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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.

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Maddy HayesClaudioPatricia WraggK:kayViolet Lemm Recent comment authors
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boes
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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
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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
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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
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Patricia Wragg

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

Maddy Hayes
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Maddy Hayes

Team Jason

Claudio
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Claudio

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

Interviews

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: EDavidson

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

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

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

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

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

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General Hospital

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Courtesy/StateofMind

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

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

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

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

Photo: KSJIG

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

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

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

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

That is right in your wheelhouse!

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: NATAS/CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo: NATAS

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

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

Photo: GFrancisTwitter

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

You’re just realizing that now?

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

Courtesy/ABC

Is it more challenging to play a character like Mike?

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

But you’re enjoying this story?

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: Noah Harmon

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

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

How are you feeling now?

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

Photo: State of Mind

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

Photo: NATAS/CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo: JMW Instagram

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

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

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: MFTV Inc.

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

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

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

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

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