In case you hadn't heard, Genie Francis (whose 'General Hospital' character Laura Baldwin Spencer was so wrongly left off my recent list of Top 15 Memorable Female Soap Opera Characters) is back on daytime as manipulative Genevieve Atkinson on 'The Young and the Restless.'
'Y&R' reached out to the Emmy-winning star after she appeared on a soap opera reunion show on 'Oprah' earlier this year, offering her the part of Cane's narcissistic mother -- the polar opposite of the long-suffering Laura. Watch for a dramatic showdown today between Genevieve and Colin, played by Francis' former 'GH' co-star Tristan Rogers (ex-Scorpio), that will prove that Cane's mama, in fact, is nobody's patsy.
AOL TV chatted with the fan favorite about a variety of topics including who else she'll be sharing screen-time with on 'Y&R,' a 'GH' storyline that blatantly ignored the show's rich history, which 'Y&R' leading man reminds her of the late, great Jimmy Stewart, and which Aaron Spelling series once wanted to sign her to a contract.
Oprah has said that she can't save the soaps, but she did a nice thing for you by giving you some exposure in her last season.
She did. I don't think I even would have been on 'Oprah' if the people at the 'Oprah' show said that they wouldn't do it without me. Obviously -- why wouldn't [ABC] push [instead] an actress who's already on their show?
There is that element of promoting what's current rather than...
It's true. You and Tony Geary (Luke, 'GH') both have always said it's about the writing.
Absolutely. No question about it. It's got to be there.
Do you have any memories of Doug Marland, the late great 'GH' head writer who wrote the Laura/Scotty/Bobbie storyline and who also introduced Luke?
Yes. He was the kindest, most loving man in the world. Utterly charming. He had me to his home out in Connecticut. I left and had forgotten my purse. He said, "Oh, it's nothing. We'll have the driver drop it off for you." He was one of the greats.
What are your thoughts on taking the role of Genevieve?
This is a real departure from what I am normally cast in. I had some misgivings. I thought, "Should I go back to soap opera when it's struggling?" I decided yes. This is a move forward. I wanted to play something different.
What can you say about Genevieve?
I think she's still being developed, but I like playing someone who is calculating, someone out for what she wants. I see her as narcissistic. It's very different from Laura, who leads with her heart.
Who's welcomed you to the show?
Jess Walton [Jill.] This woman is so rare. She went out of her way to find me when I was doing a photo session [at the studio] and tell me how happy she was that I was here. I'm telling you -- this doesn't happen. She's such a star as a human being. She's rare.
Have you seen Kin Shriner, ex-Scotty on 'GH,' now Jeffrey on 'Y&R'?
[Smiling] I have. We have one little scene together in which he poured champagne for me. Kin poured me champagne and it foamed up four fifths of the glass. I tasted it and thought, "Mmm...fizzy." I adore him. I think he's a wonderful, quirky actor.
Back in 2002, 'GH' brought Chris Robinson back as Rick Webber and revealed that Rick was this -- for lack of a better word -- monster. It was all done to facilitate Laura's exit from the canvas, but the amount of re-written history made it tough for long-term fans to watch.
I didn't interpret it that he was a monster. I really didn't. It was more like he got caught making a mistake. [Chris] wasn't happy about it at all.
Are you hoping to create another memorable daytime role here on 'Y&R'?
I can only hope. The response that I'm getting from my fans is that they're thrilled I'm working. They miss the good old days on 'GH,' as do I, but in a weird way they feel vindicated, as I do, that somebody was willing to let me come back to work. I've been willing to go back for a long time.
After all these years, you're back working with Tristan again ...
Yes. Right before I left 'GH' [the first time], Gloria Monty [executive producer] had a plan to put me with Tristan. She wanted to make that her next move. But because I left that one never got explored.There's still a chemistry there. One of the cameramen here said to me after we did a scene, "That's a couple." I'm not sure if that's their [long-term] plan.
You're doing scenes with Peter Bergman (Jack), too.
He's like Jimmy Stewart. I met him once in my life. He stood, buttoned his jacket, extended his hand and said, "I'm James Stewart. How do you do?" It's a different breed of man that is not around anymore, but it's around in Peter Bergman. He is that quality of gentleman. He stood up to greet me when I came onto the set.
Pre-'GH,' you were Kristy McNichol's skate-boarding nemesis Alice on the Aaron Spelling series 'Family.'
I went on the audition, my first big real one. I could feel the vibe in the room that they liked me. They asked me if I could skateboard and I said without a blink, "Sure." I went home and said to my brother, "Give me your skateboard! I have to learn how to skateboard!" I practiced all weekend. I found out on Monday that I got the job. Two or three months later I auditioned for 'GH.' After I got it, 'Family' came back to me and wanted to start up a contract with me. How different would my career have been?