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THE TUC WATKINS INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

TucMain66.jpg

This week on One Life to Live, “David Vickeroshi”, will be on the receiving end of a marriage proposal by a very deceitful Dorian, as PI Rex is hot on their trail. With the “Go Red Ball” just around the corner, David’s story will take front and center stage. Will he finally come to realize he is Asa Buchanan’s son?

I chatted with the one and only Tuc Watkins, star of “One Life to Live” and the primetime series “Desperate Housewives”, about his latest Llanview Buddhist incarnation, and playing the bumbling con man. We also discussed the Daytime Emmys, and working on Wisteria Lane, playing one half of the snarkiest gay neighbors you’d ever want to meet, Bob and Lee.

One of the most talented and innovative performers ever to grace the daytime screen, Tuc’s interview is one of our favorites at “On-Air On-Soaps”.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Tuc, Namaste’! Namaste’!

TUC:

Oh, my goodness, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that word.

MICHAEL:

Are people coming up to you and saying, “Namaste’”?

TUC:

Every now and then I do hear it on the subway. I hear it a lot on airplanes, usually places where you can’t run away. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

I thought your performances have been just great. Every time you come back to “One Life to Live”, it just adds so much and spruces up the show. This time you are “David Vickeroshi.” What did you think when they told you how they were bringing you back this time?

TucBudah1.jpgTUC:

When I first heard the acorn of the idea, Frank Valentini (executive producer, “OLTL”) called and said, “Do you want to know what you are going to be doing?” I said, “If you want to tell me.” Because the great thing about going back to play David Vickers is it really doesn’t matter what we are going to do. It’s always fun doing it, because it’s all about the means rather than the end. I said, “Sure. What’s it going to be?” He said, “You are going to come back as a Buddhist monk and you are all enlightened.” I said, “All I see is the comedy. So I assume this is going to be comedic?” He said, “Yes.” I thought it was a great idea. When you play a character on and off for fourteen years, sometimes you have to go far a field to keep things fresh. Obviously, this is not something that will stick around for a long time, this transformation. So, it’s been a lot of fun to
explore a character that you
know really well, in a way you
have not seen him before. It’s
really a fish out of water story,
so it’s been a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

Ron Carlivati (head writer, “OLTL”) and you are brilliant together. Do you ever ad lib your lines, or are those the lines that are written by Ron and the writing team on the page?

TUC:

The great thing about Ron coming on is that is not often that a character, a writer, and an actor, all sort of get it together. Sometimes an actor does not have a handle on what the writer and director is gunning for, and not have the full grasp on something that you are very familiar with. I think Ron appreciated the same characteristics of David that I appreciated. So, we kind of turned up the volume on David. It has been great. You know, I have been through a lot of different writers on the show. I have never really noticed that much difference in the writing, but I really did notice a difference when Ron started. I remember going up to Frank’s office going, “The writing is different and I really do think it had made several strides forward,” and for the first time in a long time, I thought it was really noteworthy. So I said something out loud. Actors like to say a lot of things out loud (He laughs). ‘Namaste’’ takes on a lot of different meanings!

MICHAEL:

So what do you think the meaning of ‘Namaste’’ is?

TUC:

I was told early on the literal meaning of ‘Namaste’ was “I bow to you.” It started out as that, and then it meant “I am hot for you”, and then it also meant, “Thanks for the food.” So, it’s sort of a catch-all, in a way. ((He laughs).

Robin1.jpgMICHAEL:

Is there anytime when you are working with the incomparable Robin Strasser (Dorian), or Erika Slezak (Viki), or any of the actors on the show, when you guys just break up in laughter?

TUC:

Well, we usually get the laughing done at rehearsals in the morning. But, that is also when and where we find stuff. It’s where we tweak what’s there, or punch up a word you might not have punched up, if you had not been rehearsing it with the other actor. We get the ‘funny’ out of the way in the morning or during dress, so when we get to tape we are not wasting anyone’s time.

MICHAEL:

When you first got to work with Robin and Erika, who I think are probably two of the best actresses on the daytime canvas, did you think, “Wow. This is really great?” Did you even know who Erika and Robin were?

TUC:

Well, I first started on “OLTL’ in 1927, so I have known them for a long time. (He laughs) But seriously, I started on the show fourteen years ago, and I never watched soap operas. Some friends of mine in school would plan their course schedule around soaps, but I never quite got it. I mean, I understood that people could become addicted to them. You either get it, or you don’t. And that’s just not one of the things I got. So, when I first started on the show, I did not know who anyone was. But, I did know that they had been there for awhile. I think it’s like starting in a company. You tend to look up to someone who has been around for a number of years and respect them. You figure these people know what they are doing, so I am going to learn from them as opposed to telling them what to do. I remember one of the first days I started working on the show, I was doing a scene with Erika and I was pretending to be her brother. She said, “Can someone please give this kid some light? You can’t even see him!” That’s not something you consider when you are young and starting out. You just want to say your lines and not throw up. When I first met them both, they were the standard to learn from then, and they continue to be.

MICHAEL:

Will David finally find out this time out, that he is really Asa Buchanan’s son?

TUC:

You know, they have been teasing this story for eternity. Talk about dragging out a story! Even by soap terms, it’s taking a long time. I remember when the previous head writer was there and I went back under contract for three years starting in 2003. They told me, “We are going to reveal you are Asa Buchanan’s son.” I thought,” That’s cool, because he is the patriarch of the show, and that means I will be working a lot!” Well, I tell you now, it is going to be revealed, but it is six years later! This is 2009!

MICHAEL:

The only thing that redeems it is you and David come and go from the canvas. So it’s a setup where there are months when you are not on screen.

TUC:

I left contract in 2006, and things have worked out scheduling wise so I can go back. When you have a character like David who is a bumbling con man, it makes sense that he is not always on the canvas. It makes sense that he goes out into the world and tries to pull the wool over other people’s eyes in Bangladesh, or New Delphi, or other cities that I cannot point to on a map. So, when it finally came around, it feels like it has been taking a long time, but fortunately we have been telling other story that has been interesting. The timing is just right to tell it.

TucNora1.jpgMICHAEL:

Does David attend the upcoming, “Go Red Ball”?

TUC:

David does attend the Red Ball, and I will say, something happens at the “Go Red Ball” that changes David’s life.

MICHAEL:

In a good or bad way?

TUC:

A little bit of both. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

I see that “OLTL” has put you up for one of the two actors in the in-house voting, for the pre-nominations for Supporting Actor for the Daytime Emmys.

TUC:

Oh, I did not know that. I am thrilled!

MICHAEL:

Well, you have been my pick for many years to get an Outstanding Supporting Actor nod at the Emmys, but you never got the chance to compete for the prize. So, what are your thoughts?

TUC:

I think everyone’s an idiot! (He laughs) To tell you the truth, what I get to do on “OLTL” is so much fun, and not traditional to what daytime has carved out for itself. So I understand when they look at a bunch of tapes of people to be considered for Emmys and a nomination. I come on and cross my eyes, and fall down the stairs, and they look at it like, “Is this guy for real?” So, it’s sort of a double-edged sword. I am very lucky that I have been able to play this character that doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the people that inhabit the town of Llanview. But having said that, part of what allows me to do that prevents me from doing terribly dramatic stuff. I know you are supposed to cry on cue on daytime, and I can’t do that. So, anytime I try to play anything dramatic I tend to turn the car in a different direction. I guess it could be said I err on the side of trying to find something that is funny. That’s not always the best choice. In fact, Robin Strasser is always getting on me about that.

TucVickie1.jpgMICHAEL:

But, I think there have been such beautiful, nice, and at times, emotional scenes between David and Viki.

TUC:

If I can have poignant moments, but with a hump and mole with hair coming out of my face, then I am happy doing those poignant moments. They brought me on to be this cool mysterious guy in 1994. I did it for a year, and to tell you the truth, I was pretty unremarkable at it. It wasn’t until one day I woke up and realized, “David Vickers is not a cool mysterious person. He thinks he is a cool mysterious person.” And that s when the David we know today was really born, and that is when I kind of hit my stride with this character. You’ve got to figure out how to play the character among the other people you are with. And it’s not that easy. It took me a year on “OLTL” to figure out what makes David special. Luckily, when I was turning their mysterious cool character into the town buffoon, they supported it rather than say, “You don’t get it. You’re out.” So I have been pretty fortunate.

MICHAEL:

You pull double duty at times, as Bob on “Desperate Housewives”. Will you be continuing on that?

ColorTucKevin1.jpgTUC:

Yes. They signed me and Kevin Rahm (Lee) to a recurring contract this year. On a show like that, it’s always going to be about those five women, as it should be. I mean, it’s called “Desperate Housewives”, but we have gotten a little more involved this year. Kevin has gotten more involved with Teri Hatcher’s (Susan) character, and I started representing Felicity Huffman’s (Lynette) kid, because they decided my character was a lawyer. As it is, it’s also a soap opera, when you boil it down. They just have better lighting and hair styling. So, one day they sent me a script and I went to the table read and head writer Marc Cherry went, “Oh, by the way, you are a lawyer now.” That involved me a bit more. They have our characters in that house between Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria (Gabrielle), and we are sort of a new color on the canvas. A lot of story is told through us…

MICHAEL:

….they are reactionary instead of propelling story, right?

TUC:

Yes. The end game is how it affects the women on the show. It is a lot of fun to work on that show. It is the funniest set I have ever been on. That’s probably because you go to work on a neighborhood street where it’s mostly sunny, and they have really good snacks, and you just hang out. And any drama that happened on that show, happened a long time ago. And everyone in between takes are playing games and catching ‘rays’.

MICHAEL:

How is working with these powerhouse actresses?

TUC:

They are all very different. I remember Kevin and I started around the same time Dana Delaney (Katherine) started. I thought, “Oh, this poor woman has her work cut out for her because she has such strong archetypes that have been set up and established.” I thought she did an amazing job of finding something new that was also necessary. Kevin and I are in the supporting cast, but all those women on there are all fun in a different way. Eva Longoria takes nothing seriously, in the best of ways. She is always cutting up and laughing. Felicity is knowledgeable and it’s great to talk about acting with her.

DH1.jpgMICHAEL:

You and Kevin play the gay couple on the show. Is there one thing you would like to see them involved in, if you were writing the show?

TUC:

The thing that I like about the way Marc Cherry brought that couple on was, he brought them on as a gay couple, and one of the first lines they say is, “We’re gay. We are life partners.” So there was no dancing around that, and it was not issue-oriented. I think a lot of times when they brought in gay characters, or minority characters in the 70’s or 80’s on television, black or Asians had to explain why they were there! We don’t need that anymore. I thought it was great that we got to go on… everyone knew we were gay… but that wasn’t the story. Why we went there was part of the story, and how we get involved in other peoples lives is the story. We are not this cookie-cutter, great super hero, gay couple, where everything we say is kind and friendly. We are not that couple from “American Beauty”. They were the only normal people on that street, but we are kind of mean!

MICHAEL:

Yeah, I like that they are these ‘snarky’ gay guys. It’s not the issue that they are gay; it’s just the ‘snarky’ guys that live down the street.

TUC:

I describe it as: I am Andy Griffith and Kevin is Barney Fife. Kevin says all the funny lines and I stand behind him and roll my eyes, and that’s what Andy did with Barney.

TucRed1.jpgMICHAEL:

Is there a lot of Tuc in David Vickers on “OLTL”, and in Bob on “Desperate Housewives”?

TUC:

I will tell you this: I am not a method actor. I studied that in school, and I think that’s how most students of acting learn about acting. That’s where you become the character and eat for breakfast what that character ate for breakfast, and you think about how that character was treated when they were a child. That didn’t work for me. I am more of a behaviorist. I am more about how a character behaves in the environment he is in. I would say most of the characters I play, especially in television; you are usually hired to play pretty close to who you are. So, I would say Bob on “Desperate Housewives” is very similar to me, because I am a neatnik in a way, and I maintain a sense of humor. But I am fairly straight laced in what I think. David, on “OLTL”, is also a side of me where I like to cut up. So, it’s two sides of a coin in many ways to me. I would have to say, that both those characters are pretty close to me without being mutually exclusive, if you know what I mean?

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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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Lead Actor Nominee Red Carpet Interviews

Tonight on the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards five talented actors will vie for the gold in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category during the Emmy broadcast, which airs on CBS and streams on Paramount + beginning at 8 p.m. EST.

During the Daytime Emmy Red Carpet event featuring nominees and presenters, four of the five nominated actors were able to make the festivities, missing was daytime favorite, Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) of The Bold and the Beautiful.

Michael Fairman chatted with GH nominees: Maurice Benard (Sonny), Steve Burton (Jason) and Dominic Zamprogna, plus Days of our Lives nominee and also a GH cast member, Wally Kurth (Justin, Days and Ned, GH) to get their thoughts on what this nomination for their work means to them, what performances they submitted for Emmy judging, and what it has been like to be a part of the collective daytime community.,

Check out our red carpet Lead Actor nominee interviews below, and make sure to check out more nominee and presenter conversations on the Michael Fairman Channel.

Now, let us know, which actor you are rooting for in the Outstanding Lead Actor category? Let us know your pick in the comment section.

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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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