Sharing scenes with DAYS’s Deidre Hall as the possessed Marlena has been “amazing” for Robert Scott Wilson (Ben). “I love when she’s playing the devil,” says the actor. “She’s great. Dee and I have a great relationship. She’s been really good to me. We work well together and have a good dynamic. Then she pops in those contacts and gets to be a little more free, have a little more fun, and go into this other world. It’s a contagious energy that everybody gets to be a part of. That’s kind of the best place to be no matter what the circumstances. Even though it’s this darker devil storyline, it’s fun to play.” It’s all made for some unforgettable work memories. “The Christmas episodes, for sure, were wild. The Christmas ‘Deidre Devil’ was probably some of the funniest moments ever,” recalls Wilson. “She had this big old presence and had to lift these two flames in her hands in front of all of her family. Keeping those flames lit was definitely something else. They kept going out at such imperative points. It was funny.” Hall took some precautions to combat the demonic material. “Deidre’s so sweet,” says Wilson. “She brought holy water in that day because it was such a dark storyline. She passed it out to everyone.”
Finola Hughes (Anna) had a great day at the GH office when Michael E. Knight’s (Martin) character flirt- ed with hers at the Metro Court pool. “Oh, my God, that was so much fun,” she raves. “One day he was walking past me in the hall and he goes, ‘We’ve got some stuff coming up, Fin!’ He always talks to me in a British accent, by the way — he has ever since we were in New York together [on ALL MY CHILDREN, where she played Anna and Alex and he played Tad]. I was like, ‘Oh, really? You and me?’ And he goes, ‘Yep! Read it.’ When I got the script, I read it and I texted him and said, ‘Oh, this is gonna be so good!’ And when we rehearsed it — look, that man walks upstairs [to the studio floor] without his script. He goes on set with no script, never carries it up there with him. He is so prepared. He is just such a clever actor. Both me and James [Patrick Stuart, Valentin], whenever he’s working and we’re standing on the sides watching, are like, ‘Look at him! Look at him go!’ He’s really great, really fantastic. That day [at the pool] was just as fun as I thought it would be. But you know, Michael is never happy with what he does, ever, ever. Even as we were shooting it, he was [critical of himself] and after, he was like, ‘Oh, Fin, I’m sorry I wasn’t better,’ and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He’s magnificent!”
Conner Floyd (Chance, Y&R) was thrown into the thick of things from the start. “My first couple of scenes were a lot of lines but they were more or less a little bit of a warm-up for an even bigger scene of me doing a lot of talking,” the actor marvels. “Boy, I prepped that sucker until I knew it like the back of my hand, but I was so nervous getting up for that scene. I wanted to be completely ready and locked in.” Floyd accomplished that by staying completely in character. “I sat by myself and I wasn’t talking to anybody,” he recalls. “I just kept going over my lines and I think Melissa [Ordway, Abby] could tell I was in a zone because she left me completely alone, which I appreciated. The director then said to me, ‘All right, let’s go,’ so I went in there, did my thing, and I heard, ‘Okay, good job.’ Just like that, it was over. I was like, ‘Are you absolutely sure?’ I was shocked they didn’t ask for another take, but I was so relieved to get that out of the way. It was quite a load but you know what? I love the challenge. It’s a lot of work, a lot of preparation and memorization, and figuring out choices and motivation, but I’m loving it!”
While the calendar may say 2022, every day is Halloween for soap producer Mary O’Leary (Y&R, GH et al), whose new documentary, DARK SHADOWS AND BEYOND: THE JONATHAN FRID STORY, is a hit amongst fans of the ground-breaking gothic sudser. “When I began to do the archival research, I was beyond thrilled,” she relays of Jonathan Frid’s (ex-Barnabas, DS) earlier TV work, which coincidentally leads back to daytime. “I found footage from 1960 of Henry IV on PLAY OF THE WEEK, which, like many of the soaps back then, were usually all taped over. Nobody kept them. But the executive producer was Worthington Miner, who is the father of Peter Miner, who directed soap operas [ONE LIFE TO LIVE et al], and Peter is the father of Rachel Miner [ex-Michelle, GUIDING LIGHT], so talk about six degrees of separation! Jonathan was not just a gifted actor who played a vampire on a soap. He was a generous person, a kind soul, and in our world today, we don’t often find that. This is a man who wanted to give back to the fans. After a live performance, he’d stand there for hours, even if he was completely exhausted, because he wanted to thank them. Even though DARK SHADOWS aired 50 years ago, Jonathan’s story couldn’t be more timely.” To view, check out Apple TV/iTunes, Vimeo On Demand or Amazon.