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The Scott Clifton Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

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At his young age, Scott Clifton has become quite the accomplished actor and a daytime favorite, having now appeared on three top daytime soap operas; General Hospital as Dillon Quartermaine, One Life to Live as Schuyler Joplin, and now as Liam Cooper on The Bold and the Beautiful.  And, with four Daytime Emmy nominations under his belt – three for GH and one this past year for his work on OLTL – Clifton is creating another unique character over at B&B with a whole new set of dilemmas and problems!

A bit of the back-story: the versatile Clifton wasn’t off of our daytime screens for too long.  Once OLTL let him go, he was back in L.A. looking for work, and B&B head honcho, Brad Bell, had the good sense to hire him for the role of Bill Spencer Jr.’s son. (The one he never knew he had!) And while Liam came to town in search of his father, he soon stumbled onto computer intrigue (after all he is computer tech) that revealed the accidental sex romp of Brooke and Oliver!  And after a ‘who’s the daddy’ story somewhat in reverse, we all learned that Liam is the son of Bill Jr, and neither one is too pleased…and that’s putting it mildly!  Add to the mix the beautiful young Hope Logan, who has fallen for Liam’s quirky charms, and we could be seeing the emergence of the breakout character of the 2010 soap season, and perhaps a new set of star-crossed lovers.

As for Clifton himself, “talented,” “funny,” “articulate,” “intelligence abounds,” are just a few of the words On-Air On-Soaps would use to describe him in this brand new in-depth feature conducted recently in his dressing room at the set of CBS.  So how did he keep the secret storyline under wraps?  What is it like working with Don Diamont (Bill) as father and son?  What is Scott doing on YouTube?  And we find out, of all of his soap roles, which one is the most like him.  The answer may surprise you.  One of the true originals of daytime… here’s Scott!

MICHAEL:

How much did you actually know when we last spoke to each other around the Daytime Emmys, about the role of Liam?

SCOTT:

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Around the Emmys, I was not allowed to talk about what I did know.  And there were three or so weeks at the set where I was not supposed to tell people there what I knew, and that was at Brad Bell’s request.  This is actually the first job and role that I booked where I did not know who the character was that I was going to be playing.  It was on my first day that they said, “Oh, by the way, your character is going to be called Liam.”  That was all I knew, and then I went up to Brad’s office.  He said, “What do you want to know?  Do you want to know everything?  Or, I could not tell you everything?”  I said, “Tell me, I want to know.” And that is when he said, “Well, your mom died of cancer, and long story short, you are Bill Spencer’s son.  So you are going to be working a lot with Don Diamont, and that is why we decided to make him Liam, short for William.”  So there was a period I knew about it, but I still did not tell people about that until it came out in the script.

MICHAEL:

So wait… when you took the job, were you taking the role “sight unseen” not knowing how it would be integral to the canvas of B&B?

SCOTT:

I should be clear, I auditioned like everybody else and it was not like it was a role that was just offered to me.  And it wasn’t until a few days before that I even knew that B&B was a half hour show!  I had been looking at YouTube for clips.  But you can’t tell from YouTube clips that it is a half hour show.  That made a big difference.  I noticed it right away when I got here.  Everyone was so relaxed and everybody is so nice to each other, and there is such a great vibe here. I think that has to do with that it is much easier to run a tight ship when you are shooting less material a day.  So everybody is kind of on their mark and so non-stressful. I was prepared for more stress, and so I was very pleasantly surprised.

MICHAEL:

It was a very big letdown when they let you go, and wrote you out at One Life to Live. Schuyler had such great material at the end and he had just been revealed to be Mitch Laurence’s son.  But in soap land, it almost always seems when they are ready to write you out, they hand you powerful scenes as your parting gift. (Laughs)

SCOTT:

Not everyone, so I am pretty lucky and grateful for that. They could have just let me fade out, and if it weren’t for One Life to Live, I might not have created enough buzz to audition for this.  So I kind of owe one to OLTL.

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MICHAEL:

Do you think of B&B’s Liam as a computer nerd or geek?

SCOTT:

“Geek” is not the right word.  He is definitely not a stud. General Hospital’s, Dillon, was like this weird, quirky, punk kid, with rocker hair and chain length metal bracelets.  And then you’ve got Schuyler, who is wearing sweater vests, and comb-over hair and parted on the side.  Liam, I think, is the first character that is supposed to be closest to my maturity level.  He is just a young guy who has not gotten his life together yet, and he is still not a kid.  So, he is in this in-between stage, and now we get to discover who he really is.  This story arc is about discovering his identity, which I did not have the opportunity to do with Dillon or Schuyler’s story. This was a huge challenge for me, because sometimes when characters are introduced in a scene, it’s like, “Here’s this new character!”  With Schuyler, I had this huge teacher monologue, and with Dillon, I had these scenes with Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Eliot) bringing him into town.  Liam was like an extra for the first several episodes.  I think that was part of the plan.  You are not supposed to take note of him. And if you remember, they even had me with another guy who was an extra and we had the same amount of lines, which was really smart.  I would go on message boards and see what people were saying and there was no chatter about it at all, and that is what it should be.  Then slowly, I would read, “Who is that kid? And why is Justin talking to this kid?”  It was great, and slowly people started to notice Liam more. Then, some people thought he was really annoying and some people thought he was this punk. Now, Liam’s notoriety in the show has grown exponentially and I love that about him, but I had to work for that.  I thought it was a cool aspect of this.  I never really got an introduction and it sort of just grew.  The character is the same way. You learn a little bit about him, and then he claims Ridge is his father.  And believe me, his story is not complete yet, and there is still more to it.  What is interesting for me is that I don’t know everything either.  Granted, I knew Bill was going to be my Dad, but I did know what kind of person my mom was, and why they didn’t get together. This stuff came up later.  So, I could not make these bold choices and then find out a week later I was wrong when I would read my scripts. There was some treading water while I was waiting for the story to do its magic, and now it has, and it has been really a great story.

MICHAEL:

You seem to be working a lot of late!  Your story has finally picked up steam.  And what is great to see, in a show that has limited airtime for its characters, is that Brad is giving you a great opportunity to shine.

SCOTT:

I don’t think it’s going to stay like that, but I think for now it is true, because they had to establish a push between he and Bill.  I think that was really important.  I could not ask for better writing. There is going to be a lot of conflict, and what is really cool is there is such a dichotomy between Bill and Liam.  Bill has some things to teach Liam about manhood and being a leader, and being a presence, which Liam is not.  But maybe, Liam has something to teach Bill about ethics.  Eventually, if Liam gets to some place where there is a middle ground, because something has to give, there are huge divides between how Liam sees the world and Bill sees the world, and they are stuck together.  So I think that makes for even greater story.

MICHAEL:

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Did Don Diamont know you were going to be his son from the beginning?

SCOTT:

I think Don knew, too.  I think he may have even said something to me when I first met him about it, and I didn’t catch it.  I know that he knew he was going to have a son before I was hired.  Don has been really, really, great and always really nice.

MICHAEL:

Don is one of the greatest guys and one of the greatest dads.

SCOTT:

In real life, Don sounds like a great father.  I think this story was important to him, and I get that sense.  The first time he clued me in on that, he walked over to me and whispered, “I am so glad it’s you.”  That was nice to hear him say.  He will tell me if I am doing a good job in a scene, and that feedback is really nice.  But I am not acting in a void, either.  I have to work with him, too.  What I do has to tell a story as well, and part of that story is his story.  I can’t just make any character choice I want that seems cool to me, because it has to be in relation to what is going on with Bill’s character.  So, if I am too challenging in a scene where he needs to be on top, I can’t do that.  And that burden is much more on me. The audience knows Bill’s character, they don’t know as much about Liam.  So I have to find the right way of doing it.

MICHAEL:

There had to be some inside jokes on the set, when the men who could have fathered you were wondering who was the poppa?

SCOTT:

That never really happened on set, just because the scripts were coming out about whose kid I really was.  I think I remember when there was a moment on the first day I was working with Ron Moss (Ridge).  And it was Ridge going, “Get out of my office!” And I was like, “But I am your son.”   And when we went to rehearse that scene and we got up on set, Ronn said to me, “You’re not really my son…. are you?”  And I said, “Nah, I don’t think I am.”

MICHAEL:

What about Winsor Harmon (Thorne)?  He had to be in on the shocker!

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SCOTT:

Winsor knew all along that it was a red herring, and that was a cool thing to play.  The funniest thing happened shooting those scenes, and Winsor was so good.  He and Don were playing this yin and yang so well off of each other, especially in the hospital DNA scenes.  It made it really easy for me.  Liam wanted it to be Thorne!   What is also funny was on my first day, just because of my pathetic excuse for an iron-jaw beard, one of the make-up artists said to me, “I don’t know what you’re doing on the show, but you should play Bill’s son, because you have the same beard.”  And I was like “Guffaw-Guffaw.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Liam was the vehicle that brought to the forefront, Brooke and Oliver’s sex mishap and exposed it!

SCOTT:

Indirectly, Liam brought out the Brooke and Oliver sexcapade, and because of Hope’s forgiveness of the whole situation, she allowed him to feel released from all of that. If Liam hadn’t screwed up and left the computer on, the truth would never have come out that way.  Well, it probably would have come out.  Who am I kidding? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

You know that the infamous “Party Boink,” as we now lovingly call it, is one of my all-time my favorite story points!

SCOTT:

I know, mine, too.  My dad started watching the show, maybe five episodes before Oliver and Brooke have sex, and she takes her mask off and reveals herself to be Brooke.  And my dad called me and went, “Did you know that Oliver slept with Brooke?” And you got to know my dad; he is like a camping, fisherman, manly man, and yet he is like into this show, which is great!

MICHAEL:

It was one of the greatest cliffhangers in the history of soaps!

SCOTT:

It was shocking, and nobody saw that coming, and it was really cool.

MICHAEL:

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How is working with new B&B producer, the legendary Ed Scott?

SCOTT:

It is really, really cool!  Ed comes down from the booth and is very hands on.  He is the first person I worked with in a very long time who gave me some feedback from time to time, because sometimes we are all, as actors, just feeling around in the dark.  And, Ed will come down and say, “Hey, you look like you are anticipating the end of the scene, and maybe you could let that surprise.”  Or, “We need you to be more hurt by that,” or whatever it may be.  You get the sense right away in the quality of the show, and he came right into his new job and knew what he wanted, and that is so nice for us.  Actually, it creates less work for me. (Laughs)  He is so approachable, too.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Kim Matula (Hope)?

SCOTT:

She is great, and is funny, too.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate doing a scene with someone and you know going in it’s just going to feel like you are having a conversation, and that has a lot to do with her.  You know what she is really good at, that I am not good at?   It’s listening.  She can hear you in a scene as if it’s the first time she has ever heard that, even though we have rehearsed twenty times!  That is a really valuable quality to have.

MICHAEL:

So, Liam is really falling for her big time?  She is Miss Goodness!  Where is he coming from with this?  Does Hope represent something for him?

SCOTT:

Liam comes to this new strange foreign situation and everyone hates him. He can’t do anything right.  He thought he was a good guy, and then he started to question himself, and here is the one person he feels like he has trespassed against the most, and she is the first person to forgive him.  Not just forgive him, but also almost give him empathy.  That was a lifesaver and a really profound gift for him at that time, because he was feeling so low.  I think he does see Hope as this glimmering light that represents all things just and fair and good, and he has said lines to that affect.  He fell hard for what Hope represents, and you also start to learn a bit about Liam’s mom, and how she died of cancer.  He was raised by her, and there are scenes where Liam is talking about his mom and all the qualities he loved about his mom, and then you can see other scenes where he talks about all the qualities he loves about Hope… same qualities.  Maybe it’s a little bit of a “mommy” issue, but I also think Hope represents a big hole that Liam has in his heart.

MICHAEL:

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If you were to think of a celebrity to play your mom, Kelly, who would you see cast in the role?

SCOTT:

We have had to use 8X10 glossies and there was a woman who was actually cast and is probably in her mid 40s to 50’s now. They used her as model, and they took all these retroactive images of when she was suppose to be a high fashion model.  So I already have an image of what this woman looked like.

MICHAEL:

Right, but who out there in primetime, daytime, feature film or the theatre, do you think would embody Liam’s mother?

SCOTT:

When I am picturing my mom, and I remembering things about her, I imagine a Meryl Streep type!  If you could imagine Meryl Streep in deathbed scenes, she still pulls off sensitivity and warmth.  

MICHAEL:

Would you love to work with Meryl Streep?  I know I would!  Sign me on!

SCOTT:

No, not ever.  Yes! God Yes! You don’t get better than that.

MICHAEL:

Scott, you have one of the most refreshing acting styles. It is not forced.  It’s a very realistic style, and it’s not “soapy”.  Do you realize that, and what you bring, as opposed to other guys acting in your age bracket?  You have something very unique!

SCOTT:

That is a wonderful, wonderful compliment.  I am aware of it, in so far as that is what I am going for.

MICHAEL:

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So you’re not striving to be the leading man?

SCOTT:

No, and I disagree with that.  Just like in life, the world does not revolve around us.  I sometimes think a supporting role is infinitely more valuable than a leading role.  And, a submissive role is infinitely more valuable that a superior role.  I think I learned a lot about that from General Hospital. GH has a lot of static issues. You have Maurice Benard (Sonny) and people around Maurice and there is inferiority. There are two issues here; doing a scene as if it were taking place in real life, and then there is an understanding that every scene is not about us, or about making us look cool.  I think I almost feel a little more uncomfortable where I have to be in scenes as the leading man, or in charge, or sexy.

MICHAEL:

I recently interviewed One Life to Live’s Nicolas Robuck, who plays James Ford, and he was saying something very similar, that although his character is called upon to be tough and macho, it is easier for him to play the more emotional side of his character, and he is more comfortable with that aspect of the role.

SCOTT:

I know the feeling!  I am OK with feeling that way, because there are probably a lot of actors that don’t have that philosophy.  It works out very well for me, because those are shoes that somebody has to fill.  I will do that gladly, and I think that’s important.

MICHAEL:

I had the pleasure of briefly meeting your girlfriend, Nicole, at the whole Daytime Emmy shindigs and Red Carpets, etc.  How many years have you been together now?

SCOTT:

Almost four years.

MICHAEL:

How does she fair with you kissing other gals in your job as an actor on daytime?  Have you had “the talk”?  Most actors have to at some point discuss this with their significant others.

SCOTT:

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There was a period where it made her uncomfortable.  I could not stress enough that I am not actually kissing somebody; it’s just that my lips happen to be touching their lips, and that is not me doing the kissing anyway, it’s Liam, or Schuyler, or it’s Dillon.  So there was a period where she would test me, and ask me all these questions like, “What if I decided I wanted to start acting, and I had a scene where I had to kiss a guy, would you feel jealous?”  And I thought, “Is this a trick?  Am I supposed to say yes?”  But I wound up saying no, because that is closer to the truth.  That is the answer that she hoped I would say, because if I would have said yes, than that means that I can empathize with feeling something. There were times where I would try to explain the difference between a stage kiss and a real kiss to her.  I would give her examples of guys I have seen screw this up where you see tongue.  Sometimes she will go, “Scott, show me a stage kiss!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Since you have been here at B&B, have you heard from any one of your former castmates from OLTL?  Perhaps, Farah Fath (Gigi)?  You know the soap world has become so transient; everyone at one point seems to circulate to other soaps!

SCOTT:

Last night I was texting Farah, and I talked to Daphne Duplaix (Ex-Rachel).  I am facebook friends with Brett Claywell (Ex-Kyle) and Scott Evans (Ex-Fish).

MICHAEL:

How is Scott doing?  What is he up to these days?

SCOTT:

I think he is doing well.  All of his facebook posts are fitness oriented.  So I am not sure what is going on there, but I believe Scott is still out in New York.

MICHAEL:

How was Emmy night for you?  What happened when you heard your name was not called, but your then future castmate, Drew Tyler Bell’s (Ex-Thomas) name was, as the winner of Younger Actor?  It had to be awkward.

SCOTT:

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It was awkward, nothing to do with Drew, but I had you and other journalists telling me I should win.  I was disappointed.  I think it came from worry, as I only have one year left in the Younger Actor category.

MICHAEL:

Right.  So you will soon be ineligible in this category after next year.  For your fans that will read this, explain how this Emmy eligibility process works?

SCOTT:

So how that works is; supporting actor is the most competitive area.  If you get nominated for supporting actor your odds are down to nothing, because there are so many great performances up against each other.  Younger Actor is a great category to get nominated in, and you have got good chances there. You have to be 25 years old or younger at the time you shot the scenes.  I am 25 now, and in a month I will be 26, and anything I shoot after that will not be eligible anymore.  However, this year is going to be really sticky for me, because I think the best work I have done so far this year was at the end of my run on One Life to Live.  But, by the time Emmys come around for next year, I will not have been on that show for a year and half. And, it’s a bit presumptuous for me to call over there and go, “Hey, can you guys pre-nominate me even though I have not been on the show?”  So there is that.  Now here at B&B, I don’t have much time left under the age guidelines, even though you are technically allowed to submit material from both shows you were on during the eligibility year, which can be tricky because you wind up splitting the vote.  I was aware of all this before the Emmys.  Once I got nominated I told everyone, “I know for a fact I am not going to win this, because I know what I submitted and it had to be before the good work I did.”  Those scenes were from 2009 and the good work was in 2010.  However, everyone and their mother were coming up to me saying, “We watched the tapes. We read the polls.”  I kept telling people please stop telling me this because it gets in your head and then you believe it and you get heartbroken, and it’s happened to me before.  And objectively speaking, Drew Tyler Bell deserved that Emmy because his performance was very well done.  All I can do is try not to screw it up this year!

MICHAEL:

All of a sudden, bam… here we all find you on You Tube!  You are sitting in front of your computer and video taping these amazing sequences where you are talking about some very “heady” subject matters.  Are you looking to do a host gig?  What is this project all about?

SCOTT:

courtesy/ABC

It’s not that I am petitioning for a job as a news anchor.  I grew up in a very secular household and not religious.  I am from Southern California, but I grew up in the San Fernando Valley.  And then, when I was around ten, we moved to a very religious community, an evangelical Christian community, and this is stuff I had not really thought about.  There are people who believe in heaven and hell, and I had a very vague understanding of religion.  But moving to this community, I was propositioned by many of my newfound Christian friends.  “Are you coming to Church with us? Why don’t you go to Church?  Have you read the bible or hadn’t you read the bible?”  I became this practice dummy for apologetics and evangelism, and being the only person I knew in my community or school who did not believe in religion.  It was a rude awakening.  These were beliefs that they were trying to get other people to believe, and with good reason.  I can’t blame anybody for that.  However, I started to see that these beliefs inform our politics, and they inform our relationships, and our ethics.  I mean, you have things like Proposition 8.  It became a bigger and bigger deal to me that there seems to be in America a social convention, where you can think anything about the world as long as it’s religious or spiritual in nature, it’s immune from scrutiny and criticism.  And that is kind of the rules.  I don’t believe you should keep your religion to yourself.  If you believe that is true, then you should be allowed to argue for that.  However, I deserve my right to question you.  I see that a lot of people do not think that is OK.  I found YouTube and I went, “My God!  There are Cat People and skaters falling off everything.”   Then I went, “Oh, my God. YouTube is the greatest thing.  I love watching people fall and kitties and watching people playing the piano!”  Then, I stumbled on to this little community on YouTube of critical thinkers and philosophers and people who were exchanging ideas. It was so refreshing, and I wanted in. There was this guy on a YouTube channel who posed a question, “Anybody who does not believe in God, where do your values come from and where do your morals come from?” And I made a video response to that, and that was my first YouTube video and everyone liked it, and nobody knew who I was.  In fact, I have 15,000 subscribers and most of them don’t even know what I do for a living.  I like that, because it’s about what I am saying and not who I am, and it snowballed.  You talk about religion and it forces you to think about big ideas like eternity, and that is why I named my channel Theoretical Bullshit. I know that YouTube has made me smarter just by having to think about my views and how to defend them.

MICHAEL:

Is there a rhythm or rhyme to when you post a new video?   I know when the Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban was on the way to being overturned in California for a millisecond, that you very timely posted something on this.

SCOTT:

Most of the times I have a backlog of concepts.  But the Prop 8 thing was so contemporary for the time, because Judge Walker had just made that ruling.  And people were going, “Judge Walker made that ruling because he is gay.”  Or they were saying, it’s unconstitutional, and now we have got lobbyists from the bench.  I heard all this junk, and so that video needed to get done now.  There are a lot of videos like that.

MICHAEL:

Do you then see yourself being a motivational speaker, or a speaker who gets up and challenges ideology and religion?

SCOTT:

Yeah, I would love to do that.  I don’t get to just say what I want, as I work for a company and I have obligations, and so I can’t go around being disrespectful to everybody. However, with as much integrity and respect as possible, I would love any public opportunity to challenge conventional beliefs, especially ones religious in nature and especially ones that have affected my life.  Someday it would be great to write a book on that kind of thing.  I feel like I have something to say, and it’s not something everyone else is saying.

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MICHAEL:

Back to B&B, do you have some favorite scenes thus far as Liam?

SCOTT:

I do, but I cannot tell you about them yet!  My favorite scene is with Hope and it was really recent.  It was just that Ed Scott let me be really weird and not cool in the scene. However, there has been some emotional stuff with Don Diamont that I am proud of, and objectively speaking those are my favorites.

MICHAEL:

You know what I have been thinking?  Something has to come up down the line where your father needs an organ donor and it’s up to you, as the son, to save his life, as you would be the match.  And, that would bond them and create a breakthrough in their relationship.  It’s the tried and true soap device 101 for familial situation like this.  However, I hope it does not go there, and become cliché.

SCOTT:

You know, Don talks about this where eventually Liam almost dies, or something like that, and where all of a sudden they realize it would be a loss if they did not have the other party in their life.  I think if that moment ever comes, that will be a nice moment for Liam and Bill.

MICHAEL:

So now, Liam is headed into a triangle or quadrangle with Hope, Oliver and Steffy all involved!

SCOTT:

And now they have the new Thomas! You know Adam Gregory (Thomas) and I both auditioned for Liam, and then it came down to both of us for the part.  But the irony is, Adam and I also were both up for 90210 and he beat me out for that part.  I am so glad he got hired on the show.

MICHAEL:

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That’s right, he could be the real spoiler here, perhaps.  So what do you think is Liam’s dream job?  I am very confused as to what he wants to do, or be.

SCOTT:

I am confused, too.  Liam so far, as writ, has not expressed a career dream. Right now, he can imagine that he is going to try on what it will be like to work for Bill.  So we know that that is on the table.  Liam has an education in computer technology.  He is young and has slang, but not a Spinelli sort of geek from GH.  He is a very real proto-typical kid in his early twenties. And, to introduce a real kid like that to soapland is a really cool contrast.

MICHAEL:

Do you think we will learn even more into Bill Spencer and your mom’s past, and what happened there?

SCOTT:

We have done a lot of that… exploring what the real relationship was between Bill and the mom.  I think as we go we will learn even more, and the writing is really nice as clues are dropped like, “Handsome is as Handsome does.”  What does that mean?  It’s cool, and a reminder that there is more there than meets the eye.

MICHAEL:

B&B has such a talented cast.  Who else would you like to work with? Perhaps Sarah Brown (Aggie)?

SCOTT:

I would love to do scenes with Sarah. I would love to do scenes with Rick Hearst (Whip).  He is my boy and he is from General Hospital. I think I learned so much from him, Tyler Christopher (Nikolas, GH) and Maurice, when I was young and learning.  They influenced me the most.  And now to come back full circle, Rick would be real fun to work with, and Susan Flannery, (Stephanie) she was great to work with! I have been pretty lucky with the rest of the cast, who are great, great actors.

MICHAEL:

Ok Scott, so here is the big question.  Is this character of Liam more like you?  Or, is one of your other famous soap roles of Dillon, or Schuyler, the truer you?

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SCOTT:

Yeah, and in retrospect, is the least like me.  Schuyler represents certain parts of me, but here is what I do.  When I have a new character that I have to play and I am reading the script, I am imagining someone other than me saying the lines; a friend, or someone I know.  I picture how those lines would come out from them.  So it’s all kind of mixed.  OLTL’s Schuyler was a mixture of one of my friends, and Guy Pierce in Memento.  Then, Dillon was a different one of my friends, plus my gay friend, plus somebody else. And then I sprinkle a little bit of me in there with every one of them. Now, if you took me and made me more immature, that would be Liam. So, I can just go on-set and act immature! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

As we end our visit, what would you envision for Liam?  What can you see as his ultimate journey on B&B?

SCOTT:

I would like to see Liam struggle with and ultimately conquer the balance between leadership, like Bill has, and ethics that Bill does not have.  If Liam can find a way in his lifetime to reconcile, or on this show’s lifetime, (laughs) and he can find a way to reconcile those two, then I think he can become a wonderful man.

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Michael Jenkins
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Michael Jenkins

Great interview, by a great actor.

bottomchef
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bottomchef

Conroy’s better than Clifton. Conroy’s more laid back and natural. But he can also be dramatic, like when Oliver confronted Liam abt Hope. Clifton’s acting was cringeworthy during the Bill/Liam arc. Their bickering was aiming for comedy, but it was very corny bec the acting from Diamont and CLifton were awful. It’s so typical of B&B that Liam’s search for his bio daddy was stretched out. While B&B had one of the few black chars, Marcus, search for his bio mommy on warp speed. Immediately, zillionaire Donna didn’t even think he was scamming her and already was saying “My baby!”… Read more »

Christy
Guest
Christy

I rather enjoy the character of Liam. Particularly how he entered subtely and and I think his character is a refreshing change for the show. The actor Scott is great too. One day I actually paused the show to show my boyfriend, because I think they look alike. Needless to say, I think Scott is cute 🙂 I also think Scott seems very talented, smart, mature and down-to-earth. As per the show, I like Liam & Bill’s dynamic. At this point they accept each other but will definitely butt heads considering Liam was very distressed by what happened with Steffy’s… Read more »

Doe
Guest
Doe

I have seen Scott in all three roles of GH, OLTL, and now B&B. He has done major jobs on all of them. So, he is certainly employable by the best soaps for good reason. He can act! He can fit any role, I think because he is like Everyman. I just knew he would be Bill’s son, because Bill was too obvious in not wanting him and Thorne did. It was no surprise to me. He is very intelligent with various thoughts on life and religion. So it will be interesting to see if he takes those things further.… Read more »

bottomchef
Guest
bottomchef

There were some comments from him that seemed like passive aggresive digs at GH (how static it is, inferiority to Maurice Bernard) and OLTL (pressure filled environment). Actors shouldn’t diss their former employers. And he seems to be the kind of actor who’s in it to play the awards show game. It’s really refreshing when actors don’t care abt that or stop submitting when they feel like they’ve had enough awards or don’t have the material. I disagree though that Clifton is a good addition to B&B. The cast is overbloated. They need to trim it instead of putting more… Read more »

mmc
Guest
mmc

It would be a terrible mistake for them to get rid of Zack Conroy.Not only is he one of the better actors on this show, but he’s so adorable as Oliver.Also I love to see Scott acting with Don Diamont.Don is Mr. Gorgeous..i love his character of Dollar Bill.I hope Scotts’ Liam character won’t be following in his fathers’ footsteps.No one but Don Diamont can play that “i do it my way” role!

denisefan
Guest
denisefan

Scott’s quirky movements and cadence are his own….not much acting there. At times, his delivery is forced and insincere….would love to see him create a character rather than repurpose himself for the show.

Glad to see that on a personal level he has challenged the false premises of modern, counterfeit Christian organizations. Ironically, his counterarguments run more parallel to Jesus’ castigations of the false church than he realizes.

Dean
Guest
Dean

Great interview! Scott is so awesome!

Bonnie Greenblatt
Guest
Bonnie Greenblatt

I think having Scott Clifton as Don Diamont adds some adventure and some reality to Bill’s father figure and it makes it more appetizing in a more challenging pursuance for boy get girl, boy loses girl, like father like son.

Keep Scott Clifton as Liam Spencer he is Awesome.

phyllis Mokate( South Africa)
Guest
phyllis Mokate( South Africa)

Like to see liam and Hope back together pls, they make a good young couple, I m hurting seing hope like this, she can not be hurt by her first lover no pls, if so she ll end ud like her mom trying to find true love.

Maureen
Guest
Maureen

Who is Scott Clifton married to

LILI
Guest
LILI

He is a great, sexy actor.

Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stephen Nichols and Lucas Adams Talk Salem Longevity, Tripp’s Predicament and Their Co-Stars

Days of our Lives stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and his on-screen son, Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) are in the middle of plenty of drama on the long-running NBC daytime drama, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in November and its 14,000 episode milestone in December.

In a new chat with Michael Fairman on the Michael Fairman Channel, Stephen reveals his surprise at still being with the iconic show. while Lucas talks about how his first run on DAYS came to an abrupt end, but now he is deep in-story involving Allie (Lindsay Arnold) and the brother he is yet-to-know he has, Charlie (Mike Manning), who is Allie’s actual rapist.

Both Stephen and Lucas discuss having the opportunity to work with Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun (Ava) again, as well as James Lastovic (Joey) in recently aired scenes. In story, Ava has returned back-from-the-dead and realizes she has major trouble brewing with her two sons, Tripp and Charlie.  How will it all play itself out?

 

Check out what Stephen and Lucas shared below.  Then, be on the lookout beginning this week, as Steve and John (Drake Hogestyn) work together to figure out who is responsible for Allie’s rape and just who is the biological father to her child, when it is not Tripp!

Share your thoughts on the sentiments shared by Stephen and Lucas in the interview via the comment section.

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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

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