BY Michael Fairman
October 02 2009 4:30 AM ET
Soaps. Most Bizarre Casting News ... Ever!
My head is spinning from this week’s impressive, zany, and exciting casting news! So let’s begin and see if you can follow the bouncing ball.
General Hospital dropped the two biggest bombshells. First, motion picture star James Franco (Milk, Pineapple Express) is set for a two-month gig on the ABC soap! James will appear for November sweeps and his first air date is set for November 20. Franco is scheduled to tape several episodes in three days -- October 30, November 6, and November 13. He will play a mystery man who comes to Port Charles. Word initially got out from a series of tweets from The Biggest Loser’sJillian Michaels, her best bud Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda, GH), and GH superstar Steve Burton (Jason), which indicated that Franco could be mixing it up with Jason and Sam. Franco and Burton share the same manager.
Then ABC spokeswoman Jori Petersen went on record as saying, "The only thing I can tell you about his character right now is he is playing a mysterious person who comes to Port Charles who will be Jason Morgan’s worst nightmare. James loves to explore the different types of acting that are available and had never done soaps and was really interested in the amount of work soap actors do -- he wanted to try it out," noting that Franco contacted GH directly!
In another jaw-dropper, after more than a decade away, Jonathan Jackson is coming home to GH to reprise his role as Lucky Spencer, which won him three Daytime Emmy awards. Jackson started taping yesterday, and his appearances will beginning airing the week of October 27. But that means soap hottie Greg Vaughan is out! After six years as Luke’s number 1 son, Vaughan tweeted earlier this week, “With sad regrets, I will no longer be a part of what has been a big part of me and my families life. GH and [The Powers That Be] have chosen to take [Lucky in] a new direction. I THANK ALL of YOU for the many memories we've shared and new ones to come!"
Next, another three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Sarah Brown, who recently revealed she is leaving GH, has been signed on to The Bold and the Beautiful in a new role as Sandy Sommers, who sounds on paper like a "good girl"... a far cry from Claudia Z. and her evil histrionics in Port Charles. Brown last appears on GH on November 5 and first appears on B&B the next day. Talk about your soap swapping!
Then, finally, ABC announced the cast members of All My Children who will be staying with the show when it heads to L.A. in January. Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, David Canary, and Michael Knight are some of the big names staying put. However, leading man Thorsten Kaye (Zach) has decided not to make the cross country move or commute; thus Kaye’s last air date will be sometime in November. And veteran Ray MacDonnell, the stalwart Dr. Joe, is retiring from soap duty, putting down his stethoscope, and will not be coming with the show.
Now as for La Lucci, she told the AP that she made her decision a few days ago to stay with AMC, but New York will remain her permanent home. However, Beth Ehlers, who was completely wasted as Lt. Taylor Thompson, is not continuing with the series, and neither is Aiden Turner (Aidan) and Brianne Moncrief (Colby), who were given their walking papers! No comment. As far as a Pine Valley favorite, Ricky Paull Goldin’s Jake, he is staying, and in a brand-new interview
on my website, he discusses the AMC move with me and much more!