Brave New WORLDBy Jennifer Lenhart Posted: Jan 1, 2004
The week between Christmas and New Year's is traditionally a fairly slow one on soaps -- even though many more people are likely to be at home and available to watch during the day. ATWT is betting that curious viewers will tune in this year, when it tests a daring new format that has everyone buzzing."The whole week has really interesting, artistic, stylistic scenes. They shot everything like a movie for a week. If it works, we're all in trouble because it was so hard," laughs Byrne, who will continue to play both Lily and the late Rose. "It was intense -- a whole different style of writing; a whole new style of shooting the show. It's constantly moving, like a movie, and it's really hard to maintain that on a show that's on every day, all year long. But we hope that it will catch people's eye, and if it works, we'll continue to do it, no matter what it costs."The week culminates on Thursday, January 1, with a stand-alone episode reminiscent of Alice Sebold's best-selling novel The Lovely Bones, in which a murder victim (in this case Rose) reviews the life that she has just lost and passively narrates the action as her friends and family search for her killer and cope with their grief. "What's different about this show, as opposed to our Valentine's Day stand-alone show, is that if you never watched AS THE WORLD TURNS before and you watch this episode, you'll know what's going on. It will catch you up on what has happened," explains Byrne, who will also appear as Lily on that day. "You don't actually see Rose -- you only hear her and see parts of her body. She narrates the whole thing, including the scenarios about who could have done this to her." Viewers will see Jack and Hal carefully consider the evidence and the motives of their five suspects: Mitzi, Molly, Dusty, Paul and Barbara. "There are other scenes in that episode that tie into the murder, and it's also a summary of the last several months," says the actress."This was [Executive Producer] Chris [Goutman's] idea: a concept show. It's really cool -- it's almost shot like American Beauty, in that it has a kind of mystical feel to it. I haven't seen the whole thing edited, but the voice-over part was great," Byrne praises. "I'm all for 'theme' shows. I love the whole musical idea [on ONE LIFE TO LIVE], I love [ATWT's] Valentine's Day idea, but this, to me, is especially well-conceived, storyline-dictated and fascinating to watch. Hopefully, people will respond to it, and if it takes us being there a little later at night from now on to get people to continue to watch, we're willing! There's a great energy around here these days; there's nothing to complain about."