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The Steve Burton Interview – The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/CBS

Photo Credit: CBS

One of the biggest stars in the soap genre landed in Genoa City two and half years ago, and since that time there has been no looking back for Daytime Emmy winner and fan favorite, Steve Burton.  Playing the role of a war vet and all around good guy, Dylan McAvoy on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, and learning about his on-screen family ties has been the backdrop for plenty of drama.  After all, it turned out Dylan is the bio-child of none other than rich, and often boozing socialite, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott), and the man always on the right side of the law, Paul Williams (Doug Davidson).  But while trying to adjust to his new connections, Dylan’s former flame Avery Bailey Clark (Jessica Collins) was also in town, and the two struck up their romance that had many ups and downs.  But in the end the two parted ways, especially when it became apparent that Dylan had fallen for the often misunderstood, often troubled, but loveable and beautiful Sharon Newman (Sharon Case), who has been doing everything she can to get her life back on track.  Now Sharon is pregnant with Dylan’s child.  The question is can the duo known as “Shylan” build a family, and find happiness that will last?

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Steve Burton to get his thoughts on the rollercoaster ride that his character has gone through in the love department of late, and to chat with him about his co-stars, past and present.  Recently, Jessica Collins finished her four year run on the series as Avery, and shared heart-tugging final scenes with Dylan.  Steve fills us in on the dramatic and emotional finish to their on-screen relationship, and moving on to work with Y&R stalwart Sharon Case as his leading lady.

During our conversation Steve teases upcoming episodes where Dylan will work very closely with Paul.  And he pays tribute to his former General Hospital cast mate, Tony Geary (Luke Spencer) as the legend ended his 37-year-run on-air this week.  Steve also reflects on the joy of being a dad for the third time, and finding a new lease on life working at The Young and the Restless.  With great candor, charm, humor, and professionalism, you can’t get much better then Mr. B.  Here’s what he shared.

MICHAEL:

Viewers of Y&R recently saw the poignant goodbye scenes between Dylan and Avery, as Jessica Collins (Avery) left the series.  Major kudos has to go to both of you.  First, for the touching performances in your final on-screen moments together, and also for having the ability to bring to a life a back-story that no one saw previously on-air … and to make it work.

STEVE:

Courtesy/CBS

It was different for me to come on and have this back-story that we didn’t know.  All we knew was that Avery (Jessica Collins) was married, and it was then, “OK, now do your scene!” (Laughs)  Jessica is an amazing actress, and an all-around anything you can ask for in a scene partner, and always willing to work.  We worked on our stuff a lot, and trusted each other.  And when you trust each other, things can happen on the stage that are not planned, or aren’t on the page.  It’s the kind of relationship we had, and obviously the goodbyes are difficult.  We hate to lose her, and I loved working with her.  It wasn’t really acting, because you are saying goodbye to someone who you have a great working relationship with.  Those are not easy scenes, in general.

MICHAEL:

Did you rehearse those scenes, or did you let them organically happen, because the emotional stakes were high, in that it was Jessica’s final scenes with you?

STEVE:

It’s weird.  The person is leaving and your relationship on the show is ending.  I learned the dialogue, of course, but I don’t really want to say it out loud till we tape.  Everybody knew it was going to be emotional.  Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and all of her friends were there, and hanging around the set.  Those scenes you have to really hold back more on than cry.  That is what we really should be doing all the time.  For me, the more difficult one was the moment in the hotel room with Joe (Scott Elrod), and Dylan kind of said goodbye to her there, first.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

The most touching moment occurred after Dylan and Avery said their goodbyes. Dylan goes behind the coffee house counter, and pulls out his journal with a beautiful picture of Avery that he has kept with him all this time, and even through the war. What did you think of that little accent on the scene that gave it even more heart?

STEVE:

Actors leave and things change. They have to figure out how to give the person a good send off, and wrap it up and button up story.  I thought the picture was actually a very nice touch.  I haven’t had the journal that Dylan writes in on camera with me, so I thought it was nice that they did that for my character when she left.

MICHAEL:

What do you think about the contentious relationship that you have built on-screen with Scott Elrod (Joe) as the thorn in Dylan’s side?

STEVE:

We have had fun doing those types of scenes.  I like punching people! (Laughs) He is very punchable. (Laughs)  Scott is a great guy.  I liked the tension between the two guys.

MICHAEL:

Courtest/CBS

So when you found out that the powers-that-be were now going to pair the character of Dylan with Sharon (Sharon Case), I am assuming you clearly saw the writing on the wall that they were going to become another major duo on the canvas?

STEVE:

You could kind of tell that they were going that way.  The two brilliant things were: Josh Griffith (former head writer, Y&R, now co-head writer DAYS) doing it when I first got here as a friendship, instead of going romantically that way in the beginning.  If he hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have had the payoff that we do now with the way Chuck Pratt (EP and head writer, Y&R) is writing us.  And it works!  The audience seems to respond to it, and it’s working!  It’s fun, and we have a lot of great story coming up.

MICHAEL:

I think these two characters have both suffered from forms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in different points in their lives, so they probably have a deep understanding of what tragedy and stress can do to someone, which draws them even closer.   Do you think Sharon could calm Dylan down if he has an episode of PTSD?

STEVE:

(Laughs) I am the calming element in Sharon’s life right now.  Sharon has been very stable lately, and it’s great to show that side of her.  I enjoy the pacing of what we are doing, but who knows what’s down the line … or what could be coming?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

MICHAEL:

Is it at all hard for you to play the good guy all the time?  I know Y&R head writer Chuck Pratt Jr. does see that as one of your strengths that you are, and can play a lovable, sincere, real good guy with emotional substance.  Do you think that is what you bring to the table?

STEVE:

I think more of my personality has probably shown than I could ever do before in my role as Dylan, which is great.  I don’t want to say I am playing myself, but a lot of times I am myself.  It’s much easier for me to play this role, because I can have fun, and can joke and smile! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Sharon is pregnant, and Dylan had a very difficult time upon learning the son that he thought he had with Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan), then baby Connor, was actually Adam’s (Justin Hartley).  Because of his previous heartbreak, is there just a twinge in him that thinks that the rug could be pulled out from under him, again?

STEVE:

Courtesy/CBS

I don’t know.  Dylan wants a kid so bad.  He wants a family. That’s the one thing he wants, and the normalcy of having a family.  And with him being off to war, and coming back and having issues with how Dylan and Avery’s relationship was, and they couldn’t really get together, that was hard on him.  Joe came back into the picture, and there was never any amount of serenity at all in Dylan’s life, including finding out who his biological parents were – all of the things that have happened in his life in the last two and half years.  Sharon’s pregnant now, and we are going to go down that road, and let’s see what happens!

MICHAEL:

Y&R is much faster-paced right now than it was in recent years.  It has more action, and less traditional two-person scenes.  Which do you prefer?

STEVE:

My personal opinion does not matter, because the ratings are the ratings right now.  Number one: they are doing something right.  Number two: I don’t mind the fast pace because for a while it was very slow.  Things weren’t moving, and Chuck Pratt came in and started moving things.  I know some fans like it, and some fans don’t, but again the ratings are what they are right now, and it’s pretty impressive.  I’ve got to say, I am impressed!  For a soap to have its highest rating in five years, in the daytime landscape now … people are tuning-back in!  That’s cool!  The great thing about coming to work at Y&R is I get to come to work and focus on it, and then I get to go home, and be with my family in Nashville.

MICHAEL:

Tony Geary’s (Luke Spencer) last episode on General Hospital aired on Monday, which means it’s the end of an era for a man that broke the mold in our genre.  What can you share about your time working with Tony while at GH, and his legacy?

STEVE:

Courtesy/ABC

When I came to GH, and I don’t want to take any credit away from any other daytime person who was before Tony Geary, but Tony changed the ballgame for daytime, and changed everything.  You had this guy who was such a phenomenal actor in this space that the story he was put in with Luke and Laura (Genie Francis), and the rape, and the fact that their wedding became the most watched television event in the history of daytime … you can’t forget that!  That was in 1981, and we are now 30 years plus past that.  He changed a lot for guys like me to come along, and be on a show, and do what we do.  Tony was always a great mentor, always a great guy, and professional when you worked with him. You’ve got to step up your game when you work with Tony Geary.  I know he is really appreciated by a lot of people.  He deserves all of the accolades he gets.  Tony is just a great person, and such a cool guy that he doesn’t make you nervous.  Now, Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH) he makes you nervous! (Laughs) And he knows what I am talking about! (Laughs)  But I remember I had one scene in Luke’s bar, where we were actually short.  It was right after I became Jason Morgan, and they basically let us improv a scene, which has never happened since then in my life.  They would go, “So, this has to be kind of about this.  So just go!”  It was cool to do that with him.  I am so glad Tony gets to go to his home in Amsterdam, because we would have conversations about it all of the time.  It’s been his last year for the last 20 years (Laughs)!  He would say to me, “Yeah. I think this is it, Steve.  I am going to leave.  I think it’s time.”  And I would go, “Get out of here!  Go home, man.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The incomparable Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) plays your mother on Y&R. How was it when you first met Mel, and the two of you created this mother and son bond?

STEVE:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

With Melody, she was, and is awesome, and was open to me immediately.  I have the same chemistry with her as I did with Leslie Charleson on GH (Monica), where no matter how long we didn’t work together, when we did, it just felt like mother and son.  Same thing with Mel.  It was just kind of there. 

MICHAEL:

Doug Davidson plays your on-screen dad.  Paul is always telling Dylan to stop getting in his way during his official police investigations! (Laughs)  How was creating the relationship with Doug as father and son?

STEVE:

It was very easy.  Doug and I are close in real life, and that was a no-brainer.  I have spent a lot of time after work with him, and I love the guy.   It’s great that he is my dad on the show, because we are going to start working together a lot coming up.  There is some good stuff we are playing that will emphasize the father and son relationship.

MICHAEL:

In real life, you and your wife Sheree welcomed your third child almost a year ago at this time.  How has it been being a dad with three kids now?  Shocking? (Laughs)

STEVE:

Courtesy/SBurtonTwitter

It was surprise baby Brooklyn!  It is awesome!  I thought it was going to be a horrible drag being older now, and having an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old, and having such a huge gap.  I was like, “I don’t know if this is going to be good, or what’s going to happen.”  It’s amazing!   The kids love having her.  It changed the dynamic in the house.  As kids get older they start doing their own thing.  They are upstairs by themselves watching movies, or hanging out, so you might not see your kids for three hours, or be hanging out with them.  But now with the baby, everybody is always together.

MICHAEL:

How is Nashville working out for you?  It seems like all your buddies have moved out there, too!

STEVE:

I love it there.  I actually have a social life there, after 43 years I figure I could have one! (Laughs)  Scott Reeves (Ex-Y&R, DAYS, GH)  is there, Jonathan Jackson (Ex-GH, now Nashville) is there, and one of my wife’s best friend’s husband, who she went to school with got a job there as an Athletic Director at a private girl’s school.  We are all there, and it’s a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

Does your wife ever watch your work on Y&R?

STEVE:

Photo Credit: Kushalagband

No, not really.  She is usually just asking, “So what’s happening on the show now?”  And I will go, “Well, you know I am at the coffee house, and Avery’s baking cakes.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What would you still like to explore with the character of Dylan?  Would you be interested to delve into more back-story about what happened to him in the war?

STEVE:

I don’t think the war thing should ever be over with.  We just haven’t gone back and addressed it.  We dabbled in it.  I don’t know if we want to get into it so deeply, but it’s always a great thing to have, from a character aspect.  Anytime something can pop up!  I would like to work more with Melody and Doug, and do the brother thing with Joshua Morrow (Nick).

MICHAEL:

Ummm, the brothers have slept with each other’s girls! (Laughs)

STEVE:

Courtesy/CBS

It’s a soap opera!  I can’t even keep track of who’s sleeping with who on this show, and who’s been where.  It’s a small city, quite honestly! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What have been some of your personal favorite scenes you have gotten the opportunity to play during your time at Y&R thus far?

STEVE:

It seems like I have had a lot of good scenes to play since being at Y&R.  I liked going down the road a bit with PTSD, and the material with Dylan and Avery being highly emotional.  The first year when Dylan found out that Connor was not his, was amazing to get to do.  Then, I would say the reveal with Paul that he is, in fact, Dylan’s biological father.  And I would say, I liked the scenes that just aired where Dylan and Avery say goodbye.

MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts about working with the iconic Eric Braeden (Victor)?

STEVE:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Oh, I love Eric!  He has an energy about him that you just don’t know what he is going to do in a scene.  He could say something else that’s not even on the page, and you just roll with it.  We did this one scene, and it really wasn’t on the page and it ended up being a good scene.  Eric said, “Thanks for rolling with me on that!”  And I said, “Thank you Mr. Braeden.  I will have your coffee in your room in about an hour!” (Laughs)  By the way. I paid my dues here with Joshua and Eric.  I will be serving the Newmans for the next few years! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Dylan looks to be truly in love with Sharon right now.  What are your thoughts on that, coming out of having this long-standing relationship with Avery?

STEVE:

He has a great relationship with Sharon right now, and Dylan loves her.  But I do want to say what has been unique, and this is one thing I never got to play as an actor … I never had to play that I had feelings for two women at the same time.  That is a very interesting dynamic for me, because that is so not what I was used to before.  As an actor, I found it very challenging where things weren’t really great between Dylan and Avery.  She is up with Joe taking care of this guy who is using her, and she can’t see through it.  But then there is this girl over here who is a friend, who is attractive, and wait a minute … I am feeling something here, too!  Then, there was no communication between Dylan and Avery, and there were a lot of assumptions.  Then a lot of things happened where Dylan just kept going towards Sharon, and taking care of her, and finding that she needed him.  So it was interesting, because as an actor I can see that he loves Avery, but I also could see how Sharon and he are friends, and it could be more one day … and it ended up going there.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Ashtonion Twitter

When Avery was raped, Dylan was just ripped up inside.  When he went to see her following that, it was just heartbreaking. What made it interesting also is that he had to leave Sharon to go check on Avery to make sure she was alright, because that it the kind of guy he is.

STEVE:

If it was even a friend, or an acquaintance of someone who got raped, I would be torn up.  And if it was someone you love and wanted to be with forever, and that happened, I would kill somebody.  I get goose bumps now thinking about when Dylan saw her for the first time after she was raped.  It was also how Jessica played it, too.  And you are right, Michael, at that point you could see that Dylan was leaning towards Sharon.  Then all of a sudden the rape happened!  He was like, “I’ve got to go over there and take care of Avery real quick.”  He likes to take care of people!  I don’t know if this is a serial bad habit (laughs), or a good thing?

MICHAEL:

So for all the Shylan fans out there, can you tell them that this relationship has legs?

STEVE:

I believe it does.  It’s a love story.  I don’t see any other way it would go right now. Working with Sharon Case (Sharon) is fun, and she is never in a bad mood   She has a very positive outlook on life.  I am in good hands at Y&R, and I know I have said it a million times, but it’s true.  The cast and the crew have been so welcoming.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Pinterest

In closing, when you look back at when it was announced that you were coming to Y&R and showed up at this fantastic new place for you to work, you don’t think anyone was going, “Oh, God!  Burton’s coming?” (Laughs)

STEVE:

Well, I am sure a lot were, because someone new was coming on to the show, and I am not joking when I say, I started over here.  It’s great, and making that transition, and going to Nashville, and coming here has turned out to have been life-changing for me, personally.  Once there was an end, there was a new beginning for me.  I could not be more grateful.

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Sheila
Sheila

This is one great interview Michael and Steve…..thanks from Beautiful BC.

Nanci
Nanci

I doubt I could ever enjoy Dylan and Sharon
as a couple! They lack chemistry that way in
my opinion. Some say they are good together,
but I am not seeing it, and in fact, I can see
Sharon just dragging him down soon enough.

I like Steve Burton a lot, and glad he seems
so happy on the soap and in his life in general.

Karen backer
Karen backer

I do not see Steve and Sharon together

Meg
Meg

thx michal

Meg
Meg

luv Dylan n Sharon ,

isa
isa

I have long been a fan of Steve & Sharon albeit on different shows,I am still a fan of both.Thx.for the interview.

robert
robert

Great interview. Steve sounds like a good person to be around. Liked what he said about Shylan being a love story.

DL
DL

Awesome interview! Steve is doing an amazing job on Y&R! So glad he’s there. Love his on screen chemistry with so many. Especially loving what he and Sharon Case are bringing together on screen with Shylan!

Shirley Strickler
Shirley Strickler

Great interview and the good buy scenes between Dylan & Avery were heart breaking ,love Steve Burton and will Miss Jessica Collins. Thanks for the interview.

Joanne
Joanne

Thanks for the interview Micheal. Love Steve’s comment about the scene in the hotel room, I could see Steve’s true emotion coming out there as he fought to get the words out, it was similar to when he was interviewed when he left GH.. I love all the scenes he does with Paul, you can see they are comfortable with one another. I just hope that with his relationship with Sharon the writers mix romance with the angst. I have been disappointed with recent scenes the way the cut off and leave us hanging in the romance department.

mollie
mollie

I, too, love Steve and Doug’s scenes as son/father. I LOVE that Dylan in Nikki and Paul’s bio-son. Their scenes are seamless and they really seem to care for each other as a new-found family. Great acting all around by Steve, Doug and Melody.

Laurie McRae
Laurie McRae

Thank you BOTH, Michael & Steve, for this wonderful, candid, insightful interview! Although I’m a total Shylan “shipper,” as I’ve said before, I don’t care who Dylan is with, as long as Steve Burton is in the role & happy playing him!

elm51
elm51

nice interview michael – thank you!

Harry
Harry

Ah, loved this interview, Mr Fairman–thank you.
Steve Burton has the bluest eyes in show business and he has a self effacing humor which comes through in both his interviews and in his acting.
I enjoyed what he said about Tony Geary and Eric Braeden.

PS. Is it me, or does Donald Trump remind anyone else of Victor Newman? I mean, think about it—Trump had a dark mustache and a German accent, he’d morph into Victor Newman.

Tricia
Tricia

I like that Dylan and Sharon are together and seeing sharon happy again and not bothering anyone else. Let her and Dylan move on the interview was great!!

Laine
Laine

U R right on! This guy picked up & carries it away! He conquered Victor (Eric)for Lord sake! A bit, just a bit of that JASON control we all love & know…he’ll never loose that! Loosing Avery, huge mistake, HUGE..Jessica Collins was a shining force, clean upstanding character the writers can’t figure out, or deal with AND she can COOK!!! Like the writers think we didn’t appreciate the recipes?………Sad we lost her, she and Phylis would have made such a perfect sounding board…worth a million in my book…AND so it goes, THEY just don’t listen!
…..BURTON Love Sam & Liz a bet??? Kinda 4got, huh! Huh! U look like Jeter too by the way! Not a bad thing! Love U more thAn my luggage too by the way!

Karen backer
Karen backer

No I disagree trump is loud and a pompous ass. Victor is low key and very controlling. Trump is a shiowoff. Victor is for his family and himself. Trump is out to try and conquer the world

Harry
Harry

One thing came to mind while reading this interview. Burton says he was finally given the opportunity to play a man in love with two women (Avery and Sharon) at the same time on Y&R.
When he played Jason Morgan, I clearly recall him being in love with both Lizzy and Sam at the same time.

Karen backer
Karen backer

Yes u r correct and I likes Jason much more on gh. On y&r he seems rto flounder between stories on gh he seemed more confident and solid

mpmajor
mpmajor

A Huge Big Thanks for this interview, Mr. Fairman and Steve Burton. I have been a viewer of Y&R only through the years of 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s basically. So, only have watch this actor, Steve Burton, until he joined the cast of Y&R. I instantly love this actor SB as Dylan and how he met Sharon literally bumping into each others at Crimson Lights and the first person he became acquainted with after he arrived in a new place. How Dylan became friends with both Sharon and Faith are one of my favorite storyline and how Faith was smitten with Dylan and how he found her after getting lost in the woods and how he kissed Faith to get her to wake up was one of the endearing scenes between Dylan and Faith and how they bonded ever since. Sharon has been disappointed and treated horribly by her ex-husband and childhood love, Nick Newman, and taking Faith away from her or taking away the 50/50 custody was not necessary. I really hope Sharon and Faith have a happy ending with Dylan and that Sharon will finally have some sense of security and a future with a life with Dylan, Faith, and possibly a baby in the future. So, loving Shylan and happy to see my favorites Sharon and Dylan and of course Faith. Thanks again for this interview.

scyren
scyren

Hate Sharon but I love me some Steve so I’m trying to hang in there; just really bummed he’s stuck with Sharon now since she’s pregnant.

Great interview. I’m so glad he’s still on daytime so I can get my daily fix. I do wish they’d stop making him such a bully though. They are making him one note and Dylan has so much more to offer than kissing Sharon’s butt and punching people. I want some depth to the character. I keep praying things will change. He was actually more likeable when he was with Chelsea but they always make him appear to be dumb.

Kaylie Smith
Kaylie Smith

I watched Steve Burton for a very long time on GH and I’ve been watching him as Dylan on Young and the Restless and I’m sorry to say his character has lost the edge which, in my opinion has made him very boring to watch. He is a way better actor on General Hospital then he is on Young and the Restless the two don’t even begin to compare

Karen backer
Karen backer

Yes I agree

Nicole
Nicole

This is one leading man who is better than the average soap actor. Someone like Sharon can match and challenge him and they have great chemistry. I hope the writers let them marry and have a normal family unit.

edaem
edaem

Nice interview, Michael. I love Shylan and how this relationship began as friends. I remember wanting Sharon and Dylan to be siblings when he first came to Genoa City. I was still holding out for a permanent Shick reunion. Once that was torched with the terrible writing of the paternity story line, and Nick’s refusal to ever stand by Sharon, my desire for that couple was over. Shylan is the most root-worthy couple on Y&R. These writers have been known the throw a rock to a drowning man so I truly hope they don’t eff this story up.

Go Shylan!

Timmm
Timmm

Steve is a great guy. I would love to meet him. I just dont see or remember anything that he has done on Y&R that is memorable, YET!

Dawn D
Dawn D

Great interview Michael. Steve comes across as a really genuine person. Been a fan of his since he started GH. I’ve gone to 2 of his concerts of Port Chuck and all of them seem great. I wish them all the best. I will say I’m not a fan of Sharon/Dylan as a pairing. Sharon should be a much stronger character.

nancy
nancy

I really enjoyed this interview. SB seems to be a great guy and I really enjoy watching him on the Y & R.
I am hoping that they will give him more of a story and get him out of the coffee shop more often. It seems such a waste of his talent.

Lisa
Lisa

Yes he needs to ho back to gh

Lucky
Lucky

I’m happy to know someone agrees with me. Let the real Jason come back!

For some strange reason, TJ’s mother who is actually playing a FED on GH is actually Keesha Ward. I just had that strange feeling. I read a peice of article a few years ago with the possibility that GH was trying to recast members of the Ward family who was active in the 1990s. Senaiti Ashanti who played Keesha Ward was starting out her acting career and I thought she was brilliant. But I didn’t think GH writers were not ready to have a black female playing a major role with an upcoming white actor during that time. Then, Steve Burton wanted to play a meaner role in order to keep his job as an actor. However, GH still could’ve built Keesha ward’s character as time progressed. That was the 1990s. This the second decade of the millinium and a lot has changed since. It would be nice to see Keesha again; even if another black female actress can sell the role. What do you think?

Lucky
Lucky

What do you think about that? GH ratings will go through the roof!

Harry
Harry

What? Keehsa who once dated Jason Q.? Oh, remember that and you’re wright. GH writers were racist back in the 1990s. I don’t think They would put them together becouse Jason is a different person; even back then. That shit wouldn’t work and Keesha has been off the rador for over 20 years. She would too old to play that role and Sam McCall got Jasom Morgan’s heart. He is can’t remember who is is right now.

Bella Brown
Bella Brown

I loved the Keesha Ward and Jason Q pairing but I don’t see the new Jason being able to pull it off and the only reason this last year of storyline and the bug reveal was set was so that the Liason fans could get the Liz Jason pairing they have always wanted and still somehow honor the JaSam fans as well. I didn’t buy the Patrick and Sam thing but Liason could have worked if he didn’t care about being his old self. Honestly I would like to see a different actor play Jason sense Steve is likely never to return. He moved to Nashville. That was nail in the coffin on staying at GH. But Billy Miller is not doing it for me. He’s the complete opposite of Jason Morgan. Hes super expressive in emotional scenes but in a ackward way. Hes very in your face when he talks and he leans ALOT. Jason was stoic and seemingly unresponsive in very important scenes. I think the leaning and super ackward closeness he gets in scenes is Billy’s way of trying to hide nerves when working with veteran actors that have more of a role in his story than he does right now. I’d like to see JaSam but apart of me just wished they left him dead. STEVE had an incredible chemistry with all of those actors that flowed very naturally. Romance can’t be forced and it looks like that’s exactly what they are doing to please the crowd. That being the case I wish this Jason turned out to be a clone or something because he doesn’t do it for me in this character at all. I don’t think he can do JaSam justice and Liason is over. Let them all move on. Keesha would be great with Rick I think. I’d also like to see her and Carl become friends and also complicate things for Sonny the Jeromes and the Quartermaines. She could be great and also would make a great catalyst for bringing back Robin to PC with Anna’s help and hunting down Jerry Jacks. She could be a very key player if the writers would make the effort

scyren
scyren

Agree with you on many of your points. I just am not feeling nuJason or Billy. He is not Jason and I don’t want Jason to just be a normal guy. He was the most unique character on daytime. It’s like they have just wiped away his brain damage or something but he still is not like JQ. He’s a new character. I don’t want to see Jasam because I’m still pissed that Sam has not paid for her past. Most of the town doesn’t even know what she did to little Jake. She was never publicly exposed like Liz always is. That should have never been forgotten. Heck Jason even remember or know about that tidbit but every one of Liz’s sins is exposed. They even had Sam joke about sleeping with men and conning them. Ewww. Jason should have never gotten back with her because it was a slap in the face of his son who he willingly walked away from. So, I have no desire to see them. They bored me. I just don’t like the Jake character at all. He was a bump on the log for most of the time since he appeared. They are forcing everything. I agree with that for sure.

Lucky
Lucky

I see what you mean, but the only reason Jason Q. lost his memory, was due to a car accident that his brother AJ caused. He was a jealous kid who resented his parents for favoring Jason over him. However, he actually loved Keesha while struggling with alcohol addiction. I think they should have work things out and got married. I also thought the Quartemaines were more comfortable with AJ having someone to simpathize with him and not them directly deal with that issue. I can also understand why AJ statred drinking.

scyren
scyren

AJ started drinking before Jason came into the picture. He was away at boarding school. His drinking at the time had nothing to do with Jason. Understandable or not, he trashed his own life. He could have made different choices and manned up but he didn’t.

Harry
Harry

Dam, You have a good memory of that show back then. I’m impressed. I agree, The Quartermaine were a little prejudice and they didn’t want their “prize Jason” be with a black girl. I remember when Jason and Keesha went to Paris and how the 2 families were shocked and did not want them to go. I loved it because I know how white viewers react to that kind of thing. ha! ha!

Bella Brown
Bella Brown

The Shylan story is being well played and obviously baby Sullivan is either going to turn out to be Cristian Newman or he will be taken away or kidnapped or something. It’s Faith”s storyline all over again when she was born so it’s not a surprise that she’s living at the house now that Sullivan is there. I hope that means eventually Dylan and Sharon will somehow split. Maybe the PTSD thing will come up again for both of them and they just won’t be able to find their way back. I want Dylan with someone younger and more interesting. Sharon is beautiful and interesting but in a more old fashion sense. They made Steve lose wait so the character could look younger but then they’ve paired him with women that seem to be in the early 40”s stage. Sharonville has teenage an adult kids. I’d like to see him with a mid to late 20 something with a bit of a wilder or troublemaker side. I’m not saying another Sam McCall, been there done that, but this playing house thing is boring. Maybe a younger girl with no kids and a one nightstand or something simple and it starts out where she can’t stand that’s he’s so nice and always trying to help her. Maybe she resents him or something. But Steve has the chops to do pretty much anything except play the antagonist. He can make it work. Right him into a corner and then let him struggle with getting out if it. Adam is a perfect example. He tries to do what’s right sometimes but he makes huge mistakes. I’d like to see a lit more that way with Dylan but less evil

scyren
scyren

The baby story line is unbelievably cruel. I’m not enjoying it at all. That will be 3 babies that Dylan has lost—enough already. I also find Shylan believable as friends but do not have good sexual chem at all. It seems so forced and they don’t look really comfortable together. Dylan is supposed to be in his 40’s. The math wouldn’t work if he wasn’t. Sharon is supposed to be around 40. They sorased the kids but not the adults. I think mid 20’s would be way to young for him, but I would love to see him with someone in their 30’s. They need to give Dylan more layers. They had him blindly kissing Sharon’s butt and it made him look like an idiot. He never follows directions (Paul) and it makes him look stupid. I’m tired of them making him look brainless. You’re telling me that no one but the crazy person Patty noticed that Sharon didn’t have a belly? Really? He barely gave Sharon a 2nd thought while she was in Fairview. The writing was so horrible. Please break Sharon and Dylan up. They are just not lighting up the screen. They do nothing for me and give Dylan his brain back.

Mary
Mary

I like Steve Burton the actor . I liked him better on General Hospital though.
I wish he had not left General Hospital . I would like to see him back on General Hospital someday . Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part.

He is a good actor though.

Delos Wilson
Delos Wilson

Steve Burton is one of the best emotional actors

Delos Wilson
Delos Wilson

Steve Burton is one of the best actors on the young an the restless I hope he don’t leave the show, as I stated one of the best emotional actors on the show bar none thanks

Keffen
Keffen

I wouldn’t Mind if Steve came back to Gh…he can come back to Gh and be the real Jason…and be surprise to see Sam is pregnant by the guy posing as Jason Morgan

Keffen
Keffen

Yes bring him back to Gh ..and let Sam Morgan be
Pregnant by Billy Miller…that will be a good storyline

General Hospital

GH’s Tamara Braun Talks On: Kim’s Plight With Her Son Oscar, Her Relationships With Julian and Drew & Coming Home To Port Charles

When Tamara Braun stepped back on to the canvas of General Hospital back in November of last year, the one-time and wildly popular Carly Corinthos #2 was now taking on the role of Dr, Kim Nero – a single mom of a teenage son (who is very protective of him), top-notch gynecologist in the medical profession, and a woman with a past with Drew Cain (Billy Miller). It was eventually revealed that Drew is her son Oscar’s (Garren Stitt) biological father.

Now as viewers have seen on recent episodes of the ABC soap opera, Oscar’s life looks like it could very well be cut short after the story shocker that now has the young teen diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor from cancer.  Kim had kept the truth from her son until he confronted her upon learning the news on his own (with an assist from Cameron) and putting two and two together.  This sets the stage for some difficult and heartbreaking moments ahead.

As for Braun, she rose to the top as one of soap operas most critically-acclaimed actresses after having the challenging task of taking over the role of Carly #1 in 2001 from three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Sarah Brown.  Tamara not only met this challenge, but made Carly her own scoring an Emmy nod along the way.  After departing GH in 2005, Tamara returned to daytime in 2008 in the role of Ava Vitali on Days of our Lives, which indeed earned her an Emmy.   Next, she headed to Pine Valley and All My Children to take on the role of Reese Williams, the love interest to Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel), who eventually married from 2008-2009.  Tamara even came back to DAYS for awhile in the role of Taylor in 2011, and later reprised the role of Ava in 2015-2016.  With an impressive resume, GH is lucky to have her back and Braun finally felt the time was right to take on a new role on her first soap home  upon her return in 2017.  Viewers hope that they get to see more of those emotionally raw, honest performances that Braun is known for as more layers of Kim are revealed,

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Tamara to get her take on: the latest storyline involving Kim, Oscar and Drew, where Kim’s relationship with Julian Jerome stands, and how she feels it’s important to shed light on causes of the day needing our help and how we can all ultimately live in a kinder, more thoughtful world.  Here’s what Tamara had to shared below.

In the episodes we saw last week, Kim had no choice but to tell Oscar the truth. What have you thought about this whole story where now Oscar is hating his mother, and upset with her, when she did not come forward with the truth about his medical condition to him, because in her mind she was protecting him?

Courtesy/ABC

TAMARA:  Yes, that was reasoning.  She did all of this to protect him so that he could have a normal teenage life without all of that hanging over his head.  What do I think of it?  I think that it has been hard for me, Tamara, to play.  It has been hard for me to wrap my head around why a physician would not tell her son that he’s ill.  It’s also been hard for me to wrap my head around because the way the writers have made Oscar and Kim’s relationship such a beautiful one that has been seemingly full of honesty and openness, that they can really talk to each other, which is one of the things that I really like.  In terms of the storyline, what it does do is create conflict which is what’s needed in shows.  Things can’t be ‘happy, happy, joy, joy’ all of the time, so it’s created conflict for Oscar and Kim and now Drew, because Kim dragged him into keeping the secret too for a little bit. 

Courtesy/ABC

We just also learned that Kim’s reasoning to come to Port Charles in the first place was indeed because of Oscar.

TAMARA:  Like Kim said, she came because she did an ancestry report, and it turned out that he has relatives in Port Charles.  So, she wanted for them to get the opportunity to know him and him to get the opportunity to get to know them.  I’m sure we will learn something about Kim’s past which would explain why in her mind she felt this was the right thing to do.  We know that it seems like a very controlling thing.  As a mother, take the physician out of it, I still think that Kim would have shared his diagnosis with him, but I don’t think one ever knows what they would do in that situation.  You think you know what you would do, but perhaps she felt that she could control it; she could figure it out.  Perhaps, Kim felt that because she is a physician she’ll find some answer, and she’ll be able to fix it.  These are the questions, and these are the things that as an actor, I have to put in my head because it’s not what I believe I would do.  It’s not even what I believe the character of Kim as I knew her would have done, but it’s what the writers have written.  So, they have to have a reason, and I think that it has got to be more than just to create conflict.  That’s what stories rely on.  It’s soap, and a lot of people on soaps have to do crazy things and find out ways to justify them when they seem out of character.

You’re right.  Kim and Oscar had a very open relationship.  Yes, she was a “controlling mother,” if you want to say that, but they were honest with each other.  Garren Stitt has been very endearing in the role.  What can you say about working with him?

TAMARA:  I just adore Garren. I have adored him from the minute I met him.  I think he’s a lovely, sweet, kind person, and I feel so fortunate to get to play his mom.  I really do.  I think he’s wonderful, and I’m lucky.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now as to the situation with Drew, Kim truly did not know he was in town when she got to Port Charles, right?

TAMARA:  Correct.

What does she feel towards Drew now, and does this situation ultimately draw them closer together?

TAMARA:  I think it absolutely draws them closer together, because now they have to deal with Oscar.  Because once Kim accepted Drew back into their lives (she thought he was dead long ago), she opened up her arms to him in the capacity of being a father for Oscar.  Kim has had to deal with everything with her child all on her own for fifteen years.  It’s just been the two of them.  So, I think that at some point it has got to be difficult to allow someone else in to help make decisions, and to lean on, and to co-parent with.  I think it was difficult at first, but I think now she is grateful to have him to share it with, even though they may not see things eye-to-eye all of the time.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you foresee Kim and Drew, at any point, growing closer romantically?

TAMARA:  I don’t know.  It’s not looking like that.  It’s looking like a nice friendship and one that is very caring and understanding, but as of now, I don’t see hints of it.  You never know.  As you know, it’s a soap.  Anything could happen.

How has it been working with Billy Miller? He has also done some wonderful work as the devastated father.

TAMARA:  It’s been great.  The last few scenes that we had to do, there have been those special moments you get as an actor where the angels are just with you.  It all just kind of connects and flows together.   I think we’ve been lucky to have gotten a few of those as of late, and that’s been really nice.

Courtesy/ABC

In story, it was revealed that Oscar could enter an experimental trial that could help his tumor and the cancer, is that what Kim wants her son to do?

TAMARA:  Absolutely, because she feels anything that could possibly save his life or give him more time, she wants for him.

I also like that they made Dr. Terry Randolph (Cassandra James), Oscar’s pediatric oncologist.

TAMARA:  Yes.  Cassandra is really lovely to work with, and she’s just a lovely human being as well.  I’m fortunate right now.  I get to work with some lovely people.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Kim’s going to let Julian (Will deVry) know about what she is dealing with?

TAMARA:  Julian does not know.  Oscar doesn’t want anyone to know and especially Julian.  He wants his mom and dad together, so he’s decided not to let Julian know.  I think only for those reasons.  Kim really didn’t honor Oscar by keeping this news of him being ill from him, so she has to honor him in his request not to share this with Julian.

Is Kim aware of how Cameron (William Lipton) is trying to maneuver himself into a relationship with Josslyn (Eden McCoy)?  Does she understand what’s going on there? 

TAMARA:  Kim doesn’t know anything about it.

Photo: ABC

Does Kim want Josslyn to be with Oscar?

TAMARA:  She does, because she knows that Josslyn makes Oscar happy, and to be happy, is what’s most important right now, because that also can help any type of recovery.  When we are happy, or are doing things that make us joyful, or raise our endorphin levels in a positive way, that’s good for health.  That’s good for recovery, and she wants her son to be happy.  What mother doesn’t want her son to be happy?  Especially now, with everything going on.

Kim was having an issue that Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco (Roger Howarth) knew about Oscar’s prognosis.  Do you think she’ll be more lax about that now, or do you think she’ll be more even intense about people not finding out?

TAMARA:  I think she doesn’t want people to know because Oscar now knows, and he doesn’t want people to know.  I think that she wants to keep his confidence.  I think she doesn’t want anyone else to know because she needs to respect Oscar’s wishes.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think that it’s possible that Drew’s twin, Jason (Steve Burton) is somehow the bio-dad of Oscar, and not Drew?  The character of Jason has a history of brain injuries and trauma.

TAMARA:  I never thought of that! (Laughs)  That would be a fun kind of plot twist!  I don’t think so because there have been lines a couple of times when Kim is with Jason and she says, “You know, you look exactly like him.  It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around that, but you act so differently.”   You know what?  Even if Jason did have a brain tumor, he is Drew’s twin, and Drew is Oscar’s father, so that does still genetically match and run in the family.  It’s an interesting twist there that you bring up!

I remember watching the episode where the audience learned Oscar was dying and I was completely shocked!   I had no idea where the writers were going with it after the seizure.  When the powers-that-be filled you in on what was going on, what was your reaction to that part of the story?

Photo Credit: ABC

TAMARA:  Illness in any form on a soap gives you something to play.  So, that’s good.  When they start saying in the dialogue, “terminal,” you’re like, “What!?” But then you also have people saying, “There’s always hope,” so, you never know where it’s actually going to go, or how the story lines will play.  I understand how people keep saying that it came out of the blue and they didn’t even hint at that.  So, I will say they did write a scene the day that Michael (Chad Duell) lost the baby, and I believe Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Michael were in the church. There was a scene that I was ready to shoot that day, and it was a monologue in the church.  It was after Nelle’s (Chloe Lanier) baby had died and after Kim and Nelle had scenes.  Kim goes to the chapel and she has a monologue talking to God, and it was a bit of a hint, but they had to cut the scene because the tape day ran long.  I didn’t even shoot it.  I think that had they had left it in; people would have been like, “Oh, that’s what that meant.”  I think now that I see the reaction of viewers and you’re bringing it up, that would have been the moment you could have gone to and said. “Oh!  That’s the moment.  That’s what she meant,” or when it happened, the audience have been like, “What’s going on?  What don’t we know?”  I think had that scene been in there, people wouldn’t have been taken aback so much.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what would you say the audience can look forward to with Kim coming up?  Are we going to see her with a lot of stress on her relationship with her son?  Do you see her holding it together, or falling apart? 

TAMARA:  I think probably all of the above… trying to pull it together, falling apart, a rift between them, trying to bring it back together, making mistakes, doing the right thing … I think it’s everything.  I think reality just smacked Kim in the head, and her son… but when you’re so closed and tight about something in life, and when you no longer have control over it… you’ve got your best-laid plans, and you know what they say about your best-laid plans.  (Laughs).  It explodes, and then you have to deal with the aftermath.  So, hopefully we will see some nuance in there.  I’m hoping for it.  Hopefully, we will see Kim and Oscar work through stuff because people make mistakes; people do the wrong things for what they think are the right reasons all the time.  If Oscar is dealing with an inoperable, terminal brain tumor here, then time is of the essence for them to get it together and come together.

Well, I hope that it’s hankie-inducing, poignant and does have those beats for you to play, and they don’t kind of skip story beats.  As you said, time is of the essence for them and there is, usually no matter what, an unbreakable bond between mother and son.

TAMARA:  I hope so, too!  We can keep our fingers crossed for that!

Photo Credit: ABC

What attributes of Kim do you like playing?

TAMARA:  Kim’s no pushover, which I do like about her.  She’s strong, but she’s a quiet strong.  She doesn’t come at somebody charging, blazing, knocking things down or with a baseball bat like Carly does.  She has strength as a woman, and it’s in a very different way.

Do you think Kim is in love with “Charlie” AKA Julian? 

TAMARA:  I think she loves him.  It’s been a long time since she’s been in a relationship.  Her primary relationship, for better or for worse, has been her son all these years.  She’s made him her number one and didn’t feel she had time or that there was anyone who was worth that time.  So, I think that with Charlie, or Julian, whoever the hell he is (laughs)…

… Wait! She knows he’s Julian, right? (Laughs)

TAMARA:  Yes, she knows, but she likes to call him, “Charlie” because of the bar.  It was a cute little thing from the beginning.  I think that he doesn’t pressure her.  It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s light, and that’s what I think she can handle right now.

How has it been playing the mother of a teenager?  Is that odd for you?  It seems like a bit of a jump.

TAMARA:  It seems like a jump from what people have seen me do for a long time.  If you think about it, the last time people saw me on General Hospital with a kid, it was Michael (formerly Dylan Cash), and I mean, not in soap terms, but in real life terms, he was playing I think 6 when he was 8, and now he’s 23 so he would have been playing 21 if he had stayed.

Courtesy: TBraunTwitter

Is it ever odd for you that you aren’t the character of Carly anymore when you see Michael and characters that you have shared and played emotional attachments with your first go-round on GH?  I would suppose as an actress you can switch that on and off, but what about as a person?

TAMARA:  Yes, as an actress you switch it off, but as a person Michael is not the same Michael.  I think if he had been the same because we were so close, and we were so connected it might have been more difficult.  If it were him on set playing him every day, I’d be like, “Hi honey!   Hi my son!”   He was so in my heart.  I think because it’s Chad Duell now playing the part, who is lovely and wonderful, there’s no history with us, and that made it really okay.   I loved Dylan as a little boy.  I still love him.  He stopped in at my fan event, which was wonderful!

When you think back on all of your soap roles, it’s pretty amazing what you’ve done. Although we hated the end of the Reese/Bianca wedding on All My Children, it was the first same-sex wedding, and was a landmark moment.  You were a part of it.  Forget what happened afterwards, but that moment was key.  When you were on General Hospital, you received a Daytime Emmy nomination for your performance as Carly.  And then there was Days of our Lives’ Ava Vitali!  You got to play the psycho.  You won the Supporting Actress Emmy for your performance.  Do you think Ava is somehow still alive? 

TAMARA:  I think she may be alive.   I mean, no one really saw.  They put a sheet over her and rolled her out.  You didn’t see her dead.  I mean, come on now.  Joey (James Lastovic, Ex-DAYS) can strangle, but I don’t know that he’s that strong.  Ava’s got some fire in her.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Such a great role!

TAMARA:  I have been really, really blessed to play very strong or pivotal or interesting, dynamic roles on daytime.  I have been very fortunate to do that, and I have been very fortunate to work with people who allow me to do my thing.  They don’t hamper it.  They say, “Go.  Go for it.”

I love your Instagram posts, and I love when you talk about social issues and things that are important to you.  Could you talk a little bit about how you’re using that platform to make a difference?

TAMARA:  I just like to post things that are important to me. There are a lot of people who are using social media for brand identity.  I’m glad that I don’t even know what that is.  I mean, maybe I should know.  (Laughs)  It probably would be better for me, but –

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You realize on Instagram; if you post a shirtless pic along with a quote from something unrelated and are a guy, or are a very sexy woman, you’re going to get millions of likes.

TAMARA:  Yeah, and that’s not my brand.  (Laughs) I guess if I had to say what my brand is; it would be “Truth. Real. Honest.”  You know, here’s the real deal from me.  I think it’s important to bring awareness to what’s going on that touches your heart.  I think that if you can shed light on issues in a positive way, to make people think, to make people feel; that is important.  I have always wanted to do good things in the world, and you can do that at any place and time in your life as a human being, but when you have a bit of a platform, I believe it is a responsibility to use that to share things of importance to the world for humanity.  We’re given this one life.  Whether you come back, or whatever you believe this is the one life we have, if we don’t do something good with it, what’s the point?   I think there’s too much, “Me, me, me, me, me.”  I mean, that’s what this business is, right?  But we need to step back, and we need to remember that there is a real world going on out there where people are dealing with issues, and we need to be kind.  That being said, I do post stuff of myself, and people want to see it, so I want to give them what makes them happy, but I think that as long as I’m doing that too, I think it also makes people happy to see things good going on in the world, bring light to issues that need light brought on them.  I really just feel that we need more kindness.  We need more positivity because right now is a really hard time in our world, in America especially. It’s important to be more generous and kind-spirited than what we’re so often seeing these days.

So, what have you thought about the way Kim handled telling Oscar of his cancer diagnosis?  Do you hope Kim continues to stay in Julian’s orbit, or would you want her to become involved with Drew?   What do you think will happen next in the story … will Oscar survive?  What has been your most favorite performance of Tamara Braun of all her soap roles through the years? Comment below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Hunter King Talks Summer’s Clash With Phyllis, Seducing Billy, ‘Life In Pieces’ & Being Newly Engaged

On The Young and the Restless viewers just watched the summer of …  Summer!  When the top-rated soap brought back two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Hunter King to the canvas, you knew it was going to be to stir up some major drama.  But, little did viewers know that Summer came back a vixen, ready to steal her mother’s man!

Last month, it became game on between mother and daughter after their epic showdown, where Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) got wind of Summer’s attempts to put the moves on Billy (Jason Thompson) and her plans to meet up with him in Philly! (And that spelled trouble for the couple known as “Philly” too)  Oh yes, and there was that well-deserved bitch-slap!  So, where will it all go from here?

Michael Fairman TV caught up with King where we discussed: Summer’s new attitude, if Summer will get her wish and have sex with Billy, her real-life engagement, and her upcoming return to the CBS sitcom Life in Pieces, and more. Check out what Hunter had to say below.

Summer is so pursuing Billy! When you came back to Y&R, did they tell you we need her to be really vampy and this seductress?  What has happened to her? (Laughs)

HUNTER:  Yes.  I understood where it was coming from, and I was excited to play the same character, but being able to play it totally different.  I get to sort of reinvent her.   I think when Summer went away she discovered herself, and kind of grew into Phyllis’ daughter … maybe.  But I will say, it has been very vampy, and you don’t even know yet what’s to come!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How is working with Jason Thompson?

HUNTER:   Working with Jason is great.  He is always so professional and prepared and always willing to collaborate on scenes.  Jason is just so creative, and so in it, and loves to work so much that he just exudes that the scenes.

Let’s just say when Summer and Billy “finally” hit the sheets … (Laughs)

HUNTER:   We don’t yet … we shall see.  The way this whole storyline unfolds you think it’s going one way and then there is a twist, and then twists on top of twists.  The more layers that come into play you start to understand why everything is happening the way it is.

Now, Summer had no idea that Billy had a gambling addiction, which put this whole spiral of his in motion?

HUNTER:  I guess not?  (Laughs)  It’s hard to know. I would say she evidently did not know about his gambling.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Viewers saw Phyllis slap her daughter in the face as the fight between them escalated; when Summer admitted she was going after her mother’s boyfriend!  How was it taping that scene, and working with Gina Tognoni?

HUNTER:  She’s amazing! Gina didn’t really slap me, but I will say afterwards they wanted to put red blush on my cheeks, and I said, “Oh, just pinch my cheek instead, and I wound up bruising my cheek.”  So Gina goes, “I really didn’t hit her!”  It was the funniest banter on set.  Gina was scary in those scenes, like a good scary.  I went, “Damn!”

On August 18th, you got engaged to your beau, Nico Svoboda.  Were you expecting him to propose when he did?

HUNTER:   I was so shocked, even though I had wanted it to happen, very much.  But, I had no idea when it was coming. It was amazing, and the best day of my life and, we are engaged!

Photo : HKingInstagram

And he got down on one knee for the proposal!

HUNTER:  Yes!  I thought it was sweet.  It’s something you dream about when you are a little girl.

What it is about Nico that makes him the guy for you?

HUNTER:  Besides the amazing qualities he has as a person – he’s compassionate, he’s caring, he’s driven, he’s loving, and just cares for others so much – I love the way that he loves me.  I have never felt so loved before, and so accepted, and he is very supportive of my career.

Courtesy/CBS

Are you excited to go back to your role as Clementine on the sitcom, Life in Pieces?  It is slated for a midseason premiere.

HUNTER:  I am super excited to be back.  We are back taping again   I am excited to do the sitcom and Y&R   As an actress, it’s so exciting to get to do different things:  a sitcom and soaps … why not?! (As noted in the press: King took a three-episode break from Y&R to film some episodes of the sitcom due to a scheduling conflict.)

Then speaking of “All in the Family,” it was just announced, your sister, Joey is coming onto Life in Pieces.

HUNTER:  Yes!  How crazy. She will be on for a few episodes, and it will be fun.  I think we will interact a little bit on the show, and we have never had the chance to work together before.

Photo: HKingInstagram

You and your sister have the funniest Instagram videos.  Do you plan those out?

HUNTER:  Joey is so funny.  It kind of just happens when we get together.  Sometimes we film something and sometimes we don’t.  But Joey is so much fun and my best friend. She is the funniest person in the entire world, and so it’s just easy to laugh when I am with her.

So, what did you think of the showdown between Summer and Phyllis?  Are you glad Phyllis slapped her daughter, or was it a mistake?  What do you think will happen next?  Will Summer ultimately sleep with Billy? Do you want Summer to end up with Kyle (Michael Mealor)? Will you be checking out Hunter on Life in Pieces? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

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Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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