Press Mention (42)

News for the week of 28-Mar-2005




Monday, March 28, 2005

News for the week of 28-Mar-2005
by Carol Banks Weber

GHH2 (General Hospital Happenings 2) tried to break the news first of Carly’s second recast – Tamara Braun has chosen to leave the role by April, Sarah Brown originated the role – reporting that Sarah Buxton (ex-Morgan, B&B; ex-Annie, ex-Sunset Beach) won the coveted role. But SoapTown USA clinched the deal with the actual winner, as confirmed by Soap Opera Digest: Jennifer Bransford (ex-Georgie, OLTL). OLTL fans will recall that in 1997-98, Georgie went wild on Nora, Bo and Rachel, resulting in her murder mystery. The actress has the chops and the relentless intensity—almost to an unbearable point—to pull off Carly. Her previous works include the movies Amy’s Orgasm, Love Thy Neighbor and Rift.

In shocking news, TIIC over at GH have replaced the recurring Robyn Richards with Kirsten Storms (ex-Belle, DOOL) as Maxie Jones. Richards had originated the character as a very young child in 1993, on through the memorable, acclaimed “B.J.’s Heart” story, the losing her virginity to a cad-turned-romantic-turned-back-into-a-cad-then-gone story, a promising pairing with Chad Brannon’s Zander, before inexplicably being put in the backburner for the duration of the rest of her stay. Richards also made no bones about seeking more work, whether on GH or another soap, after going after roles on DOOL, B&B and AMC (which she’s currently up for). The announcement, made on several soap message boards, stunned the crowd, the majority of whom could not understand why TIIC would go ahead and replace Richards just that like, without any warning, fanfare, or the decency of an in-person notification (her talent manager Michael Bruno broke the news to her last week, right around the same time fans were learning of it online). Storms – no newcomer to soaps after having played the popular, bubbly Belle on DOOL for five years (before trying out for mainstream work) – expressed joy at the prospect of trying out GH for her first time. She knows all about GH’s sterling reputation as a fan herself and is eager to start, sometime in late May. The online buzz places the recast Maxie’s return smack-dab in the middle of the teen goings-on amongst Dillon, Georgie, Brook Lynn and Diego, as well as Felicia and Mac.

Michael Bruno – who also devotes part of his considerably busy time to commentary on SoapTown USA – acted fast, the second he learned that executive producer Jill Farren Phelps took a meeting with Kirsten Storms to finalize the recast Maxie deal. Bruno started looking into auditions for mainstream work for his client, Robyn Richards, sure that this talented star (with a great head on her shoulders) will find notice and appreciation elsewhere. He also praised Richards for taking the tough news well.

Always a class act, Robyn Richards (ex-Maxie) posted her sad but mature response on her official message board, regarding the announcement that her services were no longer wanted by TPTB. She’d been to classes and fighting a cold amidst a rainstorm when talent manager Michael Bruno notified her of her dismissal by phone. She admitted to feeling shocked and sad, but not completely thrown. “It seems as if this day has been waiting to come ever since I went back to the show three years ago; things had never been the same since,” she wrote. Besides thanking the fans for their tremendous support, Richards also went down memory lane with them, recalling fun, happy, sometimes embarrassing times on and around the set, from her first eye-opening look, to her faux-pas tonsil hockey with a co-star, Andrew St. John (ex-Kyle) in a love scene, a no-no on soaps. She even asked who Genie Francis (ex-Laura) was once, early on – a gaffe she can’t help but smile about now. She’d played Chinese jump rope in Leslie Charleson’s (Monica) dressing room. She’d nailed a kidnapping scene, one of her many firsts, inadvertently, unable to stop staring at the moving cameras while in the arms of Jon Lindstrom (ex-Ryan), which wound up lending an aura of credibility by making it look like the young, smart child was watching for cars. She even put together a DVD of some of her best scenes from GH this past summer with her best friend, laughing and crying together at the memories. She will miss her co-stars, especially Kristina Wagner (Felicia), Kin Shriner (ex-Scottie), Jackie Zeman (Bobbie), Brad Maule (Tony) and John J. York (Mac), whom she formed close, familial bonds with. Yet, she said good-bye without putting anybody down or bitching about the unfairness of it all. Class act.

The producers of SoapNet’s SoapTalk did a makeover show on March 23, in which Natalia Livingston (Emily) benefited. They showed her dressing room, before, stark walls, some beige fabric dangling from the top of one end, a gray couch covered in a brown slipcover slipping off, junk everywhere, spilling out of drawers. Then, designer Kahi Lee unveiled the after, after she’d worked her magic, to lots of “Oh, my God!” and “I can’t believe it!” from an appreciative, but surprised Livingston. She didn’t even recognize her own dressing room, with the painted orange walls (I thought Adrianne Leon/Brook Lynn said they weren’t allowed to paint the walls?!), the green fabric trim on the counter, lots more drawer space, including baskets under the coffee table, a new, more flattering color of couch slipcover, tres ‘70s hippie chic.

Most of the soap media have been complaining about actors refusing to reveal their Daytime Emmy submission reels (for alleged fear of published media scrutiny). Some feel the actors should be forced to reveal their reels. Supporting Actor nominee Rick Hearst (Ric) doesn’t have to be forced. He freely revealed that his reel included the hilarious episode where his and Nancy Lee Grahn’s (Alexis) characters are out tree hunting, departing from the usual dramatic license. Hearst had Maurice Benard (Sonny), an Emmy winner from last year and not much of a comedian (his own past description), check the reel out, just to be sure. Benard did and reported back with two thumbs up, saying that he laughed a lot. That was good enough for Hearst.

Rick Hearst (Ric) commemorated many of life’s milestones by using the services of professional photographer E.J. Carr. A favorite of the actor’s, Carr has taken gorgeous b/w shots of the actor and his firstborn son Nicholas, the actor’s wife Donna when pregnant with Nicholas and when giving birth.

Born April 19, 1982, Ignacio Serricchio (Diego) originally came from the mean streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina (“I did cause a fire once … a big one”), grew up in the safer confines of Mexico, but learned there of the drug infestation, which scared him, and eventually earned himself a spot in a highly prized international high school, where the requirement was the ability to also speak English. By studying American movies and TV shows, like Dennis The Menace (“I would watch a movie with subtitles and then rewind it and watch without subtitles”), Serricchio was able to study at the school of his dreams. There, he settled on learning mechanical engineering, but his heart wasn’t really into it. After the family moved yet again, to Connecticut, and after a heart-to-heart conversation with his father about his future, Serricchio changed his mind, and got into acting. The Adam Sandler movie, Big Daddy, where Sandler’s character had on a Syracuse sweatshirt, inspired Serricchio to attend the university of the same name, for about two years, thriving in its outstanding theater program. The family took one final move, to California, and that’s where Serricchio blossomed, landing on GH, performing his one-man act, based on John Leguizamo’s autobiographical, Freak, stage hit, and augmenting his audition process with standup. Serricchio is so damned funny, he cracked up much of the Soap Opera Digest staff after an industry shindig, can do a bang-up impersonation of Maurice Benard (Sonny) and recently,
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