It was 25 years ago this month that Anthony Geary and Genie Francis exchanged vows as GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Luke and Laura. To commemorate that momentous occasion, the show scripted a poignant return for Laura that culminated in another walk down the aisle. Geary weighs in about what it’s been like reconnecting with his on-screen soul mate and what he really thinks of the storyline.
Soap Opera Weekly: What was your reaction when you heard about Laura’s return?
Anthony Geary: When I first heard that they were going to bring her back for a brief amount of time and that she was going to lapse back into [that catatonic] state, I thought, “Oh, my God! How hokey.” But the writers have handled it delicately. They’ve done a really fine job with it. I’m very surprised at how easy it’s been to play. That means, to me, that there was a logic that I hadn’t found when I heard about it.
Weekly: What has it been like working with Genie again?
Geary: It’s been absolutely wonderful. We looked into each other’s eyes when Laura first woke up, and it was right there, right back. There’s something extraordinary about Ms. Francis.
Weekly: Were you surprised that it was still there?
Geary: I didn’t wonder if we would still have it. I was surprised at the profundity of it; the depth to which we still have it. As I’ve worked with her in the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that we share so much history as characters and as people. Only she and I know what she and I went through [during the Luke and Laura phenomenon] — all the hubbub and hullabaloo, and what it cost and what it gave us. Nobody else really knows what all that is about. There’s a real depth of connection.
Weekly: Does she bring out something in you that perhaps other actors don’t?
Geary: The power of Genie’s emotional life, the power of her access to her emotions is so strong and so compelling that she gives license to people when they work with her. She certainly gives me license and a freedom and a safety to go to emotional places that I rarely am able to access. There have been at least two instances over the last few weeks where I had to stop myself, because I was losing control of my emotions. I was going so deeply into something that I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t get through the scene. I’m not saying that as a positive. It’s not a positive as an actor. You lose your tools, but it’s raw and it’s real. It’s an incredible feeling. The line between fiction and reality is so blurred at that point that it’s an extraordinary experience.
Weekly: Do you think she brings that out when she works with other actors, too?
Geary: I noticed it when she works with the kids, the younger actors that play her children. I see them respond to her in the same way that I do. The power of her emotional freedom releases them, as well.
Weekly: Speaking of the kids, how do you think Laura’s return will affect Luke’s relationship with all of them?
Geary: I don’t know. I haven’t read forward. I am hoping that it will make some kind of peace, because I’m getting a little tired of playing the world’s worst dad, frankly. Although I suppose there’s plenty of reason for that. I’m also hoping that the animosity from Luke toward Nikolas ends, now. Nikolas proves himself to be sort of big brother to everybody. He obviously loves his mother. Luke’s never seen Laura and Nikolas interact this way. I’m going to talk to the writers. I’d like some kind of epiphany, some kind of movement, so we don’t just do this and everybody goes back to playing the same beats. At the very least I hope there’s some peace made from Luke toward Nikolas. There will always be tension and whatnot, but the obligatory animosity from Luke to Nikolas should now end.