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News for the week of 21-Apr-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

Kambra Clifford of Soap Opera Network is the next media member who doesn’t get much from veteran actor Peter Bergman (Jack) but just the storyline facts in an April 15th interview. He’s happy to be paired up with his AMC buddy, Cady McClain (ex-Dixie) as she takes over the role of Kelly. He’s looking forward to playing out the stories involving Phyllis, Kelly, how this affects Summer, “a bunch of stuff. I’m just one of the luckiest actors in daytime.” Bergman noted that his character will play no role in the search for a presumed-dead Adam beyond grieving the death of a friend.

Cady McClain (NuKelly; ex-Dixie, AMC) again went over her process for developing the Y&R character she was asked to take over from Cynthia Watros. She sensed this character had a lot of raw ambition and, for rooting value, a lot of self-hate. Jumping into a role so rich with possibilities is a tremendous challenge, McCain acknowledged, but in talking about it, she also sounds as if she finds it a great gift too as an actress. “I have this whole new idea that is sort of brewing in my head about the character. I work a lot with just sort of, this is going to sound weird, but just instincts and things that just sort of come to me through the ethers, and I had this feeling that Kelly has an edge to her, but it’s not an edge like a bitch,” McClain described. “It’s just kind of, I guess I would say raw ambition, and maybe that’s bit her in the bum once or twice. But you know, it’s interesting, I think she’s a complex character, and I’m really looking forward to digging in and finding out more about her.”

When McClain found out she would take over the role when Watros got a pilot picked up, she was reeling from the intimidation factor. Watros is a big deal and had made the part her very own. How does one follow such an amazing actress? “…my first thought was like, ‘Oh, there’s no way!’ First of all, I thought, ‘I don’t know why they want to let her go,’ [and] they didn’t want to let her go! They had to recast her, so I thought, ‘Oh man, that’s going to be hard, because no matter what, they’re going to be always thinking, ‘Oh, I wish we had Cynthia. She’s so great.’” In the end, McClain realized she could only do her best and add her own style. “… it’ll be two different takes on the character, and if they picked me, they must have seen that I… can bring something to the character that will be something that the fans will enjoy and have fun with. There’s no way I can do what she did, and yet, I think what I do is still fun and different and good. So I’m grateful that they saw that and felt that that I would be a replacement that the fans would accept.”

Soap Opera Network interview by Kambra Clifford, April 15, 2014

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) also has no idea what’s in store in the Adam story. She’s playing it according to script, that her character truly wants to believe her husband’s alive somewhere, waiting to get back to her. She said that the character of Adam seems so essential to the forward movement of story, a recast could happen or not, “But I really don’t know what’s going to happen or whether they’ll recast. It’s such an important character, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do. Chelsea thinks he’s alive, but who knows: Maybe she’ll move on with her life and start dating someone else. But if not, Judy Blye [Wilson] is an amazing casting director, so [if they do choose to recast the role], I think she’ll do an amazing job.” Soap Opera Network interview by Kambra Clifford, April 14, 2014

Cady McClain (NuKelly) opted not to go over the role of Kelly with predecessor Cynthia Watros, however generous the offer. McClain told TV Guide’s Michael Logan [April 16, 2014] that she needed to keep her head clear to tackle this role on her own. To do otherwise, she’d run the risk of mimicry. But McClain did watch what Watros had done with the role to get a handle on it. “I had to see what the audience was expecting, how she portrayed the character, what I thought was working and what I'd do differently. It was important.” McClain also doesn’t mind TPTB bringing her on just as Jack has found a possible soulmate in Kelly — as opposed to just sending Cynthia Watros off — which Logan couched in terms of asking if the actress felt “used in a way,” making it more about Jack’s love life than Kelly’s own story. McClain sees it more as getting to act opposite an “amazing actor” in Peter Bergman (Jack) and playing out soap opera “love and romance… He needed somebody to play with and I'm thrilled to be the one,” she continued. “In a way, it's very special. When you're dancing in a couple, there's a leader and a follower, and there's an art to being a follower. You have to be present and open and pay attention to the cues you're given, and I love that. That's a big part of why I worked so well with Michael Knight [ex-Tad] on AMC — we were great dancing partners. I think the same thing is happening with Peter. He's very responsive, as well. He catches what I throw. But it's fine with me to let him be the lead. I have no problem with this!”

Michael Logan went into some depth with McClain about her first book, a memoir detailing her harrowing yet funny early period as a child actress up until the age of 25 when her mother passed away. “Murdering My Youth” is about more than some actress’ sob story of a tragic life. There’s alcoholism, violence, sexual abuse, and greed on the part of her parents. But there’s also joy, absurdity, and heart. “I guess my take is: ‘If you don't laugh at it all, you might as well just kill yourself.’ [Laughs] Is that too dark? Actually, I believe that pain is the wellspring for all humor,” McClain said. “When we recognize something in a situation that we relate to, we laugh. Embarrassment also makes us laugh and I've had so many embarrassing moments in my life I laugh a lot! Even now, when I read through certain bits of the book, I laugh out loud. It's just the best feeling. The ridiculousness of it all gives me a certain kind of joy. My goal was not to make high literature, but a damn entertaining story, with a little wisdom thrown in there to boot!” As McClain dove into the writing of her memoir, she discovered more and more truth about her childhood and the selling of it in the name of money. As a child actor, she supported her entire family, which came with its own baggage. “It didn't really sink in until 2012 when I fully realized that my parents had spent all of the money I had made as a child actor — and it was a lot! It wasn't until I started writing the book that I thought, ‘What the f--k did happen to all that money?’And so I dug into my old boxes of crap and found the original incorporation papers and found out that I had been paying the mortgage on our house and that my parents were taking salaries. Finding out the truth — 100 percent of the truth — was essential to me. That's how I know who I am. That's how I keep myself from going nuts or turning into a drug addict.” She didn’t want to write a memoir at first; she found it immensely difficult to put herself out there like that. After five years of contemplation, she started the book as fiction, “because I wasn't ready to say, ‘This happened to me.’ I really struggled with the idea of forgiving my parents but I persevered. I had to get the story out of me.” What happened after she turned 25? “Days Of Being Wild…?” We’ll see.

Lauralee Bell’s (Christine) critically acclaimed mI promise is more than a six-part web series about the dangers of texting and driving for teens. It’s now an instructional tool at Bell’s Latin School of Chicago alma mater. Bell, her husband, and fellow alum Scott Martin have their Martin Bell production company, which drove the web series. Bell told The Daily Sizzle’s Bill Zwecker a web series featuring a relatable teen in the role might go farther with other teens than a scary government campaign. She cited the one featuring a woman talking with a hole in her throat to deter people from smoking. “The government is coming out next week with this huge campaign about texting and driving. While I’ve seen a few of the ads, and I think they’re great — they’re almost like the anti-smoking campaign where it’s almost impossible to watch the woman with cancer with the hole in her throat,” she said. “With kids, I think you can’t give them enough information — so I think this campaign is fantastic. But unfortunately, I think kids sometimes have to know someone personally who is hurt or killed before the message will really resonate strongly enough. We were hoping to create something that would deliver the message in a way they might watch and connect to.”

Gossip for the week of 21-Apr-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

It looks more and more like TPTB are planning to recast Adam soon. TV Guide’s Michael Logan on Twitter made mention a few weeks ago that some known soap actors were already contacted about trying out the role and turned it down.

Other than a plot point to showcase one of Y&R’s favorite supercouples, what else was the point of giving Lauren the hope of a baby only to snatch it away in record time?

The latest ratings numbers basically show a tie between Y&R and GH. It’s only a matter of time before GH surpasses Y&R, which has been in a slump for decades. Lately, nothing ever happens on this show. Pointless. It’s really time to drop the deadweight.

Even though Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) loved their recently staged catfight, the choreography read sloppily on-screen. Again, what was the point other than to break up an astoundingly lackluster fashion show from the ‘80s. I’m not even touching Avery’s new cooking show with a 10-ft. pole.

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