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Quick Take With Michelle Stafford

What was your first reaction when you found out that Diane was coming back? “[Wondering] who they were bringing in to play Diane. They kept it a secret and there were a few names floating around of who it would be. There were some that I was like, ‘Oh, that would be interesting,’ and some where I was like, ‘That might be hard to play.’ I didn’t find out Susan [Walters] was coming back until she walked into hair and makeup and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s you!’ I was really excited because I love Susan. I love working with Susan and I love everything about Susan. She’s just a good time. Now, I don’t want that to be misunderstood that I didn’t like Maura [West, ex-Diane; Ava, GH] by the way. I’ve experienced before, where I say I like something and people take it as I don’t like something else.”

It’s interesting to note that most of Phyllis’s enemies have been her romantic rivals. “And she dislikes them in different ways. It’s very specific to me, as an actor, to be aware of all of the different personalities of these women. I really never felt Phyllis hated Sharon. I felt Phyllis knew that she had done Sharon wrong by sleeping with Nick, so I never felt there was hate there. There was a lot of jealousy and other stuff, but not hate. I feel a similar thing with Cricket because Phyllis did Cricket wrong by going after her husband. So, Cricket was trying to take Phyllis down all of the time, and she was just trying to save face. But Diane is a different kind of jealousy. Phyllis hates Diane. She really gets to Phyllis and I feel she’s just at war with Diane. All Diane has to do is walk into the room and Phyllis comes undone.”

Why does Phyllis refuse to believe Diane’s claims that she’s changed and she’s not the same hurtful person anymore? “Because Phyllis knows it’s not true. People don’t really change their spots. They grow, they mature, they get older and can have some sort of introspection on their life. You can change your ways and stop doing things that hurt people but people are still who they are.”

The same can be said about Phyllis. “[Laughs] Yeah, and she definitely knows who she is, but Phyllis isn’t buying any of what Diane is trying to sell.”

It must feel somewhat rewarding to Phyllis that she has two other women, Nikki and Ashley, who also want Diane out of the picture. “I’m really glad that they added them in the story, actually. I would do it anyway, but it’s hard to play everybody against you, and when what your character is saying is really logical and other people who are somewhat logical don’t buy it, it’s hard. Luckily, there’s always someone who’s as smart as you and sees what’s really going on. When I heard Nikki and Ashley were going to team up to take Diane down, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of a cute story point. That’s cool.’” 

How do you like working more with Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) and Eileen Davidson (Ashley)? “I’ve had so much fun working with them. Both she and Eileen are just really so creative and I’m reminded of that when I work with them. They didn’t keep their jobs for over 40 years by luck. Obviously, you don’t have a job that long if you’re crap, and they’re both just so good at what they do and it’s really, really fun.”