Dark Perils of the Recasting Couch
What could be better? A
woman. Her computer.
Her Diet Dr Pepper. Her
sleeping kids. A whole night and a
whole week of General Hospital to go into.
Bliss. If only…if
only…if only I had some delicious Krispy Kreme Donuts or some chocolate
cookies, I’d know I was in heaven. But
hey, I’m going to take those hips down to a reasonable size so that I don’t
feel like I’m smuggling sofas over the state line by jamming them up my dress
and that involves a smidge of sacrifice here and there, so I can settle for what
There are many things I
could discuss at length. NuCarly
rings a solid bell as a viable topic, but I’m going to hold back on that for
the requisite month before ripping her to shreds in my much afeared newcomer
critique. I am tempted to put her
on the cross that stands empty next to Coltin Scott and Jacob Young (you just
hang a left at Lisa Vultaggio, then a quick right after Michael Saucedo and
you’re there), but I’m going to let her work out her bugs (like them bug
eyes she pushes out for emphasis) and iron out the kinks (like the way she fills
out Sarah Brown’s dress no better than she fills her shoes) and then send her
through the wringer and see if she’s wash and wear or dry clean only. Bless her, she’s got enough on her plate right now without
me harping at her. (I’m quite
sure it would keep her up all night crying).
Let’s, instead, talk about recasts in general.
As a rule, I think recasts are the kiss of death (which is why there aren’t many and I’m betting that bigwigs are bane to do it) and that all departing actors should either be required to give sufficient notice to write them off the show or forced to hang around until their perfect exit falls into place. In our chummy little mail group today, we were trying to come up with examples successful recasts. If you were into AMC, NuDimitri is going quite well, even though he looks very little like Michael Nader. On OLTL, Kassie DePaiva proved out much better than Mia Korpf as Blair. John Ingle managed to slip easily into the roll of Edward Quartermaine when David Lewis became ill and had to retire. Leslie Charleson is ten times the actress Patsy Rahn was as Monica from the get go. Billy Warlock was initially a disaster as AJ and it had spit to do with his acting because he really is very, very good. It was because he was absolutely nothing in manner or looks like his predecessor, Sean Kanan. Sean was tall, blonde and wonderfully, deliciously, handsomely pathetic in such a way that we all wanted to love him up and be the one to change his evil ways. Billy Warlock is cute and fun and devilishly attractive in a very, very different twinkly way, plus his version of AJ is just MEAN sometimes. It was extremely difficult to change gears that abruptly when we’d, ahem, grown accustomed to Sean’s face (and his chest and his abs and his butt). BW was great, but it was like recasting Johnny Depp with Michael J. Fox. I mean, really, look at this objectively:
Not exactly ready for a Doublemint commercial, are they? Not to mention that SK is about three feet taller than BW. These things do not go unnoticed.
Once we got used to
BW’s AJ, however, all was well.
Recasts are difficult
for actors and fans under the best of circumstances. I was one of the first to say that recasting an obsolete and
long dead character like Roy DiLucca was about as smart as a pillowcase of
drowned mice, but from the moment I saw that man shaving at Pentonville, I was
hooked. He lit up every actor who
shared a scene with him and had the writing not gone so miserably inane for him,
I think he would have gotten an Emmy nod this year.
Shows what I know and also shows what recasts should be.
He looked so much like Asher Brauner that they were able to use the
original footage, he was talented and he fit into the role perfectly. We should not have to strain and get a brain bleed trying to
wrap our brains around a recast.
Here’s another thing
about recasts. Inevitably, when a
soap star leaves a role, it’s because they are moving on to something better.
This is usually because they are very, very good at being a soap super
star and someone took notice and gave them an offer to break out into big time
in a movie or prime time. Unfortunately, the average soap actor is of mediocre to poor
talent where acting is concerned. In
fact, after a couple of months of objective (I have no emotional attachment to
this show as I do OLTL and GH since I just started watching it) AMC viewing, I
am saddened to say that there might actually be a very, very good reason that La
Lucci *didn’t* bring home that Emmy for so long, if you know what I mean.
I don’t think any conspiracy was involved at all.
Nuff said on that. But back
to the topic. The ridiculously low
standards of talent expected of soap actors is exactly why actors that would be
considered to be of average talent in the “real world” are lauded as super
stars and given the big pep talks by their agents.
(Love you too, Steve Burton) They
branch out, find out that their level of acting talent will cost ya about ten
cents for a half dozen in the real world. Pretty
soon, the Porsche payment comes due and before you know it, we have the
lightening splitting the Eastern sky of the soap world and the second (or third
or fourth) coming is heralded, complete with bells, whistles and a 21 gun
salute. NO ONE is ever killed off
any more and if they are, we know that in Port Charles, America’s City of the
Walking Dead, death is no obstacle to a triumphant rehire.
So what happens if a
role actually has to be recast? We
usually get NOT a seasoned veteran of stage and screen (as used to be seemingly
required for soap opera hiring), but a model or a playboy bunny or a guy who
played “Man #4” in “Martian Bimbos on Planet 6.”
No way is this person who probably slept their way into a role going to
compare with our fan fave who is leaving with a fat contract in their hand and
roadrunner zings in their wake. The
veteran got out of the biz because they are good, the newcomer gets in because
they can’t work anywhere else in the film industry and their face is just so
darned cute and their boobs are so perfectly sculpted that it’d just be a
shame for them not to be seen. Sure,
these people work hard. Sure, they
have to learn a ton of script a day. But
sure, they get paid thousands of dollars a day to do that, too.
I think they should be allowed a few days to settle in, but beyond that,
you’d better be earning those giant bucks you’re cashing at the bank on
payday when your fans can barely afford the cable bill to watch your sorry ass.
If this was even semi-pro ball, you’d have to know how to play the
sport to a farethewell to start making the big bucks.
I’m STILL waiting for Jacob Young and Coltin Scott, those Brothers of
Mediocrity, to “find their land legs” and show me what they’re made of.
If this is as good as it gets, I hope they are listening to what Michael
Saucedo is telling them about investing and interest bearing savings accounts
and IRA’s and such. Why can’t
all of our newcomers be the Ron Hales, Constance Towers, Jensen Buchanans and A
Martinez’s of the world who come in, hit their mark, show their talent and
earn their bucks? Why are these
“actors” not having to prove their salt in places other than the casting
couch and the catwalk before they clutter up our show?
Why do we have to spend MONTHS letting actors that are barely tolerable
sink into their role and get comfy, only to find that they STILL suck?
Soap acting should NOT be an entry-level position.
You should have to be GOOD to get in.
We deserve that. We tune in
every damned day to these things and our time is valuable, literally and
figuratively. I’m not tuning in
to let some chick who played a tree in fourth grade pick up a few grand a week
because she was a model for a few years and happens to have a “look” the
powers that be want. My show
isn’t where they need to find their feet.
Send them out to do a few years of stage work.
Let them guest star out the butt on prime time.
Tack a half dozen or so B movies under their belt and when they’ve paid
their dues and proven themselves, THEN put them in a role making a digit with
lots of zeros behind it. That
should separate the wheat from the chafe.
In summary, being a
recast is a thankless task. You are
usually following in the footsteps of someone with leagues more talent and
experience than you. You are facing
a legion of fans that are poised and ready to leap on your every wrong move like
a hungry lion on a lame gazelle. You’d
better be good. You’d better be
ready. You’d better have nerves
of steel. It’s not for the light
of heart or lacking of talent. Sending
these little newbies in to take over the role of a powerhouse or even act in the
same scene with one is like asking them to feed marshmallows to a grizzly with
their teeth. Somebody’s gonna get
hurt. If you need me, I’ll be in
the back, tacking up Tyler Christopher and Jonathan Jackson’s posters onto the
Most Wanted Return board.
Want the powers that be at GH to hear what you have to say?
Click here for contact info
VIEW KATRINA'S ARCHIVES
|March 16th||March 13th||January 17th|
|January 16th||November 3||October 16||October 2||September 28|
|September 20||September 13||September 4||August 30||August 21|
|August 14||August 7||July 31||July 24||July 17|
|July 10||July 3||June 26||June 19||June 12|
|June 5||May 29||May 15||May 8||May 1|
go to "katrina's GH online journal"
GO TO "KATRINA'S WORLD" TO READ MORE OF HER WRITING