THE MORE THE MERRIER
While James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) considers himself lucky to share the GH stage with powerhouse performers like Michelle Stafford (Nina), Genie Francis (Laura) and Finola Hughes (Anna), he would love to see his on-screen roster expand. “I personally have been waiting for Franco/Valentin scenes,” he says. “[Roger Howarth, Franco] is a very complex human being, and as an actor, that comes through brilliantly. We did have a brief moment that I loved in Ava’s gallery, where Franco and Nina and Valentin [crossed paths], because we were all aware that Nina and Franco have something magnetic; Franco was aware of it and he was aware that Valentin was aware of it! To be in the room with that was really fun. I hope we get to do more of that. I’ve always found myself drawn to people like Roger, where you can just read their inner monologue, see their mind working. I’m trying to figure out, ‘What he’s thinking, what’s his angle on whatever he’s filming?’ That’s how I feel about Wil [deVry, Julian], too, by the way. I find Wil fascinating. Maybe Frank [Valentini, executive producer] feels that our characters are kind of similar and therefore there’s no point in putting us in scenes together, but I would love to work more with both of them.”
Brooks Darnell’s role as Y&R’s Nate became a case of art imitating life as Executive Producer/Head Writer Mal Young developed the character. “We were passing in the hallway, and Mal said he had this really cool scene coming up with martial arts that’s called taekwondo,” recalls the actor. “I said, ‘Are you serious? I’m a second-degree black belt and have been doing it for 16 years!’ He was really excited hearing that. It was a great coincidence.” For the scene where Nate had to use a move to take down Cane, who tried to accost Devon, another martial arts expert was brought to the set. “This consultant was showing Daniel [Goddard, Cane], Bryton [James, Devon] and me how to do it,” explains Darnell. “I had to say, ‘Actually, if I was in this situation, here’s what I would do,’ and that’s what we ended up using.” Darnell happily reports that Amelia Heinle (Victoria) was a quick study for a sequence where Nate teaches her character some de-stressing taekwondo methods. “Amelia did it so well!” he enthuses. “She’s so tiny that you don’t expect her to have the kind of oomph. I was really impressed. You definitely don’t want to tangle with her.”
These days, when she isn’t busy taping at B&B, Alley Mills (Pam) is moonlighting on the TV Land comedy series TEACHERS. “It’s now in its third season and it’s with the Katydids,” explains Mills. “The Katydids are a six-member ensemble whose names all happen to be derived from Katherine.” The troupe includes Caitlin Barlow (Cecelia), Katy Colloton (Chelsea), Cate Freedman (AJ), Kate Lambert (Caroline), Katie O’Brien (Mary Louise) and Kathryn Renée Thomas (Deb). “They are the creators, executive producers, writers and actors,” points out Mills, who adds, “It’s a hilarious show. I’m playing the mother of one of the girls, and Ed Begley, Jr. is the father. It’s high physical comedy. These girls are very talented, and the show could have actually been on one of the major networks, but they decided they wanted complete artistic control and they got it — and it really shows. It’s such a fun job.” If you want to catch episodes of the series online, go to www.tvland.com/shows/teachers.
Eric Martsolf recently marked 10 years as DAYS’s Brady. “A decade of Brady,” he marvels. “When I got that call from DAYS OF OUR LIVES, I had my twin boys in their strollers, and PASSIONS [where he played Ethan] had just ended. I was down to my last couple hundred dollars, literally. I was borrowing money from my mutual fund account. We were down to the nitty-gritty and then that phone call came to do DAYS and it was such a savior. It was basically that parachute of life that came to me.” He has never taken the opportunity for granted. “I’m grateful to the industry and the genre and the soap world itself,” says the Emmy winner. “I love these people. I love the folks that do this for a living. I know how hard it is. So I don’t know why I would ever leave that, especially given the wonderful stability it gives a guy like me, where he is in his life. I understand 19, 22-year-old kids leaving the show and going to do whatever. I have ambition to do other things, but when your No. 1 priority is to take care of your clan, it’s a beautiful job. We’re out at 5 every day and I’m home for dinner. It’s perfect for a man in my position.”