In a major plot twist on today’s episode of The Young and the Restless, Sharon Newman reveals in a discussion with the vision of her deceased daughter Cassie, that she switched the paternity results of Summer Newman, and that Nick is her true biological father, not Jack Abbott! This comes on the heels of recent developments where Nick finally came forward with what he believed to be the “truth” … that he was not Summer’s bio-dad! Or, so he thought! Flashback: Years before, Nick has an affair with Phyllis while she is seeing Jack, and she becomes pregnant. A paternity test is ordered. Only when the test comes back, only Nick sees the results and proclaims that he is indeed Summer’s father. Flash forward: Years later in 2013, Nick starts feeling guilty when Summer takes a liking to Jack’s son, Kyle. He opens the paternity test from years ago to see that it reveals that the results are inconclusive. So, he orders another one secretly, and this time the test comes back from the DNA sample, showing that Jack is Summer’s father. Oh, what a tangled web the powers-that-be at Y&R are weaving now on the number one soap!
As for Sharon Newman, changing the paternity test results is just another shocker from the character who has previously: burnt down the Newman ranch, developed kleptomania and stole things left and right, and fell in love with Adam Newman (the man who stole her baby and made her believe hers had died, while he passed the baby off as Ashley’s in a despicable plot!) But for Daytime Emmy winner and fan favorite, Sharon Case (Sharon Newman) this new plot development opens up a whole new set of circumstances and secrets that will generate so much story for her and others on the canvas in the months, and possibly years to come!
In this exclusive interview, On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Sharon Case in her dressing room at CBS to get her thoughts on: how she justifies Sharon’s action in the switching of Summer’s paternity, what she thinks this means for the future of Shick and Shadam, what will the upcoming departure of Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) mean for the story moving forward, and how Cassie’s Death still resonates years later to Y&R fans everywhere, and how Sharon and Nick losing their daughter many years ago, has been the impetus for so much heartache, change, miscommunication, and missteps, in their lives.
Whether you are on board with the decision that Y&R has made to have Sharon be the woman who pulled the ultimate switch, one thing can be said, Sharon Case has played everything that has been handed to her to the hilt, and after you read our chat, you will come away with the motivations behind it all. Here’s what Ms. Case had to say!
How long have you known that it would be revealed that Sharon ultimately was the one who switched the paternity results? And, what did you think when you heard that Sharon was responsible for the switcheroo?
I have known for a while. I was told in advance of shooting it, roughly what the storyline was going to be, not the whole thing, but I was given enough information so that I knew how to play the scenes. What did I think? I think it was a great idea. I said to Josh Griffith our head writer, secrets in soap opera are key. We have had a secret in place, or sort of secret, for seven years, and that is what is the paternity of Summer? Nick never exposed what it is. So these little secrets that the writers put in, and leave there for years, are what are driving the show in some respect. So, you can’t not have them, and then eventually you have to pick them up. But, the great thing about when you pick them up is that maybe you resolve the secret, but at the same time you create some other secret. So it just keeps going, and that is what keeps the show going. I love how Josh decided to address this secret about the paternity test, yet he put a twist on it, so it still remained unknown, or set wrong, or somebody does not know the truth. But, it’s really only great if you are going to leave it like that for years, just like it was like that for years before. So, that the same game is always in play. How hilarious and wild would it be for it to go on for years that the audience knows that Sharon switched the test, and the audience knows who Summer’s father is, but no one, not Nick, or anyone else in Genoa City, knows except for Sharon? I think that’s a great long-term secret, and one day it can be addressed and come out, and we could re-test the paternity, and then maybe the truth is then… it is Jack’s! There is no reason to resolve or end it, because I think it’s fun to see what happens. All of these things are what creates conflict and high drama, because that is what we are after. This is brilliant, because it is very relevant to every single character on the show. What could be more relevant … Cassie’s death, and then the paternity of Summer. Phyllis getting pregnant in the first place, and Sharon feeling that was wrong. That changed fate in a way it never should have.
We had spoken about this before, about how all the different writing regimes had put Sharon through the ringer, and you had to make sense of all of it, and had the task of making it all work on-screen. Were you at all concerned about how your fan base would react now to the revelation of Sharon being the one who switched Summer’s paternity test?
Well, no. First of all, you are right. The burden was always on me as the actress to make sense of this character, and to try to use a point of view, an opinion, an emotional tone, something that I add to her in playing these storylines that somehow makes this make sense to the audience. And, that was up to me. My writers were not necessarily always giving me that. They always gave me good storylines. And boy, were they dramatic, quirky, fun and entertaining! But it wasn’t all adding up in the end. Finally, Josh Griffith did that when he decided that Sharon was bipolar. That resolved everything from her entire past, and for her entire future. It was the greatest relief to me, because I don’t have to justify Sharon’s behavior anymore, as the actress. I don’t have to rely on my writer to justify her behavior anymore. We now know why Sharon behaves this way, and that probably should have been written or decided upon a long time ago. So, it was a stroke of genius for Josh to come up with that. There are always times when people go off their meds, and people do go off their meds constantly. First of all, no one really remembers to take their meds everyday. You may remember for a whole week, but then you forget a day, that is just how life goes. Or, you go out of town and you just forgot them, or you purposely go off them, because you think you are doing very well. This is a chronic issue with people who take meds on a regular basis, and so you are never always leveled out. So every time you do that, you really rock your boat by missing one day of meds.
On today’s episode Sharon sees Cassie, and that precipitates the reveal that Sharon switched Summer’s paternity results. Why do you think she came to her at this time?
My take on Sharon talking to Cassie, from Sharon’s point of view, is this: Sharon has always been very spiritual. She was a spiritually religious young lady. Remember, when she was with Adam at the feet of angels at the graveyard, and she had gone to seek out the psychic? Sharon believes in all things in the spiritual world. She spends a lot of time at the graveyard since Cassie passed away. Sharon really does believe that she is connected to the spiritual world, and that she does have some kind of communication with it. In some way, that makes sense to her. I think she feels, in really trying times in her life, extra communication with her daughter, and that spiritual mother/daughter connection will never end. When she sees Cassie, she always feels that is her guardian angel. Nick and Sharon have always said that she is. They have always told the other kids that, “Cassie is their guardian angel and watching out for them, and if you really listen, you can hear what she is saying.” Sharon is really listening right now to hear what Cassie is saying.
Doesn’t Cassie seem to appear when Sharon feels guilty about things she did?
I think guilt is a time when you are in need of counseling, as well as some other emotions. So Sharon does tell Cassie she switched the results of Summer’s paternity.
So, does Sharon feel justified in switching the test results?
Sharon really does feel justified in what she is doing. In fact, she feels she is doing what needs to be done. She feels that hers and Nick’s destinies, and Cassie’s destiny, and everyone’s life was compromised by Phyllis having this baby, because Nick and Phyllis had an affair, and Nick wanted to get back with Sharon. Sharon said “no” and it ended up not happening because of this baby …that is the thing …. it was because of Summer. Sharon sees it, as that was something that was never meant to be. Sharon is a religious person, and that was the devil’s work. And so, she is going to take matters into her own hands, and set things right for her destiny, and everyone’s destiny to fix things the way they should be in the name of Cassie, who lost her life, and in the name of everything. So she is absolutely convinced that this is the right thing to do. Sometimes there is a point of view that, “OK, maybe some level of destruction is necessary to do right by all.” That is why I think she thinks everybody is going to be better off because of this change that was made. And that is why she goes into it very righteously doing so, knowing this is the right move. I think she’ll take her signs from the universe as to if she did the right thing, or not. And, some more signs come from the universe immediately after this that tell her whether this is her path, the right path, their fate. It’s interesting how it moves along.
So many people wanted Adam and Sharon, or better known by many as “Shadam”. Now are you saying that all along Sharon had in her mind that she ultimately wanted to get back together with Nick?
I think she thinks again that is the way things were supposed to have happened. But in the meantime, and in those years, because it hadn’t happened that way, and it didn’t seem like Nick was going to leave Phyllis, Sharon met Adam and fell in love with Adam. That was the only other man that has ever come into her life, where she felt the same way as she does about Nick. I would not say that one is better, or bigger than the other. I think they were both equals, and that is what made that storyline so interesting. You have two different kinds of men, and yet they are brothers … and yet Sharon fell in love with both of them, and each of them for opposite reasons, which made it very compelling. I think the events at the time that led to Shadam make perfect sense. She had to realize she wasn’t going to get Nick back, or for the foreseeable future. So she created a great relationship and a future for herself with Adam. You know what? That did not work out. It fell apart. Now she just newly discovered that now this is what is supposed to be … that Summer is really supposed to be Jack’s daughter, and then none of this would have occurred. Sharon is just trying to figure out her life as she goes along, too, like everyone else is.
So, Sharon is OK with Nick taking the fall for the latest paternity result fiasco, when she really tampered with the results?
It’s not that she is really OK with it, but I think she understands, because she went through the loss of Cassie as well. Sharon can understand how really deep that pain is, and how it might drive you to make a bad decision. Nick made a decision that helped him at the time. He did what he needed to do. Sharon can certainly understand needing to feel like you have another daughter to replace the one you just lost. I don’t see how anyone could actually blame Nick for that, even though it’s wrong, it makes a lot of sense. I think Sharon understands it, and so since Nick seemed willing to tamper with the paternity test and allow people to believe something about that test that wasn’t necessarily true, she thinks, “Then, why don’t I let people believe something about that test that isn’t necessarily true, too!” She thinks that they are both on the same page with each other! (Laughs)
OY! Nick and Sharon deserve each other! (Laughs)
Yes, they do! (Laughs) I think Sharon figured if he was willing to go that route, then maybe that’s the way we should go.
When Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman) found out the twist on the twist, what did he say to you? Everyone was worried about how this paternity test switch would wreck Nick’s credibility as a good guy, and he would look like a jackass for a moment! But now Sharon ultimately sealed everyone’s fate!
I have had conversations many times with Joshua and Michael Muhney (Adam Newman) about how we feel about our characters looking like jackasses. No one wants their character to look like that. We all get concerned when that happens, but I think as long as there is some redeemable reason why you did something, and there usually is, then I don’t worry about it Nobody is all good, so why should these characters be? Everyone makes a mistake in life, and can be stubborn about the mistake, or admit to their mistake. That is how people are, and so that is what makes these characters real.
What does Sharon think of Phyllis at this point in time?
She thinks this is a dark element that literally moved in and rained over this happy family. She thinks it’s time for her, or someone, but likely her, to literally buck-up and cast it out once and for all!
How do you feel about Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) leaving the show? You two have had a lot of amazing scenes over the years!
We have had a lot of amazing scenes! I remember I was in Paris not that long ago and they were showing me what episode was airing there. It was Phyllis and Sharon arguing in one of their typical fights in the Restless Style office, back when Sharon was working there, and Sharon was married to Jack. I thought, “That really brings me back. We really had a lot of stuff!” There was so much that I forgot a lot of it! I think the triangle of Sharon/Nick/Phyllis went on for a very long time. It was a fantastic triangle. But eventually these triangles end, and they eventually move on to some new triangle. What I think was we sort of merged out of that to the Nick/Sharon/Adam triangle. We just barely merged in to that, but I see that is the triangle that is coming for the future. Before Sharon/Nick/Phyllis, it was Sharon/Nick/Grace, and people loved that one! Those things last for a period of time and then you move on to the next one, and then the next one is even bigger and better. I think, as far as the Phyllis character, I think that maybe that character has played this part of its storyline out. If the character were to come back for any reason, I don’t know if it would be the same storyline, as now this is moving in a direction and progression that the show has to take. The show has to keep moving. But once you get a really good triangle, it’s good to stick with them. We usually do stick with them for four or five years, or more. I am excited about where the storyline is going now.
Do you think Michelle Stafford exiting Y&R will be a huge loss and hit for the show?
We have had two key actresses leave the show this year for one reason or another. We have had key actors leave before, but I think the show is strong, because it’s about the show. It’s the ensemble of the show, and the characters on the show, and the show will be fine and survive things like this. While at the same time, I think it’s important to keep key characters and key actors visible on the show, more so than newbies leading the airwaves. Otherwise, you start losing the audience, and as long as we don’t start slipping into too much of that, then the show should be fine and stay stable. We are all horribly sorry about the loss of Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor). We miss her dearly. It was a real hit to our show. She had a lot of great storylines, even in recent years. Michelle decided she wanted to go and try other things. Everybody’s feeling about that here is: we wish her luck and have our fingers-crossed.
We have discussed this in other interviews, how you have such devoted and passionate fans and followers on Twitter. Have you checked out what they have been saying? What do you think they will say when this all comes to light?
I have read a lot on Twitter that the fans are concerned. They don’t like it when the writers write Sharon doing bad things. I agree with them. Bad things that are not explained don’t need to happen for Sharon. I saw some complaints right off the bat. But I am telling you, once you see the whole thing, and the great twists in it, I think they are going to like it. So right now, I am just not replying too much. I want them to get to see a little more of the storyline, and then we will see.
The death of Cassie was the most important event in the history of Nick and Sharon’s life together, because it really changed everything. How much longer can this go on that Nick and Sharon don’t get back together? Do you feel it’s time?
You would think that they would. You have this core couple on the show that have not been together that much in the last seven or eight years … other than one quick bit together when they had Faith, and that did not last too long. But, you know that is what happened when Nikki and Victor split, too. When Nikki and Victor split they were split for like ten or more years, and when they got re-married it was the “Wedding of the Century”. I was relatively new on the show then, and Sharon and Nick were married, and we were having Nikki and Victor’s wedding, and it was a big deal. And so I thought, “That is why Nick and Sharon have been apart for a long time.” It’s kind of like the same story told again with the new generation. Who knows, if they will get together now? Or, if it will be like Nikki and Victor and ten years will go by? We will see, but I think it’s all good.
The Y&R audience adored the Cassie character. It’s interesting to see how she is still weaved into the show.
People love the Cassie character. She is one of the most beloved characters on the show of all-time, and to bring her back as a regular character, not just one time in somebody’s flashback, is a phenomenal idea. Talk about losing actresses on our show that the core audience wants to see? Well, we lost her a long time ago, and it created the best story for years and years. But the show found a way to bring the character back in a way, it’s the best of both worlds … where we did lose her … but the actress is back and the character is still in some shape or form on the show. I am sure it was nice for the audience to see Cassie on-screen again. I am sure it would be comforting to know that the relationship would always be there. This is a big core family on our show.
Now that this reveal is out, do you think we will see more of Sharon and Adam?
I think in the future that is ultimately where it may go, but that is not what is happening right now. It is my guess that the future of it is the triangle of Nick/Sharon/Adam. I just don’t see it being someone else in the triangle. These are the men in her orbit. I am not saying she is going to get back with Nick, and then get together with Adam, and go back and forth. That is not what I am saying. My writers did not tell me this, that is just my projection, and it’s my impression of what is happening, because after all, these are the men that have been in Sharon’s life for a while now. It just makes sense.
Do you remember shooting the Cassie “death” scenes? Whenever there is a Y&R retrospective clip package that is in it, and it evokes such emotion from the audience, and it still holds up!
They were so hard for everyone. That is the most interesting thing about those scenes. That no matter who is watching it, and I have never seen this before, but whether it’s you, me, or Joshua, or any member of our audience, or any one of the crew … it does not matter who you are when you watch that scene you start crying, and its hard not to. It’s hard to talk about those scenes with someone without starting to cry. Something in those scenes struck a chord. I am sure there have been scenes in a drama where someone’s child died, but this was special. There was something about the scene.
It was the writing, and the production, and the performances that made those scenes some of the most gut-wrenching, powerful moments in the history of the show, or soap opera.
It was everything. It was Jack Smith’s writing. It was the way the story was told. It was who these character were, and how beloved they were, and how long the audience has known all of them, and the way that Cassie died, the relevancy of the drunk driving part of the story, and the utter tragedy. So many people were touched by the drunk driving. It was not that Cassie was drunk, but Daniel, who was supposed to be driving wasn’t responsible and drank. And so, an alternative plan came up and that was a bad plan, and to it was Phyllis’ son. These are things that happen when kids are out drinking. These tragedies touch all of us in so many ways. Even when we watch other families go through this, we are devastated. I think this story was so true to form, and touched everyone as though it really happened in real life. It wasn’t a story that just happened on a soap opera, where things can just be overly dramatic, or whatever. This wasn’t that, it was real. It was too real for Joshua and me to even go through it. We did it in one take. The scene is still devastating in my mind and Joshua’s. It’s almost not watchable. If it comes on, I can’t get through it. It’s so interesting how something that is on a television show can be so real to you.
Are you worried about how Sharon keeping this secret will destroy Jack again down the line? Does Sharon even care about Jack in all this deceit?
I think that Sharon sees the bright side of that. Jack wanted a child. Once upon a time he and Phyllis wanted a child, and they were not able to have one. Wouldn’t this be a blessing for that couple? And, wouldn’t this put solidarity and family in their lives? Maybe there is a happy ending in this, and also it’s not going to change Nick and Summer’s relationship. That is already established. It’s not like anyone is being ripped apart from anyone, in reality. Instead, if Jack and Phyllis are going to get together, which it seems like they are, this would be a really good catalyst to fall in love and solidify a family.
Do you think Sharon can ever be a mother to Summer if Nick and Sharon were to get back together?
Sharon is a good mother figure in the way that she says things to people when they need to hear them. Sharon has that with anyone. But beyond having that basic ability with all people, I don’t think she is ever going to see herself as Summer’s mother, or step-mother, or ever be able to take Summer under her wings to much of an extent. Phyllis was a poison in hers and Nick’s life, and Summer came in between Nick and Sharon, ultimately. Sharon does not blame either of the kids… not Daniel either, and he is more directly related to Cassie’s dearth. She does not feel that familial feeling with Daniel or Summer … they are Phyllis’ kids. In that respect, that is an element that Sharon feels should never cross paths with her and Nick.
Who knew that Cassie’s death would supply so much continual ongoing story for years and years to come! We knew when Cassie said on her deathbed, that Nick and Sharon would have another little girl, that would come to pass, but so much has happened! And look at where we are now?
I have not watched Y&R for the entire 40 years, but I did watch some of it before I was on, too, and I was on GH and ATWT before that. So being on soaps you want to check out the other soaps. I was aware of the characters on Y&R for some time, but I was not that closely related to it. But, I remember there were these great couples on the show like Nikki and Victor, and Ryan and Victoria were just great, and Paul and Christine. I remember when I was a kid I would see then on the show with Peter Barton (Ex-Dr. Scott Grainger), and I remember to this day and these were great love stories all around. But I don’t know that the show has ever had an astounding significant story that affected the characters in Genoa City, and the show, the ways Cassie’s death had. If that ever happened, prior to Cassie’s death, I don’t know what storyline that would be? That fact that happened, at least in these recent decades, that is The Young and the Restless.
The Bold and the Beautiful’s Annika Noelle Chats on Hope’s Feelings for Thomas and Her New Attitude, Moving on From Liam, and Being an Advocate
2023 has been the year of Annika Noelle on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful. As Hope Logan, she found herself fighting the fire and passion she felt for Thomas Forrester (Matthew Atkinson), while trying to figure out where she stands in her marriage to Liam (Scott Clifton). As an actress, Noelle has carried much of the story and has been front and center. Something that should be remembered come Emmy time in 2024.
In story, ultimately, a trip to Rome, Italy set the stage for life-changing events in Hope’s life. After the wildly successful showing of her design collection, Hope for the Future, in collaboration with her ace designer, Thomas Forrester, the duo end-up in a passionate lip-lock, initiated by Hope, in front of the overhang at the world-famous Colosseum. Problem was … Liam happened upon the scene and saw his then wife’s betrayal.
Flash-forward, Hope has divorced Liam and is moving on with her life seemingly with Thomas, much to the chagrin of most of the entire Forrester and Logan families given Thomas’ twisted past – yes, they are probably thinking, “Baby Beth” and the “Hope Mannequin!” All that aside, on the surface Thomas appears a new man fully ready to embrace a relationship with Hope. Meanwhile, Hope has discovered more of her independence, has a fashionable new short crop hair-do, and is no longer ruled by what others think she should do.
Michael Fairman TV chatted with Annika to get her thoughts on a myriad of subjects including: is it truly the end for Hope and Liam? Will the duo known as “Thope” have a shot at any longevity? What is Hope going to do now that her father Deacon (Sean Kanan) is engaged to none other than evil-personified in Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown)? And that’s just for starters! Read on to see what Annika had to share about it all, and her about beautiful new rescue dog, Huckleberry.
Hope just found out that Eric (John McCook) is dying. How do you think she will cope with the news from here? What has Eric meant to her throughout his life?
ANNIKA: Eric has been a loving patriarch throughout Hope’s life. One of her mother’s biggest champions, Thomas’ grandfather, and Douglas’ great grandfather. He is someone that has been a guiding force throughout her life and to lose him would be like losing the cornerstone that built the house of Forrester. It would be a devastating loss to her family.
Liam seems to be reeling from seeing just how serious Thomas and Hope appear to be with each other at this point. Is Hope moving forward with Thomas in her mind as a “relationship” or does she see this more as an “aﬀair” for her?
ANNIKA: At this point, she can acknowledge that she has feelings for Thomas and she wants to be with him. However, given his significance in her life (an integral part of ‘Hope for the Future’ as well as Douglas’ father) I think she wants to be extremely careful. She has been burned by love and is hesitant to jump in again. She needs to take things slow and thus far, Thomas has respected that.
You carried a very heavy load in the storyline over recent months: from when Thomas and Hope kissed in Rome, to the fallout, to her divorcing Liam, to her feeling more self-assured and independent. What were the more challenging beats of the storyline for you?
ANNIKA: Honestly? This has been a joy. After the heavy “Baby Beth” storyline throughout most of 2019, I have so enjoyed this story arc. From being able to travel to Rome for the first time with the cast and crew, playing beats of strength, laughter, and love as well as the heavier moments, it has been a story I have embraced and given my all.
You have a new fantastic short cropped hair-do. Was that something you wanted to do, or was it related to the character of Hope moving on with her life from Liam?
ANNIKA: This actually had more to do with me making changes and starting new chapters but it also happened to coincide with Hope having major life changes as well. I, of course, had to get permission (contractual obligation and what not) and was surprised to get the blessing to go ahead! It’s been a big adjustment as I’ve had long hair my entire adult life but everyone has been so complimentary and supportive. I think I might keep it for a while…
Do you see Hope, Thomas and Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri) being a family at some point?
ANNIKA: In my eyes, they always were a family from the moment Hope embraced the role as Douglas’ adoptive mother. She takes that responsibility very seriously, and was not going to neglect her duties to that child. Even when it was tough with the blended families, she always tried her best to make it work.
Is Hope at all concerned at this point that Thomas could fall back on his former troubled or devious ways?
ANNIKA: I think in order for her to be involved with a man who has done so much to her and her family in the past, she has to truly believe that this man has changed. That he is different. As she has said repeatedly, he has earned her trust and he has done the work. And try as everyone might to ward her away, I think it just makes it all the more appealing. As her father Deacon said… “love doesn’t always make sense”.
Do you see Hope doing anything to intervene with her father Deacon’s relationship with Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown)? She clearly is not happy about this, given Sheila’s past.
ANNIKA: I think at the moment she has a lot on her plate with Eric’s health, Liam’s realization, Hope For The Future, the children, not to mention her love life. I think she’s trying to maintain some form of peace and balance, which involves setting a boundary with that. Plus, Sheila has a few screws loose, so I don’t think she’s about to go punching crazy in the face just to see what happens.
You recently shared some scenes with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy). Within them, Steﬀy and Hope sparred with a war of words, when it came to Liam and Thomas. Did Hope use his past with Steﬀy as justification to divorce him, because she wanted Thomas so badly, or does she truly believe that Steﬀy will always come first with Liam?
ANNIKA: I think both can be true at the same time. Past resentments, insecurities, and repeated infidelity over years can lead to the downfall of any strong relationship. Hope’s issue is not necessarily Liam’s past indiscretions, as she still choose to forgive him and stay with him during those times. It is the fact that he couldn’t oﬀer her the same grace and forgiveness after she had messed up. Over a kiss. And Liam was so quick to run to Steﬀy in the aftermath. That is what stung. So, she had the divorce papers drawn up.
You have an adorable new dog Huckleberry that you showed on your Instagram. What can you tell me about how Huckleberry came into your life? What kind of dog is he?
ANNIKA: Huckleberry is my gentle angel boy who came into my life thanks to Life Animal Rescue. I had been searching for the right fit and I saw a video of him and knew we were destined to be. He is 100% “Korean Village Dog” and was rescued from a meat farm there. He is now safe with me, chasing butterflies, and playing with Burritoman kitty.
You have been a wonderful ally to the LGBTQ+ community and do get involved in charitable causes. Why is it important for you to lend your name and time to help those perhaps misunderstood, or under-presented?
ANNIKA: Funny thing is, I would be doing it even if I didn’t have this platform. I grew up in theatre as much as I did the outdoors. Both have oﬀered me community and a place of belonging. I was bullied as a child so my places of refuge were the forest in my backyard and the escape I found on the stage. So I will advocate, use my voice, and return the love that the community has shown me all my life. They were a safe haven for me, I will fight for their safety too. As Mama Ru says, “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag”.
As her fashion line says, Hope for the Future, what are your future Hope’s for Hope?
ANNIKA: I hope she finds clarity for herself, strength in her voice, and love in her heart. With or without a man. And more screen time with her children!
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, what would you like to say to all the fans who have been so supportive to you all over the world who watch B&B?
ANNIKA: Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I know it isn’t always easy with the way storyline can ebb and flow. But if you understand me, who I am outside of my character, all I stand for, and you still ride with me? Then my loves, we are family! And I am grateful for YOU. No character choice can ever ruin that.
So, after checking out our interview with Annika, are you rooting for Hope and Thomas to be the end game, or do you think Hope and Liam should find their way back to one another? Share your viewpoints and thoughts via the comment section below.
Rena Sofer and Amanda Setton Talk On Playing General Hospital’s Mother/Daughter Duo of Lois & Brook Lynn, Working with Co-Stars: Jane Elliot, Wally Kurth and Ellen Travolta, and What Lies Ahead
It’s Thanksgiving time at the Quartermaines, and there is a lot to be ‘thankful’ for if you are a General Hospital fan of this bickering clan. Back in October, Daytime Emmy winner, Rena Sofer returned to her soap-famous role of Lois Cerullo, Ned’s ex-wife and the mother of his child, Brook Lynn. It has been over 27 years since Sofer was back in Port Charles bringing with it her Lois’ incomparable nails, that deep Bensonhurst/Brooklyn accent, those ‘Lois-isms’ and more.
GH fans were very excited and intrigued to see what would happen when Sofer appeared in scenes with her TV daughter, Amanda Setton. After all, Brook Lynn is all grown up now and as you can see like mother, like daughter. And if you were to tell us that years later One Life to Live favorite, Setton, would get an opportunity to play Lois’ daughter, we would have been “Get outta here!” That’s because we knew, even on paper, Amanda was the perfect choice.
Now, as the holiday begins, there’s trouble with Turkey Day at the Q’s, and Lois’ mom, Gloria Cerullo played by beloved guest star Ellen Travolta drops in to be with her daughter and granddaughter … let the fireworks and fun begin. Meanwhile, just recently, Ned’s (Wally Kurth) memory returned after months as “Eddie Maine”, and Lois came back to Port Charles after hearing how Tracy (Jane Elliot) messed with her daughter and blackmailed her right out of Deception. Wanting to stand up for Brook Lynn, Lois got a lot more than she bargained for when she came back to town.
Michael Fairman TV chatted with Rena and Amanda in a heartfelt and candid interview; which clearly reveals that the two would be in each other’s fan club, plus how Rena wants to be respectful to the on-screen relationship between Ned and Lois, given that Wally Kurth and Rena were previously married in real life and since then are married to other people. Coming back to GH, some 27 years later, offers Sofer a fresh perspective to how she was back when she joined the show and how she views work and life now. Amanda teases what’s ahead for Brook Lynn where the ‘spicier’ side of the character is about to make a bit of a return, and what the future may hold for her romance with Chase, and more. Read on for Rena and Amanda’s thoughts on a myriad of Cerullo/Quartermaine topics below.
Rena, so you came back to General Hospital and you meet Amanda. What did you think of Amanda, and how she fits so perfectly as Lois’ daughter?
RENA: Oh, my God! Beyond the perfect daughter! If Lois could have picked her daughter, it would’ve been Amanda. I love her. I know, we as actors, are like, “Oh, I love working with them.” I am not that person. I tend to be very honest about who I like to work with and who I don’t. I’ve always been. Amanda, maybe you don’t know this, but I get myself into a lot of trouble from time to time. (Laughs) But honestly, the second I met her – we met up in a restaurant and Wally joined us a little later.It was just like talking to my daughter except more of a contemporary as opposed to mother/daughter. It just made having her be my daughter on the show so easy. We have a lot in common. There was really an immediate connection between the two of us, which was great.
AMANDA: There’s like an immediate familial feeling. We’re from the same place in the world. We come from similar backgrounds. It was a very easy friendship to strike.
Amanda, was there any intimidation that this was thee Rena Sofer, who created the iconic role of your on-screen mom, Lois?
AMANDA: Not going to lie. She’s like the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen in your life. The fans absolutely adore her. She and Wally have such a history on the show. And so more than intimidation, I was genuinely excited. When I heard that Lois was coming back onto the canvas, I got so excited to explore that mother/daughter relationship with Brook Lynn, because her father is such a central point in all of her story. To be able to play that and then have it be Rena, who’s such a spitfire, and plays Lois so beautifully, so specifically and so clearly, has such a clear point of view, who’s also funny but grounded, I was just so excited. Genuinely!
Rena, has this lived up to what your expectation of coming back into this role and to GH, some 27 years later would be like? How has it felt playing Lois again now?
RENA: It’s interesting, because I think that the gift of time for me is a very important thing. I’ve done a lot of things in my career. I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve had a lot of standstills and also disappointments. I think where I come from now is from a place of gratitude. I feel incredibly humbled and grateful to be able to play Lois again in the way that I am, and that I’m able to play her. I just feel like it’s everything I expected it to be, but it’s so much more than I expected it to be because I didn’t know what I was walking into. I didn’t know if people would want me to be there, if people would be excited for me to be there, if people would be offended that I came back after 27 years, you know? I really walked in trying to have no ego and an understanding this is not my home, that I’m a visitor, and that I just want to have the fun of playing Lois the way I played her when I first created the character. And that did not disappoint. … every single day walking on to that set with those nails and her hair and her wardrobe, and the accent … every single thing I say, even if it’s so difficult to learn, is such a joy.
I had talked with Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) and Wally Kurth for a livestream conversation on my You Tube Channel and she was saying how amazing you were, Rena. You’re so specific in your characters choices that we were also talking about the nails and the hair, and the outfits, and everything that goes into playing Lois, and it works. There’s a lot of thought you put into playing Lois. Wouldn’t you say?
RENA: Yes. I like to put a lot of thought into every character that I play. Not every production allows me to put that much thought in. It helps me to create the character. I’m really lucky that Lois was created already because it allowed me to kind of say, ‘This is now who Lois is’, as opposed to somebody saying, “Well, this is who we want this character to be.”
AMANDA: I just want to add that Rena was welcomed with open arms. Everybody was so excited that she was coming, so thrilled that the character was going to be back in the fold, and that Rena was coming back to play her. It was just a very excited, joyful energy surrounding the storyline.
RENA: Yes, to what Amanda was saying. I just felt that so much.
I can tell you from just my perspective and having a pulse on the reactions and wants of the audience and the fans on social media, they were so excited to have Rena back. And, they were like, “Oh, my God! This is perfect casting! Amanda and Rena!”
AMANDA: Josh Swickard (Chase) and I just did a fan event recently, and everybody at the event was echoing that. Just how, Rena and I were perfect casting as mother and daughter.
RENA: It’s so fun. I was on set the other day and I had to say a line and thank God for Amanda. She was trying to help me say “cab’ properly in how Lois would say it with her accent.
AMANDA: Rena’s accent is so good and she had a big line to say. It was like, “I gotta take a cab.” So, she said, “take “perfectly. And then “cab” was very California. I’m like Rena, its “cab” with a more Brooklyn accent.
Now. another part of the story that’s kind of charming is that Brook Lynn is getting some pointers from her mom on the music business. She’s listening to mom’s advice, and they’re working on Blaze’s music career. Do you think Brooklyn looks up to her mother since Lois has all of this experience with a record label and music management?
AMANDA: Hundred percent! I’m pretty sure a bunch of those scenes aired. Brook Lynn goes directly to her mom, and says, “You need to help me.” She gives me a whole list of things. Brook Lynn is like, “My mother’s amazing. She’s perfect. She can do no wrong, and I love my mommy.”
How is it working with Jacqueline Grace Lopez as Blaze?
AMANDA: She’s such a great actress. She’s got such a great attitude. Jacqueline is so grateful and positive to be there. She’s always prepared and just a real professional and she’s become a friend. She’s an absolute doll and she’s like an amazing singer. She has such a good voice. She has such a presence on stage.
Rena, we recently saw on-air that “Eddie” turned back into Ned, when Ned regains his memory. You had some really great scenes leading up to him turning into Ned again. After all, it was Lois who told ‘Eddie’ to “take a leap of faith.” So, he goes and jumps in the water. What do you think Lois’ relationship is with Ned at this point? How does she feel about him?
RENA: It’s interesting, because something comes up soon enough that I will say that’s very honest. She loves Ned. He’s the father of her child. The thing about Lois is; she made the decision to leave Ned. She was brokenhearted by what happened, but she made the choice to not step into that world of the Quartermaines. It was not the place she wanted to live. It wasn’t that she didn’t want Ned, she didn’t want what he came with. She took her daughter and raised her daughter in Brooklyn. Thank God for that. She loves her ex-husband. She never stopped loving him. She’s just not in love with him anymore. She doesn’t want him anymore. She wants the best for him.
Amanda, do you think Brooklyn wants her parents together, or is she fine with Olivia and Ned?
AMANDA: I think she’s totally fine with it. It’s been so long that they’ve been apart. I will also say, I do think that every child of divorce has a secret hope that their parents will be at least friends or on good terms, or that they’ll have times together with both their parents in the same room. I do think coming up, you get to see some of those moments, which is really nice.
RENA: My daughter Rosabel is obsessed with watching GH now. Obsessed! It’s so great for her because for her it’s like, “It’s not that I want my parents to get back together. I know they don’t belong together at all in any way, shape or form,” but she gets to see us together in a way that is friendly and kind, and not affectionate in like a physical sense. But affectionate in a caring sense. She’s like, “Mom, I’m 27-years-old. This is the first time that as an adult I get to see this.” And it’s true. She loves it!
Rena, I was telling Wally, there was that OG montage of Lois and Ned that was contained in an episode. I loved it. It reminded me of back in the day when we first knew each other. Those scenes were great and they hold up today!
RENA: Those scenes were so great. I said to Frank Valentini (EP, General Hospital) you took three minutes and you told the entire story. Basically, from beginning to end minus Brenda, and all the other stuff that happened. Our whole story was told in such a perfect and beautiful way. It was really honored. I felt really honored by it and loved watching it.
After Ned tells Brook Lynn, he’s no longer “Eddie” but he is Ned, she’s so happy to have her father back. However, how do you see the relationship moving forward? Will she be supportive of all his ELQ shenanigans?
AMANDA: That’s a really good question. That remains to be seen, to be fair. I do think that historically what we have seen from the Brook Lynn and Ned dynamic is she can give it, she can really tell ’em like it is. But at the end of the day, she really is a daddy’s girl. They have they this very close bond and there’s a real love for one another. I think you’ll just see that as we move forward.
Now, how has it been for both of you working with Jane Elliot in this storyline? Rena, you’re actually working with Jane again years late and of course, Lois and Tracy have a contentious relationship. Tracy has never been welcoming to Lois into the Quartermaines.
RENA: That’s true. I have to say, when I came on the show as Lois in the first place, to be fully transparent, I think I took it personally. As I said, I came back with no ego or tried to come back with no ego. This time coming back, I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying spending time with Jane and working with her and just watching her and not feeling like I have to prove myself. I wish I could go back in time and smack myself across the face and say, “What are you doing?” I feel like that’s the truth for all of us as youth, to some extent. I wish I could just go back and just say, “All of that isn’t important. This woman is a wealth of knowledge. Just listen to her, have fun with her.” I think that when I was younger, I was a wealth of missteps in my life. Now, I hopefully am entering this phase of my life in a way where I’m more enjoying and receiving than anything. I’m having the time of my life with Jane. She’s just lovely.
AMANDA: Well, you already know! I’m obsessed with Jane. I love her to death. We’re very close. We go out outside of work. I just adore her. Jane is a really deep, deep person who, as Rena said, has a wealth of experience, and she’s willing to share it. I have had nothing but a wonderful time with her. Genuinely, I’ve learned so much from her. And to boot, she’s an incredible actor who makes such specific subtle choices that even in the room, you don’t even feel as much as when it’s on camera. She’s so good at playing to camera. It’s unbelievable. You watch it back, and you’re just floored, and plus, they write really well for her character.
So, is Brook Lynn not upset with her grandmother for what she did to her with Deception?
AMANDA: So, with Jane it’s pure love. With Tracy, it gets a little more complicated. You’ll come to see in the next couple months some scenes that are going to air of how she really loves her grandma at the end of the day. She has a lot of love and respect for her. I think that’s why the whole blackmail storyline was so hurtful, because she does look up to her in a lot of ways. There’s always going to be that push and pull between the two of them. But at the end of the day, there’s a lot of love there.
My thought is … Lois and Brooklyn will work together to ensure Tracy doesn’t pull any machinations again.
AMANDA: Well, you’ll just have to watch and see.
RENA: Exactly! And by the way, how are we supposed to control the weather? I mean, come on! It’s so true. We can do our best, but Tracy’s going to do what she’s going to do, and she does it well. It’s who she is, and you know, we can only try to fix the damage. We can’t control the hurricane.
AMANDA: I will say, there’s some stuff coming down the pike with Brook Lynn “Spice” coming back into the fold, which has been really fun to play. I’m excited to have more of that stuff because post-Bailey and falling in love with Chase, she’s really softened a lot, which is great. I think we’ve seen her humanity and her nurturing side as a mother figure, and now as a serious girlfriend figure. But, It’ll be fun to play some of that Brook Lynn nastiness.
Rena, what was your first impression of Josh Swickard?
RENA: He is adorable. We were sitting there when I really first met Josh and he sang. He sang the song that’s already aired. He looks at me and he goes, “I’m so embarrassed. You know, because I don’t wanna be one of those guys who sings and is like. ‘I’m so great of a singer.”’ Josh is like, “I’m really worried that people are going to think that I’m arrogant, or, or something like that.” I said to him, “Do you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race? And he just looked at me like I was literally from a different planet. And he’s like, “no.” I’m like, “Well, I do. I watch it all the time. I’ve seen almost every episode. And here’s what RuPaul, the brilliant RuPaul says, “It’s none of your business whatever people think about you. That is not your business at all.” If you think about it and you take that in, it kind of saves you from ever worrying about that. That was one of our first interactions. I remember that. Thank you, RuPaul. Josh is just adorable.
Amanda, do you see Brook Lynn and Chase having longevity as a couple on GH?
AMANDA: I hope so. I see it, but we’ll see what the writers cook up.
Ellen Travolta’s going to be back on air for Thanksgiving as Lois’ mother, Gloria Cerullo. Rena, you’ve been friends with her this whole time, correct? Did you have a hand in her return?
RENA: Yes, yes, yes. It was me! I went, “I’d love to come back to General Hospital. Here’s the thing: If I come back, you need to bring back Gloria.” Let me just tell you, everybody loved Ellen. Everybody loves Ellen. Ellen is like the dream mom of everybody in America, in the world. She was Chachi’s mom. She was my mom. She’s the best mom. Emma, who works at at the front guard desk at GH, checks you in and tells you where your room is. I’ve been there for two months. I still walk up to her sometimes and she goes, “What’s your name? “Do you have your pass?” I say, “ I do. I do. Hold on.” I show her my pass. She goes, “OK, and she looks down the list and she’s like, “You’re in this room.” It took Ellen the second day she was there to get settled in. She was like, “Ellen! I want the best room for you. I’ll make sure you’re right near me. If you need anything, don’t you worry, ” and she is giving her hugs. I’m behind her, right? I walk up and I’m like, “Hi!” And she goes, “Name?” “Pass?” (Laughs) Ellen Travolta is a dream, and to work with her is a dream. I’m completely responsible because I almost bullied Frank Valentini into bringing her back. But what a gift it was to have her back, because she’s amazing.
Will we be touched by the scenes, or is it fun and campy during the Thanksgiving episodes? What can you preview?
RENA: I think the audience, as much as they enjoyed seeing Lois and Brook Lynn, the three of us together is a whole other world. You will be touched in many different places. However, you want to take that.
Amanda, what was it like meeting Ellen Travolta and then working with her?
AMANDA: Oh, my gosh. We fell in love immediately. What’s crazy Michael is, my maternal grandmother was Grandma Gloria. I had her till I was 30 and we were so close. She was really like a second mom to me. So, when I got this script and I’m reading “Grandma Gloria”, it was so bizarre. And then in meeting Ellen, she looks like my grandma – same haircut, same high cheekbones. It really did feel like I had a few days with my grandma. It was very, very special for me. Ellen is sweet, prepared, professional, talented and funny to boot. So, it was one of the best weeks I’ve had at work. I hope she comes back. My fingers are crossed.
RENA: Ellen told me when she was on General Hospital the first time she was my age. She was almost 55 years old when she started in the role, and now I’ll be 55 in a couple weeks. It was just very apropos. I loved it.
Olivia’s ready to throw in the towel for Thanksgiving, but Lois will hear none of it. I’m assuming perhaps Lois saves the day?
RENA: Lois always saves the day.
Is there any jealousy between Lois and Olivia? Do you play any of that in your scenes?
RENA: Oh, no. Listen, here’s the deal. I’m not giving the audience any sort of hinting or preconceived notion that there is going to be a triangle or a love story between Ned, Lois and Olivia. Let’s be really clear. Wally and I were married. We are now remarried. It is not fair to either of our spouses to even play that kind of a story. It’s not. It is not respectful. We will not cross that line. It doesn’t matter. It’s not about not respecting the audience. It’s not about how fun that storyline could be, but we have relationships with people that really, it would be difficult for them because we were married and had a child. We have two children together – Megan being my stepdaughter. So, that is not something I’m willing to play. I’m not going to play. I don’t want the audience thinking, “Oh!” I don’t want them asking for it. It’s not acceptable.
I think a lot of viewers were thinking Lois and Olivia might get into it over Ned.
AMANDA. You know soap writers, Michael.
RENA: True. But I will say this, the one thing that I don’t want to play as I get older and if I have any control over anything, and I’m not saying I have any control over the script at all, is I don’t like playing women hating women. I do not enjoy that. Most of the people who watch our show are women. I don’t want to be a role model to then say, “Hey, guys can never do any wrong, but you should always be wary of your girlfriend.” I don’t like that. I don’t think it’s correct. And in this world, it’s a choice I make not to send that message.
AMANDA: Just bringing it back to the Lois/Brooklyn/Gloria scenes. It’s really fun to see three really strong New Yorker comedic women in the same room together. And then of course, you add in Lisa LoCicero and Jane Elliot, of course. Having all of these really strong female characters together, representing the Quartermaines on Thanksgiving is pretty awesome.
As our conversation comes to a close, what would you want to say to the fans and/or your wish for them as the holidays approach?
AMANDA: Happy holidays to all the fans. Thank you so much for watching. You know, we only get to do this because of you guys, and we’re so grateful for your support over the years and your genuine love of these characters and these storylines. We just hope that we can continue to fulfill all of your storyline wants and desires.
RENA: I wish everybody out there a happy and peaceful holiday season where they could be surrounded by friends and family, and remember what’s important and hold onto what is dear to them. And, just pray for peace everywhere. Everywhere. Pray for peace.
What do you think of Rena Sofer and Amanda Setton as the mother/daughter duo of Lois Cerullo and Brook Lynn Quartermaine on ? Are you looking forward to seeing how Thanksgiving plays out at the Q’s? What are your hopes moving forward for Lois while she is in Port Charles and for Brook Lynn in love and in her professional life? Share your comments below.
‘Neighbours’ Stars Lucinda Cowden, Rebekah Elmaloglou and Stefan Dennis Talk What Went Down On ‘Flashback Week’
If you caught this week’s episodes of Neighbours: a New Chapter on Amazon Freevee, you know that the streaming revival of the beloved Australian soap opera went back in time two years; to fill in the blanks of some of the events that happened from when the original Neighbours ended after 37 years.
In all-new story for “Flashback Week”, Melanie (Lucinda Cowden) was revealed to be the victim of a relentless blackmail and extortion attempts from Krista (Majella Davis) and her troublemaking ‘boyfriend, Eden (Costa d’Angelo). As the story unfolded, its tentacles reached far and wide involving almost the entire cast and those who reside in the fictional town of Erinsborough.
In addition, while Terese is somehow married to Toadie in the reboot of the series, we learn how her marriage to Paul fell apart, especially when Paul covered-up Krista’s death after Melanie pushed her and Krista fell in the pool at Lassiter’s Hotel, which Paul runs.
Speaking with Michael Fairman direct from Melbourne on Wednesday for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel were series stars: Lucinda Cowden, Rebekah Emagloglou and Stefan Dennis. The trio discussed taping the emotional story and scenes, what they hope happens next for their characters, and when they learned the heartbreaking news that Neighbours had been canceled.
However. while the original series came to its heartbreaking conclusion, the streaming revival is delivering compelling drama with a mix of old and new cast members, and this season with special guest star Mischa Barton (ex- The O.C.).
You can check out all-new episodes of Neighbours: A New Chapter on Amazon Freevee Monday through Thursdays in the UK and the U.S. and on Channel 10 in Australia.
Now below, check out our conversation with Lucinda, Rebekah and Stefan. Then let us know what you thought of what befell Melanie, Terese and Paul during ‘Flashback Week’ and what you think of the streaming series reboot via the comment section below.
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