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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
Guest
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.… Read more »

delta24d
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Shelia
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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
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1loveabcsoaps

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

Lorraine
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Lorraine

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

Sauza
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

PhyllisFan1st
Guest
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… Read more »

RC
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

PhyllisFan1st
Guest
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… Read more »

Sauza
Guest
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… Read more »

gina
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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… Read more »

Deltayvonne
Guest
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
Guest
heidi

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

DeeDee
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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:… Read more »

Terri
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

C hris
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

1MALLOYFAN
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

2Much
Guest
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)
Guest
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 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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