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Y&R’s Greg Rikaart Talks The Complex Life of Kevin Fisher, His Co-Stars, and COVID-19

Photo: CBS

This week, fans of The Young and the Restless are getting to go back in time and see some of the memorable moments from the dysfunctional, complicated, yet loveable Baldwin-Fisher clan in encore episodes.

Daytime Emmy-winner, Greg Rikaart has brought his A-game for years as the misunderstood, often misguided, but beautifully redeemable flawed character, Kevin Fisher. From his troubled past to his relationships with his brother, Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and his mother, Gloria (Judith Chapman), Kevin has been one of Y&R’s more intriguing characters always bouncing from the  heavy drama to the comedic, all in the more than capable hands of Rikaart.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Greg to get his thoughts on: looking back at some of these key episodes in Kevin’s past, what it was like working with former on-screen love interest Emily O’Brien (Jana), his current on-screen love Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe), and first meeting his on-screen family.

As many are aware, back in March, Greg came down with the coronavirus and it took quite a toll on him. With what is happening now in our country with the spike in the pandemic, he also shares his perspective on what he went through, and reminds us all that COVID-19 is no joke; it’s real and taking people down with it.  One of the best guys we know … and one of the finest actors we know … here’s what Greg shared.

Photo: JPI

It is Baldwin-Fisher week on Y&R.  What do you remember when you first came to the show?  And what was your recollection of first meeting Christian LeBlanc?

GREG:  When I first came on, it wasn’t to be Michael’s brother.  So, I had been there already, and the first story that I was involved with was the internet predator storyline with Christel Khalil (Lily).  So, I had been there a while, and then I think Christian and I had, of course, crossed paths in the hallways, and we had a mutual friend, so we had even gotten together for lunch, and he kind of gave me the lay of the land a little bit.  It wasn’t until we had a fan event, and Jack Smith’s (Ex-writer and producer, Y&R) daughter, Asia, who had worked on the show for a little while, saw Christian and me sitting next to one another.  She said, “I never noticed that the two of them look like brothers,” and I think that’s where the impulse came from to make us related as brothers, Then after we found out that was happening, that’s when Christian and I got to know each other better and said, “Hey, let’s invest a lot of time and effort into making this relationship real.”  There was so much bad blood and history and a lot of stuff to play.  We really spent a lot of time really working on those early scenes when we were trying to figure out what the dynamic was.  I have really fond memories of all of that.  I think I have a great time working with Christian and developing the relationship, and also, it was so nice becoming a part of a family.  I think having a family on the show made me feel like a more integral part of Y&R.  It was a really great time.

Photo: CBS

What do you recall when Judith Chapman first came on to the show as your mother, Gloria?  

GREG:  Briefly, we had Joan Van Ark playing Gloria, and then, when they had cast Judith, I didn’t read with her.  I think Christian was the one, who had auditioned with Judith, but then I happened to be up in the office one day, and I saw her, and I kind of put two and two together, and I said, “Hey, wait, I think we are going to be working together!”  I also remember the way she jumped right in and filled some pretty big shoes epically … and really made the character her own, and again, added a fantastic layer to what the family dynamic was.  It was really wonderful.

Photo: CBS

I’ll never forget the scene when Kevin says goodbye to Gloria, which was your exit from Y&R.  It was a five-hankie moment.

GREG:  Oh, yeah.  It was so easy to play because I was leaving, and the hardest scenes were the ones where I had to say goodbye to Christian and to Judith because like I mentioned, we had invested so much into the relationships and into the characters, and so there is a lot of love, and I think the boundaries get blurred.  There is love between me, and Christian, and Judith, and love between Kevin, and Michael, and Gloria.  It was hard of all of those different reasons.  So, it was easy to channel it into Kevin having to say goodbye to Gloria.

On today’s encore episode of Y&R, we are going to see the ashram wedding between Jana (Emily O’Brien) and Kevin.  I loved you and Emily together!

GREG:  Me too!

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Emily and the whole Kevin and Jana story because it was crazy! Jana was so quirky and off-kilter and so, at times, is Kevin.

GREG:  I think Emily came on when Lynn Latham was head writing the show, and Lynn, who I think is wonderful, is a bit off-kilter herself, and I mean that in the best possible way.  Lynn always had streaks of wild colors in her hair.  I think in some ways, Jana may have been a manifestation of some part of Lynn.  Every week or two, Jana would say something, and we found out some other absurd thing in her past where she had been a paraglider at one point, for example, and all of these strange things, and you can sort of throw everything into the kitchen sink with that character, and it all sort of worked.  That was sort of happening when Kevin was very early on in his road of rehabilitation; I think it made sense for him to be with someone like that, although I think Jana’s off- kilter was certainly a little more straight and narrow than his. Jana was a good influence on him.  I loved their dynamic; I loved their relationship.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about filming the ashram wedding?

GREG: I remember how beautiful the set was. It took up half of the stage.  Emily looked so great, and I remember not wanting to see her before Kevin would have seen her.  I remember the vows being really nice.  I believe it’s the episode where they first meet, Michael’s dad, who is the minister played by Michael Gross.  It was fun that we had a great centerpiece of a story, but it also propelled story for the rest of the family.

Photo: CBS

Coming up on Friday’s encore episode of Y&R: Kevin defends his relationship with Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) to Gloria when is mother makes a “festive” return.  What was your initial reaction to being paired with Liz, who you were already good friends with?

GREG:  I was excited.  I think Liz is great.  We had wanted to be working together.  For a long time, we had lobbied for it.  I didn’t know what capacity it was going to happen in, but I think linking us romantically was really fun.  I think the world of her, so I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

When you look back at winning your Daytime Emmy, and all of the early storylines, do you wish Kevin were more like how he was then with his dark side, or do you like how the character has evolved? It would be hard to sustain a character being destructive and so dark for years and years on a soap without being shipped off the canvas at some point for crimes. 

GREG:  It’s kind of a mixed bag.  I think, certainly some of the stuff earlier on was more challenging, but I also appreciate and really love some of the more lighthearted stuff that Kevin gets to do.  I think when any combination of the Fisher/Baldwins are called in to be a bit more of the comic relief, I think that provides a fun element too and works nicely on the show.  I am absolutely grateful for the longevity.  It might be hard to sustain a character like Kevin the way he was early on, but it sure is fun to do stuff like blowing up restaurants or burning them down.

Photo: JPI

Have you watched any of the episodes so far this week on Y&R … and watched yourself in your earlier years? If so, what did you think?

GREG:  I watched Monday’s episode.  On one hand, it’s really fun to take a trip down memory lane, and there are moments that I remember, and then there are moments that I don’t.  So, it’s fun to rediscover things that way.  Also, I think I had maybe a false sense of my ability early on and what I was capable of.  Watching some of those earlier shows reminds me of how much I’ve grown, not just with Christian and Judith, but everyone there who I have continued to work with.  I think I feel a lot more confident about my acting ability today than when I look back.

You got the opportunity to come back to Y&R after being let go, how does it feel now?

GREG:  I was thrilled to come back.  I think Josh Griffith (head writer, and co-executive producer, Y&R)  really took some big swings to right the ship by bringing back Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and Mishael Morgan (Amanda), and me, and Liz. I was grateful to be included in all of that and just thrilled to come home.  I’m glad that the last chapter wasn’t the last chapter for me.

Photo: RikaartG

You came down with the coronavirus and publicly let people know what happened to you and how you were feeling along the way.  As someone who has gone through getting very sick; how frustrated are you right now with what you see going on in California and Los Angeles, and the rest of the country as this pandemic has spiked, and there are new daily all-time highs in deaths and cases?

GREG:  I’m pretty frustrated.   It’s not over.  I’m negative now for the virus.  I am well on my road to recovery, but this is not a two-week recovery, and then you’re in the free-and-clear.  I’ve had some substantial post-viral issues that I was dealing with for a while.  It is insanely frustrating to see people not taking this seriously, and I continue to take it as seriously as I did in the beginning because there is no guarantee that antibodies really protect you from anything.  I feel just as vulnerable as the next person to get sick.  It’s mind-bogging to me that something as simple as wearing a mask over your face became politicized. I think we should all look to New York to follow their model for how to get back on track because they did it right.  California is different in the sense that New York had one epicenter for the entire state.  It was New York City where the battle was happening, whereas in California, we are a larger state geographically and population wise, and there are different heavily populated areas like Orange County versus Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and every place in between.  It is hard to shepherd 50+ million people through it as opposed to maybe a more tightly packed group of 10 million New Yorkers, but I still think Governor Cuomo of New York deserves all of the credit he is getting for handling this.  He is really the only one, the only politician who is kind of getting his people through it… at least in America.

Photo: RikaartIG

As a father, how do you feel about what you see happening with opening schools vs. not opening schools, and this debate?  Safety should come first, but you see how this is being politicized as well. Parents need to get back to work, and want their children safely in schools, but how can that be when the pandemic is raging?

GREG:  There is no decision that anyone can make in today’s world where there is not some level of risk that you take on; whether it is going to the grocery store, going back to work, or sending your kid to school.  I understand that there are parents who need to work and don’t have the luxury of childcare, and they need their kids to be in school.  I know there is a lot of evidence suggesting that kids are not specific transmitters of coronavirus, and even if they are, even if they do come down with it, they tend to fare quite well.  So, of course, no judgement on any parent who makes different decisions if they are well thought out, educated decisions and you’re using science to arrive at your conclusion. But for us and my family, I think we have a very intimate understanding of how serious this is.  You know, Monte is only in preschool, but his preschool went back last week, and we are just going to keep him home until we feel like we are ready to send him back.  At his age, I’m not concerned about there being things that he’s not learning.  I’m concerned about him socially, and developmentally with what he is missing out on, but we are finding ways to do things socially-distanced with friends and to socialize him that way, and we are fortunate in that we have childcare.  So, we have two extra hands on deck, 40 hours a week, which is super helpful, as there are no easy choices these days.

Photo: JPI

Y&R is going back into production this week.  Knowing what you went through with COVID-19, any trepidation on your part?

GREG:  I think going back to work would for sure do me some good emotionally, but like I was saying earlier, there is no decision that you can make these days where you are not taking on some level of risk.  So, I am excited.  I am also a little anxious.  We will see how it goes.

I was so concerned for you, as so many of your colleagues and friends were too, when we saw how you were kicked by this virus.

GREG:  It was awful, truly awful, and I hate to complain about it when I have a lot of gratitude for how much better I fared than so many other people.  I am out of the woods for sure, but if I exert myself a little too hard for a few days in a row, I have a day where it can be hard to get out of bed.  I have some friends who are dealing with even more substantial post-viral fatigue.  One friend of mine, he hasn’t gotten his taste or smell back for over three months, and doctors are skeptical that he ever will now.  So, fortunately, I’m not dealing with any of that, but you know, it’s hard to not wish that it just never happened, and that I was physically who I was a few months ago.

Photo: JPI

Closing out our conversation on Kevin Fisher, if you had to explain to another human being who doesn’t watch Y&R, who Kevin is, what would you say?

GREG:  I would say that he is the lovable ne’er do well.  Someone who messes up often, but I think he has earned a place in people’s hearts where they are forgiving of him when he does mess up, or they’re rooting for him to make better choices. When he does make good choices, they are into his choices.  I think that’s a good handle on who he is.

So, what is your favorite moment or story in the history of Kevin Fisher? Are you enjoying this week’s encore episodes on The Young and the Restless?  What do you think about the views shared by Greg, as someone who has gone through battling the coronavirus? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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I enjoy watching Greg and Kevin. I also like him on Days. I wish they would bring Gloria back.

Dancing with the Stars

Anne Heche Talks Dancing with the Stars, Another World’s Vicky/Marley, Ellen DeGeneres, Standing Up to Discrimination

America is getting reacquainted with Daytime Emmy winner, primetime Emmy and Tony nominee, actress Anne Heche  This talented dynamo has taken to the ballroom dance floor on the new season of Dancing with the Stars with her pro dance partner Keo Motsepe.  Daytime soap fans are thrilled to see her again after her unforgettable performances at twins Vicky and Marley on the beloved Another World early in her professional career.

While everyone had a heart-stopping moment on Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, when Heche and Motsepe found themselves in the bottom two- they were saved by the judges and will dance into next week!

Michael Fairman caught up with Heche prior to Monday’s show from her home in Los Angeles for a new interview feature on The Michael Fairman Channel on  You Tube.  Their conversation covered many points throughout Anne’s career, from her difficult upbringing detailed in her memoir, “Call Me Crazy”, to how she landed on Another World and life on a soap opera, to making the decision to leave, to having her career in film and TV reach a critical impasse when she was in a relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, to life now with her two children and of course, being a celebrity dancer on live TV on this very different season of DWTS.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the chat with Heche below.

Photo: ABC

Speaking on performing on the Covid-19 season of Dancing with the Stars, Anne expressed:”You can’t define a moment that’s getting on to that ballroom floor, and all of a sudden you know you are on live television.  Dancing with the Stars is usually done in front of a live audience and it’s not this year.  So you only have the other dancers as your audience, but stepping out knowing the responsibility that I was taking on for Keo, that I was taking on for myself, and then that click – and you get four clicks – and then you go.  You don’t know if you’re going to be able to do it.  I will go as far as I can go as an artist.  But when judge Derek Hough said ‘You made me smile’, that was my intention.  That’s why I am doing this more than anything.  Yes, I want to learn, but I am here to entertain in a world where there is little entertainment (right now), where it’s live, it’s now, and it’s happening in this moment.  We can’t feel each other, but you can look at my face and know that whatever dedication I have to do this, I will do to the best of my ability.  I have been given the opportunity to perform for an audience who is at home to give one thing – that is the joy with the entertainment that I bring.”

Photo: NBC

Soap opera fans will always recall Anne’s sensational portrayal of twins Vicky and Marley on Another World from 1987-1991.  To this day, it remains one of the all-time greatest in the genre, and at that time, daytime fans knew that Heche would eventually go on to an even greater mainstream career in motion pictures and television and Broadway.  Anne’s road to Bay City and Another World happened the day after she graduated high school (she was discovered there) and landed in New York and at Another World producer and director John Whitesell’s office, where she learned now only was she playing one part, but two!

As Anne recalls it, Whitesell said to her, “What you don’t know is that I auditioned you for two characters because you’re going to play twins.  And by the way … that Bahama Mama T-shirt you wore, and obviously you thought you should repeat it, because you’re wearing it in your screen-test, and you’re wearing it now, get it off! Vicky is the sexy one, so go figure it out!  Your first day you’re going to be in a hot tub and you’re talking to your dad, because you just lost a million dollars.  I’m like, ‘What?’.  Whitesell continued, ‘Yeah, it’s a bubble bath … and don’t make me regret this decision, because I am the only person who wanted to hire you.”  After that moment, Anne took on the dual roles still not knowing much of anything about daytime and she became a fan favorite.  Throughout the interview, Anne recalls her time working with Kale Brown (Ex-Michael Hudson) (Ex-Anna Stuart (Ex- Donna Love), and Tom Eplin (Ex-Jake McKinnon).

Heche had made the decision to exit Another World and was going to quit acting with the intent on going to the Parsons School of Design, when her agent called for her to go out for a role in a film that starred Jessica Lange in which he landed the role.  Noting that the production team at Another World moved all of her scenes to the end of the day so they could tape Vicky and Marley’s departure (so she could go be in the movie), Anne next found herself in a Motel 6 on location in Nebraska when the Daytime Emmys were being handed out in 1991, and she was nominated for her Outstanding Younger Actress.

As Heche recalls, “I’m watching the Emmys and I win and I’m eating a cheeseburger on a bed by myself in a Motel 6 in Nebraska and they say ‘she can’t be here … she is a new movie with Jessica Lange.’  I won an Emmy on a bug-infested bed in a Motel 6 in Nebraska and at that moment said, with a cheeseburger in my mouth, ‘Does this mean I’m supposed to be an actress?” (Laughs)

Photo: JP

Anne’s relationship with Ellen DeGeneres was a highly-publicized from 1997-2000 for their public appearances together which later backfired on Heche’s career.  However, through Heche, the needle moved forward to pave the way for same-sex couples to be able to express their love publicly.  As she reflects on that time in her life, she expressed: “I was told not to go to the premiere of Volcano if I took Ellen, and I looked at the suits standing in front of me, and even Ellen said, ‘You listen to them, Anne.  You can’t go with me.’  This is four days after I met Ellen.  I said, ‘If I had met George Clooney and four days later I was taking him to a premiere we would not be having this conversation.” This is the moment I realized what discrimination feels like. because, even Ellen is sitting here telling me not to go to the premiere.’  I said to Ellen, ‘You just came out Tuesday night on Ellen (referring to DeGeneres then comedy series) and you are sitting here right now and you are telling me to not bring you to my premiere as my date?!’  So, even Ellen did not agree with me. Then it happened again in front of President Clinton. I put my arm around her.  She said, “You’re not allowed, you can’t do that.’  I said, ‘I will not be discriminated against.”

Watch the entire video interview with Anne below.

Then let us know, are you rooting Anne on during her run on DWTS?  What are your favorite Vicky/Marley moments portrayed by Anne on Another World? What do you think about the comments she shared on Ellen DeGeneres and what happened throughout her life and career? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

Kassie DePaiva, Nathan Purdee & Taylor Purdee Talk ‘Killian & The Comeback Kids’, One Life to Live & Eve’s Reign of Terror on DAYS

It’s ‘all in the family’ + a dear friend that makes the film Killian and the Comeback Kids something that soap fans will want to see. In it, daytime veterans, Kassie DePaiva (Ex-GL, OLTL, GH and Days) and Nathan Purdee (Ex-Y&R and OLTL) are featured in the new movie directed, written and starring Nathan’s talented son, Taylor.

One Life to Live fans will get a kick out of that Kassie and Nathan play a married couple in the film.  In story, a millennial (Taylor A. Purdee) comes home to live with his parents in a depressed rural town after getting a college degree in the big city. The film illustrates the issues facing many of America’s youth today, which could not be more apropos for the times we are living with many children moving back in with their parents. However, the movie shares an uplifting message filled with original music from Taylor’s folk-rock band, The Cumberland Kids.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kassie, Nathan and Taylor to get the inside scoop on: collaborating together on this project, revisiting Llanview with some memories and thoughts on the cancellation of the beloved soap, plus Kassie’s last turn on Days of our Lives as an unhinged Eve Donovan – a performance that just may garner attention come Daytime Emmy time next year.

This conversation was filled with candor, humor, and a parent’s love for their child. Killian and the Comeback Kid is playing in selected theatres and dates including tonight Friday, September 25th in Atlanta, and October 2nd in Chicago. For more movie info go to the film’s website here And now here’s what Kassie, Nathan and Taylor shared.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

I was really intrigued by the film. Taylor, how did you lure your dad to be in the movie?

TAYLOR:  Oh my gosh, it was the craziest negation ever.

I bet! (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  When I was a kid, Roberta, my mom, made me promise to always write him roles.  So, it was kind of obligatory.

KASSIE:  That is so funny!

TAYLOR:  It’s true.

Had you met Kassie before, or was this the first time? 

TAYLOR:  I knew Kassie from when my dad and her were doing One Life to Live together.   Five years before I was filming this movie, Nathan texted me, “Hey!  Kassie and Jim (DePaiva) are right by your dorm room.  You should go see them!”  So, catching up as an adult was so nice.  I had a non-parentally controlled grown-up hang-out with her.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

What was the journey this film, Killian and the Comeback Kids, went on as far as from the writing of it, to production, to its completion?

TAYLOR:  Well, the front half was surprisingly quick.  I think writing it through to having it finished was about 18 months, and there were about 6 months of, “how’s it going to come out,” and then, we thought we knew what was going to happen, and we were all getting ready for it to hit in movie theatres in the spring when the world ended, and that’s how we got here three years later.

Nathan, tell me about the role you play; because Kassie and you are husband and wife in the film.

NATHAN: Well, yeah, you kind of covered it! (Laughs)  I play her husband, and she plays my wife, and I appreciated the casting situation.  It’s interesting how Taylor chose Kassie because he did say that he wanted someone who was close to his mom’s personality.  I couldn’t think of anybody else other than Kassie because the only difference is Kassie is taller, but they both are such loving, caring people.  They always want to mother you and make sure you’re fed, and you’re safe, and you’re happy, and neither one of them knows the word, “no,” when it comes to the people who they’re taking care of.  I love Kassie anyway, so good for me.

KASSIE:  Yeah, they cut our love scene, and I don’t know what that’s about. (Laughs)

Kassie, what do you remember from when you first met Nathan?  You were at One Life, right?

KASSIE:  No, when I first met Nathan, we were in San Antonio, and we were doing an appearance.  I met Bobbie Eakes (Ex-Krystal, AMC and Macy, B&B) for the first time then too, but I was on The Guiding Light, and I was singing, and Nathan was there.  Nathan and I sat beside each other.  I honestly felt like I had known Nathan my entire life.  We were drinking margaritas and talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.

NATHAN:  Yep!

Photo: JPI

KASSIE:  Nathan and my husband, Jim are very good friends.  I have to say, Nathan was so lovely when I was going through my cancer journey.  He came to see me every week, sometimes twice a week when I was in the hospital, and he would come up, and he would hang out with Jim.  I will never, ever forget how lovely he was (it makes me tear up right now) to be there with support for my husband and myself as we went through that.  So, when Nathan asked me to be his wife in the film, I thought, “Well, hey, you practically live with me now, so that sounds good.”

So, Taylor, how did they do on-screen as husband and wife?

TAYLOR:  They’re fantastic.  We’ve only had one test screening, but one of the most consistent things audiences tell me is that they’re not just great together, but they each have such a quiet, brooding depth to them that you can’t help but imagine the back-story that they’re not talking about

KASSIE:  That’ll be the sequel!

TAYLOR:  Killian and the Comeback Kids 2: They Comeback Kids Comeback.

KASSIE:  They’ll come back again!

NATHAN:  Thanks for planting that seed in his head, Kassie.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

TAYLOR:  It was important for me to try to synthesize a mixed-race couple.  So, it was really great to be able to have them, not just be so great together, but there was also the issue of we had to have a little girl who looked like she could not just be my sister, but also both of their daughter.  Creating a family from scratch was great because Nathan and Kassie already had the rapport.

Did you watch them on One Life to Live together? 

TAYLOR:  Yeah!  I was in school most of the time, but I would go to set, and over the last 10 years, friends would send me YouTube clips from the show because for some reason none of the soaps are streaming.  There’s not like a soap Netflix!  It kind of needs to happen!  Soaps, they’re epic; there are decades worth of episodes and shows.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

In this film, music is the backdrop.  It’s your music and your band that is featured?

TAYLOR:  Yeah, my best friend growing up and I were staring to write folk music around the time when I was deciding what script I wanted to make into a film.  We wrote the soundtrack, all the music that people sing, and the underscore, which was surprisingly the most fun part of it all.

Kassie what did you think of Taylor’s music?

 ASSIE:  I think it’s wonderful.   I love music. It’s totally in the heart of me, and I just think that this movie is so timely. Kids these days are having to deal with not knowing what their future is going to be.  In the film, my son comes home, and he is trying to find himself, and he throws himself into his art and his music.  I just think there are a lot of people right now who are going through that.  I think it is extremely relatable, even more so than when you wrote it, Taylor.  I think people are looking for some type of connection, and I think this little movie is a good start.  It’s about people pulling together, and it’s got a strong rooting factor, and you want people to succeed, and it is great.  It takes you on a really nice journey.

You have some dates coming up where the film will play in a movie theatre- one is on September 25th in Atlanta and then another one on October 2nd in Chicago.  Taylor, how do you feel about making appearances for the film during the pandemic? You’re going with masks on? 

TAYLOR:  Oh yeah.  We will be in a bubble; we are just getting into a car and sticking together.  I and John Donchak, who plays opposite me through the whole film, are going to all of those dates, and my co-songwriter, who also appears in the film, will be in Atlanta, if not at both premieres.

NATHAN:  And let me add, please, they’re going against my wishes as a parent, but he is 28- years-old, so all I can say is that we are hoping for the best because we want him to be safe.  He is very determined and passionate about it, so he’s got our support.

Photo: KarmicReleseLTD

Taylor, in your story, why does Killian come home and live with his parents? 

TAYLOR: His plan at the time is that he has just graduated from a pricey university, and he is supposed to go off with his bandmate on a modest music tour.  He comes home to get his stuff and see his parents after graduating, but his bandmate drops out, and so the plan falls apart, and that’s how he gets stuck in this town and everything is just kind of falling apart. The plan that he had for his life after college gets pulled out right out from under him.

Photo: Getty

Nathan, when Kassie and you were on One Life for years, you weren’t there when it ended, as you had already left the show.  How did you feel upon learning it had been canceled by ABC?

NATHAN:  I was so disconnected by that time.  I just knew it was ending, and it wasn’t the first soap to go.  I saw it happening when the other shows started being canceled due to, I could be wrong about this, but I put the blame on reality TV.  By that point I had moved on in my personal and private life.  I was doing a lot of theatre then, traveling back and forth from North Carolina, really trying to keep busy, and fighting off the depression of not working full-time.  I missed Jim and Kassie the most, but I was thrilled that I could bump into them at any time and visit with them.  I kept in touch with Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora) and Bob Woods (Ex-Bo) and also, Timothy Stickney (Ex-RJ); in fact, Timothy Stickney’s wife did Taylor’s hair for the film.

Photo: JPI

Kassie, how do you feel years later about the cancellation of One Life to Live?

KASSIE:  I still miss it.  I loved it. The hard part about this show in particular being canceled is –one – that there wasn’t closure on it.  It kind of happened randomly, and there was still a lot more story to tell.  They kept it going on General Hospital, where they’ll bring some characters there.  So, it’s still in peoples’ minds. The second part is the friendships and the family connections that you’ve made over the many years that you’re there. Nothing lasts forever, that’s for sure, but as you were saying, there’s no streaming of these shows, but if you catch an episode on YouTube, One Life to Live, truly stands alone.  It just has great stories, great characters, and there is connection there that is very real.

Kassie, your last go-around at DAYS was just epic.  Did you guys see it?

TAYLOR:  I did see pieces of some of it.  I caught some of the “super villain”!

Photo: JPI

Eve went in guns blazing, evil as all get out, but so heartbreaking at the same time while she was torturing Ben (Rob Scott Wilson).  What did you think about all of that, Kassie?

KASSIE:  I was really hesitant to watch it because I remembered how “super villain” I was.  I remember getting on the plane, and Jimmy said, “How was it?” and I said, “I’ll probably never work again a day in my life. I’m like this (evil laughs) muah-ha-ha, muah-ha-ha kind of character.”  I mean, you hated what Eve was doing, and you were supposed to, but I think that they did a great job with production values, and it was reasonable what she was doing because she was going off the edge. It’s great to be able to sink your teeth into something that is so out-there and completely different from your own life.  I mean, it was exhausting.  Every day, I would come home and just be like, “Oh my God, give me a cocktail.” Eve had justification for her revenge, even as wrong as it was, and she needed to be heard, and she needed closure, and she made a bunch of wrong moves, and did a bunch of bad, bad, bad things, and now, she is probably in a mental institution somewhere, so…

You and I were on set of DAYS and I was going to interview you.  If I recall, at that point, you did not even know what the story arc was.

KASSIE:  No, I didn’t. When I arrived and looked at the script, I’m like, “Well, who blew up that wedding?”  Then, all of the sudden, “Oh, no!  I blew up the wedding.  This is bad!  I probably am not going to be coming back on this show again.”  I look at story and go, “Uh-oh.  There’s a shut door.”  I like open doors and open windows.

Photo: JPI

Taylor, what is your project? Are you continuing to write?  What do you see in the future for yourself?

TAYLOR:  This is my life for me.  The next thing that I think we are releasing is actually something that I made before this because everything is backwards, which is a documentary (very different) about Central American politics, which I’m hoping is out next year.  In terms of new scripts, everybody is a bit torn.  I kind of want to do a biopic of Lee Grant, or I want to do a blues/punk version of something inspired by The Shining.

Well, those are very polar opposite!

TAYLOR:  Yeah, aren’t they?

NATHAN:  Now you see what I’m living with. (Laughs)

Photo: IMDB

Nathan, you must be proud of Taylor, and it must be very cool to see your son have these multi-faceted talents.

NATHAN:  Of course, I’m proud of him and it’s great, but it’s strange because watching Taylor develop into the person he has developed into and continues to, made me realize that I hadn’t had the type of courage he has.  I had my dreams and certain things that I was very courageous about in my life.  I certainly don’t see him doing some things the way I did them, because he has more common sense than I do when it comes to life choices. His courage just blows my mind.  Most of my closest friends are professional musicians, and many of them, if I were to namedrop, you would know who they are, and they’ve had successful careers, and I’ve always looked up to them and admired them, but I was never that guy.  I just wanted to be a musician because I knew them and we were friends, but I didn’t have the discipline to do what they did, and I certainly didn’t have the God-given talent.  I play a little bit of keyboard and a little bit of saxophone myself, but I have to play one song 757 times before I even start to feel comfortable with it, and Taylor can sit down and start strumming on his guitar, and the next thing you know, he’s written a whole song.  It just blows my mind how creative and talented he is.  He has been surrounded by creative and talented people all of his life. He has absorbed a lot from the different people and the different opportunities he’s had, and I look at him sometimes, and I even say it to my wife, “Who is this kid?”  I like to share this story.  We went to see Taylor do Hamlet.  I’m guessing he was 15 or 16-years-old at the time. I’m watching him doing Hamlet, and I’m sitting in the chair, and I’m crying because I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, my God, he is so good!”  I told Taylor, “I would not tackle Hamlet on a football field, yet alone on stage.”  It made me realize that we had a force to be reckoned with.  He’s pretty amazing.  The bad news for him is that I always tell him the truth, and I lied to him once, and he called me out on it, and I promised that I would never lie to him again.  So, be careful what you ask me because I will tell you the truth from this point on.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  Taylor was also the director of this film, which I mean, “What the hell!”  This guy is doing everything.  He was deciding on the shots, he was deciding on the lighting, he was deciding this and that, he was editing the script, I’m like, “Holy cannoli!”  He’s like, “No, I want her to wear that shirt; I want her to do this.”  You would do the scene, and he’d come over and talk to you a little bit.  I mean, he was just awesome; Taylor brought so much insight to my character because I’m like, “What’s my relationship, and who are all of these kids?  Are we a loving family?”  We did it very quickly, too.  Taylor, look at what you’ve accomplished, and it is such a beautiful piece of art!

TAYLOR:  From a more functional standpoint as a director, one of the really great things about having the two of them was that Kassie came in half-way through filming, and we’d been working with the young actor/musicians a lot.  Some of them, it was their first big job, but pretty much all of them had worked before.  On Kassie’s first day, they didn’t know what they were in for.  She just rolled onto set, and all of the sudden, the stakes and bar of how to be an actor just changed.  From that point on, when Kassie and Nathan started to work with the band, we knew those were going to be fun days because there was going to be acting involved.  Everyone else just had to come up to their level, which was great for me because it gave me so much more to edit with.

Taylor, who are your musical influences?   

TAYLOR:  That’s a really good question.  My musical obsession for the last few years has been this guy, named Josh Ritter, who is kind of a singer/songwriter/folk guy.  My real-life band, The Cumberland Kids, is named after one of his songs.  Also, Weird Al Yankovic, has been a massive inspiration for me and my songwriting partners.

So, your vibe is this folk-rock.

TAYLOR:  Yeah, that’s what I’m writing mostly.  My listening is kind of all over the place, but definitely that is what I’m writing.

Kassie, who do you like listening to?

KASSIE:  It all depends on what cocktail I have in my hand.

Photo: JPI

NATHAN:  Let me chime in on that too! I like jazz, blues, and country music, but imagine what my house was like because I have a lot of instruments here, always with the hope that Taylor would at least become interested in music.  I have congas, bass guitar, keyboards, you name it, and for a while, he wasn’t interested at all, and one day, I woke up and he was playing an acoustic guitar.  Then, the next thing I know, he is writing and singing folk music.  I’m thinking, “Wait a minute!” It was an important lesson for me that just because you want something for your children, doesn’t mean that is what they want for themselves.  We never pushed acting on Taylor.  He chose it on his own.  It’s exciting for me mostly because it was his choice.

KASSIE:  He’s a natural.

And speaking of that, Taylor, in the trailer nothing came across forced or pushed.  Obviously, we are all talking you up here, not that you need it.

NATHAN:  I’ll tell you this, Michael.  During the shoot, Taylor insisted on calling me “Nathan”, and I had a problem with it, but he basically told me to get over it because it’s his set, his movie, and while we are shooting, I’m “Nathan”, and he’ll call me dad later.  I’m still struggling with that but he was the boss.

TAYLOR:  It’s hard to walk that line and not make it weird for your crew, you know?

NATHAN:  I get it.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  It’s weird for me because when he would go, “Robbie is going to do this, and Nathan is going to do that,” I’d go, “Who are Robbie and Nathan?  Aren’t they your mom and dad?”

TAYLOR:  While I was writing the script I called him over, and I said, “Dad, I wrote you a really good role, and I think we are actually going to do this.  I’m giving you a once in a lifetime chance to name your own character.  Do you want to name him after a Greek hero, or one of your siblings?”  He didn’t take his chance.  So, you know what?  It’s “Nathan” now.  It’s easier for everybody.  We don’t have to break the method acting fourth wall.  (Laughs)

Do you think you would work with Nathan and Kassie again? (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  Oh, my God, are you kidding?

NATHAN:  That’s my contract: Kassie has got to be in it.  So, let me say this about Kassie, you had mentioned something about how much she has been working, and I look at Kassie as the James Brown of daytimes soaps.  She is the hardest working woman in daytime television. 

Photo: JPI

She is pretty spectacular. Kassie started on Guiding Light, had a long career on One Life, and then went to General Hospital, then to Days of our Lives.  It’s been amazing that we have been able to see her have a comeback in more ways that one.

KASSIE:  Nathan has jumped from soap to soap as well, and when you’ve done it, you just think it’s over.  It’s not like your regular acting profession jobs when you go out and you know you’re going to audition for twenty-five things and get one role for a short amount of time.  When you go in day in and day out and are creating all of this stuff on a soap opera, and then it ends, you go, “Well, now what am I supposed to do?”  I haven’t been on a set in 6 months, and I feel like I won’t ever work again.  Soaps are just a totally different head trip and so it can be really hard.

Courtesy/ABC

Nathan, do you have a favorite Hank Gannon moment from One Life to Live?

NATHAN:  Oh wow.  Man, there were so many of them.  I can tell you the funniest, to me, maybe not so funny to Hillary B. Smith though.  I think it was during a live show. This was during the time when I had a lot of dialogue.  But this particular day, I had one line, and the line was to Hillary and it was, “How are you feeling?” and her response was, “Well, I’m feeling the way I always feel, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”.  So, during the entire day, I’d see Hillary, and I’d say, “Hey, how you feeling?”  Maybe nineteen times before we started shooting, “Hey, how you feeling?” and she’d had about enough of it.  So, fast forward to “5, 4,3,2,1 action”, and now, I say, “How you doing?”  If you could see the look in her eyes, it is like, “I will kill you.”  So, she says, “You know how I’m doing.  I’m doing what I’m always doing,” so she could get her line out.  So, once again, she saved Nathan’s ass with that.  One stupid line … and I blew it.  I just remember that one because I just know Hilary wanted to strangle me.  She probably still wants to.

And on that note (laughs) I wanted to thank you all so much for this. I hope you find success with this little gem of a film, Taylor.

So what did you think of the comments made by Kassie, Nathan and Taylor on their film?  What did you think of Kassie’s recent performance on DAYS? What’s your favorite Blair or Hank moment from the history of One Life to Live? Share your thoughts and comments below,  But first, check out the trailer to Killian and the Comeback Kids.

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General Hospital

GH’s Chloe Lanier Talks On Nelle’s Twisted Plots, Her Co-Stars & That Cliffhanger “Ending”

Recently on ABC’s General Hospital, Chloe Lanier’s Nelle Benson created even more havoc for Carly (Laura Wright), Michael (Chad Duell), Julian (William deVry), Brook Lynn (Briana Lane), and of course, her son, Wiley.

However, is Nelle really gone after her ‘fall,’ which has left her MIA and Carly believing she is responsible for her sister’s ‘death’? But as we know with Nelle, she keeps secretly planning her next move and loves to slowly torture those who she believes have wronged her. There is also the ongoing mystery of just who is Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) daughter, especially since Nelle has the other half of the necklace so near and dear to Nina; leaving viewers pondering if it could mean they are mother and child, or is this all a red-herring?

One thing is for sure, Daytime Emmy winner, Chloe Lanier brings it each and every time she returns to GH. She gives always give the storylines a much needed injection of drama, drama and more drama. No one is quite like Lanier in the soaps either; she can play tough, vulnerable, manipulative, and street smart, like nobody’s business.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Chloe to get her answers to some of our burning questions for her and her portrayal of naughty Nelle, and how one of her co-stars helped her through a very difficult time in her life.  Here’s what she had to say about it all.

Courtesy/ABC

What did you think of the courtroom antics of Nelle during the custody hearing for Wiley?

CHLOE:  I mean, showing up in a wedding dress was her first mistake. Then antagonizing everyone in the room was probably her second. But she’s so wounded—so broken from her childhood. She doesn’t have the proper emotional tools to combat her self-destructive behavior.

Which showdown or confrontation between Nelle and Michael stands out to you?

CHLOE:  I particularly loved the scenes where Nelle, nine months pregnant, leaves Michael in the rigged car, hoping it would explode. It’s rare that you’re given comedic material on a soap, so that was particularly exciting for me. Also, Chad’s reactions always make me laugh. He’s great.

Photo: ABC

What is it like working with Chad Duell as feuding exes and parents of Wiley? 

CHLOE:  Chad is so easy to work with. He’s been doing the show for so long and is very technically gifted. The writers graced us with some meaty material that we were able to sink our teeth into.

Photo: JPI

What does Nelle think of Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? She really hates her, huh?

CHLOE: I don’t believe she hates her. She’s envious. Willow is the exact opposite and oftentimes we’re afraid of what we don’t understand. Particularly someone like Nelle, who was raised by a con artist and taught to exploit and manipulate anyone she comes across. So when she sees someone so pure, so innocent, she immediately distrusts her because that behavior is so far outside the lines of how she operates.

What was it like taping the fight scenes between Carly and Nelle, where Nelle “Plummets” to her death?  

CHLOE:  Shout out to Amanda Hall and Heather Bonomo, our amazing stunt doubles for those scenes. They were fantastic.

Courtesy/ABC

When you and Laura Wright get the scripts; where Carly and Nelle are having a huge showdown, are you thrilled about getting the chance to play the emotional beats of those moments? What if it’s a fight scene?

CHLOE:  Those scenes were such a joy, because we got to explore some of the deep roots of Nelle’s trauma, and Carly explicitly said, “I believe you love your son.” That, for me, was important.  Because despite all of her failings, she truly did love her son—in her own warped, off kilter, way.

Photo: Paul Smith

Nelle has really been blackmailing Julian, until he turned the tables on her on the pier?  What has it been like acting opposite Will deVry in those scenes?

CHLOE:  I love Will. He and I actually have the same acting coach, so our prep and how we’re working is from a similar place. What I love about Will is the confidence he has in his stillness. He’s lovely on camera, so connected.

Photo: ABC

Nelle has the other half of the necklace belonging to Nina.  What do you think if it turns out that Nelle is Nina’s daughter?  It is quite possible, tho, that she is not, and it’s all a red herring. How has it been working with Cynthia Watros?

CHLOE:  Cynthia is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met, truly. We haven’t known each other for long, but earlier this year, and not many people know this other than my close friends, I was having glaring mental health issues stemming from unresolved trauma. I was going going going for so long that I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had never dealt with any of it. She saw it and could tell I was silently struggling and reached out. You don’t forget kindness like that. So I’m very grateful for Cynthia—and of course, therapy. I would be flattered if they decided to make Nelle Nina’s daughter.

Photo:ABC

What do you think about how the writers have kept finding ways to have plot points that get all the other characters in trouble and make it look like they did something to Nelle, but she ultimately has her own diabolical plans for them with her actions? She is pretty smart!

CHLOE:  Nelle is the perfect victim, and her love language is sabotage. She’s also a narcissist, so she’s always going to think she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s basically a walking version of Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do. I love that the writers gifted me the opportunity work with almost everyone on the show. Josh (Swickard) and I always had a great time together. And Maurice (Benard)—god he’s hilarious. I would have loved to work with Briana Nicole Henry (Jordan) more though. I love watching her work. She’s going to have an amazing career.

Photo: ABC

Do you think Nelle can ever be redeemed at this point?

CHLOE:  Redemption is a weird one for me, because I don’t believe that people are inherently good or bad. We’re all human. We all have flaws, make mistakes, have regrets, experience shame. We have the ability to grow and we learn from our past. Nelle has done and felt all of those things, to a degree, but continued to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. A character either has to change or they die. So, I’ll say this—if Nelle is alive out there somewhere, I hope she’s going to therapy.

Photo: JPI

What has been the hardest scene for you to play emotionally in the time you have been playing Nelle?

CHLOE:  Probably the scene with the newborn, where Nelle runs into Brad on the side of the road. I had never held a newborn baby before, so I was TERRIFIED. I realized I was the only thing in that moment keeping that baby alive…a very bizarre and life altering feeling, I’ll say.

So, have you enjoyed Chloe’s performances? Do you think Nelle is plotting from afar?  What would you like to see happen in the storylines with  baby Wiley, Nina’s child, and more? Comment below.

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B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood deliver the Power Performance of the Week as Steffy’s drug addiction leads to a confrontation and intervention by her loved ones with dire consequences.  Here is the last seven minutes that featured Emmy-winner Wood at her best. Leave A Comment

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