BY Michael Fairman

November 12 2009 3:30 PM ET

ERIKA SLEZAK 2 X390 (COURTESY ABC) | ADVOCATE.COM

How is Viki going to handle helping her daughter Natalie through the
death of her husband, Jared, and Jessica with the return of her evil
father?

Viki is going to be strong, and she will put other
people’s needs before her own forever. Right now her big concern is
Natalie and Charlie. Jessica seems to be dealing, and Jessica has Brody
and he is very supportive. Even Natalie is dealing with it a bit
better. So Viki’s focus is Charlie.

How is it working with Melissa Archer [Natalie]?
I
think she is one of the best actresses we have ever had on our show. I
know Melissa personally, and I know what she does on-screen and it’s
riveting. I adore that child and I think of her as my own. Now I think
she lives on another planet, but I have told her that. She cuts through
all the nonsense and gets to the heart of who Natalie is. She has
passion and she is the sweetest goofball.

You have played
DID [disassociative identity disorder] as Viki, and then recently your
daughter Jessica suffered from it. Did Bree Williamson [Jessica] ever
ask you for pointers on how to play multiples?

Bree said, “If I
have any questions, can I come to you?” and I said, “Of course you can,
but be aware you are playing Jessica and your alters are not like mine.
They are slightly different," and she said, “Oh, I know that.” We had
talked about who Niki was and the whole psychology behind multiple
personality disorder, where each personality is symbolic of an emotion
of yours that is completely separated, and it deals with the secrets
that the "host" has to live with and deal with. Each personality is in
charge of a part. So for Viki there was Jean Randolph, who was the
gatekeeper, and Bess, in Jessica’s case, who was in charge. They say,
“OK, you can come out now. This is how much we can let her know.” Then
there is the one who had to deal with the abuse who is kind of an
incredibly amoral person who says, “It doesn’t matter. I don’t care
that I was raped,” and that was Niki and Tess. But Bree created her own
characters completely. She is an incredible talent.

Would you like to play five different personalities again?

Of
course — it's fun! But, I think I am getting a little long in the tooth
to wear those short skirts that Niki wears. [Laughs] They are
incredibly fun and a challenge to play. In my life I met one multiple
and I really did not know what to say. I felt so sad. It is such a
difficult illness to deal with, and it comes from such a horrible place.

What is your feeling on the rumors that One Life could be canceled and that you are set to move into All My Children’s old studios in the new year?

My
feeling is, if they were going to cancel us, they would not spend the
money to move us, and even though it’s down the street, it’s still
expensive. They are giving us a much bigger studio and it will be much
more cost effective. I had a conversation about a different subject
with Brian Frons (president, ABC Daytime) and he said, “No. I have great
faith in One Life and I have great faith in Frank Valentini.”
As long as the status quo is maintained and our ratings stay up, I
think they have an investment in the show to keep it on the air as long
as they can. At least I hope so.












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