BY Michael Fairman
March 05 2010 1:00 AM ET
The finale of season 1 of Venice is tonight. So I went straight to the head honcho of the hit Web soap, Crystal Chappell (Gina), for a first glimpse of what fans of the subscription based series can expect. “You can expect to see a cliff-hanger. It’s the beginning of a secret that Gina will keep with her father, and Gina has to make a decision of who she wants to be with — Ani or Tracy. Kim Turrisi (head writer, Venice) and I came up with the finale tag together. I wanted something that was like a soap, and that left people wondering what was going to happen ... just the last scene. The tag reveals that Gina could be in cahoots with her father, which is going to seriously affect the rest of her family. It’s a big, big scene!”
While her first season at the helm as executive producer, star, and cowriter of the Web soap is over, I asked Chappell what she thought was the show's on-screen high point. “The pivotal scene that gave me chills was in episode 6 with Guya [Hillary B. Smith], The Colonel [Jordan Clarke], Owen [Galen Gering], and Gina, when she says to her father, ‘You think I have been a disappointment to you? You have no idea what you have been to me.’ Everyone’s reaction was spot-on. It was a very well written and acted scene. It struck home with me on why my character, Gina, is a messed-up chick. And why neither of these kids has separated from their father. In our tag for the finale, you can see that she becomes this child with him, and the fact that she is even willing to keep a secret with him is disturbing and a big deal.”
But what about the ladies in Gina’s life? Does Chappell still feel that Jessica Leccia’s Ani is Gina’s true love? “I think what I like is the audience gets to see all the possibilities. First, the flaws in Ani. And, we still have not explored some character traits of Tracy [Lesli Kay]. We don’t know anything about Lara [Nadia Bjorlin] yet. Ani seems to pick people she needs to fix or that are not quite totally available. You have to ask yourself, Why? Gina’s journey’s is clear. She needs to separate. Tracy is just this chick from London [laughs] and we don’t know too much about her. She fell pretty quickly for Gina [laughs]. None of these women are perfect. Ultimately Gina and Ani are soul mates. It’s just a matter of getting there, and the journey is about getting them to that place.”
Crystal revealed that season 2 of the web soap is already in preproduction and we may soon see new episodes! “We will probably shoot end of May and beginning June and launch it at the end of June. Ideally, I would like to get three seasons in this year, if I could manage that.” So, will there be any famous soap all-stars joining the cast for the new season? Chappell teases, “There are three well-known faces that are coming onboard that I have worked with before from somewhere in my career!”
One of the best casting bits is that Guya will be getting a special needs dog, played by Dude (Hillary B. Smith’s best friend Lindsay’s lovable companion). Chappell shot some footage already for season 2 with the new Venice mascot! “He is so funny. His hindquarters don’t work ... so he pulls himself around on his front legs. He does have a little [wheelchair] wagon, which is adorable.”
If you want to check out Dude and help pet owners who may be struggling with overwhelming veterinary bills, Hillary and Lindsay have set up the Willie-Coppee Fund, which makes grants to pet owners who are challenged in this economy. Their fund helps countless individuals who are unable to provide routine care and medically necessary services for their furry friends. More goodwill from the cast of Venice. Got to love ’em.