Connect with us

Interviews

6

Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks Billy Abbott & His Daytime Emmy Nomination: Will Sixth Time Be The Charm To Bring Home The Gold?

Photo: CBS.

Since making his daytime debut on General Hospital back in 2005, Jason Thompson quickly became one of soap operas most respected and critically-acclaimed actors, and after appearing on the ABC daytime drama for over 10 years, he racked up five Daytime Emmy nominations in a row for his role as Dr. Patrick Drake.

Fast-forward, Thompson came over to The Young and the Restless in 2016 to take on the highly-coveted role of Billy Abbott: a role that won its predecessors: David Tom and Billy Miller, Emmy gold.  Now in this year’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Jason is nominated for the first time for his work on Y&R in the Lead Actor category.  Will his long-awaited and deserved Daytime Emmy finally come his way on Emmy night?  Tune in to find out Friday night, June 26th on CBS (8 p. m. EST).

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Jason to get his thoughts on his shot this year in the Lead Actor race after his riveting, commanding and demanding performances in the 2019 season, as Billy came off the rails, faced his inner demons, and regained his center … but how long will that last with Billy’s often recklessness?

Always thoughtful, introspective and self-effacing, here Jason not only talks about his Emmy submission, (which included scenes from his incredible standalone episode), but his friendly competition, plus what he thinks of Billy’s storyline as it was left before the coronavirus shutdown working opposite Christel Khalil (Lily), and more.  Here’s Jason.

Photo: JPI

There was gum-chewing in this nomination, correct?  (Laughs)

JASON: There had to be some gum-chewing going on; I’m sure! (Laughs)

I know some of the scenes on your Emmy-nominated reel were from the standalone episode where Billy is fighting his demons against his gum chewing alter-ego.  Were there other scenes as well that you included?

JASON:  Yes.  I started the reel with one of the scenes where Billy woke up in the Chancellor living room not knowing how he got there, and then got back to the master bedroom with Victoria (Amelia Heinle), and she was asking him what was going on, and he was confused about everything.  Then it went into some of the standalone episode, and then I had a scene from the therapist’s office in there, as well.  I kind of switched it up a little bit.  I didn’t put in the whole standalone episode: but I tried to tell a little bit of a story through the process of putting together scenes.

Photo: JPI

You wanted to tell the story of Billy’s emotional downfall, correct?

JASON:  I tried to encompass how he got to a certain way and then, you transition out to a certain extent.  It wasn’t easy to pick scenes.  It never is, but I was very fortunate to have some good story last year which is really the main focus, and really fortunate to get that from the team at Y&R.

What moments from the standalone episode did you pick?  I know the part at the end where Billy is being choked by himself was in your submission.

JASON:  Yeah, it was of one of those things near the end where he was really struggling through everything, and then he has a flashback of everybody who has come to visit him, and it’s that battle within him.

Photo: JPI

How was that episode to actually film for you?  Was it daunting, or amazing, or both?

JASON:  It was a little bit of both.  It was actually done over two days just because of scheduling with everyone coming in and out.  It was great.  I really enjoyed it.  It was something different that I had ever done before, and it was somewhat all encompassing in where you kind of found Billy and him going through the whole range and coming out of it.  Anytime you get to work with all of the people that I did in one day is fantastic.  So, it was super fun, I think what was really enjoyable about it was that it was different.  I think Sally McDonald directed a lot of it.  We were talking back and forth about different background music and different sound structures and everything with the sound guys too.  It was fun to collaborate in a bigger, more elaborate way than a usual episode.

When Billy goes to the therapist, what do you remember about that scene that resonated with you to put it in your Emmy reel?

JASON:  For me, I found a lot of who Billy is in those scenes   – vulnerable, but strong, but still confused   – willing to put himself out there, but trying to figure out what makes him tick.  The actress who played the therapist was great and super comfortable to be around.  So, it helped those kinds of scenes, and again, I think it was just a different level than what you saw in the other scenes on my reel.

Photo: JPI

Your performances last year were gut-wrenching.  I think there is something unique in the humanity that you bring to the audience in your work that resonates with them.  

JASON:  We all know that feeling when it kind of rings true for you.  That is really the biggest challenge of my job, which is also why I love my job.  I’ve got to work hard to make it feel real.  I think for me it starts where I can relate it to my own life, and then it’s not fake emotions.  I think as audience member, I appreciate that when I see it done in the right way with one of my favorite actors.  So, to me, that is the challenge – just trying to see something in that character that you relate to, and it’s not easy to do; to allow yourself to go there a lot of times, but that’s what I enjoy doing.

I know this is your sixth Daytime Emmy nomination, and we’ve talked every year you’ve been nominated.  And I know I have said you were going to win before, too!

JASON:  No, ring-a-ding-dings yet!  You have been wrong a couple of times, but I appreciate that.  This is my fourth nomination in the Lead Actor category and I had two previously in the Supporting Actor category.

Photo: JPI

However, this is your first nomination for playing Billy on Y&R.

JASON:  First for Billy, and I am actually really excited about that.  I thought it was kind of a nice touch in an interesting time.  You know, this is my fourth year and first nomination on the show and with this character, and it just feels kind of nice.  It’s been such a great time at Y&R over these four years.  I’ve appreciated the people I’ve worked with.  It’s important for me to earn trust from cast members and from our crew, and obviously the writers and producers, and of course the network and everything.  That is something that I try to pride myself on.  When your number is called, you want to be ready and you want to be prepared to go the distance.  It isn’t easy what we do in daytime, and it takes a lot of energy to come up with story, and write it, and get it Okayed from everybody, and you want to do your best to make it lift off the page.  So, like I said before, getting those opportunities with our great cast, and getting a nomination with this character that other people have played in the past because it’s such a great character, feels good.

Do you feel like you have now put your stamp on the character of Billy Abbott?

JASON:  I feel like Billy is constantly evolving.  He is always learning, so I am always learning more about him.  He is always in new situations, so I am learning how he navigates those kinds of situations and those moments.  I mean, is he mine?  That’s not necessarily for me to decide.  All I can do is what I have tried to do from the beginning, which I felt like I tried to do at GH also, which is to continue to evolve with the character which is part of what I love about daytime; because it is ongoing.

Photo: JPI

It’s was interesting in 2019 to see the reaction of the fans on social media to Billy because of his behavior.  Some were negative, and some would say, “Grow up, Billy!” Did that at all color your performance an actor, or did you have to block it all out and not listen to the noise?

JASON:  I try to not let too much of that stuff affect me.  I can’t just pick and choose to listen to all of the great things people say, or all of the nice things people say.  It goes both ways.  At the same time, you’ve got to try and play the long game with your character as much as you can, and be in the moment with your character, because you’re doing him a disservice if you’re not playing the real emotions.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have an eye on where you want to end up or where you want to go, but at the same time, yes, he’s being a jerk in this scene or he’s not communicating very nicely, let’s say, there is a story that you’re playing.  There is hurt.  There is vulnerability.  There is elation in a lot of ways, and the way Billy is, he gets to kind of roam all over the place.  He zig-zags.  He’s not a straight A to B kind of guy.  He likes to wander a little bit, which I really appreciate in him.  He is full of life in a lot of ways, and that life can really make him buoyant, or sometimes it can make him heavy, but that’s fun for me.  I think that’s what people really like the character for, whether it was me or anybody else playing him.  Billy does have a sense of recklessness that I think most people can kind of admire. Does it get him in trouble?  Yeah, it does, but he’s got a big heart, and I think that’s what he leads with.

Photo: JPI

You’ve got some gentlemen I think you know very well in your category: Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan GH), Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B), Thaao Penghlis (Tony, DAYS), and Steve Burton (Jason, GH).  What do you think about being nominated with this group, and did any of them communicate with you; after receiving a nomination?

JASON:  Steve texted me a couple of minutes, and I kind of had another phone call coming through, so I kind of looked and saw he got nominated too.  That was great.  Steve was there when I first started on General Hospital as Patrick, and he was one of those guys who had been around a long time who still really enjoys his job and gets off on the acting part of it also.  Thorsten, I see all the time because we are across the hall from B&B.  Jon Lindstrom … I look up to Jon because I really admire his career.  He has been able to just keep working.  I see him pop up on HBO shows and then back at GH, and he is a very, very capable actor and nice gentleman.  Thaao, same thing.  I worked with him at GH also.  So, to come full circle and be in a group with the people who you are accustomed to working alongside and seeing them get accolades also is great.

Photo: JPI

Did you ever think, when you started at General Hospital years ago, you would now be a six-time Emmy nominee?

JASON:  Oh yeah, 100%.  I was just pissed it took me so long. (Laughs)  Truth be told, you don’t go play in the NHL if you don’t want to win MVP of the Stanley Cup.  You’d be lying if you said you wanted to be an actor and you haven’t given these speeches in the bathroom or your car before.  We have.  We all do.  So, yeah.  There is something about that.  That’s not the sole purpose of the work, but it does drive you to want to excel, and to me, that’s another one of those things.  One of the amazing things about this quarantine was being able to sit down and watch The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan documentary.  That is a powerful man right there with a psyche to go along with it, and a work ethic, and everything else.  Sometimes that’s hard to be around.  I’m nowhere near that, but what you can appreciate is that he finds his own little battles inside of him to power him, and those could be positive things, and those could be things that you want to overcome, and for me, you always want to try to be the best in your business.  That’s just what you want to do, and for me, I want to be along those lines.  The people who I look up to are: Tony Geary (Ex-Luke, GH) Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH), Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) and obviously Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), Jane Elliot (Tracy, GH) Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R), Jess Walton (Jill, Y&R).  They’re always at the top of their game.  So, you want to be among them.  You want to be in the same boat with those people, if you will.

I watched The Last Dance.  I thought it was riveting.  I thought it was so well done.

JASON:  Yeah, it was riveting.  My wife, Paloma has probably watched two basketball games in her life, and she couldn’t wait for the next episode to come on just because it’s about the psychology of it all.

Photo: JThompsonIG

It’s going to be a virtual Emmy’s.  Are you going to hang out with the family on Emmy night, or what are you going to do?

JASON:  It’ll probably be a little more spur-of-the-moment.  We’ll see.  We haven’t really started figuring out what we are going to do yet.  I’m assuming yes, I’ll be with my family and take it as it comes, and just enjoy the experience.  I’m stoked that CBS wants to do have the Daytime Emmys on network TV again.  I think it’s really, really cool for them to step up and want to do it, but let’s just hope that this is the last time that we do this kind of thing, virtually.  It is great to be together with people.  It is one of the things that I really love most about this time, especially when you are nominated, to get to go along the ride and kind of enjoy it, and get to talk to people like yourself and do the red carpet, and if your name gets called, you get to thank the people who helped you get there and all of the people who support you.  That’s an amazing thing.  So, I am going to miss not being with everybody and seeing old friends and making new ones, but at the same time this is a new experience like everybody has been having lately, so we will go for it and see what happens.

Do your children Bowie and Rome know; or understand, that their dad is an Emmy nominee?

JASON:  Well, I mean kind of, but no not at all. (Laughs)  We were on the beach when Y&R publicist, Matt Kane called us, and when I got off the phone, Paloma was like, “What was that?” and I said, “I got an Emmy nomination,” and she’s like, “Oh my God, great, great, congratulations!”  Bowie is like, “What’s an Emmy nomination?”  I’m like, “It’s kind of like… I don’t know… what is it?  I guess it’s kind of like potentially an award or something or whatever for doing good work.”   I was looking at a list of the nominees, and I said to him, “Oh, a couple of your favorite shows got nominated, Dino Dana,” which he loves watching.  So, he was more excited that Bubble Guppies and Dino Dana got nominated for Emmys along with his daddy. They don’t know what daddy does for a job yet or anything like that, so I don’t think it means much to them right now.

Photo: JPI

When we last saw new episodes of Y&R, prior to the production shutdown due to COVID-19, you had been working more in story with another Emmy nominee, Christel Khalil.  How do you feel where we left Billy when we last saw him? Are you enjoying that storyline?

JASON:  I think it’s great.  I’m excited to see where it goes.  Obviously, we’ve had a pretty decent break now too, so they’ve probably had time to think about things a little bit differently.  So, I really don’t know what’s to come, but I am really stoked that Christel is back.  I think she is an asset to our show.  She is a beautiful woman inside and out, and I think she is a very, very capable actress and she is really fun to work with.  I know Billy and Lily had a relationship in the past, but it’s new for me to explore.  So, anytime I get to do that, it’s always fun.  I think it is going to be exciting with working at Chancellor Industries.  Anytime I get to work with Jess Walton is great, and it starts to mix what I think Y&R does really, really well.  It’s love, family, and business.  I think those three worlds are really, really intertwined with Y&R, and I think that is when we are at our best, when those three things are working really well.

Photo: CBS

I just wanted to pass along: I was talking with Sally McDonald, and we were talking about the funeral episode for Neil, when Kristoff St. John had passed.  She said to me, “I just loved Jason Thompson in the memorial” because even though you weren’t speaking, when the camera would go to you in the pew you were just so in it.  She said, “I don’t know him as well as I know the other cast members because they’ve been here longer, but he is just amazing.”

JASON:  That was very kind of her, and that was a tricky day to shoot:  part celebration, part heartache, part all of those kinds of emotions everywhere. I just had the blessing of being a part of something like that, and to hear people speak so honestly about a friend that a lot of people had lost was so special.  Kristoff was very, very special to a lot of people, and had a long, long relationship on this show with the cast members and the crew.  I’d look at Christel and Bryton (Devon), and they were just incredible.  Eric Braeden got up there, and the honesty that was coming from him and everybody, I was so honored to be there.  So, there wasn’t really anything for me to do except sit there and listen, and nowadays we all could probably do that a bit better.  It’s a very natural reaction when you listen with compassion and empathy to people speak so highly of their friend.  I was glad to be a part of that episode.

Photo: JPI

Alright, Jason, I guess I should not conclude this interview with my pick of who I think will win Lead Actor. (Laughs)

JASON:  Only because you don’t want to be wrong!  Honestly, thank you for your support.  You’ve always been in my corner.  I appreciate that.

So, will you be rooting for Jason to take home the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Daytime Emmy this Friday night? What do you hope happens next for Billy Abbott when Y&R returns from its taping shutdown? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

Leave a comment | 6 Comments
Advertisement

6

avatar
5 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
Maddy HayesClaudioPatricia WraggK:kayViolet Lemm Recent comment authors
newest oldest
boes
Guest
boes

I’m sorry, but I don’t think Jason Thompson’s version of Billy Abbott deserves anything other than either a trip to the backburner or termination and replacement with someone better. Jason was excellent on GH as Patrick Drake, one of the most consistently dependable actors on what can be a very uneven show. But his turn as Billy Abbott on Y&R has been a disaster. His Billy is petulant, unpleasant, selfish, unpleasant, delusional, unpleasant, unkind, unattractive and worst of all, utterly humorless. I don’t know who he’s playing but it’s NOT Billy Abbott. It’s one thing to put your own stamp… Read more »

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Of course I’ll be rooting for Jason. I think he can go toe to toe with any and all of the other gentlemen. Good luck Jason!

K:kay
Guest
K:kay

Jason had the chops for this storyline to have been brilliant unfortunately Douglas Marland was not alive to write it ! My glorious Terry Lester was brilliant with the DID storyline on ATWT that Doug wrote then he passed away and poof the story went to hell! I would love if we had some of those brilliant minds back again not sure we will ever get back to the glory days ! Bottom line if Jason wins I will not have a problem he is a good actor just had some crap writing !i have major heartburn on what GH… Read more »

Patricia Wragg
Guest
Patricia Wragg

I love Jason as Billy Abbott!! I truly hope that he wins

Maddy Hayes
Guest
Maddy Hayes

Team Jason

Claudio
Guest
Claudio

I love Jason, he deserves to win the Daytime Emmy. Jason is a wonderful actor.

Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Continue Reading

Interviews

Y&R’s Newman Kids Talk 48th Anniversary, Storylines, Camaraderie, and Take the Trivia Challenge

On Friday, to celebrate the 48th anniversary of The Young and the Restless (which premiered back on March 26th,1973) Michael Fairman chatted virtually with the actors who comprise the adult Newman family children; Joshua Morrow (Nick), Amelia Heinle (Victoria), Mark Grossman (Adam), Hunter King (Summer) and Melissa Ordway (Abby).

During the conversation, on You Tube’s the Michael Fairman Channel, the actors discussed what it was like coming into the iconic Newman clan when they first debuted, behind-the-scenes moments and laughs they share working with each other, and what it has been like for them to share scenes with their iconic TV father, Eric Braeden (Victor) and for some of the kids, their on-screen mother, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki).

In addition, each touch upon their current Y&R storyline where:Nick is involved with Phyllis again, Adam is on to Chelsea, Victoria is trying to be in the woman in charge of the company and she finds herself boyfriend-less, Summer has her hands full with the arrival of Tara Locke and Sally Spectra who may all destroy her relationship with Kyle, and Abby wanting to have a baby via surrogacy with the sperm donor being Devon.

Later, Michael plays a round of “Stump the Newman” trivia where the actors are put to the test to see just who knows the history of the Newman clan best. Watch what happens when the mention of the notorious and ill-fated reliquary storyline is brought up!

Joshua, Amelia, Mark, Hunter, and Melissa also express what it has meant to them to be a part of the legacy of The Young and the Restless, and still later Joshua’s daughter, Charlie, even makes a special guest appearance.

Now watch the conversation in full with the Newman kids below. 

Then let us know, what was your favorite moment of the interview? How do you hope their current storylines resolve? What was your favorite and least favorite storyline of all-time for Nick, Victoria, Adam, Abby, and Summer? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Power Performance

Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis

General Hospital

Airdates: 4-8-2021

Advertisement

Popular