INTERVIEW

Quick Take With Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

What has it been like to play Steffy’s pain pill addiction? “Honestly, I couldn’t have done any of this without my co-stars — especially Thorsten [Kaye, Ridge]. Being able to examine that father/daughter relationship — and the fact that we’re very close in real-life — helped me get to those emotional places. We film so quickly so you’ve got to get there and with the amount of dialogue we’re doing, these are long scenes.”

Even more than usual? “Yes. We had, like, eight-to-10 page scenes and surprisingly, we were doing it all in one take — and with the dance of Covid restrictions, it was challenging in so many ways. But we were able to get it down in one take, and I truly believe it was because everyone involved was doing such a phenomenal job. We were all as present as we could possibly be and everyone just really brought it.”

The story started slowly but it quickly accelerated. “Right? It did. It felt like just yesterday that Steffy was taking some pills to numb her physical pain, and then it just went to emotional, and then a full-blown addict. But I loved diving into it and seeing what else there was to explore.”

Did you research the issue? “Absolutely. Hearing other people’s stories and learning more about it, I found that this kind of addiction does happen quickly. Initially, in my mind, it was like, ‘Doesn’t this take a year, or at least a few months?’ And it was like, ‘No. This happens very quickly for a lot of people.’ ”

How difficult for you has this story been to play? “It has been extremely challenging in so many ways. Because we do film so quickly, you don’t have that time to go into your trailer and put some music on, put your headphones on and gradually get to that dark place. We don’t have time for that, so you need to bring it right away. In my emotional scenes, if I’m not there and feeling those emotions, I can’t fake it. That’s not in me. I really need to be in the scene.”

After playing those emotional scenes, can you leave it behind at the end of the day? “When you are dealing with these long, strenuous storylines, yes, it can be emotionally taxing on the body. Yes, it is a lot. But through the years, I’ve learned to get there, and get past it. I know that sounds so actor-y, but I am able to leave it at the end of the day. I’m pretty good at leaving things at the door.”

How do you feel about addressing such a socially relevant story like the opioid crisis? “[Executive Producer/Head Writer] Brad Bell is so great when is comes to talking about social issues. It is important in how they balance drama and romance along with real social issues that touch people to the core. This story touched me to the core. I really felt it, and to know that so many people have gone through it, it has been an honor for me to do this. So many people are going through this and especially now, especially during the pandemic, the opioid crisis is rising and it’s heartbreaking. We really need to talk about this, and I’m glad we are.”

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