Check out the teaser promo for SPANNERS, starring Shawn Christian ("Dan" from DAYS OF OUR LIVES); written and directed by Jonathan Maas.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
At the "Soap Opera Festival", March 24th-25th, Michael Muhney (Adam, The Young and The Restless) had an hour-long Q&A panel -- with Joyce Becker (founder of "Soap Opera Festivals") and the audience -- about his role on the soap. Here's a summary of all discussed.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
How does Michael feel about switching from primetime to a soap opera? He never intended to do soaps; and his agents had to talk him into making the move from primetime television. But now he is a champion for soaps. Even so Y&R is the only soap Michael wants to do. He doesn’t want to be stuck in a niche. But he considers Y&R to really be a primetime show. “A large majority of viewers watch the show in the evening via DVR, et cetra; so the acting quality needs to be good.”
How is he like Adam in real life? Exactly…and not at all. Michael described Adam as intelligent, a character who likes to keep the other residents of Genoa City off-balance. “He says ‘fuck you!’ to all of them, but in an intelligent way.”
How did he approach playing blind? With a lot of hard research. He is a stickler for details when playing a role. When squinting during a blind scene as Adam, the network execs ordered that Adam should not be squinting. So then Muhney played Adam’s retinis pigmentosa as if you can’t tell that he is blind. According to the actor, that is more true to life anyway.
Will Adam and Phyllis get together? Muhney feels that would cross a line for Adam. “Sometimes the audience doesn’t really want what they think they want.”
Will Adam and Chelsea get together? “Adam is an army of one”…not a character to be associated with any particular couple. That includes Sharon and Adam. But he is a loyal character. At least, more so than the others on Y&R.
Any storyline Michael disagreed with? “Adam wouldn’t have thrown the memory card into the water. He always uses collateral.”
How is working with Eric Braeden (Victor) and Josh Morrow (Nick)? “They are pussycats.”
Does he add his own humor to Adam? He works with the writers. Sometimes he is allowed to change lines during the rehearsal stage. He is a big believer in collaboration. “A rising tide rises all ships.”
Does he watch the episodes? Not only that, but he reads his scripts all the way through…including the scenes he is not in.
Where is Michael from? Born in Chicago; raised in Dallas (where Billy Miller is also from).
Formal training? DePaul University. He was originally going to be a lawyer. In school, he broke his femur bone and had to take alternate classes for Physical Education. He played “Murphy” in a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…and the rest is history.
Favorite films? He loves Alfred Hitchcock classics. “Dark intense movies.”
How does his wife feel about his love scenes? “She is in the industry; so she’s fine with it.” His father-in-law is Marty Hornstein, a financial producer of the television series, Star Trek.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
At the "Soap Opera Festival", March 24th-25th, Stephen Nichols (Tucker, The Young and The Restless; ex-Steve, Days of Our Lives; ex-Stefan, General Hospital) had an hour-long Q&A panel -- with Joyce Becker (founder of "Soap Opera Festivals") and the audience -- about his role and career in daytime television. Here's a summary of all discussed.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
Upcoming spoilers? Tucker and Devon will not end up using sign language. Tucker will be more of a bad guy again soon. There will be more of a real mother/son relationship with Katherine coming. He doesn’t think kids will be coming for Ashley and Tucker.
Does Stephen have any say on storyline? No say on storyline. He does, however, have some ability to tweak character choices with how Tucker is played.
What storyline is he most proud of? The storylines with Katherine and Devon.
If he could play any other character from Genoa City, who would it be? Daniel. Then he could be an artist and “grow the hair long, wear the outfits and have the tats.”
Did he have to audition for Tucker? He was called, based on his history in soaps.
Will there be any storyline coming up with Genie Francis (a Stefan/Laura redux from GH)? Stephen does not predict future storyline with Genie. He thinks Tucker and Ashley will remain the couple.
Out of Steve, Stefan and Tucker, which character does he prefer? At this time, Tucker. He feels Y&R is very well written. In the 80s, he felt he had to put a lot of energy in how Steve was portrayed. But there is no need to do that with Tucker. Tucker is a good “hybrid of Patch and Stefan”. All three of the characters reflect some part of his personality.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES
How has working on Y&R differed from DAYS? While filming DAYS in the 80s, there was “more time, money and production value”. Now everything moves much faster. “Working on DAYS from 2006 to 2009 was a nightmare. I couldn’t believe how bad it had gotten. I told Mary Beth, ‘don’t expect this to last’.”
Did he wear a see-through patch? Always a real patch.
Steve’s harmonica. Stephen never used the circular breathing technique when playing the harmonica as “Steve”. When taping the film, Phoenix, actor Brad Dourif taught him how to use a didgeridoo (an Australian wind instrument).
Why does he wear Steve’s watch as Tucker? He used to borrow fancy wardrobe from the soaps. “Now you can’t get anything”. He owns the watch. Austin Peck and Peter Reckell also have the same kind of watch as he does.
What was his favorite storyline as Steve? When Kayla looked under the patch.
What made Steve and Kayla work so well as a couple? His friendship with Mary Beth Evans. They worked well together. Also, there was so much more time to rehearse on scenes.
How did Stephen transition from being a monk to an actor? “Clumsily”, he joked. He realized he was not cut out to be a monk. He wanted family and children, but it was something he needed to do at the time; and a transition to adulthood. Being a monk taught him self-discipline, focus and concentration. He got involved with theater at LA City College on a dare and “loved it”.
What was his first acting job? Shakespeare in the Park at the Pilgrimage Theater (now John Ford Theater) in LA. He was in Othello, making $25 a week. Also, he was doing a children’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
What were his survival jobs? Waiter, bus driver, cab driver, a customer service rep at Frederick’s of Hollywood, Santa Claus. (Maria Bell later freaked out when Stephen was “Santa Claus” at one of the Y&R children’s parties and kept her kids away from him!)
Advice for those breaking into acting? “Do plays. It is the best way to learn how you are doing. Be very clear and honest about who you are. Always stay working. Always be prepared.”
Get The Dime. A 30-minute short film that Stephen wrote and directed. Not available as of yet.
Will he be doing more theater? No plans at the moment. He would prefer to direct.
What was his greatest treat or thrill? Going on a belated honeymoon with his wife in Paris.
Hobbies? Stephen paints when he can. He is working for an oil painting for his wife. Most of his paintings are in storage or in his house.
If he could not be an actor, what would he be? A musician. He wants to learn to play the guitar.
What was the necklace he was wearing at the Soap Opera Festival? It had a symbol on it of all the sound in the universe. It was a 15th wedding anniversary gift.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Last week, Lisa Rinna held a press conference for soap and entertainment journalists to talk about her return as "Billie Reed" on Days of Our Lives as well as her career. Here is a rundown of the questions asked.
Does it make you happy to know that the fans are dying for you to come back?
That makes me feel wonderful. That’s just a bonus. Absolutely! That makes me feel great.
What are your secrets how you keep your youthful looks?
When I came back, there were quite a few characters that were back after almost 20 years. There are about 8 of us. And I have to tell you that no one has changed. Everyone looks exactly the same from Missy Reeves to Patrick Muldoon to Matthew Ashford, Deidre Hall, Kristian Alfonso, Peter Reckell. They’re all the same. So I’m very happy to be joining that group of people who don’t age! If I have any secret, it sounds so cliché but it’s really living a blessed life and being happy. And I take pretty good care of myself. We all know that I’m a workout fanatic! I will try anything that’s healthy foodwise, dietwise. I’m sort of a female Dr. Oz in training in my own head; and I’m always looking for whatever it is that makes you feel better. I’m so busy. All of us women as mothers and working moms and wives -- we tend not to put ourselves first and we really need to because we have a lot of work to do. It’s really busy. So I’m always doing it not necessarily for how I look but for how I feel. If you feel good, everything else goes much better and you tend to look good too.
Will Billie be singing again?
That’s an interesting question. That would be a question for the writers. I’ve had a few people ask me that. It would certainly be fun. I’d love that. It would make me go to my voice coach and start training. As we all know, Billie started on the show singing “Come Rain or Come Shine”. It would be fun. I would like that.
What captivates the viewers about DAYS?
It’s great story and great characters. It’s generational. It’s something that you can share with your family. It brings families together and keeps them together. It’s good storytelling.
What is your biggest challenge in returning to DAYS?
I came back in 2002 for six months; and I don’t even remember it, to be honest with you. So really, consistently doing the show, it’s been 17 years. Coming back again is like riding a bike. Once you’ve played a character and done that, it is like being back on a bike and riding. The whole format has changed; and it is very much like live theater, very fast. And you have to get out there and know your lines and be prepared because it really goes quickly. There’s no time. There’s no retakes. They move. I like that because I enjoy live television, live theater, live anything. So not only do I love being able to be back acting, I get to do it in a way that sort of combines everything I’ve done for the last 6 or 7 years. I’m loving every second of it.
What are you most looking forward to of the things still to come?
I love not knowing. I have no idea what they have in store for Billie; and that is life. We don’t know what is going to come from day to day. Will she get a new love interest? Who will I be working with? What is my story going to be? It’s very unknown and kind of exciting that way.
Any special moments reconnecting with people from DAYS again like Patrick Muldoon and Lauren Koslow?
Both of them. They are family to me. Even though they’re my TV family. Lauren could never be my mother in real life because she’s not old enough to be my mom. There’s a really nice friendship and connection with both of them. That’s really nice to have. I haven’t seen Lauren in 10 years. I had seen Patrick about a year ago. I had run into him; and he is one of the reasons I decided to go back to the show. And he put the bug in my ear when he told me he was going back. So I thought, oh, that could be fun! That could be an interesting thing! I really have a special connection with both of them. It’s really nice to reconnect in that way.
What about the rumor of Billie and Daniel? How can Billie be involved with him after he has romanced Chelsea and Kate?
Feelings are very powerful; and complete conflict would be in the mix. When you are passionate about somebody, it can override many things. I love that there is that huge obstacle. It is never easy on a soap. It’s either going to be the person that I hate or that hates me. Or somebody who has a major obstacle. That’s what we love about soaps, isn’t it?
How do you look at where Billie is now in her life? Is she where you’d like to take her?
I like where they’ve brought her. Billie’s grown. She’s evolved. She’s matured hopefully. She’s lived a lot of life. In that, there’s been a lot of joy, a lot of pain. There’s been a lot of life lived. Hopefully, my bringing that as an actress to the role and Billie coming back. I like the way they’ve written her back in. I think the audience will too. We’ll see that where that develops and evolves.
Since soaps are like a training ground, what is the world like for actors with less soap operas than in the past?
Thank God they’re still here. They are a wonderful training ground. It’s where I got all my training. The reality world has taken up a big space. I’ve got to tell you the actors I’m working with on this show are so talented. The 20 year olds on this show, as I call them which is what we were twenty years ago when I was on the show, are so talented it blows my mind. The talent on this show is like none other. These people continue to hit the ball out of the park. It is so much fun for me to be able to work with such good actors. I go home and I tell Harry nightly I cannot believe. Let me tell you about this scene today. Chandler. These kids are unreal. They are getting the training somewhere. Acting class, of course, if you can’t work on a soap or live theater, is your best bet. Wherever they are coming from, they are coming in a big strong way from DAYS. These kids are talented.
How has the soap world changed?
Clearly we’ve all seen the changes in the soap opera world . All you have to do is look around and see what’s left on television. What is the difference between "The Chew" and "The Revolution"? There is none. The real estate has changed dramatically; and that we can all see. It’s sad to lose such great shows; but the shows left are great very strong soap operas. What I’ve seen personally changed are the budgets and the way they’re run. They are very efficient now so that they can stay on the air.
What advice would you want to give to people breaking out into the acting business?
I don’t think you can say you want to be in soap business as an actor now. You have to really be able to do anything and everything and you have to continue to really brand yourself because there’s no that much work anymore. You need to be a triple threat. You need to sing. You need to dance. You need to act. You have to really study and be very strong because the opportunities are much less.
What about the Twitter dispute with Ali Sweeney about the "Hollywood Mom’s Club" show? Has there been tension on the set?
Absolutely caused no tension; and is absolutely resolved. We all learn our lessons. We shouldn’t use Twitter for that forum. Everything is fantastic. I love Alison and it is all good.
How did your hiring come about?
We both scoped each other out at the same time. I ended up at a lunch with the producers. We had a lovefest with the producers and the writers next thing you know I was on the show. But it really all started with Patrick Muldoon.
Can you preview what Billie’s first scenes are going to be?
What I can tell you from what I remember, I do come back to do something with my mother. You’ll first see me with my mother.
Will Billie run Countess Wilhelmina Cosmetics?
Billie created Countess Wilhelmina. So she’s the one who started it; and we’ll see how that plays out.
Will Billie be involved with Bo and Hope?
That is going to be a been there done that. I have a child with Bo; but we are in a platonic relationship. So the fans will probably be very relieved to hear that.
Does Billie have secrets?
Everyone always has secrets on a soap opera. Come on now! Of course!
How did the producers sell the role of Billie to make you want to come back?
We talked about everything. I came to the table with a full life; and you talk about everything and how it would work and what it would look like. Billie’s a great character. They’ve never killed her off. They’ve had three different actresses play her. There’s a lot of value in that family and that character. She will absolutely have her spunk and her fire. She didn’t lose hers nor did I. I still have mine. I guess I bring that definitely. She’s matured and in a different place in her life. What you’ll find interesting is some tables have turned and some characters have shifted. So where Austin being my big brother used to take care of me, I may be taking more care of Austin and my mother right now. A role reversal which I think is an interesting road to take.
Would you ever want to see her go back to her drug days?
That was so much fun as an actress. Juicy to play all of that. You never know. People can slip up. We watch it in the news all the time. That would be an interesting story to play and follow. Maybe she slips up. Maybe she goes back. There’s some serious pain and she slips up and she’s an addict again. I would love that! That would be fantastic to play.
What has been your favorite storyline or scene on DAYS?
It’s been over like 20 years, so it’s hard to remember, to be honest with you! After two kids, my brain is shot. I remember really loving the great love story with Billie and Bo, when I worked with Robert Kelker Kelly; and the whole arc of that story was very powerful and interesting and fun to play.
What do you love about Billie?
She’s one of those great characters. There is never a dull moment. She always has something going on. She’s that underdog, that fighter, that survivor. She messes up and you want to root for her and you want to help her. She’s one of those great characters that gets under your skin. One of the reasons why I wanted to go back and play her again is there’s so many places to take her.
Were you Hesitant to open up about your sex life for “The Big Fun Sexy Sex Book”?
To make it short and sweet, yes, we all cringe when we talk about sex because that is how we were brought up. It’s just something that you’re not supposed to talk about. I like to do things that scare me and I like to take risks. In my book, “Rinnavation”, that I wrote back in 2008, I really opened up and wrote about that and losing my sexual desire after having children. I got such a response from women thanking me for the help and being brave enough to talk about it. And I thought why not? There are so many books on diet and exercise but we don’t have a book about sex and relationships and how to keep the intimacy and what to do. We just won’t talk about it, and I think it does need to be talked about. It is a very important part of a relationship and keeping a lasting marriage. There are so many facets to it. When it was presented to me and when I met Ian Kerner who is a sex expert therapist, I just thought what a great thing to be able to do to help people and help women. So that’s why I did it.
How did your husband feel about you opening up about it all?
My husband cringes for just about everything that I do. He’s known he for so long that he’s used to it. He knows that underneath it all it is helpful and it is the right information. I don’t do anything that would make him feel so uncomfortable. He married me and he knows what he got into. He knows that I’m very open and very honest about things. I tried to do it in a way that I wasn’t talking for him. I was talking for me and my experience; and if you wanted to know his experience, you would have to talk to him about it more. So I wasn’t really speaking for him. I was speaking for what our relationship is through myself. Of course, he’ll be horrified. He’s always horrified with what I do. But in the end, he said you did the right thing and you rocked it and congratulations.
You didn’t like wearing a cop uniform before. Are you happy to be glamorous and back at Countess Wilhelmina?
It was really more Harry. He just hated the fact that they put me in that cop uniform! It’s so funny. I really didn’t care because it was easy. You didn’t have to do wardrobe. You just get in that cop uniform. You don’t put much makeup on. I actually didn’t mind it. He was just furious about it. It was so funny. This time when I said I think I’m going to go back, what do you think? He goes Only if they don’t put you in that cop uniform. You have to go tell them f they put you in that cop uniform, you can’t go back. Yes, it’s nice to go back to work in that area. I have been a businesswoman over the past nine years running my store, Belle Gray, so I had some experience there too; so that felt right going back to Countess Wilhelmina.
Is there any chance you could talk your husband into guest starring on DAYS?
You’d have to ask him. We like to work together. We really do. Who knows? Never say never. He may make a cameo. I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.
How much pressure do you feel to bring viewers back to DAYS?
You always feel pressure in this business, don’t you? I mean we always feel pressure. But I’m not really thinking about that. I hope to be able to help keep the show on the air. It would really be nice to bring enough viewership and attention to it and bring people back so that we can keep soaps on the air. And if I were able to help in that way, that would really make me feel good and be great. But you can’t put that kind of pressure on yourself because people either want to watch or they don’t. Hopefully they’ll be curious enough to tune in. I’d love for a million more people to tune in. That would be a nice coup, wouldn’t it? I hope for it. I really do. Whether or not it could happen, I sure think positively and I certainly believe it. Why not?
Would you consider a work-out program for young teenage girls for diet and exercise?
What a great idea! I would love to that. Certainly I’m doing that in my own home. I have a pre-teen and a full-grown teen. I would love to look into that more and maybe do that with my daughters. Maybe another new book.
Is Billie’s storyline short term or long term?
I don’t know if I can talk about it exactly but I think as long as we keep having fun, we’re doing it. It’s not super short term. No.
What went wrong with Soap Talk?
Reality TV hit. It evolved with the times. I didn’t have control over that. It was more production and network decision making. Unfortunately that’s what is going on with the times. It was great to be a part of it. I loved working with Ty. It was a great show. It was a great time. I worked with every person who has ever done a soap opera. I have a lot of friends out there. It was a great time. It was a great run.
Are you nervous to appear on “Watch What Happens Live” (aired March 6th)?
It’s the first time I’ve done the show. I’m a virgin to WHL. I’m a smidge apprehensive about brutal questions because it is live. But I’ve talked about everything. What’s left? I think it will be fun. I look forward to it.
Will there be a Chelsea return?
I don’t know the answer to that question. She’s off in Europe right now.
Do you keep up with “Dancing With the Stars”? And what do you think of this season’s lineup?
Of course I keep up with the show. I love that show. It has a very special place in my heart. It’s fun because every season, I have friends who do it. I was just thinking about the new season. My friends Maria Menudos, Jack Wagner and Melissa Gilbert are all three people I know quite well. I worked with Jack on “Melrose Place”. I’ve run into him from time to time over the years but haven’t seen a whole lot of him. Maria is someone who I adore and see. It’s just really fun to see people that you know do the show. This season is fun and wacky and is going to be delicious like it always is.
What do you do for chill out time?
I like a good spa. I like to go away. I have some secret little Korean baths that I’ll go to and chill out and soak in the hot springs and massages and get facials. I do a lot of yoga which really helps keep me sane and grounded. That and taking dance class. I love taking Louis’ van Amstel’s La Blast dance class which is so fun and so freeing. I love hanging with my family and spending time with them. That’s great downtime with me, just being together.