Connect with us

Interviews

2

The Rick Hearst Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

rickMain.jpg

Three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Rick Hearst, has had a tumultuous few months, but now has landed squarely on his two feet. This Friday, July 17th, Rick returns to the role of PR Wiz, Whip Jones, on CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful, a character he last portrayed in 2002. As soap fans know, Rick was dumped to recurring status by his former show, General Hospital, where he played bad-boy Ric Lansing, the brother of Sonny Corinthos. After years of heavy story, Ric Lansing’s story stalled and the actor found himself in a precarious situation. With talks that Rick could bolt and go back to his old stomping ground, Guiding Light, where he played Alan-Michael before the show ends its CBS run, it was “B&B’s” head honcho (executive producer and head writer) Brad Bell, that lured Rick back to the fictional soap fashion world with one memorable phone call.

Now, with an exciting return and a new lease on his soap life, Rick Hearst is ready to stir up things at Forrester’s competing fashion house, Jackie M. In this candid interview, the talented Hearst tells On-Air On-Soaps that this time it’s a wide-open field romantically, for “B&B’s” Whip. (He was last wed to Brooke) This actor will certainly be the straw that stirs the drink upon his return to one of CBS’s top rated soaps. Here’s Rick.

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]

MICHAEL:

Let’s go back to the beginning. We all know you were put on recurring status at General Hospital. Then how did the opportunity to come back to The Bold and the Beautiful happen?

RICK:

It kind of came out of nowhere. I had been placed on recurring status, and I had become a gun for hire at that point. I was two weeks on recurring status, and sitting here in my house on a day off and the phone rings. My wife answers it, and she is talking for a while, and I hear her say, “Brad, blah, blah, Brad.” I went, “Who’s Brad?” That’s it! I’m done! She has finally found somebody better. Oh, God! I get put on recurring status with General Hospital and it’s done. (He laughs) All joking aside, she comes down the stairs and she goes, “Honey, its Brad Bell.” So, it completely took me off my feet. I took the phone and said, “Brad¸ how are you? You know what I love about you? Here you come from a family of soap royalty. Here you come from a place where your father was mentored by Irna Phillips, and you guys have set the standard and the model for daytime. You would think you would be the most unapproachable person in the entire daytime world, and in television in general, and here you are calling me at my house. You are a class act, you know that?” So he goes, “So Rick, how are you?” We picked up where we left off and it was so great. Brad always kept me in mind, and we had always seen each other at the Emmy awards. The cool thing was that we kept in contact. He said, “I had heard you had been let out of your contract by “GH” and I just wanted you to know that I’ve been thinking about the character and bringing Whip back!” Brad then says to me, “We can even change his name!” I said, “No, Brad, its fine. Whip…Whipple… please. My name could be ‘Mud’ for all I care.” (He laughs)

bradmain.jpgMICHAEL:

What is the origin of the very unique and distinctive first name, Whipple?

rickWhip.jpgRICK:

From what I understand, it goes back years ago. The name Whipple came from a good friend of Brad’s, who he grew up with. I have never in my life known anyone named Whipple. I think it must be a name from a higher upbringing, and look, I am from Queens! (He laughs) “Whipple Jones” I used to laugh about it. I would say to Brad, “Whipple is such a unique name. What is his last name?” Brad would go, “Jones”, and I go, “Not Smith, not Johnson,” and I laughed. Out of respect for Brad, I said, “fine.” The character was so interesting back then in 2002, I knew it could only go up from there.

MICHAEL:

You were under utilized as Ric Lansing over the past year on “GH”, which left many fans disgruntled. Do you believe they just did not care about the character anymore?

RICK:

I don’t think there is a decision where it comes across in a writer’s mind at the production offices at “GH” where they say, “Let’s not come up with story for him.” It’s just sometimes you hit a wall and sometimes you don’t have a vision for a specific character the way the character had been utilized, and the focus is now somewhere else. I don’t fault Bob Guza (head writer, “GH”) for that. It’s the way it is. I am not in charge, and I am not steering the ship. There are so many avenues where I could have seen Ric going, but that was not really in their mind’s eye at this particularly point in time. Who knows how the world works? Who knew I would play six and half years on “GH” and then it would come to this point and time. Who knew that Brad Bell would think, “You know that character we started with Rick Hearst, we should really take some place.” Who knew the stars aligned and it was time it needed to happen?” I never look at things with animosity because it just gets you nowhere. I miss my “GH” family very much.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of your former “GH” family, what did they say when you said you were going to go back and revisit Whip on “B&B”?

sonnyRick.jpgRICK:

Truthfully, I would venture to say the majority of the cast and the production crew was thrilled for me. They were crazy about it and they were glad I was going to a place where I could be utilized fully. Had this not come about, would I have stayed on “GH” and on recurring status, and played the story that they provided, which I could help unfold? Absolutely, but then again, I was looking for other creative venues at the same time.

MICHAEL:

Were you ever going to entertain the thought of going back to Guiding Light to play Alan-Michael, for the end of its run?

RICK:

There was talk, actually, just as soon as this came about. Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President of CBS Daytime and my agent were speaking about it. They were trying to come up with a plan for me to go back there for a four to six month stint before the cancellation came about. I would have loved to have done that, but at the same time it was finite, but I would love to have wrapped that up. It was such a great part of my family’s life and I grew up there as an actor.

rickEmmy.jpgMICHAEL:

And, you won your first Emmy!

RICK:

Yes, my first Emmy! It was the beginning of so many wonderful things in my life and it’s so sad to see it go. It’s sad to see it happen to the daytime community, and it takes vision. When you see decline in your world, whether it be professional or personal, and the conviction of what it can be, you try to go forward and it can be tough. But, I think we still have it in the networks and in daytime for those people who have the strength of character, and the strength of their own vision and their audience, to stay with it.

MICHAEL:

You exited “GH” last month, by Ric Lansing getting into an elevator- Sayonara!

RICK:

I shuffle off to Buffalo, and the door has been left open for Ric. I think this is a great time for me to be back on “B&B”, the canvas has shifted a bit. There are some great new people for me to work with. There is vibrancy in the cast, and not a lot of people have left the cast since I was here last time around.

MICHAEL:

Tell me about Whip Jones? I see him as a smarmy PR guy.

RICK:

He is a smarmy PR guy, and an opportunist. He does not try to get under your skin; he just calls it like he sees it, and he makes no excuses for himself. Is he out to hurt anybody? Absolutely not. He can be wildly bombastic and visionary in his own right, but he is a guy who knows how to pull the reigns back.

rickBlack.jpgMICHAEL:

I want to know why you are so good at playing these kinds of guys.

RICK:

People exist in their own world and from their perspectives, given what they have been through in their own lives and their circumstances. These guys say the things you wish you could say. I describe this guy at this point as the Ari Gold of the fashion world. I so respect Jeremy Piven of Entourage. Here is a guy who has taken an agent, who for a lot of us in the industry seem to be sometimes the slimiest people in life, but at the same time you have to look at the person behind it. He plays a guy who, regardless of anything, he cares and he loves his client. His methods may be off-center but he makes no excuses for it. Ultimately, it’s for the betterment of himself and his client. I look at Whip much the same way. He is looking to reap the benefits of what he is laying out there for his client.

MICHAEL:

Whip is being brought back into the show by Stephanie, correct?

RICK:

Yes. He is being brought in by Stephanie, who hadn’t decided whether she liked him or hated him, but she knew he was very effective with what he did. Now, Stephanie is over at Jackie M. Whip has been talked up by Stephanie, and he has hit the skids and needs a job like many people in this economy. Whip had gone through Forrester International and done very well. From what I surmise of the history, he had a falling out and got too big for his britches. He thought, “I want to do something more with PR and take it to the next level.” Whip knew that Forrester was very much a family company and they had their method of doing things. So, he goes to work for some other small independent fashion houses, and maybe they weren’t established enough, and maybe he left on his own accord from those two places. There is something that is burning inside of the guy to make him come back to Los Angeles. He knows he can’t go back to the Forresters, because he knows there is too much under the bridge there. Brooke is still there. He still has this thing in his heart for her and maybe he wasn’t able to put that completely to bed.

heatherTom.jpgMICHAEL:

Do you think they will rekindle Brooke and Whip? Because Heather Tom (Katie), told me in a recent interview, she would love to have the opportunity for Katie and Whip to mix it up.

RICK:

It would be fantastic! I will be honest with you; the canvas is wide open for him this time. It would take a lot for Whip to really go forward and allow himself to get involved in a situation where ultimately he could lose out to Ridge.

MICHAEL:

Anybody who comes on the show could eventually lose out to Ridge, in regards to Brooke.

RICK:

Right. It’s like with “GH”, if you are going to go up against Sonny Corinthos you are going to lose. If you want to find a way to exist in that environment, that’s great. In regards to Brooke and Whip, if she would turn around and say, “Hey, I made a mistake,” Whip would probably jump in a second. That being said, I am in agreement with Heather Tom. I so respect her as an actress. She is a phenomenally talented girl and a stunning looking girl. So, absolutely Katie, and Lesli Kay as Felicia, and there are so many ladies on the show!

MICHAEL:

Brad Bell told me to expect more comedy at Jackie M.

jackiem.jpgRICK:

Yes, and I am thrilled it’s more light-hearted stuff. I literally said, “If it’s cute and peppy for awhile, that’s great.” People have to get to know this guy again. If you bring Whip in with ulterior motives and what not, you will push the audience away. Brad is very smart that way. We want to see that Whip is a fun-loving guy and irreverent. Do you want to smack him someday? Sure. That is better than hating his guts. He is more the guy in the room who gets to say what he wants and gets away with it. That’s entertaining. I want this audience to feel that kind of love for him in the way that you would rather pinch his cheeks and smack him in the face for doing what he is doing, than want him dead. That’s the difference I see between Whip and the character of Ric Lansing. I was a bit concerned about that. I literally left one job and went to another in less than 24 hours. I was saying, “Goodbye” as Ric Lansing and saying, “Hello” as Whipple Jones III, closing the elevator door in Port Charles, and opening the door at Jackie M in LA. It’s comedy from the first time you see me. I was thankful when I opened that door. I literally said, “Please God. Do not let me open this door as Ric Lansing. Let me open this door as Whipple Jones III.”

sarahRick.jpgMICHAEL:

Speaking of your exit from Port Charles, many felt there was a missed opportunity between you and Sarah Brown (Claudia) on “GH,” as a couple. How did you feel about that?

RICK:

Sarah has always got her game, and I love and respect her so much. I will miss her and I think it was a missed opportunity that didn’t happen. There was not enough vision with the people that make the decisions to make their relationship go forward.

MICHAEL:

Where are your three Daytime Emmys?

RICK:

My Emmys are up on one shelf. My trifecta. I used to not predominately display them until a friend told me they were collecting dust, and I needed to have them in the front of the house. So now, thanks to my friend, I have my Emmys displayed with my son’s awards, and with my wife’s awards. They are now all together as everyone walks in our house, for everyone to say, “This family’s accomplishments are all even.” My son’s award for Best Supporting Actor within his theatre and school is just as predominately displayed as my Emmy, and so is my wife’s Best Choreography awards. My youngest son’s awards are there, too.

rickPortrait.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing, what can we look forward to from the return of Whip Jones on “B&B”?

RICK:

He will shock and amaze and awe-inspire. And whether you love em or you hate em, he is always going to be in your face, and don’t ever second-guess what he is ever going to do.

Leave a comment | 2 Comments
Advertisement

2

avatar
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
kim Recent comment authors
newest oldest
kim
Guest
kim

I just read that B&B put Rick on recurring status, I was’t crazy about GH decsion to place him on recurring status and was equally as to see that B&B has followed suit I mean to waste a talent like Rick! what’s the soap world coming to. Since Guza out (GH) and there’s a change in the wind with S/L’s at GH is it possible that Rick will play Ric again? Just quoting the new head writer on board at GH (sorry can’t remember his name) “sometimes they come back” well I hope Rick Hearst is a comback player with… Read more »

kim
Guest
kim

I just read that B&B put Rick on recurring status, I wasn’t crazy about GH’s decision to place him on recurring status and was equally sad to see that B&B has followed suit I mean to waste a talent like Rick! what’s the soap world coming to. Since Guza’s out (GH) and there’s a change in the wind with S/L’s at GH is it possible that Rick will play Ric again? Just quoting the new head writer on board at GH (sorry can’t remember his name) “sometimes they come back” well I hope Rick Hearst is a comback player with… Read more »

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

 

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: Gilles Toucas

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

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

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

 

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

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

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

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

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

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

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

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

Wait, what?

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

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

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

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

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

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: Broadway World

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

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

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

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

Photo: Broadway World

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

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

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

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

Courtesy/ENelsen

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

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

How long was it open on Broadway?

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

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

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

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

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

Photo: Prospect Park

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

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

Photo: LANYEntertainment

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

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

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

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

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

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

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

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

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

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

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

Continue Reading

Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: BlueAeris

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

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

Photo: BlueAegis

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

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

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Power Performance

William deVry as Julian

General Hospital

Airdate: 11-20-2020

Advertisement

Popular