Soap Opera Digest: Kelly, you were there from the beginning of this pairing. Did you have any concerns or advice for Thorsten when he stepped in back in 2013?
Katherine Kelly Lang: I’m pretty sure I gave Thorsten advice, something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, just be yourself and make the character work for you.” It’s hard to remember because it seems like Thorsten has been Ridge for such a long time. In my eyes, Thorsten’s Ridge doesn’t take anything away from the Ridge that Ronn [Moss, ex-Ridge] played for 25 years. Ronn made a decision to leave but the character is so important to the show, and to Brooke. I think Thorsten just gets to expand the role and bring in new nuances. Of course, the history of “Bridge” remains intact, that will never change.
Digest: Thorsten, any concerns on your part?
Thorsten Kaye: Not really. You can’t be concerned about that because wherever you go, you’re always going to replace somebody, whether it’s the same character or just be something they need on the show to fill a void. This show has been going for a while, and while it’s always difficult to join a cast that all know each other, they know how the machine works. I was really looking forward to this.
Digest: How did you develop your on- and off-screen bond?
Kaye: She is just one of the nicest people I have ever met, without an ego at all, which was very surprising to me. Kelly made it very easy. She’s the best. She puts the show first and puts the people she works with first, and that has nothing to do with me. I just showed up.
Lang: It is impossible not to have a connection with Thorsten, He’s got such a big heart and he’s so talented. His professionalism made him a wonderful screen partner, and his being a great human makes him a good friend. I adore working with him.
Digest: Any concerns about whether or not viewers would accept the pairing with a new Ridge?
Lang: That’s an interesting question. I mean, change is hard for most people, and it ’s really hard for soap fans. But I feel that our fans, even though they love us, the actors, at the same time they also have a deep love for the characters. Combine that with Thorsten being such a good actor and it was a win!
Kaye: I remember early on I got a call from Kelly at home and we chatted, and we just worked together to make it the best it could be. I’m not say ing it is what it was 20 years ago but it is what we have, and we’re making it work.
Digest: Your first scene together in the Forrester garden was very romantic. What stands out now when you look back on it?
Lang: That it was just so romantic. Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] has always written Brooke and Ridge so beautifully, and no matter what they go through, they are definitely meant to be together. We went on location for those scenes, and the rose petals and the rose and the reunion…. It was wonderful. The rose petals and rose are a continuing pattern in their reunions.
Kaye: Waterfalls and rose petals seem like a lot of work. Ice and a six-pack are more my speed. But it was romantic for B&B, and that’s what counts.
Digest: Brad immediately got “Bridge” back together upon Thorsten’s introduction, but quickly broke them up and took years to get them back to one another.
What are your thoughts about that arc? Did you want to see them reunite sooner or did it make their reunion that much more meaningful?
Kaye: We’re still here, so no matter how they did it, it worked. Listen, these guys know what they’re doing . This show has been around a long time and that comes when it’s written well and the stories are compelling, right? Kudos to them for figuring out just how to do it.
Lang: Ridge and Brooke’s history is rich with a breakup and then a poignant and over-the-top romantic reunion. It’s a soap! You’ve got to have a reason to root for a couple, and this was one of those times. Their being apart makes their getting back together that much more important. Plus, I got to work with Don [Diamont, Bill] during that time, and those had lots of special moments, too.
Digest: Speaking of Don, Bill has always been a spoiler in this love story. Recently, Brooke told Bill that she’ll always love him but that her heart belongs to Ridge. Do you feel that Bill still might be a threat down the road?
Kaye: You can’t just have a couple that’s happy all the time, even if you’re fighting about why the grocery bill is so high — but that’s not drama. It usually has to involve another woman or another man. I think the biggest threat in any relationship is boredom, and these two characters are always looking for some excitement. But no, I don’t think Bill is a threat.
Lang: You can never say definitively on a soap that someone will or won’t get back together with someone else, but I feel that right now, Brooke and Ridge have paid such big prices to be together and this is where they belong.
Digest: Kelly, what is it like to work with Don and Thorsten at the same time?
Lang: Just call me the luckiest actress in daytime. They are both terrific men and actors — and so handsome!
Kaye: Hey, Don is in great shape with a beautiful haircut and beard, and so even better [laughs]. We do have fun together.
Digest: These days, the focus seems to be on the problems between Thomas and Hope and Steffy and Liam. What do you think of playing the parental conflict aspect between this couple?
Lang: I loved that storyline. So realistic. Blended families come together all the time and have to deal with stepmothers, stepfathers and stepchildren. I love playing the familial issues as well as the romance and business. Brooke is a fierce protector of her daughter, Hope, and the divide it brought between her and Ridge made it even more interesting.
Kaye: I think that’s a very grown-up conflict and, when it’s not about wanting to go to Dubai with some greasy rich dude, it can be about a grown-up problem. If I were to marry somebody else for whatever reason, my kids would always come first, so that makes sense.
Digest: What are some of your favorite “Bridge” moments?
Lang: There are too many favorites! However, Brooke and Ridge’s first wedding, where I got to ride on horseback across the beach, is a favorite. Reuniting with Ridge when it was Thorsten, as they had been apart for so long. The birth of Bridget, R.J., and some fun and romantic ones, and the ones we went on remote for. Their most recent reunion comes to mind, as Brooke was sure she lost to Quinn and Shauna and she would never have Ridge again, and then along come those surprise rose petals! What are your favorites?
Kaye: Everything with Kelly is fun. She’s hot and present and so, so talented. What else do you need in an actress?
Digest: What is it about this couple that they’re able to break up and make up so often yet still remain audience favorites?
Lang: Well, that’s the secret, isn’t it? I think it’s strong writing and character development, a 34-year history between the couple and fans seeing that, in the end, love will always win.
Kaye: First of all, Ronn did it for 25 years and that’s a long run. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we don’t look similar. He did this for a long time and it was a big gamble for Brad to bring me in. Looking back, I can’t believe I’ve been here seven years already, but it’s not about the guy coming in. It’s about how the role is written, and I certainly can’t take credit for that. But I do think people like happy endings — and if there is a fight, I think people get excited about the makeup sex, you know [laughs]?
Digest: Do you prefer playing the pair in love or having conflict?
Lang: Both. They are both wonderful elements with varying degrees of emotion required.
Kaye: I just prefer working. But conflict is always easier. There are only so many levels of happiness but with conflict, you’ve got to figure out some things and that’s always better.
Digest: How would you describe your real-life dynamic today?
Kaye: I love her as a person and as an actress, and I think we bring that to the relationship we have on screen. I genuinely really like Kelly but I can’t speak for her, though [laughs].
Digest: Kelly, how do you compare you own personal real-life dynamic to Brooke’s?
Lang: As everyone knows, Dominique “Dom” is my sweetie and I am grateful every day that we found each other and for the love and partnership we share. Life is good.
Kaye: Life really is good, on screen and off.