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Y&R’s Jess Walton Remembers Jeanne Cooper, Classic Katherine & Jill, and Talks Life in Present Day GC

Photo: CBS

For over three decades, The Young and the Restless’ Jess Walton has been a force of nature to be reckoned as Jill Foster Abbott on the CBS Daytime Drama.  But couple that with the Grand Dame of Genoa City, Katherine Chancellor, played by the late great Jeanne Cooper and together these two Daytime-Emmy winning actresses on-screen chemistry was off the charts; delivering some of the most iconic and memorable scenes in soap history.

This week on Y&R, the show kicks-off its theme week of classic episodes starting with five memorable ones ranging from 1990 to 2009 with Katherine Chancellor front and center.  From Katherine meeting her doppelganger Marge, to turning the tables on an alcoholic intervention meant for her, to seeing ghosts from her past, to making a mess at Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Billy’s (then, Billy Miller) nuptials (literally!), to marrying her beloved Murphy (Michael Fairman), once you watch all these rebroadcasts, viewers will be reminded just why Jeanne is a daytime legend.  And oh, yes! Look for Jill to figure prominently into the equation in several of them.  So, who better to kick-off Y&R’s celebration of Jeanne Cooper this week than her longtime scene partner and dear friend, Jess Walton!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Jess where she shared: some remembrances of her time working with Jeanne, creating the Katherine/Jill dynamic, and what she recalls about taping some of the classic moments fans will see, plus the latest developments in Jill’s life.  Could Jill and Jack (Peter Bergman) rekindle the feelings they once had for each other, complex as they may be? Stay tuned.

It is always a treat to speak with Jess, and we always treasure getting a moment to shine a light on the unforgettable Mrs. C.  Here’s what she had to say.

Photo: JWaltonTwitter

Do you remember your very first day at Y&R back in 1987?

JESS:  I do remember when I got the job.  I had to start the very next day.  My very good friend was Nicholas Walker from Capitol, and he had worked temporarily on Y&R, and he was dating Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) at the time.  So, he kind of had been on the set, and he had watched the Jill and Katherine scenes.  He came over and ran my lines with me.  The next day, everybody was coming up to me.  I had worked with many of these people on Capitol because we shot right across the hall, and they were all so welcoming – the cameramen, the wardrobe people, the makeup people, etc.   There was so much going on.   We had a casting director who had white hair, and he was about Bill Bell’s age at that time.  I thought he was Bill Bell.  (Laughs)  Every week, I’d go up to him and ask him how I was doing, and he’d go, “Well, are they saying anything?”  I said, “They’re saying it’s okay,” and he’d go, “Then, it’s okay.”  Finally, I said to him, “Your daughter (meaning Lauralee Bell) has been so wonderful to me.”  He said, “I don’t have a daughter!” (Laughs)  Oh, it was so funny.

Photo: CBS

What are your first recollections of meeting Jeanne Cooper, and working with her?

JESS:  We were in the thick of this storyline revolving around Rex Sterling (Quinn Redeker), and what I remember is that Jeanne was really helpful to me.  I had a tremendous amount of dialogue.  We were just working together so much.  I just grew to love her, and then I noticed how wonderful she was to everybody.  Every new person who came on the show, Jeanne would take them aside. She would show them the ropes, and would give them advice.  She was just fantastic.  Anyone who would ever have a baby, she would always have a baby gift for that person.  In her dressing room, there would be executives who would come in.  You’d walk into her dressing room, and there would be the head of Sony sitting there chatting with her.  I spoke to somebody last week about how she was always the first one to offer up her dressing room for AFTRA meetings.  Jeanne always knew everything that was going on.  She knew every rumor going around; she knew every truth going around.  She was the most amazing woman I ever met.

Photo: CBS

Was there a moment when you knew that the Katherine/Jill dynamic and rivalry was solid gold, and would have legs for you and Jeanne for years to come?

JESS:  Here’s the funny thing: Jeanne was coming off working for years with Brenda Dickson (Ex-Jill), and she and Brenda had tremendous success with this on-screen relationship.  They had crowds in the parking lot who would meet them after work.  There would be the Jill side and the Katherine side.  Jeanne would tell me the history of it.  It began to dawn on me how big it had been back then.  Then, we got such incredible fan mail from people on different sides of the fence.  Most of them were quite on Jeanne’s side, on Katherine’s side.  I did not care for that! (Laughs) There was nothing much I could do, but I think I knew from the very start how special this was.  But, I’ve got to tell you, we worked our asses off in the dressing room on our scenes.  We would set each other up for the punchlines of the jokes, we would accentuate their character flaws, we would accentuate how ridiculous Jill was, and we would laugh about it.  It was the most wonderful part of our time together.  Jeanne was the heart and the soul of the show.

Now, coming up on Thursday, Y&R will rebroadcast the classic Katherine/Jill cake fight from April of 2009, when Katherine and Jill steal the spotlight at Billy (then played by Billy Miler) and Chloe’s (Elizabeth Hendrickson) wedding.  What do you recall about taping the notorious cake fight?

JESS:  I remember I asked Sally McDonald, (who was directing the episode), if I could be drinking mimosas during the scenes to excuse the fact of Jill’s ridiculous behavior.  So, she let me always have a mimosa in my hand, and then, finally we went into the dining room, and Katherine told Jill, she wasn’t her daughter.  Jill was so hurt because she really did love Katherine and hated her at the same time.  I remember I had to hurl horrible insults at Murphy (Michael Fairman) and at Esther (Kate Linder), and then it culminated in the cake fight, which was a fan favorite, I’m sure.

Photo: JPI

Did you do that fight in one take, or did you have to redo it to get it just right?

JESS:  Oh, we couldn’t have done it again.  We were covered!  Instead of trying to smear cake on me, Jeanne kept trying to lift the entire cake to put on me, (laughs) and we had people behind us. I asked Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) because she was kind of in the middle of it, “Do you mind if I get cake on your face,” and she was like, “No, go for it.”  So, I had Beau Kazer (Brock) behind me holding me up because my high heels were slipping, there was frosting all over the floor, and I kept falling down, and he kept holding me up. (Laughs) It was just hilarious.

Photo: JPI

Now this Tuesday, Y&R will air an episode from back in July of 2005.  In it, Katherine (Jeanne Cooper) surprises her loved ones when they attempt to stage an intervention about her drinking problem.  Obviously, Jeanne herself documented her battle with alcohol over the years in her memoir.  Were you ever concerned for her playing this kind of story that was close to things that she experienced in her own life?

JESS:  Never.  Not for an instant.  I knew her too well by that time.  She was so far from taking another drink and breaking her sobriety. I didn’t give it a second thought.   We just thought what a great story it was, and besides this, in the middle of that great story, she would never have been in the mood to take a drink because she was loving the story so much.  That’s the way she was and I will say; this was a fabulous episode the way they wrote it.

Photo: JPI

Another memorable episode is airing on Friday when Y&R rebroadcasts Katherine and Murphy’s wedding from May of 2009.  Jill caused some problems in it!

JESS:  I do remember being locked in a closet.  Somebody locked Jill in a coat closet because they thought I would ruin the wedding, and I got out of the closet, and Jill walked through the wedding being really snarky to Katherine. We did a lot of crazy things.  I always had to make a fool of myself.  I’d open up my scripts, and I’d go, “Oh no, Jill.  Please don’t do this.”

Photo: JPI

Would you and Jeanne ever go to the producers or writers; if there was something that you just would not do as they had written for the two of you in the scripts?

JESS:  I don’t think there was anything major.  There were things we disagreed with.  I remember one time she called me up.  We were working on our lines at night for the next day. Jeanne said, “Every single one of my lines, Jess, should be a Jill line, and every single one of your lines should be a Katherine line.”  So, we switched them all around, but we let the writers or producers know.  Jeanne was absolutely right.  The lines were all reversed.  I also know she never liked the story of Katherine being Jill’s mother, and I always loved it, because I thought it explained the love/hate relationship so well.  I think she thought it would damage their relationship, and it kind of did for a while.

Photo: JPI

Why do you think you and Jeanne, as Jill and Katherine, became so beloved by the fans of Y&R and the entire soap genre?

JESS:  First of all, there was such fabulous writing and situations.  Then, you have these two characters.  You have this older woman, who is this fancy, shmancy dowager, and then, you have this haughty, arrogant upstart, and they were really well written in their backgrounds.  Then, all of the sudden they get down and dirty.  They were also so human with each other.  So, the audience could see Jill being knocked down a peg or two.  They’d see Katherine, who is this fancy lady also being super human.  You never knew what Katherine and Jill were going to do, and it was pretty hilarious when you think of it.  It was kind of the comedy part of the show, at times.  I think, that was appealing to the audience, and I think we handled it really well.  I mean, we rehearsed so long.  Back then, we were last up in the afternoon.  So, if the taping of the show would stretch out, we had hours and hours to prepare and get our lines down and figure out the beats that we could do with each other.  Maybe, that was why it worked.

Photo: CBS

I’ll never forget the last scene that Jeanne did with you. Katherine goes up the staircase and says, “Goodnight ” to Jill.  How did you get through that scene? (Watch the scene following this interview below)

JESS:  She was so frail at that time.  We had just done The Marie Osmond Show, and I remember she was just standing at the back of a chair just holding on, and I knew something was really wrong.  Then, every scene after that (which wasn’t that many), I kept thinking, “Is this going to be the last one she will be able to do?”  I didn’t really think that she would die.  I didn’t go that far.  I just thought that she would not be able to act anymore.  Even during that scene, it was just one of the many that I thought, “Is this the last time that I am going to be able to act with her?”  So, she went up the stairs, and she had that great dignity. Jeanne was very slow going up, and when she turned around, Jill asked if she could do anything for her.  I do remember there was a great deal of communication going on between her and me.  I definitely had it in my mind that this might be the last time.  It was something.

Now, in the present day on Y&R, it looks like the show could be rekindling the Jack (Peter Bergman) and Jill relationship.  They certainly have had a complicated past.

JESS:  There is also a lot passion between the two of them.  They have a love/hate thing going too.  Anytime you have that kind of passion – one side or the other (and with them you have got it on both sides), that’s always a possibility.  There are some great old classic shows with us. Jack and Jill always have this tension.

Photo: JPI

Do you enjoy working with Peter Bergman?

JESS:  Oh, working with Peter is like falling off a log.  It really is.  It’s the easiest thing in the world because we both trust each other so much.  We know our characters; we know each other’s characters.  We have so much fun with it.  We love the idea of battling, especially when there’s a lot of history behind it.  It’s really fun.

Wouldn’t you love to see Jill have a romance that continues and is more long term?  Do you think that would be good for her?

JESS:  I’m not sure if it would be good or not for her.  I really thought that was going to be it with Colin (Tristan Rogers), because she met somebody who was so, so charming.  Then, that didn’t work out.  I remember I went to the producers years ago, and I said, “Please give Jill somebody.  I don’t just want to be an old maid running around town butting into other peoples’ business.  Give me a homelife.”  So, for a while, I felt like I had that with Colin, and it’s always so much more fun being in a partnership.  In soaps, that means you have a partner to go to parties with, to be in scenes with, to have a home with rather than being alone… so, I do prefer that.  I’d like to see that, whoever it might be with.

Photo: JPI

But, you’d be all-in for a Jack/Jill redo? 

JESS:  Well, I certainly wouldn’t be against it.  That’s for sure.

Jill recently got her son Billy (Jason Thompson) and Lily (Christel Khalil) to work together.  She gave them a shot at Chancellor Industries running the social media division.  Was she trying to set them up, romantically? What was Jill’s reasoning here?

JESS:  I think she still wants Billy with Victoria (Amelia Heinle) because of the grandchildren and because of the family dynamic. I think Jill was just doing that for business reasons.  She thought it would be really good for the media division because as she says in the show, “They’re so different, and they will play off of each other so well that it will be a successful division.”  She also was very fond of Lily because of when she and Cane were married.  Jill is very fond of both Victoria and Lily. I’m not quite sure Jill took into consideration that there was a danger if Billy and Lily got together, in that he’d never get back with his family.

Photo: JPI

You and Jason Thompson seem to have a great relationship.  How is working with him as your son on Y&R?

JESS:  I flat-out adore that boy.  I love him so much.  What’s really interesting too is that he reminds me of my own son, Cole, and both of them have sons named Bowie.  So, I’ve got a real grandson named B-E-A-U, but they call him “Bowie”, and Jason’s son is B-O-W-I-E.  Anyway, I’ve never played with a Billy who had dark hair and dark eyes, and I don’t know why, but I love that about him; that he looks like Jill instead of an Abbott!  Jason is so damn good at what he does, and he is such a quick study.  He goes so deep into the character, and he even points out stuff to me in scenes that I haven’t thought of.  It’s really stimulating.  Billy loves Jill even though she makes him crazy.  He loves her, and I can feel it.  She, of course, adores him, even though he exasperates her sometimes.  I just love their relationship.  I love him as an actor.  I love him playing that character.

Photo: JPI

What do you think Jeanne would say if she knew there was this week-long tribute of episodes “Katherine the Great” airing on Y&R?

JESS:  Oh, she’d adore it!  Are you kidding?  Nobody would love that more than her!  She loved accolades.  There is no doubt.  She would be the first one to admit it, too.

Photos: JPI and ABC

Jeanne won the Daytime Emmy for Lead Actress in 2008 and you won in that category back in 1997.  Did the two of you ever talk about your Emmy wins? 

JESS:  Yes.  I won Best Actress before she did, and it always made me feel really weird, because I thought that was so unfair because Jeanne had been so wonderful for so long.  So, when she finally did win, I felt incredibly good about it.  I was so, so happy.  It was well-deserved and long-overdue, I thought.

Photo: JPI

Do you have some hopes for Jill in the future? Is there a story you would still love to get the opportunity to do?

JESS:  No, you know what?  The great thing about our show is that we are like a theatre company.  It always reminds of how I started out in repertory theatre, and that’s what we are, and the show as a whole.  I love the fact that I go around and play scenes with different people.  On Y&R, I have grandsons, I have sons, I have ex-stepdaughters, etc.  So, I love it the way it is.  I mean, if Jill had a romance in the future, I would love that, but whatever they have in store for me, I’ll take it with both hands, believe me.

So, are you excited to see some classic episodes of Y&R featuring Jeanne Cooper along with Jess Walton?  Would you say that Jeanne and Jess’ scenes over the years remain some of your enduring favorites? What are your hopes for Jill in 2020? Share your thoughts via the comment section.  But first, check out a preview for this week’s Y&R, Jess and Jeanne’s Lead Actress Emmy-winning moments, plus their final scene together below.

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leroy davidsonBarbara from AtlantaDamienLew S.Timmm Recent comment authors
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Kay
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Kay

Sweet love to them all I am enjoying the oldies god bless them all those were the days ! Good luck to all of them

matt
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matt

Plus we will see the house in its glory, unlike today.

Tez
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Tez

❤Jess Walton she seem like a fun person in real life. . Miss Katherine & Jeanne..many viewers want to see 70s& 80s classic YR. Would love to see Brenda & Terry Jill & Jack. I feel YR should do a Jill throwback and have Brenda, Deborah Adair, Jess Walton show what Jill went through. Jess, has made the role of Jill hers, but classic are not anything from 2006- present. B.Bell YR is classic and current mess they have…Josh G…pls take notes

Timmm
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Timmm

I loved Jeanne BUT they shouldnt have killed her off. She is too important of a character. I know, impossible to replace but they could have tried. She was the heart and soul of Y&R and I’m sure the cast has many many stories to tell!

Lew S.
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Lew S.

Truly classic Y&R episodes! Take note EPs & HWs – THAT is how you write drama, mixed with suspense and a little bit of comedy! Last Friday’s episode had the Phyllis that I knew and loved. She was a hoot!

Damien
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Damien

Great interview Michael, thank you!
What a treat this week will be!
I d love if Mac returned for a brief visit with Katherines son Brock and for Brock and Jill to have a quick soulful love affair until Brock has to leave again for one of his volunteer works overseas and for Jill to all of a sudden try to follow along but realise that they re just too different. I ‘d love for Jill to find a different type of love even for a brief while!!

Barbara from Atlanta
Guest
Barbara from Atlanta

The writers need to “undo” the inane Jill Fenmore business and return the character to where she properly belongs, as the biological daughter of Bill and Liz Foster.

It also wouldn’t hurt if Jill returned to the show on a more permanent basis. The random scenes that Walton performs where we will go months on end without seeing Jill is doing the character no favors. How exactly would the writers craft a decent romance between Jill and Jack, when the woman is never around?

leroy davidson
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leroy davidson

I can never forget when Jess Walton took the role of Jill. She was outstanding from the very start. She was true to the character right down the line.
I think the flashback and repeat episodes are so wonderful to see again. And I think of the people that have joined the show recently get a great insight about the past of favorite characters. And to us longtime viewers, to see those who have departed for real or for story or other purposes. I’ll surely be watching until we can get new episodes again.

Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

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

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

I bet! (Laughs)

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

KASSIE:  That is so funny!

TAYLOR:  It’s true.

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

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

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NATHAN:  Yep!

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

KASSIE:  That’ll be the sequel!

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

KASSIE:  They’ll come back again!

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

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

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

Did you watch them on One Life to Live together? 

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

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

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

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

Kassie what did you think of Taylor’s music?

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

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

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

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

Photo: KarmicReleseLTD

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

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

Photo: Getty

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Well, those are very polar opposite!

TAYLOR:  Yeah, aren’t they?

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

Photo: IMDB

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

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

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

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

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

Taylor, who are your musical influences?   

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

So, your vibe is this folk-rock.

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

Kassie, who do you like listening to?

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

Photo: JPI

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

KASSIE:  He’s a natural.

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

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

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

NATHAN:  I get it.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

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

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

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

TAYLOR:  Oh, my God, are you kidding?

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Photo: Paul Smith

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo:ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

Chandler Massey & Freddie Smith Discuss Their Departure From DAYS, New Beginnings & WilSon’s Journey

This week, Days of our Lives viewers saw the highly-anticipated exit off the canvas, for now,  of Daytime Emmy-winners, Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith as Will and Sonny.

Tuesday marked their final airshow, while the actors found out they were being written-out of the show and had filmed their last six episodes over seven months ago, because at that time and before the pandemic, DAYS was taping far in advance of air.

Now with this leg of their journey complete as the popular Salem duo, Chandler and Freddie are embarking on new chapters of their lives, as Chandler details his move to Atlanta and Freddie in a few weeks to Florida.  But as they discuss in this very special conversation with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, they are not stopping acting either.

During this “farewell for now” interview with Michael, the two actors open up about their final scripts, their last tape day, how both characters helped many individuals come out and come to terms with who they are via watching Will’s coming out story, Will and Sonny’s on-screen relationship and more.

In addition, Freddie discusses what happened when he auditioned for the role of Sonny and what he thinks helped land him the gig; Chandler shares a story about a fan that is very moving, and that his biggest regret was not getting to play the wedding scenes between Will and Sonny (Guy Wilson at that time had stepped into the role of Will).   The duo also reveal their favorite and least favorite storylines they were involved in, and much more.

Watch the full interview below.

So, what do you think about what Freddie and Chandler had to share during our conversation? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

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

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Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

The Bold and the Beautiful

Airdate: 9-25-2020

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