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The Stephen Nichols Interview – The Young and the Restless

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This week, daytime fans get one of their wishes, to see Stephen Nichols back on daytime. After being let-go by Days of our Lives almost a year ago, the talented and popular actor finally debuts on The Young and the Restless, Wednesday, in the role of Tucker McCall — the billionaire mogul revealed last week to be the son of the grand dame of Genoa City, Katherine Chancellor. Not only did Tucker reveal he is the son Katherine gave away, but that piece by piece he dismantled her beloved company and took it for himself! Poor Katherine is still reeling that the child she gave away was not a little girl (as she had thought) but a little boy! Let the fireworks begin! Nichols could not be coming into the role at a more exciting time.

The back-story, as had been reported…Y&R had decided to make a change in the direction of Tucker McCall after casting veteran actor William Russ in the role. After watching Russ on-screen, the powers-that-be thought it best to make a switch sooner than later, and with a phone call to soap vet Stephen Nichols, the show felt they found what they were looking for.

From his role as Stefan on GH to Patch on DAYS, you know that Stephen Nichols is going to play Tucker for all he is worth, and then some. In this exclusive online interview, Nichols talks about his first airdate, working with the legendary Jeanne Cooper, the state of the genre, and being a soap recast for the first time in his career, and finding professional happiness on the set of the number one soap!

Listen to the audio: The Stephen Nichols Interview

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MICHAEL:

How long have you been taping at Y&R as Tucker?

STEPHEN:

I started right before the holidays and it was such a nice Christmas gift.

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MICHAEL:

Your fans and I were so upset to see you let-go as the beloved Patch on DAYS….

STEPHEN:

…You weren’t the only one.

MICHAEL:

So you received a call from Maria Arena Bell (Y&R head writer and co-executive producer), saying that they would like you to take over the pivotal role of Tucker. You must have been beyond excited when you heard that?

STEPHEN:

Yes, I was happy, excited, and terrified all at the same time.

MICHAEL:

What makes this role so unique? Maria had stated that it’s so integral to the show. Did you know the set-up of the character enough before you came in here to start taping?

Yes, they described what the role would be. I think what makes it exciting is that I am connected to so much history on the show. I am the son of the matriarch on the show. And that is very exciting, number one, because it’s always good to start on a new show with a rich history, and you are not some guy from out of nowhere. It’s so great to have ties to the show and to the history of that show. The most exciting part is working with Jeanne Cooper (Katherine). She is amazing!

MICHAEL:

So, when you first premiere this Wednesday, should we grab our popcorn and sit back and enjoy a Katherine and Tucker smackdown?

STEPHEN:

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I don’t want it to be anti-climatic if things don’t work out when you are watching it. (Laughs) But I have to tell you, the first time I worked with her it was as if I had been working with her for 20 years, and Jeanne felt the same way. We had this connection, and you get that feeling once in a while, especially in daytime where it’s a daily grind and you are doing so much material. It’s rare that you have this feeling with another actor, and I had it immediately with her. On my first airdate, something happens in the realm of business between her and me. But once that is revealed we are left alone in the room, and Katherine says something to me that really hit home. So those are the first scenes we have together alone, and they are pretty exciting.

MICHAEL:

You knew of each other’s work?

STEPHEN:

I had seen Jeanne’s work over the years, and I think there is a secret that a lot of soap opera actors keep, and that is we watch each other’s work. There is a television in your dressing room. So if you are on a soap, and you have a TV in your dressing room, and you have some downtime and it’s around noon, you flip around and there you see Y&R or GH, or one of the other shows, and you watch. I am interested in seeing the work of other actors in daytime, and what the stories are, and if the writing is good and what the production values are. I have tuned in several times to Y&R, and every time I have seen Jeanne Cooper on the show, she has been amazing.

MICHAEL:

Y&R’s co-executive producers, Maria Arena Bell and Paul Rauch and I, spoke about you in an upcoming interview. They had said you bring so many complexities, a strength, sexuality, and drama to this character. Is that what we are going to see with your Tucker?

STEPHEN:

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Oh, sexuality. Did they say that? (Laughs) I am an intuitive actor. I don’t know a thing about big business, for example. Now, I have started in the morning reading the business section of the New York Times. I only used to peruse it. But now I read it cover to cover, because I don’t have a head for business. So, I have to trust the writers that they are going to give me good dialog. I see it and I go, “OK, now that sounds pretty good, but I have to understand it.” If I don’t understand it then it’s not going to come off on screen.

MICHAEL:

Are there tricky words used in your corporate scenes like, “Takeover”? (Laughs)

STEPHEN:

Oh, “Takeover” is a very tricky one, (Laughs) and “Dominant Market Share!” There is a lot of stuff I don’t have a clue about, that’s just not my thing, but the writing is very good and they make me look good and sound good.

MICHAEL:

So we can safely assume that the conflict and confrontations between Katherine Chancellor and her son, Tucker, will continue? He is out for revenge on his mother!

STEPHEN:

Yes, he is out for revenge on his mother. I mean any kid that was put in an orphanage at birth, and whose mother put him there and never looked back, would feel resentful of that. So yeah, I am going to get her.

MICHAEL:

You also get the opportunity to work with the rest of the Chancellor clan. There are so many wonderful actors for you to play with.

STEPHEN:

That is the other thing that is unique to this situation. In fact, Maria said this when I was speaking with her one time, “You know this character will be dropped right in the center of all the main characters on the show.” And I thought, “Wow! What a prospect.” It’s been amazing. I have already worked with Eric Braeden (Victor).

MICHAEL:

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How was working with Mr. Braeden, as the powerful Victor Newman? I hear things are going to get very tense between the moguls!

STEPHEN:

My first day, we hit it off great. We had some great scenes. There was a lot electricity and a lot going on. I so appreciate that, because when you prepare yourself at home and then you come into the studio, you don’t really know what’s going to happen until you get on the set and start doing the scenes with the other actors. When you get that tennis match going and people are really going and hitting the ball to you, and you have to hit it back… that is exciting! I can tell you that is what happened with Eric and that is what happened with Peter Bergman (Jack), and all the young guys I have been working with; Daniel Goddard (Cane) and Michael Muhney (Adam), and especially Jess Walton (Jill). She is amazing! We had a couple of scenes last week where right afterwards I said, “Oh, My God. It’s just amazing working with you!”

MICHAEL:

Now that Jill realized Tucker stuck it to Katherine, do you think the romance between Jill and Tucker is still going to move forward?

STEPHEN:

Well, it’s under the surface, because they had a real hot sexual relationship, and unfortunately, William Russ got to play more of that than I did. So I am looking forward to some of that for me!

MICHAEL:

Is Tucker a ‘playa’?

STEPHEN:

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Oh yes, Tucker is a player. I can give you a little tidbit. One night, Tucker gets a knock at the door and it’s Jill, and he was not expecting her. Tucker is trying to get rid of her the whole time she is standing there, and at the end of the scene, once he finally gets her out of the door, a 20-something year old comes out of his bedroom. I say, “I am sorry this took so long.” And she says, “Less talk and more action, baby.” And I say, “Oh well, I like the sound of that.” And then we get to it…. and so… he is a ‘playa’! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Tucker must be torn up inside with huge abandonment issues?

STEPHEN:

He has all that stuff, but he has found a way to create a very strong armor. He doesn’t let it break very often. He does not let anyone see his true feelings, and I think the reason he is such a player is, and it’s my take on it now, is that it’s for that very reason. He does not want to get close to anyone. He does not want to get hurt.

MICHAEL:

So as a recast, how is this going to be handled on-air? Will they make a voice-over announcement, “The part of Tucker McCall will be played by soap superstar, Stephen Nichols?” Or, are they going to have your name on screen under your entrance in typical soap replacement fashion?

STEPHEN:

There is that weirdly embarrassing thing. (Laughs) In fact, I walk out of my bedroom in a robe, and Jill is already out of bed looking out the window. I walk out to see her, and as I am walking out to see her, the director asked me to stop and take a pause at the door before I continued, and that is where they put a chyron emblazed across my robe or my chest, “I am Stephen Nichols and I am playing the part of Tucker McCall.” (Laughs) It’s embarrassing, but fun. It never happened to me before.

MICHAEL:

Is it true what I read previously, that William Russ sent you a note on your first day?

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STEPHEN:

Yes he did. On my first day in my dressing room, on top of my television, was a little piece of paper or a piece of a script, and he had written a note on the back of it and it said, “Good luck with the role, Stephen…William Russ.” It was very nice.

MICHAEL:

How is it at Y&R, compared to your time at GH and DAYS?

STEPHEN:

Things have changed so much in this medium from the time I was at GH, which was from 1996-2003. We were not working quite as fast as we are now. There was a time where it was block and tape and almost no rehearsal. Now, there is virtually no rehearsal. You are lucky if you even get a blocking session, but you get used to it. People say, “Well, how do you learn all those lines?” You just do what you have to do to learn the lines. For some people it’s easier and for some people it’s difficult, but whatever your level is, you do what it takes, because if you don’t, you can’t do the job. It’s the same thing with block and tape. If you can’t do that, then you can’t do the job. You have to find a way where you can do it.

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with Paul Rauch?

STEPHEN:

I worked with Paul on Santa Barbara. I was on the soap for the last three months of its run. We had a good time. Everybody had a good time. First of all, it was a great show with great actors, and really the highest production values of any soap ever on the air, because New World had a hell of a lot of money. We all knew at that point we were going off the air, so everyone was having a good ole’ time. Paul was a lot of fun, and here at Y&R, so far, we have a really good relationship. The thing about Paul is he has really good taste. You can tell by the way he dresses… the man’s got taste. When he gives a note, he knows exactly what he is saying. Paul is very specific and he does not do it very often, and that is a sign of a good producer. He really allows people to breathe and to be creative and to let the thing happen. If it is not quite right, he will get out there and say, “This is the note.” I mean, I have only been here at Y&R a short time, but the notes to me have made perfect sense. He is hands-on, and his eyes are always watching what is going on.

MICHAEL:

You have seen the best and the worst of the genre; budget cuts, stars being dismissed, and cancellations. Are you concerned about what is happening now?

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STEPHEN:

You know, you’ve got to roll with the punches. This is life and that is what life is about, and it’s also about change. Anyone who thinks just because they have a job today, they will have a job tomorrow…. this past year is evidence for me to the contrary. It would be a shame to see daytime go away completely, because it is such a part of American culture, and we have so many die-hard fans. How many shows can say they have an audience for 35 or 40 years? No shows except daytime shows, perhaps some of the game shows. So, it’s important to remember that soaps are part of American culture. If television executives are smart, they will find a way to continue to make daytime thrive.

MICHAEL:

Do you see Tucker as a true villain?

STEPHEN:

No. I don’t believe there is such a thing, unless it’s a cartoon. You said something about humanity before and everyone has humanity, and you aren’t human if you don’t feel things, and at some point it’s going to show. I do enjoy playing villains, but I enjoy playing complex characters more. People have so many different facets to them. These writers are very good. The thing I love about the scripts here is; there is always extra stuff between the lines about character motivation, and you don’t see that very often. I saw it the first year and half I was at GH. The ones who wrote really good dialog, like Patrick Mulcahey, that is always very helpful. So I am not in the dark. I don’t have to call up and say, “What do you mean by this or that?”

MICHAEL:

Did anyone show you around your first day?

STEPHEN:

Jess Walton took me around. She introduced me to everybody and the crew, and every single person I met here including all the actors have been so warm, and even the B&B people I see across the hall! Don Diamont (Bill, B&B) said, “Welcome to the building!” and John McCook (Eric) and Ronn Moss, (Ridge). You see these guys at all the soap events over the years, and I don’t know them well, but to have them come up to me and be so sweet made me feel warm and comfortable. I really appreciated it.

©Nancy Lee Grahn.com

MICHAEL:

You took part two weekends ago at a Haitian Relief fundraising effort that your former cast mate Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) organized. What are your thoughts on the disaster in Haiti and what we should all being doing to help?

STEPHEN:

The Red Cross has raised something like a hundred and seventy some million dollars for Haitian Relief, mostly from this country, and that is fantastic! I think people are finally getting the message that we live in a global community with the internet and this quick connection to everybody and the sharing of information. We know what is going on in every corner of the world. We cannot close our eyes anymore and live in our little house bubble. We have to be proactive throughout the world and if someone else is in trouble, we have to do something about it.

MICHAEL:

So did Nancy just call and say…

STEPHEN:

…. Nancy called me the night before and said, “Hey it’s tomorrow at 3PM, can you do it?” My day was booked and I did not know if I could do it, but I got done what I needed to, and I got over to the Rose Bowl quick. There were a lot of young DAYS actors there, who I did not know. (Laughs) There were some GH people there, too, and some folks I knew from other shows. We stood there and collected money as people drove up and put their checks in the box. I think we raised that day something like $100,000.

MICHAEL:

So what can we expect from Tucker McCall, the Stephen Nichols version?

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STEPHEN:

He will be very, very cool, and he will be full of a lot of fire and a lot of surprises.

MICHAEL:

And finally, your avid fan base that has followed you through all of the twists and turns of your soap career must have been overjoyed to hear about your new role!

STEPHEN:

They are excited. I have been almost off DAYS a year. In February it will be a year, and they were getting really tired of not hearing from me. And, they did not see me, so I would do a couple of online chats and we would get together that way. The last chat was right before I got this gig, and I could not tell them. I had to keep it a secret. So I said, “Don’t worry. I bet something is coming down the pike. There will be some really excited news. I can just feel it.” (Laughs) They are very happy and I am happy to be back.

MICHAEL:

You were told by Y&R not to say anything to anyone?

STEPHEN:

I was not sure if I could tell my own mother! So I said to Y&R publicity, “My mother won’t tell anybody. Can I call her and tell her?” They said, “Yes, you can tell your mother.” My mother needed some good news at this point. She lives in Ohio and my grandmother just celebrated her 105th birthday. I want to say, “Happy Birthday, Maddie!”

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MICHAEL:

Does your mom watch your work?

STEPHEN:

Oh, absolutely. She is very proud.

MICHAEL:

Does she call you up and go, “Why are you kissing that woman?”

STEPHEN:

Once in awhile she will say something like that, especially if I have a love scene. She will usually say, “You are too thin!” (Laughs)

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mary
Guest
mary

I am so looking forward to seeing Stephen on Y & R. He is just the breath of fresh air the show needed. I loved him as Patch and I am sure he will be great as Tucker.

Kimbalee
Guest
Kimbalee

What a great interview! I am sure Stephen will be great on Y & R. I hope he stays for many years.

Doe
Guest
Doe

Michael, that is a very intersting interview with Stephen.I’ve always liked him as Patch on Days, but didn’t know too much about him. So, this interview gave me a good look at his personality. I already know about his good looks. It will be be great to see his take on Tucker and what he will be bringing to this role. I am hoping for some good fights between he and Victor and Jeanne….

cindy
Guest
cindy

Loved the interview.. I’ve been a fan since the early days.. and still love to rewatch the Patchman going after Bo and Hope.. Followed him to all the shows, and love meeting all the other fans. The role of Tucker is great, and I’m so happy to hear that Mr. Nichols is happy there. Have the recorders all ready.. I can’t wait to edit out the tucker scenes and be able to rewatch the MAN in action again.

Sherry
Guest
Sherry

Thanks for the interview Michael. Stephen will bring so much to the role of Tucker. With Stephen in the role I know we will see so many more layers to this character and the sexiness will be off the scale. I’m counting down the hours until his first show airs.

Nad
Guest
Nad

Great interview, and it’s SO great to have Stephen coming back to daytime. He’s gonna ROCK the Tucker character! Good luck Stephen! You know we love ya.

Susan Nash
Guest
Susan Nash

I have never seen Stephen Nichols in any other soaps, but am looking forward to seeing him as Tucker. William Russ did a good job, but Stephen Nichols character of Tucker McCall, I feel will be more of an equal to Victor Newman. His interview gave me an idea of what he will bring to the role as an actor. What a class act! I am looking forward to his scenes.

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

Thank you for this wonderful interview.

Stephen is such a terrific guy and an amazing actor. I’m thrilled that he’s back on TV again, even if it means I have to learn a whole new soap opera, LOL. I’ve no doubt it will be worth it.

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen Nichols since I first saw him as Steve Johnson on Days back in the 1980’s. I was so happy to find out that he was going to be the new Tucker McCall. I’m happy that he has found a place where he can be happy with the way they are running the show. Congratulations to Mr. Nichols he deserves all the success.

Sherry S.
Guest
Sherry S.

This is the perfect venue for Stephen Nichols! I’m thrilled he’s on the top rated soap! Loved the interview!

Linda P
Guest
Linda P

Thank you for the interview. Stephen Nichols appearing on Y and R will make 2010 a terrific year to watch daytime TV. SO LOOKING FORWARD to his talents again showing up for everyone’s enjoyment.

Diane
Guest
Diane

While I loved Russ in this role initially, I knew once I heard the character was changing from the original concept, that Steve was the one to play him.I have loved him since his days on DAYS and was a huge fan when he was on GH as well. Looking forward to a wild and crazy ride from this man on Y &R and I can’t wait for him to lock horns with old Vic! (Victor Newman!) Welcome and good luck.

Donna
Guest
Donna

i have been a fan of Stephen Nichols forever. i remember the first time i saw him on Days and was hooked. i am so happy to know that he is back on screen. i know he will rock as Tucker. Stephen is a great guy and is very good to his fans. the interview was great. you asked some very good questions.

Rich
Guest
Rich

I can’t wait to see Nichols in the role, not only because he’s a strong actor, but because William Russ was such a failure. There was nothing threatening, edgy, or mysterious about Russ’ Tucker — nothing. Scenes that should have been exciting weren’t, he had no chemistry with Jess Walton, and I never believed him as a business exec with an agenda. Knowing Nichols’ past work, all this will change immediately. Maybe William Russ is a nice guy, but that nice guy came through much too much — and the guy badly needed a haircut. Talk about a hair model.… Read more »

JT
Guest
JT

Im absolutely watching Tucker for Stephen. In fact Im watching Y&R for Stephen and Tucker.

I hope Tucker gets a long run and remains on Y&R and I hope they develop Tucker’s history and delve into what the abandonment did and led to.

Jill
Guest
Jill

Loved the interview and was excited to see Stephen back on screen!!!! I saw how William Russ was playing the character and it needed the change to really fine tune the storyline…..I just didn’t quite feel it with him. The nasty was there but it was MAJOR understated and it needed to be pushed a bit more.

I’m definitely a “McCall Girl”!!!

Can’t wait for more tucker against Jack and Victor!

Norman Thomason
Guest
Norman Thomason

I liked the other Tucker and I got used to seeing his face and I didn’t like the change in him. The other guy is not like the other Tucker and I wish you could change him back. This other guy in not as cool as Tucker.

s wainwright
Guest
s wainwright

No offence to the new guy playing Tucker McCall but I like the old one better and think he should have stayed. He justhad the “Tucker McCall” look.

Darcy
Guest
Darcy

Nicely done Interview I really laughed at his mom commenting on his work.. I have to say I did like Russ’s Tucker McCall and will have to get use to Nichols portraying him. The character may be in for a changeover but I hope that the laid back every day kind of guy billionnaire persona that Russ portrayed so well doesn’t entirely disappear. I’ve watched Nichols work over the years so I’m familiar with him especially as I am a huge Stefan Cassadine fan…and DOL Patch fan. But I will miss William Russ. I don’t like when they do these… Read more »

carol
Guest
carol

love him please keep him on for a long long time the best to come along in ages

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

I am so glad to see Steve here at Y &R. I loved him on Days and I believe he will do great as Tucker McCall. Glad to have him back on daytime, he was missed/

Megan
Guest
Megan

Awesome interview Michael! Thanks so much. I am really excited about finally getting Stephen back on my screen on the #1 rated soap. It would be a dream come true if Mary Beth Evans would show up in Genoa City as well. I would love to see what Hogan could write for them as two totally new characters since he was never really given that chance on Days.

carol
Guest
carol

i hope they keep him on forever

Charles A Moreland
Guest
Charles A Moreland

I think that he will fill the role great and do a good job acting

Shell
Guest
Shell

i am so thrilled to see him again on a soap, i have had a major crush on him for years (since kayla and patch days) must add y&r to my daily routine!

gloria
Guest
gloria

I stopped in at my sister’s, and she had Y&R on (mute) Then I saw Stephen!! Well, I guess I am an Y&R fan now. I watched him on Days –early days, Santa Barbara, General Hospital,and then Days again. Blissful days are here again!

Amber
Guest
Amber

I never saw SN till YR. I like him much better as Tucker. I gave the other guy a chance but still never liked him. What a great debut scene for SN….you’re fired! I only wish he had started in the role. Really enjoyed the interview. Wonderful job both of you. I would like to see this Tucker around for a long time.

pat
Guest
pat

Big fan of Y&R! Tucker has grown on me. He is a good actor. Sure not missing the one he replaced. Never watched Days of Our Lives or General Hospital. Just Y&R faithfully.

kathymiller
Guest
kathymiller

i am a huge fan of stephen nichols and i wish he could be back on days playing steve(PATCH) with kayla he is a excellent actor and i wish that the producers of days could find a part for stephen nichols to remain on the show with kayla. your sincere fan kathy miller

Interviews

Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Kim Waltrip Talk Plans & Launch Campaign To Make ‘Dial Emme For Murder’ into a Series

Two-time Daytime Emmy winner, and soap opera favorite Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R and Ex-Kristen/Susan, Days) is bringing one of her soap opera mystery novels to life with a proposed six-part series for the soapy and hilarious mystery, Dial Emme For Murder.

Joining Eileen in the cast will be none other than Judith Chapman (Gloria, Y&R) , Knots Landing favorite, Donna Mills (Ex-Abby), and primetime TV and film actress, Nancy Valen.  More cast members will be announced in the future.

Photo: JPI

In Dial Emme for Murder, Davidson plays actress Emmanuelle “Emme” Peterson, a successful soap star who finds herself smack dab in the middle of a  whodunit.

Now, in conjunction with the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television (PSWIFT), and its president and director/producer, Kim Waltrip, Davidson is launching a fundraising campaign to get the series made.

Photo: EDavidson

In an exclusive interview on the Michael Fairman Channel, Eileen, Judith and Kim exclusive reveal key Intel on the project, campaign and working together.  The proposed series has also launched its official website here.

About PSWIFT:  PSWIFT (Palm Springs Women in Film & Television) is a non-profit organization, founded in 2001 dedicated to promoting our members, both men and women in the Entertainment, New Media Creative arts community. In 2020 Palm Springs Women in Film & Television created and launched a Filmmakers’ Lab to teach members how to make a film, by making a film, hands-on.

PSWIFT is currently seeking donations through their non-profit – which are 100% tax-deductible – to fund the Filmmakers’ Lab’s next venture Dial Emme for Murder.  You can find out more on the different perks and packages if you donate to the project here.

Watch the interview with Michael, Eileen, Judith, and Kim below.

Then let us know, if you think Dial Emme for Murder featuring powerhouse actress, Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Donna Mills, will be a must-see for you via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Chats On Mia St. John’s Powerful Interview on ‘State of Mind’, Winning the Daytime Emmy & Sonny’s Future If Carly & Jason Get Hitched

Since the launch of Maurice Benard’s You Tube series, State of Mind, he has welcomed numerous guests who have opened up and shared their struggles with different aspects of mental health.  But this Sunday, July 11th, Maurice will share for the first time his powerful and emotional sit-down interview with Mia St. John; one that he reveals was one of the most moving of his series thus far.

With Maurice being a huge boxing enthusiast throughout his life, having St. John, who is a boxer, herself, on as a guest was, of course, special. However, as soap fans know, Mia is also the former wife of the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters, Y&R) and they shared a son, Julian.  Both men died, tragically. Julian, suffered from a long-history of mental illness, and his death was ruled a suicide, and Kristoff was consumed with grief following his son’s death which ultimately set him on a downward spiral.  Kristoff’s death was ruled accidental caused by hypertrophic heart disease; which was exacerbated by alcohol use.  In the conversation with Benard, Mia opens about her own personal struggle with addiction and how she coped with these two devastating losses. (See an exclusive preview clip below within this interview)

It’s also been a whirlwind year for Maurice. He just took home his third Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series during the 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards for his moving portrayal as GH’s Sonny Corinthos, as he goes through all the stages of a child watching his father, Mike Corbin (played by Emmy-winner Max Gail) slip away due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Since the Emmy broadcast was pre-taped due to Covid restrictions, except for revealing who the winners actually were, Benard shares what went down when his name was called watching the show from home with his family.

 

And … things are heating up on General Hospital!  For months, Benard has been playing an amnesiac Sonny aka “Mike” who has become taken with deceitful Nina (Cynthia Watros), who knows he is alive and well and living in Nixon Falls, but fails to tell her nemesis Carly (Laura Wright), or anyone else in Port Charles.  With everyone believing Sonny is dead after his showdown with Julian Jerome, Carly and Jason (Steve Burton) find themselves having to save Sonny’s territory and go up against the five families.  So, what are the besties deciding to do? Get married! And as viewers saw, Carly recently removed her wedding rings to Sonny.  So, now the question on GH fans inquiry minds is; will Sonny get his memory back in time, and stop Jason and Carly from tying the knot?

Benard weighs-in on what the future may hold for Sonny, the difficulties he faced during the Covid-19 lockdown with his mental health, his conversation with Mia, and much more.  Here’s what Maurice shared.

Courtesy/StateofMind

Having Mia St. John on as your guest on the upcoming episode of State of Mind was quite emotional for you. What can you preview? 

MAURICE:  I can say that during last ten minutes, there’s a lot of spiritual stuff going on.  I felt it.  She’s very tough.  You can tell that she doesn’t want to hurt anymore, and with me, I don’t know for sure, but I think she felt safe and protected.  We got into Julian and Kristoff and what happened.  I’m pretty sure I asked her and said, “I’d like to get into something.  You could say ‘no’ to me.  It’s fine,” and she told me the whole story.  Michael, I know you were friends with Kristoff, you’re going to really be moved because I was extremely moved.  It really, really hit me hard, because of what I’ve just been through during the pandemic. I just felt the need to be there for her.  I mean, I have that in me anyway, but with her, I did because it seemed like a lot for someone to go through.  I didn’t know Kristoff.  I met him once, and we talked for a bit.  He seemed like a great guy.  I knew he was a great actor because I watched his work.  I do know that everybody seemed to love him, but through State of Mind, it seemed like I got to know him a little better through Mia.  I was looking in her eyes, and taking it all in, and she was telling me everything.

Throughout your series, you seemed to have become more comfortable in the role of the interviewer.  It’s quite the switch isn’t it from always being on the other end as the interviewee.

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve gotten better.  You know what it is with me, and somebody said it, I’ve got a curiosity that I love to hear people’s stories, and I have a way to make people comfortable.

Photo: KSJIG

Does it help you in listening to what other people have gone through in dealing with your own struggles with mental illness?

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve said it before.  It’s like therapy for me.  After Mia, I was drained, but in a good way.  In the beginning of doing “State of Mind’, I was just learning.  I wish I was more well-rounded in my intelligence.  I barely graduated out of high school, but as far as what it is with me, if I know something like acting or mental health, I really completely know it.  I’m into it.

How did the interview with Mia come about?  Did you ask her to come on State of Mind?

MAURICE:  I know who is involved with mental health.  I know who would be interesting to interview, and then I reach out, and I have people coming who are not in the soap world.  I have a WWE person; I have a TV critic, etc.  So, I asked her, and Mia said ‘yes’, and then we did the interview.  I’m a huge boxing fan.  So, to be able to talk to her about boxing and things that happened to her right before her fights, I was just really fascinated.

That is right in your wheelhouse!

MAURICE:  Way up my alley!  If I could have more boxers on, I would love that.  I love sports, but boxing is my one sport, so I was like a kid in a candy store talking to Mia.

How do you feel Mia is doing as she has been very open about her battle with alcoholism?

MAURICE: Any time you’ve been through that much, I think it’s a daily struggle for anyone. In addition, there is a really great organization she works with that I hope people will check out as she is trying to help others.

In terms of all of your State of Mind’s, did this one impact you in a different way?

MAURICE:  The good thing for me about State of Mind is that I learn from each person about things that I didn’t know.  For instance, coming up I have: Linsey Godfrey (Ex-Sarah, DAYS) who got hit by a car.  I mean, you could read about it, but when you’re talking to someone, things come out.  That’s what I love about doing this show.  Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R) didn’t know anything about mental illness, personally, but he talked about mental illness more than anyone!  I said to him on the episode, “For somebody who doesn’t know anything about mental illness or didn’t have someone with it, you talk more about it,” because he had a curiosity on the subject.  Mia’s was a little more because of the boxing and how deep we went with her talking about death.  In an upcoming episode with Ken Shriner (Scott, GH), he teaches me a lot about death.  When your parents die at 16, I don’t know how you could keep going.  He taught me how.  It was beautiful.

Photo: NATAS/CBS

Let’s go back to a few weeks ago on June 25th and you win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  How did you find out you took home the gold?

MAURICE:  I was at my place in LA with my son, Joshua and my wife, Paula and we were watching the show.  When they called my name, I was very moved to watch my wife and my son get so excited, it really was sweet.  I liked my speech even though people had a problem with it, which is fine.  It’s always great if Max Gail wins or I get a win, because it’s the Alzheimer’s storyline that gets the attention.  And as I told you already, my dad has Alzheimer’s so it makes it even more personal.

And as you know, my mom had Alzheimer’s and died.  That’s why what you and Max did together on-screen together felt so real and raw and touched so many people – especially those who have a loved one going through this now, or that has passed.

MAURICE:  Yeah, it’s tough. I truly believe with this Emmy win, that it is the Alzheimer’s that really pushed it over the edge because it was a real story, greatly written, everybody deals with it, including you, including me, and you just can’t help but have a feeling about it.  You know, if I have a reel that shows me as Sonny yelling at people, beating people up, it’s not going to give you the impact.

Photo: NATAS

Was it weird coming to the stage and doing a pre-taped Emmy acceptance speech knowing that everybody else that was nominated had to do one too?

MAURICE:  Well, thank, God I didn’t have to do it in front of actors; I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it.  It’s weird, right?  I knew I had to adjust.  When I’ve won before, it’s in front of a lot of people, or semi-in front in a lot of people.  So, with this year, your energy is different.  So, you can’t act in a speech like that, because then it would seem kind of over the top, maybe.  So, I just made a speech that I thought would work for what I was doing; which is kind of acting because I didn’t want to come out and say, “Oh, my God!  I can’t believe it!”  So, I said, “Okay, I’ll thank the actors, I’ll thank Frank, and I’ll make it about Alzheimer’s.”

Photo: GFrancisTwitter

I know some fans on social media jumped on the comment you made within the speech about ‘being the star of the show’ and you did tweet out that you went to Genie Francis (Laura, GH) to make sure there were no ruffled feathers there.

MAURICE:  I went to Genie because I thought, I don’t want her to take what I said personally, and she’s like, “What are you talking about?”  Sometimes I respond to a negative comment on Twitter with an emoji which can incite people.  So, I decided, “I’m not going to do that anymore. No more responding.”  Like I always say, you want to be loved and you want to be hated.  You just want to be loved a little more. So, I stopped with the child’s play.  I’m cool with it.

It seemed that things got twisted up, because you had related in the speech, that Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) came over to you and said you have to do the storyline, because you are the star of the show, when you were overcome in the screen-test with Max Gail. 

MAURICE:  Sometimes people love to change the narrative.  If you watch everything … they say what I said, but they don’t say that I also said ‘Alzheimer’s’ was the star, but I’ll take the hit.

Courtesy/ABC

I recently posted a clip of my interview with Cynthia Watros from the red carpet at the Daytime Emmys saying how she is so thrilled and honored to work with you.  How is it working with Cynthia?

MAURICE:  Let me tell you about Cynthia, and this is just my experience because I don’t know her that well.  We hadn’t worked together before. First of all, we tend to overlook, because of her character and the story, or whatnot, is that she is a real actress.  Let’s not forget that, I know she did Lost, and I didn’t watch her on another soap.  I know from working with her.  She can act She makes adjustments, and she listens, and I’m really happy to be working with her.  She is just stuck in a circumstance that is not her fault, but you know what, like I said today I think on Twitter to somebody, ‘but wait’.  I’ve been working this last month doing some scenes with her, and when you see that, there’s a little bit of magic in there!  I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world, I’m just saying there’s a little magic!

Photo: ABC

Have you liked being “Mike “and not having Sonny’s memory because it opened up the story?

MAURICE:  I know people think this story is my idea, like I needed a break or something.  It has nothing to do with me needing a break.  They came to me and said they were going to do this story.  I said, “Let’s do this!”  I’ve been enjoying this.  It’s a different energy.  The energy that Sonny has is dark.  It’s like in third gear.  Mike is like in first gear, calm, relaxed, happy.

You’re just realizing that now?

MAURICE:  (Laughs) Well, I guess until you’ve gone somewhere else you really don’t know.  Often times, when I do movies and other projects, it’s often the same kind of energy that Sonny has. I’ve never played a character like “Mike” where it’s a whole other feeling!

Courtesy/ABC

Is it more challenging to play a character like Mike?

MAURICE:  No, easier!  Sonny can be difficult to play.  But guess what?  The audience – at least my fans – they don’t care how happy I am or whatever, they are screaming “Go back to fricken Sonny!”  I like that in a way, but I didn’t know that it was going to be this vocal from people.  It’s not that they hate Mike, they just want Sonny, and Cynthia is put in a tough situation because of her history in that character.

So, now everyone saw last week that Jason and Carly have decided they have to get married for the sake of the business with Sonny believed-to-be-dead.  What did you think when you heard that they were going in that direction with the story?

MAURICE:  Well, I was the last one to know.  I didn’t know they were going to get married until I heard about it in the makeup room.  I think the first thing I thought of was … we are all going to be having some great scenes coming up, like, “Alright.  Let’s rock and roll!  Let’s do it!  I’ll get into this character of Sonny when called upon.”  It might be and dark and the whole thing, but once I’m in there, I’m fine.

Courtesy/ABC

It would seem if Carly and Jason do actually get married, it’s not going to be an easy road to reconciliation for Carly and Sonny down the line.

MAURICE:  No.  I would say not.  The thing about Sonny is that it’s what Sonny does best, or what I do playing him best, is betrayal.  So, for him, this is not a good thing.  I would assume he’s just going to go, “What the…” and all hell is going to break loose.

Sonny’s body washed ashore and he was very much alive, while the search and rescue mission quickly became a recovery.  Once again, law enforcement in Port Charles isn’t very good! (Laughs)

MAURICE:  So, there you go.  It’s going to be a bigger fight.  It’s going to be a great fight when Sonny does return.

Photo: ABC

Fans are predicting that Jason and Carly are going to be at the altar, and Sonny is going to walk in alive and well with his memory back to the nuptials!

MAURICE:  Well, however it goes, I would say, just let them just watch the fireworks as they unfold.

But you’re enjoying this story?

MAURICE:  I’m cool, man.  I will say this, I’m glad that I have been given this last month playing Mike, and the Nixon Falls story.   I don’t know how much more we have ahead.  I just know that what we’ve taped has been really cool, and I’m glad that they gave me that.

Photo: ABC

I know that the coronavirus pandemic and its isolation was rough for you.  What can you share, and how did you find your way out of a downward spiral?

MAURICE:  Yeah, Covid was just one of those things where I was hit with a lot of different things all at once, which was …  GH shutting down production, my book tour not being in New York (although the book ended up probably doing better because of the pandemic, which was interesting) … my mom and dad moved out …  and I thought it was the end of the world.  We all did at some point, and it all hit me with a rush of anxiety that I had never felt before in my entire life, and it was four months of terror … way too long. I was shaking like a leaf, not sleeping, it was tough.  What I tell people is that when you go through these things, it will pass.  I know, for me, four months was too long, but it did pass.  You’re better because of it.  You can take one of either two roads.  You can get worse, and you can say, “I’m a victim, I’m a victim,” or you can take the other road and say, “I’m stronger now.  Look at what I’ve been through,” and then, look at what happens … a year and a half later, look at what my life is.  I have a pond here at home, and I used to run around this pond crying my eyes out, every morning crying, like I couldn’t do it anymore, and a year later, I walk around the pond like it’s the greatest thing in the world, but that’s what this is, this mental health.  You can think you can’t go on, but then it rewards you with a better life.

Photo: Noah Harmon

I was going to say, that’s pretty profound.  When you were going through the four months, did you think you were going to come out of it okay?

MAURICE:  No,   I’m going to be honest.  I finally got on Lexapro after three months.  If Lexapro didn’t work, I can’t say positively what would have happened.  It gradually made me feel better.  Like I have said, if GH had called me a month before, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the storyline.  It would have been the end.  I wouldn’t have been able to go back to work, because I was in that state of mind.  So, they called at the right time.  I went back to work and I was on Lexapro.  The thing about Lexapro is – and we always tell people to get professional help. There are a lot of people like me, and I’ve got to say, first you get professional help because you’re on the brink of whatever.  So the first five days of taking Lexapro, you feel worse than you did just before you started taking it, and that is scary because you’re like, “I can’t take this.  This is horrible,” and then I stayed on it.  It got gradually better, and just a month and a half ago or so, I weaned myself off.

How are you feeling now?

MAURICE:  Oh, let me tell you, the day that I weaned off, was a Thursday, and I wasn’t going to take it, and I was on my bed, and I felt the greatest I felt maybe, ever.  Now, I’m not saying people should go off it, whatever, because I was on it for like 8 months or something, but it saved my life like lithium for my bipolar disorder, and that’s an amazing thing that these pills could do.  What happened with me with the pandemic is that I had never really taken anything for anxiety.  I had only taken lithium, and I’d been on lithium for 30 years, but for anxiety, I never wanted to take anything, but if you’re bad, if you’re like (you know those gears I’ve been talking about) in 4th and I was like in 5th gear, you’d better get some help, man, because you can’t get off it on your own.

Photo: State of Mind

I want to conclude checking in on your dad, Humberto.  When did you learn he had Alzheimer’s, and how is he doing now?  

MAURICE: It’s been a while since I found out.  I didn’t really want to talk about it, and then I did something in People magazine with the book, and I asked him if I could talk about it, and he said “yeah”.  So, it gave me the green light, and that was maybe 10 months ago.  He’s actually doing good.  It’s slowly kind of happening but that is how the disease works.  This has been a really great conversation, man!

So, what do you think will happen with Sonny aka “Mike”? Will he return to Port Charles before Carly and Jason tie the knot?  Have you been watching Maurice’s State of Mind series, and has it helped you with any of your mental health issues or concerns? Were you happy that Maurice took home the gold this year for his portrayal in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Shares Her Emotions & Reactions On Her Second Daytime Emmy Win for Lead Actress

Last Friday night on CBS broadcast of the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy Forrester) took home the gold in the hotly contested Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category.  This marks Jacqui’s second win.

MacInnes Wood’s performance in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline, that aired in 2020, was the ticket to victory for the talented young actress and new mom to her second son, Lenix.

As viewers saw, the Emmy telecast was pre-recorded including all the nominees taping acceptances speeches ahead of air; with the winner being revealed for the very first time on the broadcast.

 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Jacqui post-Emmys, to find out how she felt about her speech, her emotions at having her name called for the second time in her career, and how she felt Steffy’s addiction storyline resonated with so many people at home, and obviously, the Emmy voters.  Here’s what she had to say …

Photo: NATAS/CBS

What was it like for you to do have to pre-tape your acceptance speech?  Yours, actually came off very in-the-moment, because you kind of stumbled over a word, but it seemed like you were very excited.

JACQUELINE:  Yeah!  I was very excited.  Of course, it is strange to do it that way.  I am very grateful that I was up to my nose in The Bold and the Beautiful scenes and dialogues in the week and the days before, that whole week.  I wasn’t sitting around going, “I’m going to rehearse this in the mirror.”  I just wanted it to be very heartfelt and real.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t like last time – I truly was not expecting it the first time I won.  I think that this time I wanted to be mindful of who to thank and talk about the story, which was so important to bring up opioid addiction, and I really wanted to thank Brad Bell (executive producer and executive producer, B&B) for giving me this story, and allowing me to tell it, because it was such an important message to tell.  Even though this year’s Daytime Emmys were shot differently, I was still nervous. I was so excited to get on a stage. Last year, we were on a Zoom, so it was nice to be able to do this on a stage again.

So where were you on Emmy night?  Were you watching the broadcast at home?  

JACQUELINE:  I was at home, and I was with my friends and my family.  To be honest, it was such a fun way to do it.  Even though it was so wild the way that we shot it – they do this on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Sometimes they’ll do it live, but everyone has their acceptance speech.  I was just happy during the Emmy taping day to be dressed up, wearing high heels, and to be with my cast, Then, I got to celebrate watching it with my friends and family.  It was so cool to find out in that moment, then afterwards we ended up going out.  We went to Ronn Moss’ (Ex-Ridge, B&B) house for a party, where Ronn was performing, and it was great to be with some of the cast and have everybody together.  So, we danced the night away, and it was so much fun.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Of course, if we had been able to be at the Daytime Emmys that way would have been great, but it was nice to be able to go, “Okay, I can celebrate in my casual clothes, and dance, and not be uncomfortable.”

Photo: JMW Instagram

Were your children, Rise and newborn Lenix, with you watching when their mom won her second Daytime Emmy?

JACQUELINE:  My children were with me, and we celebrated together, and of course they don’t really understand what is going on, but they just saw all of us jumping around.  I probably scared my 4-month-old.  My mom ended up watching them.  Then, we all went out.  So, it was a good night.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

Did you have an inkling that you were a frontrunner to take home the gold as Lead Actress for your work in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline?

JACQUELINE:  Were there times when I thought I could win?  I wasn’t sure, but I knew what we did was very special.  The first time I won, I was very proud of myself knowing I had to do all of these long scenes, but I was not expecting to win.  This time, I thought there was a possibility, and I wouldn’t say that it’s all because of me.  I know it’s cliché, but honestly those days when we were filming, you could just feel the energy.  Everyone brought it.  We do film so quickly, and some performances are great, and some of them aren’t, whether it’s because you don’t sleep that night, you don’t know your dialogue that well, you don’t understand why your character is doing a certain thing, but you’re trying to figure it out.  When we were filming these scenes, I thought it was just such an important story to tell, and I felt like everyone gave it 110%.  I looked at everyone, and I knew we were all connected, and even though it was such a heavy storyline, there was something so magical those days and those weeks of filming.  I was so proud of everyone, and it wasn’t something that was like, “Here I am forcing myself to cry,” I was like, “I am just going to be in this scene and really tell this story that millions of people have gone through.” When I watched back those scenes after they initially aired, it was not only about the cast, but it was just how the audio had been added, how the directing was done (since we had to be six feet away from each other because of Covid-19 protocols) which made it all come to life.

Did you think when you came into this medium that you wind up being a two-time Daytime Emmy-winner?  Was it something that you aspired to have?

JACQUELINE:  I think yes and no.  I can’t sit there and say, “No, I didn’t.”  I have goals for myself, and you want to manifest some things, so I wanted to visualize that one day.  I’m in this industry, and I want to do the work, and I eventually wanted to have the Emmy one day, absolutely.  I’d be lying if I said, “I just want to go with the flow, and if I get an award, great.”  No.  I definitely thought about it and said, “Okay, this is something that I do want one day. I didn’t think I’d have two!  I just wanted an award, one day.  So, I think that’s amazing in itself, but I am very honored.

Courtesy/CBS

So, during the Lead Actress nominee package during the Daytime Emmy broadcast, they showed the gut-wrenching clips of yours, where Steffy admits in front of Ridge, Liam and Finn, “I’m addicted.  I’m addicted.  I have a problem.”  Do you remember performing those scenes?

JACQUELINE:  You know, you remember it sometimes as if you’re out of your body. In that moment, I remember being so in my body, but in a good way.  To say those words, to finally realize how heavy – even in talking to you right now – my body feels heavy.  I felt the weight of what Steffy was finally admitting. It broke Steffy, and it broke me.  I’ve never been in that position, but I did my research, and I looked up people who have suffered from addiction and the families, and to look over at Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) and see the heartbreak in his eyes, in Ridge’s eyes, to see what Steffy was doing to other people – she realizes in that moment, “Oh, my God. I am addicted.”  Looking back at those scenes, there is just so much truth in them, and for so many people who have been there.  It just breaks my heart that people have to go through this every day.  People sent me messages from all over the place, it was amazing.  I couldn’t believe the number of direct messages they sent me on my Instagram.  It was pretty incredible.

Courtesy/CBS

Your performance just felt so raw and real, which is why I think it registered with people who have been in that situation, and for the peer vote for the Emmy.  Whenever I talk to other actors about what they look for in judging other performers work, they always say they look for the truth. They don’t want to see a false note delivered in a performance.

JACQUELINE:  Absolutely.  For sure.  That’s why I’m so proud of everyone in the scenes because they all gave that.  It wasn’t like you look over at a cast member and went, “Oh, what’s my line?”  We were there.  It just gave me goosebumps.  It isn’t just my award.  It was everybody’s award.  When you get to really feel like you’re really alive in these scenes, living in those scenes, it’s such an incredible feeling. After this win, I am just riding the wave right now and really just enjoying it.

Photo: MFTV Inc.

Well, I’ll finish on this last question: How do you rate our Emmy photo together this year? (Laughs) We have well-documented our issues taking a decent photo together; usually because we break up laughing trying to take one.

JACQUELINE: (Laughs) I mean, okay … I am happy that we had those LED bars of light.  We have to have LED lighting around us 24/7.  So, I’ll give it a 9.5 rating   Moving forward, we need indoor, 3-4 LED lights, and we’ll be good.  Now that I have two Emmys, I’m going to be asking for that lighting moving forward … now that I’ve turned into a diva. (Laughs)

Share your congratulations to Jacqui via the comment section below … and let us know your thoughts on her winning her second Daytime Emmy – this time for Steffy’s powerful opioid addiction storyline.  But first, check out our red carpet interview with more with the eventual Lead Actress Emmy winner.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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