apex predator.  I think that he sees certain people, and he knows how to utilize them for what he wants.  It’s kind of like a chess game.  He knows where Brad is.  He’s always wanted Willow, because it’s the one that got away, so there are certain things he uses as a means to an end, and there are certain things that I think he wants just for himself.  I think the relationships that he creates with this “higher-ups” in the town are because he knows he can utilize them, and there are some personal relationships that he keeps personal.  Shiloh has his own reasons for doing what he does, especially with Willow.  I think he was grooming her to be something.  Just the fact that she left him … really bothers him.

Photo: ABC

He doesn’t know that Willow had his child, or does he … hmmm? 

COBY:  No, not as far as we know.

If he was to know, what do you think he would do?

COBY:  Well …  you’re just going to have to watch and find out.

So, when you found out that there was this major initiation going on which included: the drugging of Kristina, the huge payment she made to be in Shiloh’s inner-circle, and how he was preying on her vulnerability, were you like, “Oh my, God! They’re really going all the way with this cult thing?”

COBY:  No.  We kind of alluded to it, and it has to go all the way.   I wasn’t surprised when I read that in the script.  This is this guy’s MO.  He gets what he wants.

Courtesy/ABC

Shiloh’s s really upset that Kristina is missing and has figured that Jason kidnapped her.  He wants her back in the fold, correct?

COBY:  He does want her back, but he wants her back for a variety of reasons … and not just the fact that she reminds him of Willow.  That’s part of it, but I personally believe that he wants her back, because as I mentioned earlier it’s all about chess pieces for him.  He sets up the prominent people in his organization, so he can set them up to expand his means and to expand his agenda … to motivate his agenda, because there is a bigger picture to all of this.  Kristina is a Corinthos and she is part of the most powerful family in Port Charles, so there is that as well.  He wants to be able to have that power hold over that towns that he is in.

Many in the audience are wondering if Shiloh having sex with Kristina was a key part of his plan.  Is that part of his ritual?  Having sex with women upon initiation into his “inner circle”… or is that a grey area?

COBY:  Here is the thing, everything is consensual with him … that’s where his charm comes into play, that’s where sense of power comes into play.  So, with these women, nothing is forced.  There is not coercion …  at all!   So, yes, its alluded that he sleeps with them, but we don’t necessarily know if that is true for all of them … or…. if it is just for the ones that he takes a liking to.   The other thing we know; is that this guy is also a megalomaniac, so it’s also an exertion of power as well.  What I tried to do with it was not make it so completely overt.   He is a bit of a jerk, but I don’t want it to overstep that boundary of being tasteless.  I think you can go too far with it, so that is one of the reasons that we alluded to the fact that it was always consensual, and people what to be with him for one reason, or another.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s why there was an important conversation written into the script with Jason, Sam, and Michael (Chad Duell) about how there is no way to nail Shiloh for a crime because he is so cagey with every move he makes.

COBY:  Yeah, you could say cagey, I say smart.

Now, Jason is his target.  Would you say there are even more underlying reasons that the obvious of why he dislikes Jason so much? Does he really have an axe to grind with him?

COBY:  I think he likes messing with people, and I think if he is unable to exert his power, or his will, or his control, over somebody, it really annoys him.  The stuff with Steve Burton is rather fun!  Shiloh can’t manipulate Jason like he can manipulate these girls, or the way he manipulates Brad, because Jason just operates on a whole different level.  I think that Shiloh finds it fascinating that he can’t get to him.   Shiloh also wants to get him out of the way, because he can’t out-muscle him.  Even if I could, the writers wouldn’t allow it. (Laughs) So, that’s never going to happen.  As Shiloh, I have to out-think him, because I want him out of the picture.   Shiloh sees Jason as an obstacle and he wants him out of the way, and he will do it by any means necessary, via him or with his kids… anyway that he can, because he can’t get at him on his level, because the playing field isn’t equal.

Courtesy/ABC

What about Shiloh’s relationship with Drew (Billy Miller)?  What does he truly feel about him? 

COBY:  I have this conversation with Frank Valentini all the time.  I think the relationship I have with Drew might be the only true relationship I have with anybody.  I think that Drew really did what Shiloh said that he did.  I think Drew really saved his life, and he does really want to pay that debt back.  I think therein really lies the contradiction with this guy.  It makes it difficult for him to operate.  I think he is conflicted on some levels because he is one guy to Drew, and he is a different guy to everybody else.  I think the way Shiloh is with Drew is real.  In his past, I think that Shiloh was completely fatalistic and reckless and didn’t care if he lived or died, and Drew did save his life, and he gave him a purpose.  However, I also think that he is such a damaged individual.  He needs that feeling of safety by exuding his power and control over others.  The writers have alluded to the fact that he has this other life, and that he was a broken individual, and turned his life around and came back from the brink of dying, of killing myself, of not caring.  So, with Drew, I don’t want to manipulate him.  I don’t want to use him.  I am truly just grateful for the fact that he allowed me another chance at life.  I love working with Billy, because that’s when I get to be human.  I’m not trying to gaslight him.  I’m not trying to get something from him – well, I’ll take that back, because I am trying to get something from him.  I’m just not trying to do it in a way that I go about it with the other characters.  There is a huge amount of respect between the two of us.

Unfortunately, Drew doesn’t remember anything about their past, which puts “pause” in believing Shiloh’s war stories.

COBY:  Yet.  (Laughs). Well, we’ve been alluding to the fact of, “What if he did this? What if he went back into his memories?  What if he were able to remember?  There are a lot of “What if’s …”  So, they keep a lot of balls in the air with this relationship.

Photo: ABC

What has it been like working with Lexi Ainsworth in this story, because she has been the main character so far drawn into the cult? 

COBY:  She’s great.  I love Lexi.  She is so easy, fun, and safe, and just a really nice person.  We sit and chat all of the time and talk about what it is that we want from each other in the scene and how it’s going to work.   Everyone is great.   Kaetlyn MacMullan is so much fun as well as Willow.  As an actor, it’s really fun when you get people who really want to play and want to go.

And, what are your thoughts on working with GH favorite, Kelly Monaco, who is key in your storyline?

COBY:  Kelly is rad.  We talk about being able to “play jazz” all of the time, which means being able to go into a scene and just riff and have a good time, because there is so much dialog that you have to learn.  I mean, that dialogue is nuts, and sometimes you forget halfway through a page-long monologue when you are at 27 pages in.  That’s when it’s wonderful to have a really good dance partner who can pick you up.  There are times where I get so off script, and I’m like, “Holy s**t!  Where am I going with this?” (Laughs) I have got really good people like Lexi, Katelyn, or Kelly who have my back and that just makes it fun.

Courtesy/ABC

Some actors like to watch back their work, while others don’t.  Do you check out your performances on GH?

COBY:  Yeah.  Somebody on Instagram, this wonderful fan, will take all of the Shiloh’s scenes and post them!  Shockingly, I don’t own a television, so I don’t watch the show that way.

Do you make changes or adjustments once you see your work?

COBY:  Not really.  I made a decision to keep it real low-key with this, and just try to play everything real.   The other thing is I had never done anything like this before in my career.  I was so intimated by this whole thing, that it was like, “Alright man.  Just get in and listen.  Listen to what your scene partners are saying to you.”  In my approach, I am trying to be as still as I can possibly be and let whatever that person is saying motivate my responses and my actions.  If I watch my work, I’m like, “Yeah, that makes sense to me; I like that.  That’s something that this individual would do.”  Shiloh controls every situation that he is in, and even when he is introduced to new characters, he doesn’t wait to be introduced, he’ll just walk up and say, “Hi, I’m Shiloh!  What’s new with you?  How’s it going?” (Laughs) He kind of disarms them in every scene he is in.

Photo: IMDB

Soap fans first saw you on The Young and the Restless in your stint as Andrew working alongside Eileen Davidson (Ashley).  How was that experience for you?

COBY:  Eileen was unreal.  She was really cool, because none of this phased her.  She had been doing daytime so long that it was just a thing to her.  I’d sit there and read my scripts over and over and over again, but she just knew how to do it.  It was so easy for her, that it made it easy for me.

In a broad stroke, what would you tells the fans to look forward to with Shiloh?

COBY:  Well, Shiloh is going to continue his agenda.  He is going to have to go about it in a different way.  There are things going down right now (and I won’t spoil it) that are going to change the way he operates, and he is going to have to get what he wants in a different way.  Some of the people who you would have thought that he trusted, have turned against him.  It just all makes it more fun for him because this is a huge game.  Even the stuff with Sam, you may think that you know where it is going, but it may not be.  So, as much as he is enamored by Sam, he has an agenda with her.

So, what do you think will be Shiloh’s next move?  Will he blackmail Alexis to get Kristina back at “Dawn of Day”? What is his plan for Sam? Is Shiloh connected to a key family in Port Charles, but it has yet to be revealed? Who else do you think might wind up in the cult? Finally, are you enjoying Coby’s performance on GH? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below!

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General Hospital

Dominic Zamprogna Talks Dante’s Torment, His Daytime Emmy Nomination, And If He Might Be Back To GH

If you caught last week’s episodes of General Hospital, you witnessed the heartbreaking goodbye (the second time around) between Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna) and his wife Lulu (Emme Rylan), after it had been revealed that Dante is suffering deeply and disturbingly from his time in captivity in Turkey, and the mission that sent him away from Port Charles in the first place.  Of course, GH fans know that leg of the story served to facilitate the exit of fan favorite, Zamprogna, who departed the ABC daytime drama series back in 2018.

But since his original exit, Zamprogna has popped up on the series a few times.  First, as bad Dante in the special standalone episode celebrating Maurice Benard’s (Sonny) 25th anniversary with the series, and then again, a few weeks ago with his ten-episode run that set the stage for what might become of the duo known as “Lante”.

In addition, Dominic also learned a few weeks back, that he received a Daytime Emmy nomination for his performances in 2018 in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama category.

Michael Fairman TV spoke to Zamprogna while he was in Tuscany, Italy on the first leg of his three-week European trip with his family (which will also take him to France and Germany) to get his thoughts on: this just completed guest return on General Hospital, receiving the Emmy nod from his peers, and what the future holds for him in, or out, of the world of soaps.

When you came back for this ten-episode run, did you know what the story would be?

DOMINIC:  I knew it would be kind of a Brody from Homeland kind of story.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I had a conversation, and he said, “Sonny is going to rescue you,” and I said, “With all due respect to Sonny, Dante got himself into this mess.  Let’s kind of help them, help each other get out of this mess,” and he was like, “I like it.”  That’s kind of how that came to fruition.  Then,  he said something along the lines of: how they were going to make it like Dante got messed while he was away, and that he had seen some crazy stuff, and that Dante had to do so some crazy stuff, and he brings it home with him.  So, we knew the story arc would be a little messy, for sure.

Courtesy/ABC

The impetus was to bring Dante back to Lulu, then to separate them again while you were off the canvas, because they left the character of Dante dangling out there previously, right?

DOMINIC:  Frank said, “We don’t believe that this guy would ever take off on his family in this way for this length of time,” and I said, “Oh, I agree with you, so let’s figure out a way to wrap it up.”  So, this is where we ended up.

I’ve been seeing many tweets from fans, like, “Dante’s the best,” and “You’ve got to bring Dominic back full-time.”   The story was very emotional, and I thought it was a good opportunity for you to remind everyone of your acting chops.  And, the writers made a point of making sure Dante said to Lulu, “Don’t wait for me,” which leaves her story kind of open, as well.

DOMINIC:  I know what I want, and that is a good story, and around the time that I left before, we didn’t have a lot of great stuff going on.  I think Dante needed a good shakeup.  Maybe this is a blessing in disguise for a lot of the fans, but I don’t know.  I know that there have been some negative reactions too … like, “Why bring this guy back if he’s going to leave again?”

Yes.  I have seen those reactions as well. 

DOMINIC:  I’d say that you bring this guy back because he did leave thinking he was going to come back sooner than he did, and stuff got a little too crazy, and maybe you can’t leave him hanging out there like that.  You do have to address that.  Dante wouldn’t have left his family for that long, knowingly.  It was ten months.  I think it is valid to bring him back and address it, and then realize that if the actor, or the show, isn’t ready to commit to what’s next, you do whatever creates the most drama.  Isn’t that why people watch these things … to yell at the TV? (Laughs) 

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about the tears Emme Rylan shed in those goodbye scenes that just aired!

DOMINIC:  I think she was really angry at me! (Laughs)

Probably!  She was like, “What are you doing!?”  (Laughs)

DOMINIC:  She was like, “What the hell is happening?” (Laughs)  I think that’s what people watch GH for.  I went on twitter and saw the clip of General Hospital from 56 years ago in honor of their anniversary.  It makes you give pause and think:  “What are you watching this show for?  Are you watching it to feel resolve at the end of it?”  Probably not!  As much as people don’t want to admit it, you don’t really want to feel fantastic after watching the show.  Nine times out of ten, you want to feel conflict and unresolved.  Otherwise, why would you come back the next day?  I feel like we kind of achieved that.  Which is why when you posed the question on Twitter, “What did you think of Dante’s return story arc?”,  I responded by saying, “I thought it was pretty good,” because a lot of fans are going to be pissed off.  However, a lot of viewers are going to be happy with seeing some good drama and some emotional scenes, and a cool arc (because I thought it was a good arc for Dante).

Photo: ABC

When you played Dante on this recent return, he’s obviously been tortured.

DOMINIC:  Yes, he’s been tortured, and he’s had to torture people to prove his worth.  As easily as he killed Raj, he’s probably had to kill other people during this time.  I think that’s a big step for Dante, because he’s never really had to do that.  In the time that he’s been on GH, he’s always been very black and white. I thought it was very good for me to be able to play that, because maybe he’s been pushed to the limit, and in those situations, you have to justify things that you probably would never have had to justify before.

Right!  I thought it was really sad, because you see people with PTSD who have been tortured.  Did you do any research on how being in captivity and how the condition may manifest itself in cases such as this, or someone under mind control?

Photo: ABC

DOMINIC:  I think PTSD is a pretty wide-ranging thing.  There are people who deal with PTSD who haven’t had to kill people and haven’t been tortured.  I think there is PTSD that people deal with in everyday life.  I think for a lot of people, if you had to go back and examine things, you’d be like, “Wait a sec, maybe that’s what this feels like,” and it’s not a comfortable place to be, but for this role, you kind of do go to places like that.

I think there’s been a silver lining for you in a few things since your exit from GH last year.  1) Since you’ve left, you came back, and got to play a bad guy version of Dante in the “Sonny-centric” episode. 2)  You received a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category.  What do you think about what has happened since you have been away from Port Charles?

DOMINIC:  That’s also about betting on yourself …  because it’s kind of like rolling the dice.  It can go either way.  It can be: “Hey, if I step away and no one cares, that’s cool too,” but you have got to be okay with that.  It’s like when I first started the show, and everyone said not to read the message boards, because if you read the good stuff, you’ve got to read the bad stuff, too.  Well, if you roll the dice on yourself, you’ve got to be able to look in the mirror and say, “Hey, it didn’t work out.”  Fortunately for me, in this situation, I rolled the dice, and it worked in my favor.

Courtesy/ABC

Did you love the “Sonny-centric” episode when you got to play mobster Dante?

DOMINIC:  I did.  I thought it was great.  Honestly, Michael, I loved this story too.   It was an experience for me.  It was a cool journey.  I felt like it was a neat exercise as an actor.  It was a cool development for the character.  I had interesting scenes with Sonny, I had interesting scenes with Anna (Finola Hughes), and I had good scenes with Mike (Max Gail), and the stuff with Lulu.  I thought the end of the arc was interesting too, because I’ve already played these goodbyes.  So, as an actor you’re like, “Man, we’ve already done this,” but as the character you still have to protect something.  So, when people ask why he didn’t say certain things to Lulu that he did to Anna, it’s because it’s so much more difficult to say those things to the person who you’re married to, and go to bed with at night, who supposedly knows everything about you.  It’s almost more difficult to reveal that vulnerability that he realized that he had been brainwashed!  You don’t want to admit that you’re at your weakest to the woman who looks to you for all of the strength.  That’s massively important.  I thought it was really interesting.

You received your third Daytime Emmy nomination. Previously you were nominated in 2014 and 2016 in this category.  I was so happy for you.  What scenes did you submit that have you going for gold on May 5th?

DOMINIC:  First off, this year felt kind of extra special.  I think because I left the show and only had four months of material that I could submit within the guidelines of the rules.  I sent the scenes with: Mike in the stables where he is talking with Avery, a scene where Nathan (Ryan Paevey) is dying, one scene with Peter (Wes Ramsey) in the interrogation room at the PCPD, and then the material where Dante says goodbye to Lulu to go off on his mission.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You’re in with a good group of actors in the Supporting Actor category.  Max Gail is in there, too.

DOMINIC:  Yeah, and I’m so rooting for Max.  He’s one of those guys, like with Maurice Benard, where it just takes very little trying in a scene.  You’re in a place with a person and you’re just speaking, and good things happen.  The other guys who I’m up against, I’ve heard they’re all good dudes and good actors.  I’m not expecting anything.  I just want to go and have a fun night and enjoy being around everybody, and the group who is nominated from GH.  And … we’ve got Maurice, finally, back in the Lead Actor category which I am very happy about.

So, in terms of where you are now with GH, what would like to see happen down the line?

DOMINIC:  I don’t know.  When I left, Frank said, “Let’s have a chat about that future.”   However, I don’t know where I’m at as far as coming back goes.  I’ve been enjoying the freedom of being able to take a little control of my moves, so we’ll have to see.  I miss my friends and my family there, and we’re in a good place on both sides.  I think the story has been received well.

Photo: ABC

So, if GH gives Lulu a new love interest, how would you feel?

DOMINIC:  Oh, totally fine.  She’s dead to me at that point, but I mean, whatever. (Laughs)  Lulu better find somebody at some point.  I think in the long run whatever happens can only create more material for everyone to play, if we do revisit another appearance in town.

For the drama, Lulu will have had to have had sex with somebody by the time Dante reappears.

DOMINIC:  Oh, for sure.  If she doesn’t, I’ll be like, “What are you waiting for? (Laughs)  I told you forever is a long time,” but as long as it’s not like Peter, or Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), then I think Dante would fully expecting her to be with….

Photo: ABC

… Chase (Josh Swickard)?!

DOMINIC:  Oh, Chase.  Yeah, what about that jerk?  (Laughs)  I forgot about him.  You know, if Lulu did do that, it would kind of feel like almost like a “Top Gun” kind of thing … like if Maverick slept with Goose’s wife, or something like that.  Then, if Dante showed up and they were like, “Well, you were gone, and she needed help,” and Dante would be like, “Whatever Chase!  That’s low!”  It would be expected, right?  Chase is a good dude, and Dante left very messed up, so it’s kind of his fault, but I think in the long-run as a human being, she needs to have her needs met.  If it happened right away, then it’s like, “Wow! You didn’t wait forever at all.  Forever was two weeks for you? (Laughs)”

Photo: JPI Studios

So, what did you think of Dante’s return and the performances of Domininc Zamprogna? Are you rooting for Dom to take home the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series?  Who do you think Lulu might fall for while Dante is off the canvas?  Are you hoping Dominic returns on-contract with GH at some point down the line?  Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below!

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General Hospital

Bryan Craig Talks Javi In ‘Grand Hotel’, Recasting GH’s Morgan, And His Post-Daytime Career

When Grand Hotel finally makes its highly-anticipated debut this summer (Monday night, June 17th) on ABC, soap opera fans will see some very familiar faces in primo roles as this sudsy drama, based on the Spanish series Gran Hotel, tells the story of a family-owned hotel in Miami, the people who run it, and all of the secrets they keep from one another.

Brought to you by executive producers Eva Longoria and Ben Spector, the show explores the family dynamic of the Mendoza family. Longoria herself will play a mother in four episodes of the show, as well.

General Hospital fans will take note that Daytime Emmy-winner, Bryan Craig (Ex-Morgan Corinthos) is front and center in the cast as Javi Mendoza, the troubled son of the family who has some major obstacles in front of him.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Craig during the recent ABC TCA’s Press Tour for the network to get some insight into his new role, how he would feel if GH would recast the role of Morgan (he recently propped up former DAYS star Billy Flynn as a potential viable candidate) and what it has been like post-daytime in his burgeoning career in film and TV.  Here’s what he had to say about his TV life past and present.

What has this experience been like for you taping the episodes of Grand Hotel and working with such a stellar cast?

BRYAN:  It’s been incredible   It feels like it went by so fast.  It’s an awesome group of people.  We’ve got a fun show.

How would you say your character of Javi Mendoza stacks up against GH’s Morgan Corinthos?

BRYAN:  I think it’s one of the most layered characters that I’ve ever played.  There’s a lot going on with Javi.  He has a big disability, kind of like Morgan did.  It’s a physical disability, and there are a lot of challenges that come along with that.  He also has a substance problem.  So, some of the same issues and in the same world that Morgan was in.  Javi is a very troubled character, but he is also a lot of fun, and a ladies’ man … and sleeps with a lot of women! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you think the audience will care for Javi, though?  

BRYAN:  Oh yeah, one hundred percent.  He was written in a very kind-hearted manner.  He’s a great guy, who has had a tough life.

Did they put you through a audition process to nab the role in Grand Hotel?

BRYAN:  They had read hundreds and hundreds of people for this role.  I came in at the tail end of it, and then the process went pretty quickly.  I read once, and the next think I knew, I was in a room with Eva Longoria and director, Ken Olin.  Then two days later, I was testing with Eva, and then I got the call that I had the part.

You’re a part of the core family, the Mendozas, on Grand Hotel, and on GH, you were part of the Corinthos clan.  How do the family dynamics stack-up?

BRYAN:  It’s pretty special.  There are a lot of similarities.  It feels like we have kind of shifted GH into prime-time.  In Grand Hotel, we have Demián Bichir, who plays Santiago Mendoza, and he is my Sonny Corinthos now.   They gave us a very heavy, heavy storyline … just like they gave Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH) and me.   So, I think the fans are really going to buy into it.   ABC, (I think) wanted to marry that bond a little bit, and I feel it was very apparent in the writing.  This network has been very good to me.

Courresy/ABC

Did you know that your co-star Denyse Tontz was in Prospect Park’s All My Children reboot as Miranda Montgomery and had a soap past, as well?

BRYAN:  Yes! I did know that.  Denyse plays my sister on Grand Hotel and we work together a lot on the show.  There were quite a few people on the show who came from soaps.  Even some guest stars who came in were big in soap at points.

So, this kind of all  worked out for you!  You left General Hospital, and landed a major primetime series, plus your other movie roles!

BRYAN:  It was a scary move, but it worked out.  I did a few things; a couple of movies, and I did a show for CW for a while, and then this.  So, it’s been back-to-back.  I’ve been fortunate.

Courtesy/ABC

How would you feel if General Hospital, ultimately, recast the role of Morgan?

BRYAN:  You know, if it was to behoove the show, then so be it.   I feel like it was a pretty nice end for me there, but I can’t sit here and be selfish and be like, “I’m the last person who could play that role!”  Would that be awesome?  I mean, yeah!  But, who knows?  They’ve got to do what’s best for the show.

GH’s Maurice Benard had great story in 2018 with the Alzheimer’s storyline involving Sonny’s dad, Mike Corbin (Max Gail).  Had you been checking it out at all?

BRYAN:  I know!   I do keep up with Maurice a lot.   We are good friends.

To remind those who have not seen the trailer to Grand Hotel check it out below.  Will you be watching Bryan in his exciting new role on Grand Hotel? Will you be OK with a Morgan recast on GH, or hope the show will wait for Bryan to return one day? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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

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