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News for the week of 09-Sep-2013
by Carol Banks Weber
Eric Braeden (Victor) has a terrific reputation amongst soap pundits as a fearsome diva of an actor, one who demands his way or the highway. But to hear him in recent interviews, that’s not really the case. Braeden’s been perfectly content to let TPTB be TPTB. In a September 5th interview with Michael Fairman, Braeden explained his role in this fast-paced business, with a caveat. While he settled into his role of an actor quite nicely, getting paid to “do what people write,” he did admit to a regret. If he could redo his career, he would get into directing projects more. It’s the nature of his real-life character. “I like to have complete control of stuff, and that is the one frustrating thing of being an actor on a soap. If you star on a primetime series or a film, you have far more power. In daytime, your power is limited and you can’t affect things. And, that I would never do again. I have seen too much; I know too much. I know what I think is right. So my interests are that I learn my lines, I do as well as I can, but then when it’s over, I am on to the rest of my life. So that is one thing I would change if I had to do it all over again. I would start directing earlier, I would be more involved in the writing, and have much more control over it, than I have allowed myself to be. But having said that, are you kidding? I am very happy playing Victor Newman. And look, we all have complaints about this and that, [that’s] life and part of the creative process. We don’t always agree, but we pull ourselves together and in true show business style, you say, ‘Let’s go. Let’s get it done, and do it the best way that you can.’”
Braeden is as forthright yet easygoing with fans on Twitter, a social network he only recently joined. He took to the instant feedback right away, giving fans more respect than many in clueless Hollywood. Getting that immediate contact allowed him to remember who he’s indebted to and what he’s doing it for. “We in Hollywood oftentimes become cynical of what we do, because we are not in contact with the people who watch. And when you do films, you are just totally out of touch with the people who watch you, and who pay to see you. Twitter is an avenue where I really appreciate the audience, and learned that the audience is very smart. They know exactly what is going on, and I resent the condescending airs of certainly people in Hollywood as if they don’t know … they know! The audience knows when something is phony; they know when something is real. They really know it immediately, and Twitter gives me an immediate feedback. So one lesson I would teach Hollywood executives, some actors, and directors, is don’t ever underestimate the intelligence of the viewing audience. You make a huge mistake when you do that.”
Eric Braeden (Victor) felt Jeanne Cooper’s (Katherine) presence strongly at her real-life memorial service, held at her home and hosted by her three children. During Corbin Bernsen’s (Father Todd) eulogy, Braeden revealed, a dove sat nearby and stayed there, as if Cooper were blessing the occasion.
Doug Davidson (Paul) and Lauralee Bell (Christine) had a lot of emotions to grapple with as characters who’ve interacted with Katherine, and as actors who’ve interacted in a much more meaningful, deeper way with Katherine’s portrayer, the late, great Jeanne Cooper. Getting the emotions straight was probably a losing proposition. But they had to show up for those Y&R memorial scenes and give their all. Davidson said Cooper’s real-life son, actor Corbin Bernsen (Father Todd) had it harder trying to hold his emotions in check, in character, especially during rehearsal … “Corbin Bernsen is up there as Father Todd, and where does the play stop and real life begin? There are these big pictures of Jeanne around, and he started and he got caught up, and we were OK then, but then he goes to read this poem, and so much of the poem reminded me of Jeanne not really being away. You could feel her presence in the studio. She is such a powerful force. Then having her son read this poem about her. Then, suddenly Doug was getting more emotional than Paul should.” Bell concurred with Davidson, adding that the cast had to remember their characters’ relationship with Katherine and try to hold back on playing more. “We were all getting so emotional, especially our row. If the camera were to have cut to us, it would have been an odd choice,” she described. “We could barely keep it together! But there was one little segment apparently that Corbin said, ‘When I read it at home and was preparing to shoot the episode, I did not see this one sentence that said, “my blood lives within you,”’ or something to that effect. It just choked him up immediately, because everything was, and is so real.” Also real were the ashes in Katherine’s urn. Bernsen added his own mom’s ashes in there for a truly fitting tribute.
Bell and Davidson were as surprised as their fans to read in the script that they’d have an impromptu wedding right there in the newly christened Chancellor Park, following Katherine’s memorial service. But they were pleased to play along. –Michael Fairman, September 4, 2013
Once Adam confronts Chelsea this week about her baby’s real father, not only will all hell break loose for many, many weeks to come in story, anything could happen, said portrayer Michael Muhney in a September 5, 2013, Soap Opera Network interview by Kambra Clifford. Adam and Chelsea could go toe to toe as bitter enemies for the longest time without a thaw, or they’ll get all that animosity out of their system and get back together again, he mused. Regardless of the pairing’s journey, Muhney can’t wait to tackle the meaty material with Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea), who he knows will handle her end fabulously. He said he loves working with Egan, because she’s willing to fully prepare beforehand, even if it means going over the lines repeatedly with him until they’ve got it down. “You have a really strong actor in Missy, and one of my favorite things to do with her on stage with the cameras rolling is argue with her,” Muhney enthused. “She is one of the few professional actors in soaps that is willing to and wants to run lines over and over and over again and know them so well front and back that when you go out there, you can overlap lines. We can really talk about the timing of a scene and make it so realistic that you feel like you’re peeking in on someone’s argument. So we’ve got a lot of that coming up. There are a lot of fireworks that I imagine will be happening, and I get to really sink my teeth in as an actor in scenes with someone who is a really wonderful sparring partner.”
Adam and Chelsea’s story will keep growing into this “rabbit hole” of emotional intensity, which is exactly the way Muhney likes it. “With Adam, you’re finding out that there are so many other stories to tell that continue falling over like Dominoes that keep the momentum of the show moving into the future. The things that are developing for him are getting me excited. I’m intrigued, and I also can say with 100 percent certainty that the audience too is going to be very, very invested in this fall and this winter and really find a favorite place in their heart for ‘Y&R.’”
Jerry Douglas (John) and wife Kym co-host the 28th annual Ultimate Dining Experience, September 15, at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza. The Ultimate Dining Experience is a lavish fundraising event for Senior Concerns. Money raised from this three-course dinner with beer, wine and food tastings beforehand will go toward the new Caregiver Support Center. The event also features live and silent auctions.
Gossip for the week of 09-Sep-2013
by Carol Banks Weber
Have you seen the Young & Recyclable? It’s a daringly hilarious spoof of Y&R made a few years ago by the cast, including the late Jeanne Cooper (Katherine), Greg Rikaart (Kevin), Billy Miller (Billy), Eric Braeden (Victor), and Tracey Bregman (Lauren). If only they could redo the real soap opera with such humor.
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