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The Peter Bergman Interview- The Young and the Restless

Peter-Bergman-main

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Ten days ago on November 27th, 2009, Peter Bergman celebrated his 20th anniversary on the number one daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. The actor, who has won three Daytime Emmy Awards for his portrayal of bad boy Jack Abbott, is one of the most respected actors of the soap genre.  Bergman first came into prominence as one half of Pine Valley‘s “super couple”, Cliff and Nina (Taylor Miller) on All My Children.  After a twist of fate that had the actor being let-go by the soap, Bergman came kicking and screaming to Y&R where this stalwart performer set up new digs to take over the coveted role of Jack, played originally by the late Terry Lester.

Bergman met the love of his life Mariellen on a blind date, set up by his former AMC cast mate Michael Minor (Ex-Brandon) who happened to be going out with her cousin at the time, and she has been with Peter every step of the way during his soap career.   In this revealing interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Peter discusses his beginnings on Y&R, favorite moments, favorite leading ladies, and the heart and soul of a veteran actor in daytime, who has been through and seen it all… including the notorious real life fight with his co-star Eric Braeden (Victor Newman).  But it is Victor and Jack’s on-screen rivalry that has lit up the television screen for decades, thanks to the amazing performances by Bergman and Braeden.  And as we head into 2010, Jack may be getting a new lady love and Victor will be on his way back to town to reignite the feud.  Here’s Peter on his journey to Genoa City and much more!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Peter, you just celebrated your 20th anniversary as Jack Abbott. Do you feel old?  I feel old knowing this! (Laughs)

PETER:

It’s funny.  The first time anyone mentioned this 20th year thing, I thought, “Geez, it felt like yesterday.”  Then when I thought about it, when I started on this show, my daughter was four weeks old.  My daughter is now a sophmore in college.  So, I guess 20 years is a long time.

MICHAEL:

Peter-and-Mary-Ellen

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What did your wife, Mariellen, have to say about this accomplishment?  We all have watched Mariellen’s reactions on-camera during your Emmy wins, which have been so touching.

PETER:

It kind of went unnoticed in our home, and what I think is interesting again is; Mariellen and I were only married five years when I started on Y&R.  We had new kids. We were just starting our lives together and it will be 25 years together this coming March.  So, I have been here along time.

MICHAEL:

When you took over the role from the former Jack Abbott, actor Terry Lester, were you familiar with his work?

PETER:

No.  I had seen so little of Terry Lester’s performances.  The Young and the Restless was opposite All My Children in New York.  So, I never really got to see what he did.  He certainly was a prominent member of the daytime community.  We knew who he was, but I did not know his work that well, and that probably was to my benefit.

MICHAEL:

Right. So you could make this your own.   Do you remember the events that got you to this coveted role in Genoa City?

PETER:

Melody--Thomas-Scott

© JPI Studios

My job at All My Children came to a sudden end.  I think everyone was as surprised as I was.  The best monitor of that is the fact that every soap magazine had me on the cover that week saying, “OMG! OMG! All My Children let Peter Bergman go!”   Now, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) was traveling with her husband Ed Scott, who was our executive producer at the time, in Canada.  She pulled out an issue of Soap Opera Digest with me on the cover of it saying, “We let Peter Bergman go,” and she thought, “We have been looking for a Jack Abbott. This is Jack Abbott,” she said to Ed.  So Ed came back home and the first I heard of it was through my agent.  He said, “We just heard from Y&R and they wanted to know how tall you are.”  And I said, “That is insane!  Don’t even return that call. What do you mean how tall I am?  They can figure that out.”  It really bothered me.  Then they called another time and asked if I would be OK replacing someone.  I was on All My Children and replacing someone was shear death, and it never worked on All My Children. We have never had a recast that really sustained and frankly, I was just finishing a soap and my wife was eight months pregnant.  I thought, “No, I do not want to do this!”  Y&R called a third time and it kind of coincided with some bad financial news I got.  I thought I should at least go out to LA and audition for this thing.  So, leaving my wife behind, her due date was a week away, I thought, it would be just my luck.  I will be in Los Angeles where I don’t want to live, and replacing somebody which I don’t want to do, and it’s on a soap, and I don’t know if I want to do another one.  So, I audition on a Friday, and they said they were going to get back to me within the next two weeks. On Monday, Ed Scott called to say I got the job.  Then Maryellen and I sat there and literally wept.  We loved New York!  We just bought the apartment next door. We were going to adjoin the two as we were expecting a baby any minute and this was going to be cataclysmic in our lives.  It was all the wrong things.  So the answer to your question is; I was dragged out kicking and screaming to the best thing that ever happened to me.

MICHAEL:

Once you finally got here to Y&R, and you were figuring your way through the character of Jack Abbott, was there a point where you knew, “This is such an amazing role”?

PETER:

Everyone told me, but the person who told me the most was Debbi Morgan, who plays Angie on All My Children.  Debbi caught wind that I was auditioning for the role on my last day at AMC, and the following morning I was heading to Los Angeles.  I told her, and only her and I did not know she was a mad Y&R fan.   She said, “OMG!  Peter this is one of those roles.  This is Erica on AMC.  This is Viki on OLTL, and this is a giant role, Peter.”  So she convinced me that, “Well, maybe this will be a good thing.”   I got the job and I was grateful for it, but once I got here, every prop guy, every camera man knew more about Jack Abbott than I did.  It was a lonely first few weeks.  I knew I’ve got to make it my own.  The assumption was we bring all those Cliff Warner fans with us to Y&R, and all the people who were used to Terry Lester would eventually be OK with me in the role. Well, oddly enough the people who were used to Terry Lester got used to me pretty quickly.  It took about six months and they forgot what he looked like. But the people from All My Children, OMG, it was two to three years later!  They were saying, “He used to be so nice….”   It took a long time to bring them around.

MICHAEL:

So, was there any trepidation for you with the success of playing Dr. Cliff Warner, who was the leading man and a goody-goody, with now coming over to Y&R and playing a rather bad and caddish character?  Was there any thought of, “I don’t know if I should play this,” or did you look at it as an actor’s dream to play Jack?

PETER:

Frankly, I have been doing daytime television for 30 years and it has never crossed my mind what the audience likes or what the audience wants of me.  I just want to tell the story like it’s written.  I come to this dressing room as these scripts are sitting here now, and I cannot open them fast enough.  I don’t want to write it.  I want to play what they wrote and it’s worked for thirty years.

MICHAEL:

Eric-and-Peter

© JPI Studios

Ok! So of all the storylines and plot points of Jack, which stick in your mind as some of your most memorable?

PETER:

The ones that really move me….the ones I have trouble watching without getting emotionally upset….Nikki spirals into this alcoholic mess and in his effort to help her Jack cannot do it, and in his frustration he comes that close to punching her.  It was a giant moment and I went to tell my father, John, “Dad, I almost hit her in the face!” Giant moment!   Jack is in Victor’s office and Victor has what appears to be a coronary episode. Victor is left on the floor and Jack has two choices…. call for help or walk out of the room. On his way out of the room, I decided Jack would kick Victor’s hand out of the way. To Eric Braeden’ credit, his body was limp. I kicked his hand and I thought, “The cameras are probably not going to catch this.”  Boy, did they catch this!

MICHAEL:

He did not move his hand…..his hand…..

PETER:

…..his hand flopped.  He looked like a dead guy.  Giant moment!  Nikki and Jack lose a baby and a woman comes to my office one day.  We had donated the baby’s’ organ’s and she wants to introduce me to her son, who would not be alive without my child’s heart. Giant scene to play!  Finding out about Nicholas and Phyllis!  It went on forever and finally Jack finds out.   Frankly, my latest favorite is the day that Sharon finally tells Jack everything that is going on with her and Nicholas, and Jack knew every single thing she is telling him, but she is telling him.  It was a giant moment to play.  I had no words and you could just watch Jack’s face and know what he was thinking.  This is what he has been waiting for: Sharon to tell him and to be this honest with him.

MICHAEL:

In all the interviews I do with the soap actors, everyone tells me the same thing: “Peter Bergman is so professional!”  How does it feel to be so well regarded by your peers?

PETER:

The-Abbotts

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It does feel really good.  I would love to be able to tell you I am the consummate professional because I know things and it firms up my powerbase.  But frankly, I have nightmares about coming to work and being unprepared.  I have nightmares that our cameramen get frustrated and are taking their headsets off because Bergman does not know his lines.  I also lost my job and did not expect it to happen and no one expected it to happen.  And, when it came to an end I promised myself, if ever I lost this job at Y&R or any other job, I would never look back and wonder what more I could have done.  So frankly a lot of it is paranoia and it’s not being a bold egalitarian.

MICHAEL:

I think it’s very human and honest of you to say that, because who wouldn’t feel that way given those circumstances.

PETER:

I am amazed that people will come to work and not know their lines for the day and be able to come out on set.  I would be a nervous wreck!  So it’s probably by needs that I have to be really, really professional.

MICHAEL:

Eric Braeden and you had a much-publicized fight many years ago and a stormy relationship.  I was reading recent articles and interviews and people still bring it up.  What do you think about the situation now?  It’s part of the history of your time on Y&R that people tend to focus on.

PETER:

It is part of our history here. Eric and I had a number of problems when I first came here and they climaxed in an ugly situation that Eric wished would never had happened and I certainly could have done without it in my life.  But Eric and I worked together for 20 years, and we have this enmity that the audience clearly loves.  It’s a crazy rivalry and it still has legs, and I am very grateful for It.!  We work together just fine.

MICHAEL:

I loved, True Soap Stories of Mr. Kitty… the cleverest and original video of the year, bar none!   You were the on-camera host of the video parody.  How did that come about where you ended up in that position?

PETER:

Greg Edwards, (content manager, Y&R website) who put the whole thing together, came up to me and said, “Hey, Peter, would you be the anchor on this thing?”  I said, “Sure!”  Anyway, it was an improv thing.  We did it really serious and it was really funny. Everyone in the cast was so great in it. And if people have not seen it on the CBS website, it’s quite, quite funny.

MICHAEL:

Haiduk--Mr,-Kitty

© JPI Studios

How has it been working with Stacy Haiduk, who now plays dual roles as Patty Williams and Emily Peterson?

PETER:

Stacy Haiduk (Patty/Emily) has been one of those wonderful stories, where she is a generally trusting actress.  I have talked to her a lot in all of this. When she got here I said to her, “If you are willing to go there and I know it seems like the audience is not going to like you or deems your character unlikable….”  I said, “Stacy run with it. We can redeem you in two episodes.  I don’t care!  Just don’t kill anybody and we can redeem you.”  Anyway, this actress came in and gave everything and just threw herself at the madness of Patty Williams, and now she is playing Emily, the psychiatrist who has to be very different than Patty Williams.  Stacy brought a whole new bag of tricks and she is terrific.

MICHAEL:

Is Jack truly falling for Emily or using her?

PETER:

Oh no!  Jack is falling for this psychiatrist.  Jack is at a funny place in his life where he is coming to the realization that he is the head of the Abbott family now.  John is gone and he is not coming back.  Somebody has got to anchor this family.  Jack has long aspired to be like his father, and it’s kind of hard to do that without a woman of the house and someone in his life.  Colleen’s death reminded him to do what you want to be doing; be with somebody and share a life.  So Jack is going through a whole new phase, and the moment he is in this searching mode in walks Emily Peterson, this gorgeous woman who he is really quite taken with!

MICHAEL:

I am sure though, there is a twist… on a twist…. on a twist coming!

PETER:

Michelle-and-Peter

© JPI Studios

Well again, sitting in an actress’s dressing room and saying, “If you play this other character really different from Patty, then down the road imagine how fun it would be to play Patty Williams playing who she thinks Emily is.”   It’s a treat most actors would kill to do.  I have never done it and those actors who have done well are legends in daytime television.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about a few other former leading ladies… Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and you!

PETER:

Michelle Stafford…. when they first told me I was going to be working with her she was coming back to the show, and all we had seen of her was crazy Phyllis.  She was Danny Romalatti’s crazy woman with the lying about the birth certificate and all the crazy shenanigans she had done.  So they told me, “We are going to put her with Jack.”   I thought, “Well, this is crazy!”  Well, it was just crazy enough.  These two were perfectly wrong for each other.  These two people cared about each other and wanted this to work in the worst possible way, but just couldn’t make it work. That is not normal for soaps. It was fun to play and for the audience to watch, because these two people were desperately loving each other and they are destructive of each other, and someone is going to hurt someone here. These are two type “A” personalities!

MICHAEL:

How about Sharon Case (Sharon) and you?

PETER:

Bergman-fan-event

© JPI Studios

Sharon Case is my new favorite thing to talk about, because when they put Nick and Phyllis together, I thought it was clever as can be, and hotter than could be.  It was a great hot secret that they had.  I played the cuckold and Sharon played the cuckold fool, and I think the writers perhaps did not have a plan.  So I guess they thought, “Let’s throw Sharon and Jack together.”   Sharon Case and I knew this. So we sat in this dressing room and said, “How about we make it work for them?”  So every opportunity we had to make it as real as possible, we jumped all over it.  We sat in this room and ran lines like crazy.  We tweaked scenes and fixed scenes and changed the pace of scenes; until suddenly it turned into a three-year storyline and was one of the most realistic couples on the show.  I think Sharon changed Jack in a major way.  There was goodness and honesty about Sharon in her general approach to life.  She was not a manipulator.  She challenged Jack to be an honest person, and he wasn’t up for the task.  He has never forgiven himself for that. So honesty now becomes a very important part of Jack Abbott’s life?  It is now, thanks to Sharon!

MICHAEL:

In closing Peter, after 20 years, what do you want people to remember most about your portrayal of Jack Abbott?

PETER:

I would love for people to say, “He was fun to watch and he did not hold back. When a scene called for something, he never phoned it in or dialed it in.  He always was there and always found as much emotional weight as he could find.”

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LuChera HuntleyOlive OlsoncabcFannieDoe Recent comment authors
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Mandel
Mandel

Good interview. Really good actor

Doe
Doe

What a great interview, Michael. Peter was so honest, and you can’t help but like and respect him. He has kept those of us watching his prowess as an actor constantly delivering his character, and we wait for the shoe to drop as to what he will do that is nasty. We wait in anticipation…..

Fannie
Fannie

Peter Bergman is right, it did not take long for us to forget Terry Lester whom I loved very much as Jack Abbott. It’s true that those 20 years went by so fast and thank you Peter Bergman and all the other wonderful characters to have helped me and I guess so many others, to have helped us go through the ups and downs of this wonderful life by being part of our life for those 20 wonderful years. Long live the Y&R and Peter Bergman.

cabc
cabc

I am so glad to know that Peter loves his character Jack, cause I’ve been a faithful viewer for over 20 years, and I just love, and I mean love me some Jack. He’s sophisticated, and a bad boy, and I love bad boys. Thanks for the wonderful interview it makes me love him more knowing that he has a beautiful wife of 25 years, and has been able to be a loving husband and father in real life while being the bad boy of Y&R for over 20 years. We love you Jack! I love to hate Victor, but you’re the man Jack.

Olive Olson
Olive Olson

I like Jack. I would have to say that he’s undoubtedly my fav. male actor. He reminds me of someone I dated a long time ago and I think he’s one handsome dude !! : ) It would be fun to meet him for real. I guess I can only hope about that one.

LuChera Huntley
LuChera Huntley

Hey Peter Bergman!!
Good Job!!!

Interviews

Sharon Case Celebrates 25 Years On The Young and the Restless; Shares With Fans: “Thanks For Going On The Ride With Me”

Over the weekend, The Young and the Restless Sharon Case reached her 25-year milestone in Genoa City! For Case, who was the third actress to take on the role of Sharon Collins, and once believed she would only last six months on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, has become an integral part throughout the years to the drama and the romance that happens on the canvas on Y&R.

To mark the occasion, Case sat-down with Michael Fairman on the set of Crimson Lights at CBS Television City where Y&R is taped; to take a stroll down memory lane, and to share her thoughts with her legions of fans on the life and times of Sharon Collins Newman.

Photo: CBS

From her character’s wrong-side-of-the-tracks beginning, to meeting Nick Newman, to many of the memorable storylines and moments that were among her very favorites including: when Nikki, Phyllis, Sharon and Victoria buried J.T., and of course, to her leading men through the years, Sharon reveals some backstage and on-camera Intel.   As viewers know, Sharon Newman had also had her share of catfights through the years in longstanding conflicts with both Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) and of course, Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), and Sharon discusses those moments too.

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Sharon and Michael also relive when Cassie’s death, was first aired on the show, and the impact that story has had for decades on everyone who worked on and has watched Y&R over the years.  In addition, Sharon discusses how she felt the night she won the Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series back in 1999.

At the end of the interview Sharon relates this message to the fans of Y&R: “I have always felt like these 25 years wasn’t just working here and playing Sharon … or working here with all the wonderful people … it’s just as much about going through it with all of you, especially because of social media, but even when we didn’t have it, we always knew that you were there and we were partners with you … because it really is sort of a partnership.  I really have felt like we have been in this together the whole time.  We don’t have a studio audience, but we know you’re there, and we love hearing from you.  It really was just as much about you – this journey I have gone on, than it was anything else, so ‘thank you’ for being there and watching the show, and being faithful to the show, and thanks for going on the ride with me.”

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Now below, watch Sharon’s 25th anniversary from the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  For more feature interviews on the channel make sure to “subscribe”.

Then, let us know what has been your favorite storyline of Sharon’s through the years?  Comment below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Elizabeth Hendrickson and Greg Rikaart Talk On The Return of Chloe and Kevin

Fans of The Young and the Restless were overjoyed to learn a few months ago that Kevin and Chloe played to perfection by Greg Rikaart and Elizabeth Hendrickson were headed back to the CBS Daytime drama following the regime change at the top.

Rikaart had previously with the series for 14 years before he was taken off-contract, and then journeyed to Days of our Lives to take on the role of Leo, while Hendrickson went to General Hospital to take on the role of Margaux Dawson, only to eventually head back to Genoa City.

Michael Fairman sat down with the popular on-screen duo recently on the set of Crimson Lights at CBS Television City for a special conversation via The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

When discussing what happened behind the scenes that led them back to Genoa City, Liz expressed: “It was definitely a surprise to get the call. I wouldn’t say it came out of nowhere because I saw Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) was coming back and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) was coming back, and it looked like they were getting the gang back together.  I wasn’t sure if I was next on the list, but when I did get the call, I was really excited, and so I chimed in with my better half (Greg) and he was too, so then I was like, ‘Well, let’s do it.”  Greg related: “I had a conversation with Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) and expressed that it was nice being back in the building. and a little bit later, I got a phone call inviting me back.”

Photo: JPI

If viewers have followed recent developments on Y&R, Chloe and Kevin kidnapped Billy for is own protection (Jason Thompson) to a cabin, after he tried to kill Adam.  In the ensuing scenes, Kevin injects Billy with a syringe filled with a drug to knock him out.  Rikaart shared, “Doesn’t it make sense, that if anyone had something on them to knock someone out it would be Kevin .. on the ready!?”

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Liz said of Billy’s deteriorating mental health state and working with Jason Thompson (and Billy’s revenge against Adam): “Chloe also knows that Delia would not want her father to take revenge.”  As far as working with Jason Thompson, Hendrickson shared: “Jason is really, really wonderful.  I have known him personally outside of the soap world from mutual friends.  And in getting to work with him, Jason is just great. He is a really solid guy, as well.

Photo: MFTV Inc

Later, Liz and Greg weigh-in on their favorite all-time scene together.  Greg admitted, “The first one to come to mind is our New Year’s scene, because that is when we first got together. and the build-up to that was a really long time coming. I thought it was so beautifully played where Kevin had finally given up on the idea of them being together, and he is out with spray tan girl and it’s New Year’s Eve and all he is doing the entire time is complaining about Chloe. Meanwhile, Chloe is home in her pajamas eating ice cream with Esther – it was very much a throwback to a John Hughes 1980’s rom-com.”

On their return to Y&R, Greg concluded:  “I think the fans are excited that we are back, and I think that fuels my excitement too, because when I was gone I really missed this place and knowing people missed having me here, I realized I wasn’t crazy …. this was something special.”

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So are you happy to see Liz and Greg back on Y&R? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. But first check out their video interview!

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General Hospital

GH’s Michael Easton Talks On Finn’s Hayden-Less Story, Finola Hughes & Favorite Soap Roles

It was a pretty wonky summer for General Hospital’s Dr. Hamilton Finn (Michael Easton), especially concerning the women in his life.  After proposing to Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) she exits to go deal with her twin sister, Alex, thus facilitating Hughes’ summer break from the series.

Meanwhile, another great love of Finn’s life, Hayden (Rebecca Budig) re-emerges on the canvas during Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco’s (Roger Howarth) wedding reception, and is now clearly involved in some story with Jasper Jacks (Ingo Rademacher).  But what about the unresolved feelings and story with Hayden and Finn? After all, she left him and Port Charles and had his child (who is apparently alive) but is not letting her ex know that little fact.

Meanwhile as a doctor, Finn has had to deal with numerous medical infectious disease crisis’, with the latest being what happened to Sasha (Sofia Matteson) at the hands of the evil Cassandra Pierce (Jessica Tuck), who Finn would love to put behind bars for all of her nefarious drug-related crimes and for what she previously perpetrated on him.

Michael Fairman TV recently caught up with one of our favorite gents in daytime, Michael Easton, to get his thoughts on the on-screen developments in Port Charles, what he hopes is ahead this fall, a look back at some of his favorite soap roles (from One Life’s John McBain to Port Charles’ Caleb Morley), why One Life to Live was such a gem of a soap and a special time for him and his enduring soap career, and much more.  So, here’s what Michael shared in our irreverent entertaining, and candid chat.

Photo: ABC

Hayden has been back.  But you and Rebecca Budig have not thus far shared many scenes together.  Do you think we will eventually circle back to their story?

MICHAEL:  First of all, it is amazing having Rebecca back.  I’d like to say that I had forgotten how beautiful and talented she is, but I didn’t.  She stays with you, and her performances resonate.  So, coming back to work with her is like falling back into it.  For selfish reasons, I am somewhat disappointed that I thought when Hayden came back; she would completely turn Finn’s life upside down.  So, to be honest with you, I don’t know much more than what you are seeing is going on.

I don’t understand why the show is keeping that apart.  That’s what people wanted to see when Hayden came back, because many fans loved them together.

MICHAEL:  I’ve taken a hit anytime I’ve run into fans because I think (any fans that follow that couple), when they left, are a little disappointed in what they are seeing in that the girl who left is not the girl who has come back.  I think that has been the difficult thing for Finn.  It’s almost like she has reverted back to a character she was a few years prior to that.  In terms of having his life upturned, it hasn’t been upturned because she has been rather cold to him.  So, it probably isn’t the way I would have told the story, but maybe they have some great stuff up their sleeve.  I think the stuff that we have had together has shown promise.  Hopefully there will be more, because I enjoy working with her so much.

So, there’s a baby.  Does Finn ever think the baby Hayden said died, could be alive?

MICHAEL:  I don’t think he does.  I think he (just from Finn’s nature) would believe that she would never to that to him.  I imagine his thought would be, “What did I ever do to you?  You would do this to me,” because he was clearly in love with her, and she broke his heart.  I don’t think he ever sees that coming.  I know it’s hard because the audience all knows that, and it’s hard to play the person who is not in the loop when everybody else knows the truth, but you have to play that.  You have to play that you don’t watch the show.  I think Finn has to come from that place that she would never do that, and I think that will probably take it to a place (if that is the case) that will just make the fall that much grander, but again it is incredible having Rebecca back.

Photo: ABV

Has Rebecca said anything to you like, “What’s going on?  I’m barely talking to you on the show?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Yes.  I don’t want to speak for her, but I think she probably thought it was going to be more the character that left who was coming back.  I think we’ve all been a little surprised, but maybe the writers have some great surprises up their sleeves, and this will play out.  It’s just different than I thought it would play out.

Finola Hughes had gone off on her summer vacation for awhile which put a pause in what’s next for the Anna and Finn romance, as well.

MICHAEL:  Well, you work with me long enough, and then you need some time off, right?  It’s like PTSD, right?  You need a three-month treatment plan to make it back.  So, I don’t blame her for taking some time off. (Laughs)

Finn proposed to Anna with this impromptu-at-her feet-moment at the Nurses’ Ball.  Did you like the proposal?

MICHAEL:  The only thing that I would have done differently is that I originally thought she said no, just because I love playing uncomfortable, embarrassing moments.  I would have had a lot of fun with that because being embarrassed in front of groups of people is something that I would like to play.  I do that quite often in my own life. (Laughs)  I didn’t watch it back, but in the moment, it felt really nice.  She’s lovely.  Who wouldn’t propose to her?  So, there wasn’t a great deal of difficulty in doing that.

Photo: ABC

Do you sense the on-screen magic between Finn and Anna?  

MICHAEL:  I hope we both bring each other out of our comfort zones a little bit.   I think Finola embraces that, and I embrace that.  I think we both sort of pull each other a little bit.  When the writers write it that way, especially early on, there was a lot of great dialogue and banter, it was like a very adult-type of movie for a while, and I really enjoy that.  It is like Sullivan’s Travels or something like that.  That’s a really dated reference.  Who else do you know that is going to pull out a reference to Preston Sturges movies?  (Laughs) How about Moonlighting?  Even that might be dated now, but it’s closer.  (Laughs)  I think that’s it.  She’ll go with it.  Sometimes just in the flow of it, stuff comes out, and nothing goes by Finola.  There is no ad-lib or gesture that you can make where she won’t go with you on it.  She’s such a pro, and she is so good at that.

Photo: JPI

You’re both smart actors, in a way.  

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MICHAEL:  She’s smart.  She’s really smart.   She’s extra smart, and I’m a little bit under, (laughs) and she balances us out.

Do you think Finn will finally help apprehend Cassandra?  How is it when you get to work with Jessica Tuck?

MICHAEL:  Yeah.  I would imagine.  I love Jessica.  I think she is fantastic, and I always like when the “bad guy” doesn’t know they’re the bad guy.  I know when I played Caleb on Port Charles; one of the things I liked about him was that he never thought he was the bad guy.  I think that is always the right way to play a bad guy, and Jessica certainly doesn’t play it that way.  She plays it like she is just really devious.  She is lovely. I sort of look at it like a team, and anytime you lose good players, your team is not as good.  So, anytime someone says something about someone coming back who is a really good actor, it’s great when they come back.

Photo: JPI

How does Finn feel now about his brother, Chase (Josh Swickard)?  He just can’t seem to get himself to show his affection towards his younger brother.

MICHAEL:  He does love him, and that’s right.  That’s the conflict, but it’s hard to be mad at Josh because he is the sweetest kid.  He looks at you with those big brown eyes, and you go, “Why am I being such a jerk to this guy?  He’s just too nice, but it’s good.  I think we’ve slowly developed a rapport, and it’s just one of those things that I think every so often, daytime gets right where you can almost tell something in real time.  It wasn’t rushed.  It’s taken a year, and they are sort of coming around to one another, but there are still a lot of secrets.  That’s coming up.

Photo: ABC

Where would you rate Finn in the scope of your characters?  I mean, for me, McBain will always be #1.

MICHAEL:  Is McBain 1?  (Laughs)  You and Steve Burton (Jason, GH).  I’ve never sat and ranked them. Obviously, I played McBain the longest, and it was probably the character who was the most like me I did ride-alongs with cops in New York City for like a month.  So, I was able to ground him in some reality for myself, and I was able to stick to that.  We had a great adviser on the show for over a year who was a former New York City detective, gold shield guy.  Someone once asked why the police department was so good at One Life, and that was it.  They really embraced it.  We didn’t have people sneaking out of the jail-cell with a bobby pin picking the lock. (Laughs)

It was a bit grittier on One Life.

MICHAEL:  I enjoyed that.  McBain not saying “I love you” for 10 years, being on daytime and being able to do that – now that is quite the accomplishment!

Photo: JPI

I remember when McBain FINALLY told Natalie (Melissa Archer) “I love you.” I lost it, but then again, I am sucker for soapy goodness like that. It was a big moment.

MICHAEL:  It was.  Then, he had to kind of retract it and said, “I was drugged.”

Yeah right, he had that “What did I do?” moment.

MICHAEL:  “What did I do?”  That’s right.  So, that was a challenge, and that was really interesting.  Port Charles’ Caleb was probably the most fun to play because that was just an incredible amount of freedom.  There was no grounding it in anything.  It was the biggest sandbox I’d ever played in.  If you wanted to walk over to the couch, you walked over to the couch.  You did whatever you wanted to, and obviously, getting to work with the lovely Kelly Monaco (Ex-Livvie, Port Charles, now Sam, GH) every day… it was just nice.  Caleb only had one intention.  He was in love with this girl, and he just wanted to be with her, and anytime you get one specific need as an actor, it makes it so easy. You’ll stop at nothing to be with this girl, and that’s so fun to play.

Photo: ABC

Right, and Kelly Monaco and you have amazing chemistry when you have been paired romantically together in story.

MICHAEL:  Yeah, I think those things exist in a special place, and they probably belong in that special place.  Although, I thought it was an interesting dynamic for a period of time, it would have been interesting to see where that would have gone on GH with McBain, and Jason, and Sam, because there was something there that they could have built on very slowly.  I don’t know what would have happened, but I think that dynamic was the only dynamic that could have worked for a period of time.   I don’t think Fin would work, but that one dynamic would have been interesting when you have the cop, the outlaw, and the girl who comes between them.

Photo: ABC

One Life to Live recently would have celebrated its 51st anniversary if it was still on the air.  Back in July, I posted these photos of major characters through the years.  I received so many “likes” and so many comments on social media such as, “I miss it so much. Bring it back!”  What can you say about those enduring One Life fans and being part of that one-of-a-kind show?

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MICHAEL:  They’re the most beautiful fans.  All of the daytime fans are beautiful, but I think it was a really nice connection with the One Life to Live fans, and we got to know so many of them working in New York on the streets, you came out of the studio, and people were right there.  So, you really got to know them.  You got to engage with people.  I love that show, and I miss it.  Otherwise, I still stay in touch with a lot of them.  I think that speaks to it.  I have lifelong friends who I met on that show, which never happens.  Usually, you walk out of a show on your last day, and you’ll never see anybody again.  You’ll all say, “Yeah, let’s exchange numbers.”  I walk out of there and I go, “Thank you, and I’ll never see you again.”  I don’t even lie to people.  Like, I know I’ll never see you again, and I never have except for that show, and I am still in touch with so many of those people.  So, I think that spoke to how close we were.

Photo: JPI

Were you and Roger Howarth (Franco/Drew) always close on One Life, or are you closer now because you do all of the personal appearance events you do together?

MICHAEL:  Well, Roger and I have known each other; it must be going on… 25-30 years now.  So, it was pre-One Life.  I think at some point we both had long hair, and both had done daytime, so we were pretty interchangeable.  I think one time they called him about a part I did, and one time, they called me about a part when he left.  I actually know Roger because I did a series called 413 Hope St., and Jesse Martin was the lead in it.  It was a Damon Wayans series for Fox.  So, I had known of Roger, but I really got to know him at a New Year’s Eve party in like 1995/96.  Obviously, I’ve become really close to him now because we never did appearances or that sort of thing, but I think we have both sort of gotten over ourselves a little bit now. (Laughs)

Because you weren’t very visible before.  That goes for both of you!

MICHAEL:  No, and that’s by default.  I don’t think we ever discussed it.

Photo: ABC

It wasn’t a conscious decision?

MICHAEL:  No, I just thought (especially when I came back to daytime to do Caleb) it was just more interesting if people didn’t know a lot about me because the character was that.  So, it took me a while to ease into it, and also, I just had to get over myself.  I had a fear of engaging with large groups of people for a while.  In a strange way, Roger and I have kind of gravitated to each other.  I think we are both similar types.  Between the two of us, we make up one real man, you know?  Each of us is like half a man. (Laughs)

Together you can conquer.

MICHAEL:  We are a good crutch for each other!  He picks up my half, I pick up his.  That’s the solution.

So what do you think GH viewers can look forward to coming up with Finn?

MICHAEL:  I’m assuming at some point he is going to get his world turned upside down when he finds out about Hayden and the baby, and how he is going to react to that will probably be interesting.  I hope that’s going to happen.

Photo: ABC

If he became an addict again, how would you feel about that?

MICHAEL:  I think him struggling and getting over that would be interesting.  I would hope that wouldn’t be his reaction, but I guess that always hangs over your head.  Certainly, him falling apart would be interesting.  I think your faith in the universe would be crushed in that moment.  I don’t know how he would react.  I’m just really curious to see how that would shake out and to play that.  I think it would be a challenge.  I think you’re always looking for some way to turn everything … and I invite that.  I always think that sometimes in daytime we play the gimmick, but you should always play to the heart of the story.  What’s going to make you feel something?  If you feel something as the character, as the actor, I think the audience will feel something with you.  I think it is maybe one of the things that we have gotten away from a little bit is that emotional attachment.  When I watch shows that really move me, it’s still that emotional attachment between two people, and at the end of the day it should still be a love story … no matter what it is.   I think that is the heart of what we should be doing.  I think every poem should be a love poem of some sort.  I know they have to weave the other stuff, the science fiction, and the memories, and the missing babies, and the twins, but at the heart of it, it should really be about two people finding themselves in love.

Are you working on graphic novels, movies?

MICHAEL:  I’m always doing something, Michael.  It keeps me balanced, and it keeps me from losing my mind.

Photo: JPI

Will you be producing and directing any new short films?

MICHAEL: Trevor St. John (Ex-Todd/Victor Lord Jr. OLTL) and I are always talking about doing a short film.  Every time we drink too much beer, next thing you know, we are going to be doing a movie.  We have many beers, and then we shoot a film.  Then, we call our friends like Kamar de los Reyes (Ex-Antonio, OLTL), and Sherri Saum (Ex-Keri, OLTL), and Dan Gauthier (Ex-Kevin OLTL), and we go, “Now you guys, drink many beers, and you will join us on this film.”

See, now I get how movies are made!  

So, are you hoping that GH tells more of the story between Finn and Hayden?  Are you hoping that Anna and Finn make it to their “I do’s? What would you like to see happen to Finn? And finally, of all Michael’s soap roles which has been your favorite? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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