By Michael Fairman
Originally published on Advocate.com May 17 2010 12:20 PM ET
Venice and Guiding Light fans all breathed a collective sigh of relief last week when Crystal Chappell nabbed her highly anticipated Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Olivia Spencer, the formerly "straight," onetime Springfield bad girl who falls in love with another woman.
Actors and shows are allowed to submit only one episode of their work to be judged against the other pre-nominees in their categories by a blue-ribbon panel for Emmy contention. Chappell submitted her most powerful and memorable moment as Olivia — when she professed her love for Natalia at Gus’s graveside. So, is Chappell a lock to bring home the gold in Las Vegas on June 27? Well, if the LGBT audience has something to say about it, she should.
I caught up with Crystal on nomination day and asked if she were to win, would she take the time to recognize the gay community in her acceptance speech, a la Sean Penn’s Oscar speech for Milk? “Well, of course,” Crystal exclaimed. “That is what the whole nomination and the whole thing is about. It’s these two women who fall in love and the obstacles they had to overcome. So absolutely, I would definitely speak to that.”
So did Chappell know the graveyard scene and her declaration of love to Natalia was a soap classic from the get-go? “You know whether something is cooking or not and if you are fully in a moment. But what was important to me was in the writing of the scenes. As soon as I read it, I went, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to do these.’ I thought it was just so honest. At the end of my performance of it, I knew those scenes went really well.”
Crystal and company are hard at work on season 2 of Venice, expected later this summer. In the meantime, for your Venice fix, make sure to check out the revamped and spectacular new look of its website.
And speaking of getting your Venice fix — hurry and get your bids in for an autographed script from the cast and do a good thing for man’s best friend at the same time. Writer and producer Kim Turrisi is offering up for bids a 74-page script of season 1, with its title page signed by the cast: Crystal Chappell (Gina), Harrison White (Jamie), Jordan Clarke (John), Michelle N. Carter (Michele), Galen Gering (Owen), Hillary B. Smith (Guya), Lesli Kay (Tracy), Nadia Bjorlin (Lara), Gina Tognoni (Sami), Jessica Leccia (Ani), and Michael Sabatino (Alan). To bid on this piece of soon-to-be soap history, go to the Willie-Coppee Fund website.
The fund was created by Venice and One Life to Live star Hillary B. Smith and her best friend, Lindsay Harrison. It serves to discreetly assist pet owners who may be struggling with overwhelming veterinary bills at the Sherman Oaks Veterinary Group in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The group offers funds to assist pet owners challenged in today’s economy, as countless individuals are unable to provide routine care and medically necessary services for their pets.
Kish Shut Out of Emmy Noms
More Emmy news ... things didn’t go so well for One Life to Live’s Kish. Both Scott Evans, who played Fish, and Brett Claywell, who played Kyle, did not make it to the final five in their respective categories. Evans was in the pre-nominations in the Outstanding Younger Actor category and Claywell in Supporting Actor. When the news spread that both actors didn’t make it, fans were disheartened, and so was Claywell, who perhaps let his emotions get the better of him when he tweeted, “We tell a story that was groundbreaking and powerful, then lose my job, and am overlooked for a nomination. Daytime is such a joke!”
He later came back with a second tweet the next day that was more diplomatic. “K. New day. New smiles. Stretch. Breathe. Relax. :) Congrats to all the nominees and good luck to all the OLTL crew!!”
Scott Evans, on the other hand, took a different tack, immediately giving props to his OLTL castmates who did pick up a nod: “Congrats to all the nominees!! Scotty Clifton, Ms. Williamson, Mr. Kerwin and our wonderful directors — you are truly remarkable!!” One Life’s head writer, Ron Carlivati, did not fare much better, and the One Life writing and producing team also failed to get a nomination, due in part to their selection of the Grey Gardens send-up featuring Kassie DePaiva (Blair) and Robin Strasser (Dorian). But the Emmys are a crapshoot and in the end a game of strategy to impress the panels. Meanwhile, to see all the nominees for daytime’s biggest honor, check out my Emmy nominee page complete with the stars reactions to the big news.
The soap world and gay audiences were in a state of shock last week when it was announced that after a long and exhausting search, All My Children has found its new Bianca Montgomery, the role made "soap famous" by Daytime Emmy winner Eden Riegel. Christina Bennett Lind has won the coveted role of the moral center of Pine Valley. She debuts on-air June 14, when it is revealed to her that her mother, Erica Kane (Susan Lucci), has presumably perished in a plane crash.
Lind spoke recently to Zap2it.com about the pressures of stepping into a gay role so beloved and associated with another actress. "I feel it's very important to represent any character as a complete human being. I don't feel a lot of pressure about it because it's just one element of who she is, but I'm really proud to be playing that because it's a very current and exciting place to be and I'm really proud to be that on the show."
The young actress also responded to the issue of One Life to Live writing off its gay male characters because they were not “resonating with the mainstream audience.” Lind says, “In my opinion, the mother factor plays a big role (referring to Bianca being a mother of two). I think a lot of support goes to the fact that she's raising children and is married and is starting a family because family is so important to her. You see that everyone is the same — just looking for love and looking to create a life for themselves — so it's easy to relate to them. It's all about reliability.”
So where is Reese, last played by Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun, in all this? Still in Paris, according to All My Children. Just when and if the character is back on the canvas is yet to be determined. TV Guide Canada’s Suds Report talked to Eden Riegel for her comments on her replacement. The now D.A. Heather Stevens on The Young and the Restless offered up, “I wish her the very best of luck, of course, and will be cheering her on along with the rest of the AMC fans. And I might add hearty congratulations for scoring one helluva role! She’s a lucky girl for getting to play opposite Susan [Lucci] and Alicia [Minshew].”
As the World Turns Enters Last Month of Taping; Luke's Love Life is a Hot Mess
Say it isn’t so. As the World Turns will wrap up 54 years of taping episodes June 24, just as daytime’s most talked-about love triangle, Noah/Luke/Reid, is heating up. And this week things get really juicy. Here’s the scoop: Luke (Van Hansis) can’t bring himself to admit to Noah (Jake Silbermann) what’s been going on with Reid (Eric Sheffer Stevens). The snarky doc is upset that Luke isn’t forthcoming. Later Luke and Noah are hanging out together at the Snyder Pond, and the big tease to the viewers is, What could Luke be telling Noah? Hmm. Now Luke is unsure how Noah feels about him ... but surprise, surprise ... Reid does know what he is feeling. Could it be time for Luke to end his young puppy love with Noah and move on with Reid? From your e-mails that I have been receiving at On-Air On-Soaps, it looks like you’re feelin’ Reid and Luke!
ATWT head writer Jean Passanante, creator of the Nuke story line, told me it’s a tough call for the fans, because all three actors involved in the triangle are pretty special: “I think Van Hansis [Luke] and Jake Silbermann [Noah] are the two cutest boys I have seen in my life. Van has an enormous heart and is an open book. I think a lot of what you see is what you get. He plays a character of great passion who sometimes goes too far with things. He is very appealing and very principled. Noah is more controlled, given the background of his family and his development, and they have a very nice quality together. Eric Sheffer Stevens [Reid] is just so brainy and has great timing and is funny. There is nothing stereotyped about any of these characters. These are three wonderful actors. In the case of Reid, we knew he was funny and a pain in the ass and a misanthrope, but without a face it’s sort of hard. Once we had cast Eric in the role, he informs everything for us. We are getting positive feedback for Luke and Reid. And who would’ve imagined we could bring anyone between Luke and Noah? You never know. I thought people would yell, 'You can’t do that.' But it’s been great!” So stay tuned.
I have it on good authority that this story will have a major impact on the culmination of the series.
Last Monday fans of General Hospital were treated to one of the saddest episodes of the year. Michael Corinthos, who has now been sentenced to five years in prison for murdering his stepmother, Claudia Zacchara, was taken away in shackles to Pentonville to serve his sentence. Before he leaves, his mother, Carly, played by the magnificent Laura Wright (in a performance which should land her an Emmy nomination in 2011, if there is an Emmy god) has to say goodbye to the son she tried to protect from this whole mess. As well, Michael’s younger brother, Morgan; his half sister, Kristina; and her younger sister, Molly, also say their goodbyes. It was little Morgan telling big brother Michael that he won’t go to a single Yankees game until he gets out of prison and Michael’s response that broke viewers’ hearts again.
But this story line came with a stunning twist when Drew Garrett, now Emmy-nominated for his performance as Michael, was quickly and swiftly let go by GH right in the middle of his most major story! Enter Chad Duell, whose résumé includes some Disney Channel series. And while he is doing an admirable job in a really tough spot, is he making viewers forget the first beloved Michael, Drew Garrett? Time will tell.
OK, who do you like as Michael? The preppier and taller Chad? Or,the smoldering young looks of Drew? Make sure to also consider their acting talents in your decision, please! Here are a few clips of the Michaels in action. You be the judge! Let us know!
Until next time, Michael