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News for the week of 17-Nov-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

Soap Opera Digest’s Mara Levinsky got a lot of juicy behind-the-scenes details out of head writer Ron Carlivati about the Halloween wedding between Carly and Franco that never happened in the November 11th interview online. Two key moments in the wedding were completely ad-libbed by the great Roger Howarth (Franco; ex-Todd, OLTL): when he pretended to eat popcorn and when he winked at Carly during a dramatic closer. Genius. Howarth had done the popcorn thing during rehearsals but then cut it out during filming when executive producer Frank Valentini asked to bring it back. The wink had Carlivati almost falling out of his seat during filming. “And Roger added the wink, which I thought was the ultimate sort of ‘F you’ to Carly, which, I gotta tell you, almost made me fall off my chair. It really was amazing. What we wrote was that she turns and locks eyes with him and we know the battle is about to happen, and then he just gave it that little capper, which kind of put it over the top.” Carlivati almost made Franco reveal that he intentionally sicced Carter on Michael in prison after all, but then thought better of it, “…that was just one step too far.”

Maurice Benard (Sonny) told ABC Soaps In Depth (Nov. 24) that his contract is due for renewal in December. So far, the actor said, they’re still in talks and he’s “happy here. It’s not about that. Usually, I have some strategy in negotiating, but maybe for the first time, it’s simple.”

Tyler Christopher (Nikolas) appears in the new movie, Beyond The Lights, as Liam King. The movie starring Danny Glover and Minnie Driver came out on November 14.

Michael Fairman walked Maura West (Ava) through the harrowing scenes of childbirth and babynapping in a November 6th interview. Filming was so intense that West and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) — both mothers in real life — went out afterwards for some margaritas to wash away the negativity. “You have to shake it off, because it was sort of creepy, and it was emotionally taxing to do that kind of stuff. Sometimes, you just need to decompress.” Reading the script beforehand made West feel so badly for her character. Luckily, she had a strong and trustworthy acting partner in Stafford to go there with. In ruminating over such scenes and GH as the platform, West extrapolated the deeper meaning, for her: “It is our jobs to find the humanity in the scenes. By the way, as exciting and dramatic as it is, it can happen and has in real life, but there is always a humanity written in there, which I love. So that no matter what is going on, or how far-fetched we might go, in the next beat there is a really human moment. That is the brilliance of General Hospital head writer Ron Carlivati, and his writing team.”

ABC 7 New York’s Sandy Kenyon investigated social media’s impact on soap stars recently, and Michael Fairman was there to capture the sound bytes. Vinessa Antoine (Jordan) noted social media’s importance on her job. It’s not enough just to perform, she said, now actors are expected to sustain a social media presence. “When I first started, I didn’t have (social media) in my world. I didn’t have social media to kind of dictate whether you work or not. Now, that’s the deal.” The report also mentioned executive producer Frank Valentini’s strict monitoring of information the actors can disseminate on those social networks. “We’re not even supposed to tweet who we worked with that day,” Laura Wright (Carly) said.

Brandon Barash (Johnny) returns in prison scenes with Sonny, then he’s gone for the most part.

John J. York (Mac), Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix), and Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) have been put on recurring.

Gossip for the week of 17-Nov-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) may have requested to be put on recurring, according to a recent rumor report by Soap Opera Digest online. And I quote: “Though unconfirmed by ABC, Digest has learned that Kelly Thiebaud is off-contract at GH, where she plays Britt — by choice, as she elected not to renew her deal. Thiebaud, who joined the Port Charles ranks in 2012, will remain with the show (for now) on a recurring basis, but that arrangement is likely short-term, as the actress is reportedly eager to pursue work in prime-time and film.”

Wow, I felt bad for Kiki for a change when she walked in on a defiant Michael trying to score again with Rosalie. Mostly because Kiki and Michael’s portrayers are so in love (and recently bought a house together). I worried about the effect playing adultery and hatred might have on the real-life lovebirds. But not to worry; Kristen Alderson is always professional about the matter. She tweeted November 12th: “If anyone has to kiss @duelly87 I'm glad it's @LindaElenaTovar sweetest professional. Fun stuff ahead! Will Kiki stop them in time?? #GH” Oddly enough, Michael and Rosalie have amazing on-screen chemistry. So do Rosalie and Nathan. Hmm.

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