Talking Turkey: B&B’s Alley Mills & Dick Christie Chat About The Joys Of Comic Relief
Digest: How does it feel being B&B’s comic relief couple?
Dick Christie: I love it. Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] told me that was exactly why he was hiring me. He said there was not much in the way of comic relief when it comes to soaps, and Brad was adamant about having the comedy, just to balance everything out.
Alley Mills: It’s funny you mentioned that, because we’re here in my dressing room, which is Sally Spectra’s, a.k.a. Darlene Conley’s, old room. It feels like a bit of a museum. She had pictures of Clark Gable everywhere. He was obviously one of her favorite movie stars, and she had a Tiffany lamp. I feel like I’m trying to keep that spirit alive. I never got to meet Darlene, but everybody loved her, and maybe in some way we’re paying homage to the hole that was created when she passed away.
Christie: And in direct contrast to that, my dressing room is a closet on the third floor next to the guard gate.
Digest: We’ve seen Pam and Charlie’s romance, but yet, there have been no love scenes. How would you describe Pam and Charlie’s romantic life?
Christie: Hot with an asterisk.
(They both laugh.)
Christie: I think Pam and Charlie are still working on first base. They want to make sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed before anything happens, and that’s great because it gives them room to grow.
Mills: I’ve never talked to Brad about this, but I feel like Pam’s sense of intimacy is so fractured because of her background with Stephanie being abused by their father. That’s really dangerous territory. Pam has a deep relationship with Eric because he understands her, but it’s a friendship kind of intimacy. The only time we ever went there was with Patrick Duffy [ex-Stephen, in 2010].
Christie: Well, now that worries me because as soon as Patrick’s character slept with her, he was gone — and I don’t want that to happen! There’s also a practical side to this: As I told Brad, I need at least six months notice before I have to take my shirt off.
Digest: Do you two ever want to play the drama the other characters have?
Mills: I would totally love it. That was my favorite stuff, but it’s tricky because I understand the need that we fill. One of the tricky things about going down that road the couple of times that I did is, “How do you bring her back?” We’ve had some tender moments where they share a little kiss in the kitchen at Thanksgiving, and I think that balances out the relationship. It’s not always goofy.
Digest: Speaking of Thanksgiving, how do you like having the honor of making the family feast every year?
Mills: That’s funny. My personal mashed potato recipe was featured in TV Guide when I was on THE WONDER YEARS, and my mother couldn’t believe it.
Christie: It was accidental?
Mills: I’m known as the “non” cook. I grew up with a stepmother who was a gourmet French cook, She was also an actress named Geneviève Auger. She was a regular on [THE TONIGHT SHOW with] Jack Paar.
Christie: Wow! She was your stepmother? I had no idea.
Mills: And you know what’s so weird. Orson [Bean, Mills’s husband of 23 years] did THE TONIGHT SHOW with her like 10 times, years before we met. Isn’t that crazy? And, he ran into them in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, when she and my father were on their honeymoon. Anyway, she was a gourmet chef and I just thought, “I’m not going to compete.” My sister is that kind of cook now — but I have great taste buds.
Christie: Her potatoes are good.
Mills: I make them almost every time we have people for dinner.
Christie: I can make guacamole — from an old Scandinavian recipe, I always say.
Digest: Dick, you have quite the rep of being an improv guy.
Mills: Yes! Have I mentioned that he tripped coming into the room three times? I didn’t think he’d be able to get a third one in. He cracks me up.
Christie: They’ll let me play until Alley or [Supervising Producer] Ed Scott says, “Enough already!”
Mills: We’ll be doing a scene and sometimes Dick changes it at the last minute. There was something about a barbecue —
Christie: Pam says, “Charlie we’re going to have Mongolian barbecue,” and off the top of my head, I said, “We’re going to barbecue a Mongolian?”
Mills: And Ed goes, “Wait. Stop. We can’t say that.”
Christie: And I said, “You mean because of our huge Mongolian audience?”
Digest: Be careful. You don’t want to get Mongolian hate mail.
Mills: That’s right!
Digest: Did you two realize when your characters got together that you’d be B&B’s go-to costume couple?
Christie: I certainly had no idea. Maybe they looked at me or watched my acting style and thought, “He needs a costume!”
Digest: Do you have a favorite?
Christie: My favorite was George Washington [for 2015’s Fourth of July party]. I wanted to take it home, but they wouldn’t let me. It was my color. I had my colors done and I’m a summer, so it was perfect colors for me. I loved that hat and dare I say it, I think I looked handsome.
Mills: He did. Martha, however, was not my favorite outfit. Do you remember when Pam wore a beard and poured eggnog on Donna’s head [when dressed as a mischievous elf in 2011]? That was my favorite. I was a pretty good-looking guy.
Digest: What’s been one of your most memorable B&B fan encounters?
Mills: BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL is huge in Italy, and there is a tour that comes down the Venice canal where we live, and the tour guide is a very hip young woman with tattoos who’s Italian, and she’ll cruise by our house with all these really cute Italian millennials who love B&B. So, Orson and I will go out to the deck with a glass of wine and talk to them as they come by.
Digest: What about you, Dick?
Christie: I got recognized by this grizzled old cowboy in Clovis, New Mexico. I did a film called Hell Or High Water and I was in this dive diner one night reading my script and there was a grizzled cowboy, complete with the leather lined face, sitting about three feet away from me. He kept staring at me, kind of snarling, and he finally goes, “You Charlie, ain’tchya?” And I said, “You watch BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL?” He looked around to make sure nobody was listening and said, “You gonna marry that filly, Pam?” I said, “Well, I suppose eventually,” and he said, “Well, that’d be a good thang. But you listen to me: Stay away from Quinn. She’s evil.”
(They both laugh.)
Digest: So, B&B is big everywhere.
Christie: Apparently even in Mongolia.
Mills: Not anymore!