Interview

ICYMI - Elizabeth Hendrickson Interview

Credit: JPI

SEE YOU IN COURT

Elizabeth Hendrickson Dishes Her Leap Into Lawyer Mode on GH

 

Elizabeth Hendrickson made her daytime debut on ALL MY CHILDREN in 2001 as doomed Frankie Stone, then was swiftly brought in to play her twin, Maggie. After exiting in 2005, she joined the Y&R cast in 2008 as Chloe Mitchell, who she played on and off through 2017, earning four Daytime Emmy nominations as Supporting Actress. Now, she’s sinking her teeth into the role of GH District Attorney Margaux Dawson. She dished her soap comeback with Digest.

ABC

Debut Performance: Here’s Hendrickson in her first soap role, ALL MY CHILDREN’s Frankie, in 2001, and as Frankie’s twin, Maggie, pictured with Finola Hughes as Anna, who was introduced the next year.

ABC

 

Soap Opera Digest: Welcome to GH! How did the gig come about?

Elizabeth Hendrickson: Well, the show reached out to me and asked if I could come in the day after the Emmys — which I knew was not the most perfect timing for me to come in with a whole lot of legal jargon memorized! I ended up not even auditioning or screen-testing before I signed; I signed [that] Wednesday at 5 p.m. and was at work at 7:15 a.m. the next morning. I was so flattered that they thought I could play this role, but I was petrified. I knew they expected me to deliver and do it in one take and all of that. I was just so nervous; I was thinking, “Can I do this?” But I realized that if I was going to go back to daytime and take on my fourth character and my third show, it really needed to be totally different from any other character I’d played. I just decided to go for it — and it ended up being the most perfect decision. I was so afraid, but I’m being challenged in a way that I’ve never been challenged before. It feels totally new and I’m discovering a lot about myself as an actress in the process.

Digest: What about it have you found so challenging?

Hendrickson: I knew that I was going to be dealing with some heavy courtroom dialogue and I was a little scared of the material that I would have to learn within the amount of time that I had to prepare for it — way less than 24 hours! I was literally showing up and spewing dialogue for pages upon pages upon pages. It was very overwhelming to think, “Am I going to be able to do this?” Especially knowing that my first scenes were with Maurice Benard [Sonny], Laura Wright [Carly] and Carolyn Hennesy [Diane]! It is the most challenging thing I have ever done, but I love it, and there’s an added bonus of seeing so many friendly faces.

Digest: There is a whole cross-section of GHers you’ve worked with on other shows. Tell me about some of those reunions.

Hendrickson: When I first got there, I ran into Wil deVry [Julian; ex-Michael, AMC] when I was walking through the parking lot, thank goodness. He led me to the building and he showed me where my dressing room was and where the bathrooms were and how to get up to set. That is honestly one of the hardest things when you first get to [a new studio]; there is never really anyone there to show you where you’re going. After I saw Wil, I went into hair and makeup and Emme [Rylan, Lulu; ex-Abby, Y&R] was sitting there getting her hair blown out and she started screaming and was like, “What are you doing here?” Then I saw Tamara Braun [Kim; ex-Reese, AMC] and she was like, “Wait, I just saw you on Sunday [at the Emmys] — why didn’t you say anything?” And I was like, “Because I honestly didn’t know!” Then I saw Michelle Stafford [Nina; ex-Phyllis, Y&R], who had the same excitement. When I got up to set, I saw Finola Hughes [Anna, who also played that role on AMC]. Finola is one of those actresses who I have always respected and tried to emulate. She was so sweet; she came running onto set with rollers in her hair and came up behind me and gave me a big squeeze. And then I saw Billy [Miller, Drew; ex-Billy, Y&R], who is still a friend and great to see.

Digest: A lot of fans enjoyed you and Billy together on Y&R. Would you be excited to have scenes with him again? 

Hendrickson: Oh, for sure! Billy is one of my favorite men that I’ve ever played opposite. Our time was cut short on YOUNG AND RESTLESS, so of course I would love to share scenes with him! I would just like to stress that I am not trying to get on GH and come between him and Sam. I am not gunning to break up any supercouple! I would love to have scenes with him, but I don’t want the fans to get mad at me.

 

JPI

Billy Club: “I would love to share scenes with him!” enthuses Hendrickson of possibly reteaming in Port Charles with Billy Miller (Drew), pictured at the 2009 Daytime Emmys. On Y&R, he played Billy to her Chloe.

 

Digest: Coming to GH also reunites you with Co-Head Writer Shelly Altman, who wrote for you on Y&R and told me how excited she is to be writing for you again.

Hendrickson: Oh, I’m so excited, too! That means a lot to me for her to say that. I actually saw Shelly when she was in town for the Emmys and she said, “I’m so sorry I had to kill Delia [her Y&R character’s daughter]!” And I said, “I’m not sorry — you got me two Emmy nominations!” She was on set my first day and that was another feeling of being at home, being comfortable — just knowing that people know you, know how far they can stretch you, know what you’re capable of, and it’s a huge compliment that they all thought that this was a role that I would be capable of playing.

Digest: I know you watched GH while you were at AMC, so I have to imagine that you are a Maurice Benard fan. Had you ever met him before?

Hendrickson: Oh, my God, no, and I was so excited! He was everything and more. He was so sweet, welcoming and warm, and after our first scenes I shook his hand and said, “Thank you so much, it was so nice to work with you today,” and he gave me some really nice compliments. It was a very similar feeling to my first day at ALL MY CHILDREN when I worked with Susan Lucci [ex-Erica], getting to work with a head honcho of the show, a legend. You just try not to totally fall apart and geek out! And Laura has been great, too. She is someone I had always wanted to work with. I love working with really strong women, and I can only grow and get better as an actress working with an iconic actress like her.

Digest: Who else is on your wish list?

Hendrickson: I would love to work with Finola again. I’ve always been a big fan of Becky Herbst [Elizabeth] and I have always wanted to work with Kelly Monaco [Sam]. I think she’s a great girl. I’ve met her personally and I think we’re similar in a lot of ways. I’m from Long Island, she’s from Philly. She’s another little spicy one. We’re like little firecrackers!

Digest: Have you had scenes yet with people you have worked with before?

Hendrickson: On my third day, I had a bunch of scenes with Steve Burton [Jason; ex-Dylan, Y&R], who I worked with quite closely in my last year there. That really helped me feel more at home because these scenes were a daunting task; I think I had 130 pages of dialogue those first three days, and it made me feel more comfortable when I saw these familiar faces, people who I’ve worked with who were so supportive when I showed up to set. And it definitely made it more special.

Digest: You joining GH was bittersweet for some Y&R fans, who hoped they would get to see Chloe again.

Hendrickson: I know that some YOUNG AND RESTLESS fans have already been watching GH thanks to Michelle and Billy coming over, and hopefully, they will make the crossover, because this is really me in an entirely different light. It’s really fun to play such a strong female character, especially in a time like today. I mean, Chloe was definitely ballsy in some ways, but she was a stylist, not a DA! She was a little more catty and theatrical, whereas I find Margaux to be more grounded and well-read, someone who is going to do everything in her power to get to the top. I am really digging all things Margaux.

Digest: Is there anything you would like to say to the GH viewers who aren’t familiar with you from other shows?

Hendrickson: I guess that I can only hope that they go easy on me the first month while I get my feet wet [laughs]! We all want the fans to love us and to accept us, but somehow, I get cast in roles that are doing things to the fans’ favorites that really don’t sit well with them! So if Margaux does anything that may upset the fans, please try to remember that I’m just reading what’s written on the page! I’m barely 5’1”! I’m just this little human being that likes to be liked!

Digest: How has it been to work with your new boss, Executive Producer Frank Valentini?

Hendrickson: So wonderful. I had met him before, I think at an Emmy party when I had first left YOUNG AND RESTLESS, and I’d always heard great things about him from my friends, and he was incredible my first day. He stayed on set the entire time and told me, “I’ll be over there and you just give me the wink if you’re not happy with something and we can do it again.” He has been amazing thus far and I mean, he was the one who put in the call to ask me to come over! When he picked up the phone, it was just impossible for me to say no. And I’m so happy I didn’t.

 

 

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