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Y&R’s Mark Grossman Dishes On Tackling One Of Soaps Most Coveted Roles … Adam Newman

Photo: CBS

When The Young and the Restless finally decided to resurrect the character of Adam Newman, it was one of the most highly-anticipated returns in the soap genre.  After all, when viewers last saw Adam, then played by This Is Us star, Justin Hartley, he was presumed blown to smithereens in a cabin, thanks to first, being tranquilized by a dart gun by an unstable Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson), who holds Adam responsible for the hit and run that killed her daughter, Delia.

Fast-forward to summer of 2019 and Y&R fans got a very much alive Adam, vengeful as all get-out, picking right back up where he left off; only this time the role is being played by soap newcomer, Mark Grossman.  In what has to be one of the most sought after roles on television for any young actor to play, Grossman nabbed it and has come on to the scene hitting the ground running and is quickly becoming one helluva soapy badass on the Genoa City canvas.

Michael Fairman TV sat down with Mark at CBS Television City where Y&R is taped to talk about: how his journey has been thus far in a role that has put him under the microscope from viewers to critics.  Many will agree that in short order, Grossman is making the role of Adam his own, as he has been so in the mix with the iconic staples of the series, to those performers who just made exciting returns.

This week on Y&R, Adam is going to take down his brother, Nick (Joshua Morrow) by any means possible to gain custody of his biological son, Christian.  As they face-off in a custody hearing, Adam is up to his chicanery, and viewers will see the fall-out.

Here’s what Mark had to say about his castmates, the opportunity and the pressure of being Adam on the top-rated soap, and why he loves getting to be bad.

Photo: CBS

Adam is so integral and key to the canvas.  How are you settling into the pace of Y&R? Did you have any idea that it was going to be this amount of work when you signed on?

MARK:  I had an idea, and this is actually my first soap.  I had always heard that the amount of volume is a lot, but yeah, it was kind of a steep learning curve, but it got much easier as time has gone on, and the memorization got a lot easier.  You adjust to it, and you just get used to it.

A few years back, I attended the premiere of the indie film you were in with Melissa Archer (Ex-OLTL and DAYS) called South32.   In that, you played one bad dude.  I remember thinking, “That guy plays evil and creepy so well.”  Your character was horrible in the film!

MARK:  Oh, yeah.  My character’s name was Donny.  That was a bad guy.  That was a really bad guy. I just remember I had a lot of fun because Melissa Archer was great, and Sean Kanan (Ex-GH, Y&R and B&B) was in that too, and they both are in the soap world.

Courtesy/IMDB

So when I saw that Y&R cast you as Adam I was like, “Oh yeah!  Great choice!  He can play a real jerk!” (Laughs)   So, why do you think you play bad so well? 

MARK:  I don’t know.  I just have that face… the jerk face?  (Laughs)

(Laughs) Do you practice those looks in the mirror?

MARK: (Laughs)  No.  I like to think I’m a really nice guy, actually.  I think I’ve always liked characters that are more broken and are trying to do the best they can with the cards they are dealt or trying to overcome something.  I mean, in South32, that’s a different story.  I’ve just always gravitated to those kinds of roles more than a stereotypical love-interest or something like that, or kind of a more vanilla character.

Let’s talk about the audition process for this sought-after soap role.  Did you know when you first were in the running for the character that it was to play “Adam Newman”?

MARK:  I had no idea because it’s all under codenames.

What was the codename?

MARK:  The codename was “Jeremy”, and I had no idea I was auditioning for Adam, because they change all of the names, and I wasn’t up-to-date with everything that had been going on with Y&R.  When you’re out there as an actor you are auditioning for all kinds of stuff (and I don’t really watch much TV as it is).  I think it was at the network test when a couple of the other actors, who were there, kind of let it slip what part this really was for.

Photo: JPI Studios

You had your screen-test with Sharon Case (Sharon).  What was your first impression of her?

MARK:  I adore Sharon.  She’s wonderful, and she was so, so helpful.  She’s coming up on twenty-five years on this show, and that is amazing.  I really love working with her.

Once you knew the role was that of Adam Newman, did you begin to do your research? Call people?  Phone a friend (laughs)? Take to You Tube?

MARK:  Oh yeah!  I went way down the rabbit hole.  When I did my research I watched tons of scenes on YouTube, and then everything on the internet, Wikipedia, and every site that had information on the role.  Before I started, I also had lunch with a couple members of the cast, and they were probably so annoyed at me for asking so many questions about just about everything that came to mind.  (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You follow in the footsteps of other great actors who have played this role; Chris Engen, Michael Muhney and Justin Hartley.  Did you have trepidation taking the role knowing the bar was set so high?

MARK:  Yes, of course.

In the world of daytime drama, recasts happen all the time; that is just the nature of the beast.  You hope the fans will give the actor stepping into a role a chance to establish themselves in the part, because they can get initially very reactionary.  In your case, there were some immediate tweets that went out right when you were announced as the new Adam with some fans commenting: “He’s too young!”  That happened even before your first episode aired, so no one had seen you embody the part yet.   What’s your take on all of that?

MARK:  I get it, trust me. You watch somebody for years, and you really enjoy watching this person, and then all of the sudden they’re gone, and somebody new comes on.  That’s hard to get used to.  So, that was a little daunting, but it just is what it is.  You just have to go in and put your stamp on it, and the audience will say what they do.  That’s all you can do.  Just, “this is what I think it is,” and do your best job with that, and yes, people will say what they’re going to say.

Courtesy/CBS

So, you meet Y&R icon Eric Braeden (Victor).  You’re playing his on-screen son, the black sheep of the Newman clan.  What was it like meeting Eric, and then actually getting on set and getting to work your first scene with him? 

MARK:  It was great.  He was really supportive.  I remember I would get together with him and ask if we could rehearse, and we’d just end up in his dressing room talking for like twenty minutes about the show and life.  I just feel so lucky that I get to play you know, the problem child. (Laughs)

It’s fun for actors in soaps to be a storyline catalyst.  However, sometimes the catalysts can be short-term roles, and this one isn’t.  Catalysts shake things up, and Adam is so entrenched with so many characters and has such a checkered past, and there is much to him.  In finding out his back-story; what was the one thing that you were shocked to find out about him?  That he ran down Delia?

MARK:  That’s a huge thing.  There’re people who think that Adam actually really didn’t do it.  I mean … then there was … pretending that he was blind … wearing dresses.  There’s so much!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

It’s a great part.  Adam would literally do anything to get what he wants. (Let’s not forget he apparently had sex with Rafe).

MARK:  It’s a great part.  I’m looking forward to what he does next.  I hope they throw me in a dress and let me mess around and pretend to be other people. (Laughs)

So, how are you playing Adam’s motivations now?  He comes back to Genoa City with amnesia after being in Vegas, and gets shot.  He seems a nice guy, but then his memory comes back, and now he is literally back to old tricks and wanting to screw everybody over who he feels wronged him.

MARK:  I think he wants his kids back.  Adam is going to do whatever he wants to do to get his kids, and I think he is justified.  Obviously, the way he goes about it is very shady and sometimes illegal, but I think he comes from a place of really wanting to be a father to his kids because of the stuff that happened with Victor, and being abandoned, and his blind mother, Hope.  The issue of where Victor was while he was growing up and how Adam’s life could have been so different always weighs on him.  Adam feels, “If there is one thing I need most, it’s to make sure my kids don’t go through what I went through.”  I think that’s where he is justified in that regard, but the way he goes about it is obviously very questionable.

Photo : JPI Studios

So, what happened when Joshua Morrow and you met for the first time?

MARK:  I met him at my screen-test too.  At the screen-test, we had to do scenes together and Joshua is such an awesome guy.  He’s a total professional, but he is so funny.  He is hilarious.  We’ll always have these scenes where we are at each other’s throats, and then we’ll just crack up laughing.

Do you think there could ever be brotherly love between Adam and Nick?

MARK:  I’ve actually been thinking about that lately. You know, I have a half-brother in real life. I think there are definitely possibilities for that with Adam and Nick.  I think somewhere deep, deep down, on some very small level, Adam could possibly want to have a relationship with Nick.  I think it could be possible, but I don’t know, and they’re so different from each other.

Then, there is the return to Y&R of Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea).  And another task you were handed was to see if you can create the same on-screen magic for the duo known as “Chadam”.

MARK:  I sure hope we can create that.  Melissa is another person in the cast who is just so awesome.  You probably think I’m lying, but everybody who works on this show is so nice, and they want the show to work.  They have the best interests of the show at heart.  You feel like you’re on a team here.  I had watched Missy on YouTube with the other Adams.  So, when I first met her I was all, “Oh, you remember this scene … and this scene … and when you were doing this?”

Photo: JPI Studios

And Missy was like, “No, I don’t remember.” (Laughs)

MARK:  She’d go, “No I don’t…”  And then she would go, “Oh! That scene!”  I had watched as much of her stuff that I could get my hands on.  When I first met her, we had a big scene to do.  We just kind of had to dive in.  She was great.

So, where do you think Adam’s heart lies? 

MARK:  I think he has a deep love for Chelsea and Sharon.

Why does he love Sharon?

MARK:  Oh, Sharon has been there for him when nobody else has, and they have so much past together, but I know there’s always the Chadam/Shadam thing!

Photo: JPI Studios

Welcome!  You’re right in the middle of these fan wars between camp Chadam and camp Shadam.  That’s not a bad place to be.  You’ve also been working with Greg Rikaart (Kevin) and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis).  Adam has been horrible to Kevin, and poor Kevin is being blackballed by him.

MARK: (Laughs) We have so much fun.  Those are great scenes.  I really love working with Greg.  It’s fun when you get to manipulate and blackmail someone, and Greg, as an individual is great, and obviously he’s been part of this show a long time, and he was really helpful too.  So, I asked him questions.  You know, “Fill me in on Adam and you before.  What was it like, and what was your dynamic like?”  Things like that.

There has been a total refocusing of Y&R.  They brought in you as Adam, and they brought back Melissa, and Michelle Stafford, and you’re kind of in there with all of them. There have been some great scenes between you and Michelle Stafford, too.  There was the scene where Phyllis is sitting alone at Adam’s eating a whole cake by herself with her champagne glass, and it was so funny.  I’m like, “Did Michelle make that choice to sit there with the whole cake, or was it written like that?”  She is a firecracker!

MARK:  She’s great.  I love Michelle.  She keeps you on your toes.  It’s funny, I actually had done a little, independent movie.  I popped in for a day.  She was in it, so I knew who she was, but I had never met her.  She wasn’t there the day I was there.  You never know which way she’s going to go in a scene.  I enjoy that.  You just have to be present because a lot of times we are doing these scenes in one take on Y&R, so you’ve got to be in it. Michelle is really fun to watch.

Photo: JPI Studios

Are your family and friends checking you out as Adam on Y&R?

MARK:  I have an aunt who is a big Y&R fan in Pennsylvania.  She was so excited when she found out I was playing Adam.  My dad is like, “I watch twice a day,” and my mom works during the week, so I think she watches on the computer at night.  They live in Arizona.

Can you watch your work back?  A lot of actors I have interviewed over the years in this medium have told me they do not like to watch their work, as it would then make them to aware of any quirks they may have and detract from their ability to deliver their performance, etc.

MARK:  I watch, sometimes.  It’s weird, isn’t it?  I’ll go back and forth.  I’ll watch myself sometimes with the sound off, and then I’ll slowly start creeping the sound up, and I’ll see … and then I’ll rewind it, and I’ll slowly start watching it.  I’ve got to ease myself into it.   Sometimes; I’ll ask other people if they’ve seen the scenes I was in, and I’ll be like,  “Well, how was it?”

Photo: JPI Studios

There is major bad blood between the characters of Billy and Adam.  How has it been working with Jason Thompson (Billy), and what do you think of the Adam/Billy dynamic?  Billy is considering taking a bullet to Adam and pulling the trigger.  Billy holds Adam responsible for the death of his child, Delia and perpetrating much hurt on those he loves.

MARK:  That’s a tough situation, and as for Jason Thompson, man.  Jason Thompson is just such a great actor, I think.  I just love watching him.  He’s just so real, you know?  You really feel what he is going through and what he is saying. I know there is a lot history between Billy and Adam, and yeah, Billy is becoming a little unglued.

Adam has that effect on people.

MARK:  Adam does!  It’s such a tragic thing that happened with Delia.  How does one get over that?  How many times can Adam apologize?  So, I don’t know if they can even make amends and be friends.

I don’t think we want them to be friends.  Do we?  No.

MARK:  No.  There’s a lot of good drama there.

Photo: CBS

Then, we have Elizabeth Hendrickson as Chloe.  So, what does Adam think about Chloe?  Does he understand why she is constantly unhinged?

MARK:  Yes.  I think he understands that you lose a child, and that really affects you.  I guess you don’t really know what you’re going to do until something like that happens.  I think Adam tried to clear the air … and be honest about what actually happened that night, and say, “Look, if we keep this up, one of us is going to end up dead.”  So, we’ll see if she can move on.  I don’t know… Adam has got to keep watching his back.

And … watch out for dart guns. (Laughs)

MARK:  Look out your window!

Victor thinks Adam is the smartest of his kids.  Do you think so?

MARK:  I think so.  Adam went to Harvard.  I think he is the smartest of the three.  Obviously, he is the outcast, but I think he is the smartest intellectually of the three.

Photo: JPI Studios

They’re talking a lot on the show, about the missing years when Adam supposedly went to Vegas.   So there is a lot to yet be discovered about what happened to him and what he was really up to.

MARK:  Maybe he was faking this whole amnesia story because he really wanted Sharon?  I don’t know.  I would imagine we would be delving into where he was.  At least, I hope so.

Would you like to play some scenes where viewers get to see the more tender side of Adam?

MARK:  Yes.  I would love to explore the real sadness with Adam and Victor and why his father wasn’t there for him.  I would love to see more of that, and scenes with the kids… get Connor back, and stuff like that.

Now speaking of doing anything to get back his kids, Adam, who professes to love Chelsea, kind of screwed her over after her new husband Calvin (John Burke) suddenly died, and he is kind of using that to his advantage with her.

MARK:  Well, hey!  You don’t mess with a man’s kids.  It’s his son.

Adam is such a polarizing character and is driving story.  Do you open the script and go, “Oh, man! I’m doing this today?”

MARK:  Oh, sure.  I’m always excited, because I’ll get a new episode, and I’ll open it immediately, and I’m like, “Oh, yes … oh, wow… oh, wow!”   I feel like that’s what it’s been like though since I’ve been a part of this show,  Adam is always stirring the pot and bringing a lot of that drama to it.

Photo: JPI Studios

This week on Y&R, it’s the custody battle for Christian between Adam and Nick.

MARK:  Yes, we are going to be in court, and we are going to go head to head over this custody battle for Christian.  I hear Chloe might be back.

Do you get to make a statement as to why you’d be a good father while everybody is like, “Oh, God?”  Do you get to say how your kids were taken from you?

MARK:  Yeah, I do!  Adam pleads his case.

Photo: JPI Studios

It’s going to be interesting to see how this progresses with you as Adam, and how the fans take to him.  Will the audience be at all compassionate towards him in certain circumstances, even though he’s screwed everybody over?

MARK:  I hope so!

So, are you enjoying Mark’s portrayal of Adam?  Who do you hope Adam winds up with romantically? Do you want Adam to get custody of both of his sons? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Dean
Guest
Dean

Yes, I am enjoying Mark’s portrayal of Adam. So great having the character back!

Mary
Guest
Mary

Sorry but I cannot tolerate a man who uses a child to try and force a woman to be with him against her will

su000
Guest
su000

hi Mary–
It’s only makebelieve..
nothing stays the same in soapland..
It’s really a good story, I hope you can enjoy watching it develope..
(it ain’t real to take it personally 🙂

Avril
Guest
Avril

I hate Adam he is a despicable person I hope he loose both children I also hope Ray dump that dumb Sharon

Ric
Guest
Ric

Tuned back in for Greg and Michelle returns but Hot Mark got me to stay. Love his portrayal of Adam.

Laura P.
Guest
Laura P.

I think you are doing a terrific job! Keep up the good work!

Kay
Guest
Kay

Absolutely no reflection on Mark but JG can’t do a Bobby Ewing out of the shower episode on us ! You can’t as a decent writer erase five years it happened and it is no reflection on the actors but as a viewer I am in done! Go play your games elsewhere and mm fans read up on how he was treated I will never watch this show again you do not destroy people’s lives

Sunni928
Guest
Sunni928

Just wondering, who is JG???

Sunni928
Guest
Sunni928

Just realizing, you meant Josh Griffith, Executive Producer.

Meg
Guest
Meg

I love Adam and sick of the way the Newman’s treat him And Chloe not getting it was a accident because Billy left her alone

Kym
Guest
Kym

I totally agree Meg!

Boop
Guest
Boop

You and I are on the same page about the daughter. These soaps have practically the whole town hating a person because one person hates him. Not a soul blames Billy for leaving the little girl in the car alone. Plus, Adam checked around the perimeter of the car after he swerved to avoid hitting the dog. At one point Victor mentioned that Billy left the child in the car alone which places part of the blame on him. I wouldn’t be surprised if the police officer from a few years back didn’t hit Delia and allowed Adam to take… Read more »

su000
Guest
su000

I like Mark as Adam, good casting
however;
there are times I can not see his eyes!!
He is quite tall and the camera seems to have a bad angel on him..
they have to find a way to show Adams’ eyes!

Damien
Guest
Damien

Mark is owning Adam. For sure my favorite portrayer. He s made me forgot the last actor to play him. He even resembles a young Eric Braedan. He does evil so well. The amount of material he s been given off the jump is tremendous and he hasnt stopped. Mvp!!!

Tim
Guest
Tim

He has been doing a phenomenal job in the role, especially since he’s been in nearly every episode since he debuted. He has great chemistry with everyone and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

Fay Schmidt
Guest
Fay Schmidt

I absolutely HATE Adam Newman! You should NEVER have brought him back!

Toscanti
Guest
Toscanti

I am loving Mark’s portrayal of “Adam”. He’s one of my favorite characters and I didn’t think anyone could play the role as well as the two previous actors, I was wrong. The entire show looks and feels familiar again. I’m just waiting for Billy Miller to return as “Billy” and Judith Chapman as “Gloria”.

Dawn Godsil
Guest
Dawn Godsil

Hes doing a specktacular job as Adam goodlooking n evil rolled n one.. We fans just love too hate him!!keep up the good work cutie❤ a forever Y&R Fan ❤

Shari
Guest
Shari

Sorry, but still don’t like him as Adam.

Tony
Guest
Tony

He is amazing. Love him!

Patricia Wragg
Guest
Patricia Wragg

I want Adam to get both of his sons back! I also want to see Cadam!! I absolutely love Mark as Adam!! He had big shoes to fill and he has filled them perfectly!! Keep up the great job Mark Grossman!!

Boop
Guest
Boop

I want him to get his sons , also.

Barbara Mannino
Guest
Barbara Mannino

MG is doing a great job as Adam who is a complex character. He’s villainous, but there are moments of humanity—and Mark Grossman is playing all of this so well.

Joyce
Guest
Joyce

Mark does look to young for the part but i like him. No he should NOT get custody of either child. it is great to have the character back but he shouldnt “win” every time. Nobodys THAT smart. Chelsea is fighting her feelings for him already. her husbands death was to coonvienant even for a soap. there has got to be more to it than that. He is living in the penthouse that was theirs. I think i would like to see Chelsea, Conner and Adam back together again. Just before one of them get arrested for murder.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Well, its like losing your starting quarterback. I liked Muhney, hands down my favorite Adam. BUT, we have a new starting quarterback now, owners choice, F the fans, BUT Mark is doing well. He has jumped in and has had a ton of scenes. He is new to the show and new to soaps. I give the man a ton of credit. He clicks with whoever he is on the screen with. Maybe it comes out that Nikki did kill D and Adam and Chloe connect? You never know. Keep up the good work Mark and thanks for an honest… Read more »

Jennifer W.
Guest
Jennifer W.

I’m a huge Michael Muhney fan, and Justin Hartley was never Adam to me the way he was written. But I love Mark Grossman in the role – he’s is doing a great job; and I liked him right away which doesn’t always happen. Great recast. I’m hugely disappointed in Adam & Chelsea’s reunion, given they were the love of each other’s life; as well as some of the re-writing of history. But MG is making the role his own. And those cheekbones LOL.

MANGO
Guest
MANGO

MARK PLAYS ADAM VERY WELL.I HOPE HE NEVER GETS HIS KIDS BACK,BUT IF HE HAS TO END UP WITH ONE OF THE WOMEN IT SHOULD BE SHARON.THEY DESERVE EACH OTHER.EVERY ONE FORGETS YOU CAUSED THE ACCIDENT THAT KILLED NICKS WIFE.LOVE HAVING THE REAL PHYLLIS BACK.

Boop
Guest
Boop

Get those kids back because they are yours, Adam! Nick shouldn’t get them.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

I think Mark Grossman is awesome as Adam Newman!! He is doing a fantastic job!!!

Cyndy
Guest
Cyndy

Hes a great actor, that’s why we all don’t like him. I love to know the relationship between the actors in real life.

Val
Guest
Val

Love Mark Grossman!! Great acting and storyline. He is the best Adam ever.

I think they need to put Nick & Sharon back together though….and Adam and Chelsea

Sue Easton
Guest
Sue Easton

Do not like Adam. He does not need custody of anything much less a child. Why doesn’t he ever get punished? He and Sharon deserve each other. Do not like the idea of a show using kids like this. It happens to often in real life. Don’t need on tv.

Boop
Guest
Boop

What we don’t need on tv is someone else getting custody of kids who aren’t theirs. What you should dislike is arrogant Nick’s attitude.

MaryLee Comparetto
Guest
MaryLee Comparetto

He plays Victor’s son to the “T”! I really like his character; therefore, I want him to see him get custody of his son even though I’m a big fan of Nick.

Anita
Guest
Anita

No one can be the Adam Justin H. But he’s okay not my favorite but I guess he’ll do since this is us took Justin away I was

Nancy J.
Guest
Nancy J.

This Adam bores me. He is one dimensional and the only feel8ng he evokes is anger. Bad casting.

Boop
Guest
Boop

If this Adam bores you , Justin evidently sent you over a cliff since he was a hum drum Adam. I liked him in the role; however, he didn’t give it that I hate you feeling.

Kimber
Guest
Kimber

He’s missing all of the mannerisms Adam has. That’s why Justin H was able to nail the part so well. Seems like he studied all of that right down to the tiniest details. Things like running his hand down the back of his hair when he was frustrated, knowing when to invade people’s personal space and change his tone of voice and measurement of his speech. Mark needs to go back and study those things if he wants to portray a believable Adam. Right now he comes off as whiney, immature, and reactive rather than wicked, refined and measured.

Tauna Woolley
Guest
Tauna Woolley

Mark G is nailing this Adam! He has his own mannerisms, and is definitely the best Adam ever. He definitely makes the show amazing!!❤️❤️

Linda
Guest
Linda

I cannot believe what a WONDERFUL actor this new Adam is!!!! I thought no one could fill those shoes. He stepped in magically and brilliantly. I just hate that the writers are forgetting about the great, stand up guy, stand behind his family, Adam was at the time of the explosion and that they are having him have barely any allies! It bothers me immensely watching everyone in Genoa City hating on him and wanting his demise! When will everyone admit it was a bloody accident with Delia and give Adam some Mercy. I love seeing him win and I… Read more »

Jeri Ann
Guest
Jeri Ann

I’ve been watching Y&R since it’s first day. I’ve seen them come and go. I’ve been happy about them and sad. I absolutely love the storyline with Adam. It was so boring with Mal. Now there’s drama, surprise and suspense at what will happen next. I’ll be watching for sure. Adam, you’re doing a phenomenal job & keep up the good work. When your voice breaks arguing with Victor, I wish he’d give you a hug.

Tauna Woolley
Guest
Tauna Woolley

I love Mark’s portrayal of Adam! What an amazing, incredible actor! He has to win the Emmy for best actor! I am definitely routing for “the bad guy”!! Team Shadam!!

Kelly Mcbride
Guest
Kelly Mcbride

Adam and chelsey were my favorite couple for sure would love to see them back together!! Mark is brilliant in portraying Adam let alone he’s dreamy and those eyes oh my! I was mad when Justin left and I thought no one could filll his shoes well I was wrong! I record the show and watch it every evening without fail and have for 20 plus years.

Interviews

Y&R’s Brytni Sarpy Talks On Her Emotional Week of Scenes & The Fallout From Elena and Devon’s Break-Up

Talk about self-sabotage! Over the last few weeks, fans of CBS’ The Young and the Restless have seen how one decision, or moment in time, can have an effect on several residents of Genoa City, such as the case with Elena Dawson (Brytni Sarpy), after she had sex with her colleague Dr. Nate Hastings (Sean Dominic) … at the clinic they work at!

It all starts unraveling for Elena when her fears get the best of her thinking that the current-love-of-her-life, Devon (Bryton James) will fall for the sister of his late wife, Hilary, in the form of Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan).  And thus sets the stage for a potential quadrangle, and perhaps … some baby drama?

Since coming to Y&R from General Hospital, actress Brytni Sarpy has been developing the character of Elena and playing her for all she is worth and then some in recent heavy-duty heart-tugging scenes where viewers saw Elena confess to Devon that she cheated on him with his cousin, Nate! Then later, she gets kicked to the curb by the man she loves, leaving her wondering, “What did I just do … and why?”

 

Well, Michael Fairman TV has some of the answers as we chatted with Brytni to get the lowdown and the insight on these pivotal moments in Elevon’s love story, and if there is even a future for them, or is it on ice for good? Plus, Brytni opens up about falling for her co-star and recent Daytime Emmy winner, Bryton James, and taping what would normally look like a red-hot passionate sex scene on the soaps with Sean Dominic, but having to do it under strict CDC Covid-19 protocols. Here’s what Ms. Sarpy had to say about it all!

Courtesy/CBS

You’ve got this big storyline unfolding now on Y&R.  Did you know when they brought on Sean Dominic that they were going to bust up  Elena and Devon?

BRYTNI:  Yes and no.  When Sean was first brought in, there had been another actor playing his role, so technically his character has already been on-screen.  So, I didn’t necessarily think it was going to cause any type of conflict, or a love triangle, or anything like that.  However, I think that there were little hints about it along the way in the writing, and our characters similarities in both being doctors.  The writers are pretty tight-lipped, so I only know things two or three weeks in advance.

Were you playing that Elena had this attraction to Nate for a while now?

BRYTNI:  There was a point where I decided to play it, and that is when I felt that it was in the material. It was when things got a little crazier with Amanda coming around and Elena being at the height of her insecurity about that, and her really choosing to only confide in Nate.  I think that kind of relationship and comfortability that she was finding and that dynamic of being at the clinic with Nate, and establishing that with him, she was not having with Devon.

Courtesy/CBS

Right, and so do you think once Elena knew Amanda was interested in Nate, she subconsciously stepped up her own interest in him?

BRYTNI:  No, I think around this time she was hoping for Amanda to date Nate, and she was asking a lot of questions and things to egg on that whole relationship.  I think in her subconscious she really felt like, “Oh good, if I can put these two together, then my fears about this woman who looks exactly like my boyfriend’s dead wife… that resolves that.”  I think for Elena it was just kind of putting them together.  It wasn’t about Nate.  It was about someone to occupy Amanda so that Elena’s insecurities didn’t have to come out and she didn’t have to worry about Devon, or anything with those two being together.

But didn’t Elena have a nightmare/dream about Amanda and Devon having sex?  Wasn’t she freaked out about Amanda being Hilary’s sister?

BRYTNI:  This was when she had already jumped down the rabbit hole of being insecure about what was going on about Amanda and Devon and how much time they were spending together and hoping that he didn’t fall back into those feelings he had for Hilary that he had just gotten through.  For Elena, I think it was a lot of PTSD; for her.  She felt the first half of their relationship was trying to get over Hilary.  Once it finally turned to a point where Amanda was spending a lot of time with Devon. and she had started only confiding in Nate and not Devon about how she felt, that’s when I think those insecure feelings came up, and her talking about it so much manifested into her dreams, and she set herself up for her own trauma.

Courtesy/CBS

So, you have to do this sex scene amidst Covid-19 protocols with Sean Dominic.  How was filming that scene with Sean because Nate looks at Elena, she looks at him, signaling they want to have sex right now, right there at the clinic, and then it cuts out.  Was it awkward filming it?

BRYTNI:  Yes, it was certainly awkward because his double was Bryton, so it’s hard to play that you’re cheating on a character with the actor who plays the character that you’re cheating on. (Laughs)

We are going to give you the Emmy right there for that!  (Laughs)

BRYTNI:  Right! (Laughs) Then in some of the scenes we are looking into each other’s eyes, and we appear to be close, but of course we are not that way.  So, I am staring up at a mannequin that it is at Sean’s eye-level, and he is staring down at a mannequin that is at mine.  It is not easy to try to sell that energy that is between two people in such an electric, heated moment, so it was definitely challenging.

Do you buy Elena’s rationale that they were on a euphoric high from saving Jared’s life at the clinic, as the impetus that leads her and Nate to have sex?

BRYTNI:  I don’t think she really understands what happened.  I think she is trying to put it together.  Right after it happens, she goes into that whole monologue about how, “I’m not blaming you, but this happened, and we were just coming down from a high.”  I think it’s just her trying to figure out why her emotions brought her to this place because I think this is one of the few times in someone like Elena’s life when she has acted without thinking or without forethought to the consequences.  I think she has just been exhausted with trying to battle her emotions, trying to be a doctor with a residency in a hospital, and then also trying to do as much work as she is doing at a clinic.  Then, coming off of an emotionally-charged partnership with Devon after seeing what he was going through with the ghost of Hilary for so long, and going back into this after finally having a calm and peaceful few months, it rocked the whole boat again.

Courtesy/CBS

Viewers have seen what played out over the last week and half, a lot of scenes were you as Elena are called upon to do a lot of breaking down, and crying.  So, how are those scenes to perform? Do you like those types of scenes, or are you like, “Oh, God! These are so soapy!”

BRYTNI:  For me, personally playing that, I think with all the tears and all of that, it’s been exhausting, because there are certainly levels of reality to this where I have to go for it to not be me just trying to emote on-screen, but actually feel the depths of what my character would be going through.  It’s a lot.  I’ve had a few migraines after work sometimes, but I do enjoy it.  I enjoy getting those emotions out.  I think that because of what I’ve established with her character for a little over a year, I’ve been building up Elena, and more importantly, building up her relationship with Devon.  I think to understand her actions, it had to come from a really solid place.  I don’t think she is ill-intended in any of her emotions.  I think she really cares about and wants to protect her partner, Devon throughout all of this, and then she finds herself unprotected and vulnerable in making decisions that inevitably do the complete opposite.  So, I think at the end of it, she really is disappointed in herself and also, she has just created this entire disruption of her life in the matter of a moment, and I think there is a lot of mourning, and there is a lot of guilt.  I just don’t think that it is intentional of her character to do something like what she did.  I think that for me to make it what it was… something that my character would do or did … it had to come from a real place that didn’t sit well with her, and it just happened, and she feels guilt-ridden.  It’s as serious as a character attempting to murder someone, or any other kind of character who would go to the extremes of who they are in their characteristics.

Courtesy/CBS

For you, since you are romantically-involved with Bryton James in real life, does that make it harder or easier to play?

BRYTNI:  I’d say both.  It makes it harder because it’s more real, but it also makes it easier because it’s more real.  These are situations that could at some point come up or have come up, and to put yourself in those positions, and to have him look at me the way that he does and to jeopardize something that real, to go to that place, is a dark place to have to portray.

… And then Devon throws her out! 

BRYTNI:  He does.

Devon tells her to leave the penthouse and he tells her to pack her stuff and go.

BRYTNI:  Rightfully so.

Courtesy/CBS

Doesn’t Elena deserve that reaction for her actions?

BRYTNI:  I think so.  She made a mistake, and she has to learn from it.  I think if there is any potential for these two to ever reconcile, there has to be space given, and there has to be understanding.  You can’t just pretend like everything is normal even though she is sorry.  Sorry isn’t a reason why and sorry isn’t proactive.  She has to fix the issue.

They brought Jared (Michael Maclane) back to be the catalyst that was ended up being the spark that ignited Nate and Elena’s passionate moment together at the clinic. What did you think of that plot point?

BRYTNI:  The point was actually, that it was a patient who they had invested in and cared about, and she was able to do something for this kid and save his life with someone who she has been leaning on, someone who she has had a shared connection with, someone who shares her perspective, and helped her through situations with Devon, and who has seen her ugly side and her insecure side, and it was a bonding moment, I guess, that they were able to save a kid’s life who they both knew added another layer to their relationship that caused things to go grey.

Coming up, it appears that Amanda is going to be instigating a lot of stuff, and Nate is going to still have feelings for Elena.

BRYTNI:  Yeah, I mean, it’s not over.  Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, they still have residual feelings.  I think Nate is starting to make it very clear why he went the direction he went.  I think he has more of an understanding of where his feelings lie and that they are with Elena.  I think with Amanda, maybe a part of her ego just got bruised, and maybe she wants to unearth the truth of all of this because she was kind of caught in the middle of it.

When you and Bryton are together in real life, are you rehearsing all of these scenes and playing all of the other characters in them?

BRYTNI:  Typically, we run lines together.  I have voices for everyone.  I have a Nate voice.  (Laughs)  I have an Amanda voice; I have a Lily (Christel Khalil) voice.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

You are in one of those interesting situations where you are with the person in real-life and in story.  I have talked to Bryton about this, but what was the moment when you knew it clicked with him? 

BRYTNI:  We certainly liked each other since day one just as people.  He was a great scene partner to do a screen-test with, very giving, just really professional, but just a down-to-earth nice guy. Then, just moving forward from that and working with him as my scene partner on Y&R, I think it was during our first group scene, it was the opening of Society, and we did a tribute to Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), and that was the first time I had spent long hours on a Y&R set.  You’re with the whole group all day because you’re doing group scenes.  We just discovered and learned that we are both really goofy, and we were just laughing and talking about stories.  I think we found that we had a lot more in common than we would have realized… very similar pop-cultural references, and upbringings, and all of that.  From there, we’ve just gotten along really well, and it progressed.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

Back in late June,  there was this viral video of you jumping up and down when Bryon’s name was called as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series during the 47th annual Daytime Emmys telecast.  What do you remember of that night with him?  You seemed more excited than he was!

BRYTNI:  Yeah!  I was really excited for him.  The year before – well, I didn’t know that it was our first date –  but,  I guess it was our first date at the 46th Daytime Emmys, because I honestly thought that Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) had asked me if I wanted to go along, and apparently, Bryton had asked if he could invite me.  So, we spent that time together, and he was nominated that year as well and lost.  Cut to this year where Bryton is a person who I have actually worked with and have seen how he works, and after Kristoff’s passing, and just seeing the amount of work that Y&R put into it, and the time that they spent on those episodes, and how beautiful they came out, everyone deserved an Emmy for that.  It was really beautiful work, and it was really touching, and it was really true and honest.  I really thought Bryton deserved it.  I think he was just as happy.  He’s just more reserved than I am.

What do you want to see happen for Elena moving-forward?  Do you want to see more of her extended family pop up so she is a character who has more ties to Genoa City?

BRYTNI:  I do, I do.  A lot of the characters never know who their father is.  I’d love to know who that is. (Laughs)  Like when I played Valerie on General Hospital, she didn’t know who her father was either.  Things like that are interesting to play.  I’d love to start closing those little holes about her because that helps me.  It helps me to create more dimensions in her character and to make firmer choices, and give her somewhere to go, and it gives more richness in her story.  I would love to also cement her to the Y&R canvas if she has any relation to anyone else there.

Courtesy/CBS

There have been rumors that Elena will become pregnant.  What would you say to that?

BRYTNI:  What do I think of that?  I don’t know.  It could happen.  Crazier things have happened on soaps.  Will it be the classic, “Whodunit?”

You mean, who could be the baby daddy?

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that would be interesting, and yes, I’ve seen those rumors, too.

Do you think Elena will fight and claw her way back to Devon, or do you think she is going to let it be? 

BRYTNI:  I think even from the scenes that aired this past week, you can see the extent of how sorry she is.  She is laying it all out there, in a puddle of tears, exactly how she feels even though she is not able to really understand why she did what she did, her sorrow is there.  I don’t think there is really much more for her to do as far as pleading to get him back until he is ready, if he ever is ready.  I think her respecting his wishes in the situation is probably the best thing that she can do at this point.

Photo: IG

Meanwhile, if you have any more romantic scenes with Sean Dominic, Bryton will step in, so you will still be in scenes with him, even if Elena and Devon aren’t together. 

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that’s true!

So, are you rooting for Devon and Elena to get back together quickly?  Do you think she may end up in a relationship with Nate? What have you thought of Brytni’s performances in this storyline? Comment below, but first watch Devon tell Elena to move out!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On Dina’s Death & How It Will Impact Jack, His Final Scenes With Marla Adams & Taping During COVID-19

The Abbott family is reeling from the death of their mother, Dina Mergeron, who passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last Friday’s episode; signaling the end of an era for Dina’s portrayer, Marla Adams.  In a pivotal and heart-breaking scene, Dina shares one last goodbye with her children: Traci (Beth Maitland), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and of course, Jack (Peter Bergman).

Today, the drama continues as the Abbott’s grieve Dina’s death and its aftermath while they remember the life of their flawed mother. This puts Jack at the epicenter of the family, and like it, or not, the new head of the clan.  What does the future hold for him now?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman, who has embodied Jack for over 30 years on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, to get his thoughts on: how Y&R needed to handle Dina’s death within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, what he felt about playing those final scenes with Marla Adams and the significance of the ‘teardrop of love’, and a preview of what fans can expect in the coming days as the impact of Dina’s death will be felt by the Abbott children and extended family.

 

An actor’s actor, you can always expect a conversation with Peter to be forthright, candid and enlightening, and this one was no different.  Here’s what one of the genre’s absolute best had to share about the significance of this story and more.

How has it been returning to Y&R during the pandemic?  I bet you never thought in all of your years in daytime, that you would be doing your scenes socially-distanced, sitting or standing, so far apart from your castmates.

Courtesy/CBD

PETER:  Just getting back to work felt great, loved that.  I wasn’t involved really in romantic scenes at this point, so that I didn’t have to do.  So, all in all, I was very happy to be back, and socially-distancing didn’t really bother me at all, and then Dina died.  Doing that from six feet away was just awful.  You saw the limits at a time where not any of us could be within six feet of each other; where you would usually hold a hand, stroke a brow, and talk softly.  So, I think the writers did what they needed to do to make it work for Dina’s exit.  We are in the middle of COVID, in case anybody forgot, and so you have to ask, ‘Does America really want to watch an elderly woman die in the middle of the Abbott living room or anywhere else?’  So, we had to have Dina’s exit without looking at a dead body, out of respect for the times we are living in.  We had to do a strong, powerful, pivotal scene with our hands tied behind our backs.

Courtesy/CBS

It’s so interesting that you say that because that’s how I felt watching it, knowing what it would have been like, if Jack, Ashley and Traci would have been with Dina at her bedside, up till the end, for instance.  But all of that said, Peter, I got so choked up in your last moments with Marla.  Jack is just sitting there and Dina is telling him how much she loved him and you’re doing the thing that only Peter Bergman can do as the tears well-up in your eyes.  As we have talked about previously, my mom died from complications from Alzheimer’s, so these are always tough types of scenes for me to watch.  I am sure it was also for those in the audience, who have lost a loved one to this disease, many of whom reached out to me on social media following its airing.

PETER:  It’s got to be tough for you to watch.  I get that.

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

Yes, so I felt for Jack and Dina in the moment as a son and his mother.  But what did you think about how the scene was written, and what Dina was saying to Jack and his sisters as her final goodbyes to her children and their reactions to it?

PETER:  As written, something in this necklace triggers something in Dina that brings her out of a stupor, brings her out of the murk, the fog for a brief instant to tell the people who she cares the most about that she loves them in slightly different ways.  I have, with everything in me, a struggle to always add in there, “I have a complicated relationship with my mother.”  I’ve added that line in there so many times over the years, you have no idea.  It was a complicated relationship because by the time she dies, there is no kind of straightening that out, there is no kind of Jack looking for answers. The depth of what Ashley is feeling, what Traci is feeling, what Jack is feeling, were kind of lost because of the way we had to do it. The writers had to do it, so I’m not blaming anyone, but because of the way we had to do it, there was no, “Wow, why isn’t Ashley crying?  Why is she just so stoic that this isn’t touching her at all?” because she can’t go there. Traci feeling like she found her place in the family simply by Dina saying, “You’re the beating heart of this family,” and Jack, who is doing the right thing, “She should leave peacefully, she should leave feeling loved, we should all be here, we should give her nothing but love,” damn, this is complicated.  You couldn’t have any of those things.  .  Hopefully, some of that slid in there and we wedged some of those complexities into it, but it was hard to write a complex scene with the situation as it was.  We needed to get it done it one day.  We did not need to drag this out.  Again, were it not COVID time, sure, let’s drag it out.  Let’s spend some time on this.  People die.  Let’s watch the family process a death.

Photo: CBS

I just think of what it all means for Jack moving forward.  Dina basically tells him, “You’re in charge of the family. Look after the family.” That’s kind of where it’s been going for Jack this whole time.  I don’t know if that’s what Jack wanted, but that’s where he is ending up.

PETER:  Right!  That’s where he ends up, and you know, this has been a long time coming.  Dad dies, and it is pretty clear that he’s got to step up, and his mom comes into town, and she’s not just his mother.  She’s Ashley’s mother; she’s Traci’s mother, we’ve got to look out for her and give her the dignity and things like that.  Now, there is just no getting around it.  Jack is the head of the family.  That’s the way it fell.  Twenty-five years ago, was Jack ready to be head of anything?  Absolutely not, but I think enough has happened to Jack now: enough heartache, enough growth, enough introspection, enough losing people, that Jack might just be ready for this job.

Courtesy/CBS

When Marla Adams came back to Y&R 2017, and they started telling the Alzheimer’s storyline, it brought up such abandonment issues for Jack and rightfully so, about how a mother could just leave her family and children,  Throughout all that,  you did such poignant work.

PETER:  I wanted that to be in there at the very end.  One of the powerful parts in this whole thing is that Jack wanted to scream at Dina every bit as much as he wanted to hug her.  That was there for quite a while, and Jack had to kind of come to terms with, “Hey, you’ve been leaning on this excuse for quite a time.  She’s here.  She can’t do you any harm.  She feels bad about what happened.  What do you want, Jack?”

Photo: CBS

One of the highlights of this storyline was when Y&R explored the history and relationship between the siblings, Jack, Ashley and Traci.  We saw their younger versions as the show flash-backed to when Dina left John and the Abbott family.

PETER:  Between the writers and Peter Bergman, we built this story that the night that Dina left, Dad was upstairs with the girls, they were weeping inconsolably, there was no fixing it, there was no telling them that everything was going to be all right.  He didn’t want to lie to them and say she will be right back, he told them, “She’s not coming back,” and he comes downstairs, and Jack is fourteen-years-old, and a little confused, but decided to say to his dad, “Hey, can I help?”  He looks across the room, and his dad is weeping, first time he had ever seen that.  His father is weeping, and he said, “Jack, you’re going to have to help me with the girls.  I can’t do all of this,” and it changed Jack’s life forever.  Jack was a parent to Ashley for a good part of their relationship.  So, all of this stuff with Jack’s identity, all of the fighting with Ashley, all of the Jabot madness is Ashley finally getting to say, “I don’t need a father!  You’re not my father.  Stop talking to me like you’re going to fix things for me!  I’m sick of it.”  All done by Dina … all truly caused by Dina.

Courtesy/CBD

In my interview with Marla, she told me that at the end of her last scene, you and many others came back to the set to pay tribute to her.

PETER:  We did.  The show had arranged it, and Tony Morina, the executive producer, stepped out on the soundstage with a microphone, and Marla sat on the sofa in the Abbott living room. Tony began telling a lovely, lovely story about how far back his relationship with her goes because Marla and Tony wife’s, Sally Sussman (Ex- head writer, Y&R), also had a long-standing relationship.  Tony was just so grand and gracious in saying that there are some people who, if they weren’t an actor, they’d be this or that or the other thing, but that Marla was born to be an actress.  That’s what she is, and it was so generous.  I think she got three and a half years that she didn’t expect to get out of this.  It was supposed to be a six-month storyline, and four years later, she was still there, and it was a good thing for her, and a unique story turn for the rest of us.  It really was.  It was a powerful thing, and now the Abbott family has a new shape.  There are three adults there: Ashley has established her independence, she is not around as much, she is back and forth between Paris, and Genoa City, Traci is trying to be as supportive and kind as she can be, but essentially, Jack is in the big house by himself.

Yep!  Well, now we’ve got to find Jack a good woman.

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

… Or a bad woman!  I’ll take him in a relationship with someone to stir things up.  I also hear coming up, there will be the reading of Dina’s will.  Is there anything you can tease about that?

PETER:  There is a will read, yes.  No one knows what to expect, and Dina … in the end… comes through for almost everybody…

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

PETER:  Yep… really comes through for almost everybody, and you know, the Abbott children are wealthier, and all three of them are alone, and in no small thanks to Dina for that.  These are three adults who have been very unlucky in love.  Of course, this is the next challenge.  I don’t mean to assume that I have any idea of what you went through in losing your mom, but there is a point at which you also have to let go and say, “Okay, now it is just me, and what do I want to do with this life?  I’ve used this as a reason not to move forward for a good while.  What am I going to do now?”  I think the next turn in the Jack Abbott story comes pretty organically.  Dina’s death frees Jack to be just as alone as he has ever been.

No matter what Jack does, including the bad things, you always see the inner-pain that is very palpable within him, as you have portrayed him.

PETER:  Yes, but he really has grown in the last 30 years.  Jack is hungry for more right now, and he couldn’t really be that way with Mom in the house.  He didn’t have time for that.  Now he has all of the time in the world.  So, we’ll see what he does with that.

Courtesy/CBD

I understand there is a funeral for Dina, but it will be off-camera?  I guess, because of COVID, it is better that way.

PETER:  That’s true and it’s off camera, that’s correct.  What’s important at most of these things isn’t what happens at the gravesite, it is what happens at the reception afterwards, and that is also a fun turn.  So, they all agree as a family they are going to do it at Society, and they kind of close the joint and make it their own little party, and someone shows up who isn’t expected, and it throws a really, really different vibe into the whole thing, and everybody has to adapt.  It’s actually fun, what it turns into.  It turns into a memory fest with crazy stories of Dina.

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite moment, or memory, of a scene you played with Marla?

PETER:  I think I had a day where Jack tried to get through to her and tell her, “Do you realize the damage you did?  Do you realize?” and she wasn’t able to take it in, and he went to Traci, and he said, “I want to shake her.  I want to yell at her… and I want to protect her.”  I thought there was something just so rich about that.  That was my favorite moment, my favorite part of it, when Jack finally said, “She’s going, man.  We’ve got to get this conversation done now.  We’ve got to talk this through,” and he was too late.   She was too far along with Alzheimer’s.  She wasn’t up to it.  She couldn’t do it.

Photo: JPI

And now here is Jack; and his parents are both gone.  There is no Jerry Douglas or Marla Adams on the show as both John and Dina have passed on within the history of The Young and the Restless.

PETER:  Again, you were generous enough to share your own personal experience, but isn’t it amazing?  Wow, you’re the grownup now.  Isn’t it amazing?  That’s what the Abbott’s are going through: just what you went through.  There is no older generation to turn to for anything.  We are the older generation.  It’s powerful stuff, and I’m really, really grateful for anytime that Ashley, Jack, and Traci are together talking about those things, talking about, “Wow, okay, that just happened… where do we go from here?”  It’s going to be really interesting.  If you asked me, “Over the last 30 years that you’ve played Jack Abbott, have there been many times where you’ve thought, ‘I’ve got no idea where this is going!’”  I would say, “Yeah, right now.”  I’ve got no idea where we are going with this.

Courtesy/CBS

There has been much speculation that the “teardrop of love” necklace will lead Jack to a new romance, or some new adventure in his life.  They spent a lot of time mentioning it in short order, that it would seem it’s not just to bring Dina some closure.  What are your thoughts on it?

PETER:  I think it has legs.  I think you’re going to hear about it again. There is something in there, and I don’t know if it’s the teardrop’s magic charm or that its history is not what it was, or it gets stolen.  I don’t know, but I think we have spent enough time saying ‘teardrop of love’, that there could be a story there.

In Dina’s final moments where Jack brings her the ‘teardrop of love’, wasn’t it symbolic to her because it was her acknowledgement of having her family back together and with her at all times? There is a back-story to that piece of jewelry as well.

PETER:  The point of the necklace is, “This was when I was truly happy, when I had this necklace, when it is all back together,” and maybe we are to know something more about the teardrop…?  I don’t know.  So, this was a gift to her before Jack was born.  She wore it home from the hospital when she brought him home, but we don’t know exactly what year she got it, and we don’t know exactly what year she lost it.  It was stolen, and it was on the black market for a while, and Victor (Eric Braeden) was looking into it.  It was clear that it was very important to Dina.  So, Jack, against his own wishes, said, “No, I’ve got to do the right thing.  I’ve got to try to trace this thing down.  It clearly means something to her.  Maybe she is trying to tell us something.  God only knows.”  So, he did the right thing, not because, “I want to make Mommy happy,” but because he forced himself to do the right thing, to find the damn necklace, and to see what this is about.  Then, we saw the affect it had when he gave it to her.

Photo: CBS

It’s always good to chat and check-in with you during these key and historical moments in the life of the character of Jack Abbott.  There have been many throughout your time on Y&R, and it will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

PETER:  It will be, and I’m telling you, this is a real moment.  Normally, we just go from one story into the next, into the next, and this one has been hanging for so long that, “Okay, now that it is over, wow, what is going to happen to Jack?”  I’m just as curious as everybody else.

So, what do you think will happen next for Jack?  Did you reach for the hankies in Peter’s final scenes with Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Marla Adams Talks Her Final Scenes As Dina Mergeron, The Alzheimer’s Storyline, and Her Touching Farewell

Today on The Young and the Restless marks the end of the enduring run of Marla Adams in the role of Dina Mergeron. In story, Dina passes away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a storyline that started four years ago when the CBS Daytime drama brought back the character and Adams; and one that has deeply affected many in the viewing audience who have also had their own personal experience of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease.

If you have not seen today’s episode yet, you may not want to read any further, but needless to say, make sure you have the hankies ready for Dina’s final moments with her children and how she leaves this earth, which will be remembered for quite some time to come.

Marla originated the role of the rich and spoiled Abbott matriarch back in 1983 and portrayed the role on and off for what amounts to five decades. Her classic scenes with Jerry Douglas (Ex-John), Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and so many more from the iconic soap, always made for great and complex stories.

 

With this her final airdate on Y&R, it also puts an exclamation point for Marla on an incredible daytime career having also appeared on: The Bold and the Beautiful. Capitol, Days of our Lives, Generations and The Secret Storm

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adams in this very special conversation where she shared with us how it was to play these heartbreaking last scenes, the importance of the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace to the story, how Y&R gave her the most overwhelming and beautiful send-off, and her ‘thank you’s’ to all of you, who have been her extended family and are sad to see her go. She is one-of-a-kind …and now, here’s Marla.

Photo: Getty

Marla, I am so glad we have the opportunity to chat in this full-circle moment as you have brought the character of Dina to a close.

MARLA:  It’s such a joy to talk to you.  It seems like yesterday and an eternity as well.   I thought of you so much, and I remember talking to you specifically with all of the different interviews over the years, when I was at the studio.  But I will always remember the interview you did with me and Beth Maitland (Traci), my darling soul sister, and you talked to me about your mother who has since passed on from Alzheimer’s.  I’ll never forget what you had to say all those months ago

Photo: HallmarkChannel

Yes, and when as audience members we watch these stories unfold with characters we have loved, or watched on our screens for years, and there is a death, we feel connected to them as well.  And in this case, as a child who has lost a parent to Alzheimer’s, like many in the audience, you ask yourself first, “Can I watch this?” It hits very close to home, but I’m sure when people watch today’s episode of Y&R and see Dina pass away, they will be extraordinarily moved.

MARLA:  Oh, my gosh.  Wait until you people see Friday’s show.  I know they will be moved.  They should be!  I’ve got friends who I’ve already said to, “Get your Kleenex box out.”  It’s so beautiful what happens at the end of the episode.

Courtesy/CBD

How did you feel about playing Dina’s final scenes?

MARLA:  It was wonderful because it showed her lifetime of sorrow and regret, and what was so wonderful was the fact that the hero of the whole thing is the kindness and respect that she really did have for her whole family.  They had the most beautiful sendoff for me.  They sent me a limo!  I went to the studio, and dear Patti Denney (Make-up artist, Y&R) was there, of course with all kinds of makeup and everything else, and she looked like she was entering the ER room for Covid-19, because of all the safety protocols we must have.  It was unbelievable, the kindness that was served to me.  After we finished taping my final scenes, I came back to the soundstage and they totally surprised me.  Dear Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) and Sally Sussman (Ex-head writer, Y&R) were there, and Tony spoke about me, and so did my Y&R extended family and on-screen children: Peter Bergman (Jack), and Beth Maitland, and Eileen Davidson, and much of it was put on tape (see excerpts in video below).  Afterwards, Tony gave me beautiful flowers.  I was driven back home after this, and I felt really special, and it was just amazing to me. I had written Josh Griffith (Current head-writer and co-executive producer, Y&R) a ‘thank you’ for writing the show with his wonderful people, but I never heard back, but when I walked in my apartment, the phone was ringing.  Guess who?  It’s Josh!  He said, “I waited until I knew you would be home to thank you,” and I felt so lovey-doved up, I couldn’t believe it.  I want to read something to you that I received in the wonderful flowers that came the next day from CBS Daytime executive Margot Wain and others.  The flowers were so big that they didn’t fit on the bar!  The card read: “Thank you for bringing the amazing force that is Abbott matriarch, Dina Mergeron to countless fans of The Young and the Restless.  Your vast contribution to Y&R and CBS for more than five decades is unparalleled.  We are forever grateful for all you’ve brought to Y&R as both a consummate professional and a cherished co-worker.  All our best wishes.”  I was just so touched by the sentiments.

Photo: CBS

I also want to share something with you.  When it was revealed in the promo that came out last week that this would be your last show, I received so many notifications on social media, saying, “Oh, my God!  We love Marla!  You have to interview her!”  You are loved by the Y&R fans.  I hope you know that!  They’re sad to see you go, because you’re a legacy character to them, and soap fans have deep connections to characters that have been on their favorite soaps for decades.

MARLA:  Five decades!  My God!  I’m eighty-freaking-two.  I can’t believe it.

Courtesy/CBS

In story, Jack was on a mission to get the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace back to Dina before she died, hoping that she would have one last moment of lucidity and would recall it and it would hopefully make her happy.   He moves heaven on earth to get it, and does, and brings it to her and viewers saw her reaction. 

MARLA:  The necklace had never been anywhere before in story except recently, but I said to myself that I would play it ‘quietly and graciously’, because it made for such a beautiful moment for Dina with her children.

Courtesy/CBS

For Dina, the necklace was a symbol of remaining connected to her family and her children, even when she was not with them all of those years.  In your final scenes, Dina had these moments to say goodbye to each of your children.  Do you remember looking at Eileen, Traci, and Peter taping those highly emotional beats?

MARLA:  Yes, they were so there for me.  They are an extended family that is so precious to me, and playing this iconic character has been, too.  I remember when Sally Sussman told me a few years ago, “ I’m going to bring you back on The Young and the Restless, but you’ve got Alzheimer’s,” and I said, ‘What!?  You’re bringing me back so you can kill me off?’ and she said, “Oh no, it’ll be about a year.”  That dissolved into four years, and now five decades had passed and I was still on Y&R.  I am beyond grateful.

Courtesy/CBD

As an actress, was it hard to play Dina’s final moments when she goes to the light to join her beloved, John?

MARLA:  It was heart-wrenching for me.  In the story, Dina died when she went outside and to the front door of the Abbott home.  They did not tell me before-hand, and that’s why it was so wonderful.  I hope they came in for a closeup of that because I had no makeup on, it was beautiful, and then, Dina said, “Oh, John.”  I’ve done everything from movies, to daytime, to nighttime, to Broadway, but that was the iconic moment for me, to do this gig with wonderful, wonderful actors and friends, and to do this particular storyline.

Photo: CBS

It was 1983 when you first appeared on Y&R.  And through the years, Dina did not do such great things! She had an affair with Brent Davis who was the biological father of Ashley that caused such a rift between mother and daughter for years.  She abandoned the Abbott children and walked out on them and her marriage to John, and that’s just for starters! Dina was a complicated character. Did you love the fact that she could be very selfish at times?

MARLA:  You think?  That’s why I loved her.  Of course!  I can be very selfish, too.  You have to be selfish if you’re an actor, good God. (Laughs).

Courtesy/CBS

It was great that The Young and the Restless brought you back four years ago so that through the telling of the Alzheimer’s storyline that Dina was able to somewhat repair her relationships with her children.  Obviously, over the last many months the audience could not witness the more day to day progression and toll the disease took on Dina and her family in its final stages, but unfortunately with the way COVID-19 has affected shooting daytime soap operas, and all of our lives, including safety protocols, I am sure plans had to be altered,

MARLA:  Of course.  As an actress, this was the most important role of my life, and to have her final moments spread out in one day really is because of all of the fans who have been writing in and wanting to see Dina again,

Photo: CBS

People were rooting for you to win the Daytime Emmy back in 2018 when you were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. That must be a nice moment to carry with you from playing Dina’s final storyline.

MARLA:  Yes, and I should have won!  Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) was furious. (Laughs)  He said, “What do you mean, darling, you should have won!  Goddammit!” He’s a wonderful man and a good friend.  He came to pick me up several times to go to the studio for my last few shows, and that’s the kind of mensch he is. So, I feel just so blessed and I feel great love and loss.  I would like Dina to come back as a ghost, but I have no idea, if that will happen or not. But if the fans would be interested in seeing Dina as a ghost … make sure to write in to the show and tell them!

Courtesy/CBS

Speaking of the fans that have followed you for decades on Y&R, what would you want to say to them now that Dina has passed on?

MARLA:  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all of the love, the support, and the chance to play Dina out… and I’m thankful that you cared, and loved her, up till the end.

So what did you think about Dina’s final moments on today’s Y&R? Will you miss Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first check out the special behind the scenes tribute for Marla, followed by The Michael Fairman Channel’s interview with Marla and Beth Maitland from Y&R’s 45th anniversary celebration referred to during the above conversation.

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