Admittedly, I have never much been a fan of soap teens or the inevitably summer teen stories. Like many moms, I watch my soaps to escape from the issues in my day to day life and sometimes, whether I enjoy admitting it or not, what I'm escaping from *is* my children. Even as a teen, I was drawn more to the adult oriented stories and usually dismissed the teen stories as transient and forgettable.
As a forty-year viewer of General Hospital, I can say with a certain degree of assurance that we now have the strongest, most dynamic group of GH, nay ABC Daytime teens I've ever seen. Although I was apprehensive about young Breck Bruin being replaced in the role of Georgie Jones (thusly throwing the timelines completely askew between Georgie and friend Lulu Spencer), my fears were quickly assuaged with the arrival of Lindze Letherman to the cast.
Joining "veteran" GH actress, Robyn Richards (who grew up before our eyes), to portray the Jones girls, Ms Letherman brings a spark and a conscience to the teen scene that goes well beyond her remarkable acting talent and launches fully into displaying the verve and passion for life that Lindze herself radiates.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindze at the recent GH Fan Weekend in Studio City, California and I was captivated by the presence and energy this young woman emanates. Under the protective eye of her devoted parents and aunt, Lindze held a gracious court as fans collected around her where ever she went, always offering a bright smile and genuine appreciation for being recognized and sought out.
Her eyes sparkle as she animatedly speaks of her four-legged passions, horses Cody Joe and Rose. Very much an animal lover, she states that when things are getting emotionally intense, such as her recent gut-wringing scenes regarding "BJ's heart," she tells her father, "I need to go see my horse."
Although her emotional scenes with Robyn Richards were intense and emotionally demanding, Lindze tells us that one of the biggest challenges of playing Georgie is her relationship with Dillon. She says she was profoundly nervous knowing "the kiss" was coming up and that finally she had to just pin him against the wall and "go for it." She then laughed and said that after working herself up for the scene, she had to do it again in take after take, repeatedly being told to "lean to the left for the kiss," "now lean to the right for the kiss," "now go straight in for the kiss." The last instruction amused her and she commented, "It doesn't work well. There's this thing called 'the nose.'" She also confesses that Scott Clifton (Dillon Hornsby, who is 18 to her 14) gives her a hard time about her nervousness (for which I scolded him good-naturedly the next day at the Quartermaine Brunch, only to have him respond exactly as one would expect, with an angelic "Who, me?").
One of the obstacles to playing Georgie in her current story is that, like ingénue before her, Genie Francis (ex-Laura), Lindze is required to portray emotions and enact human life situations that she has not yet experienced herself. Without a personal point of reference, she seemed pleased to hear that the majority of GH fans have found her portrayal of Georgie falling in love to be seamless. One would never know that when on the set, she's told, "act romantic," she looks puzzled and says, "How do I do that?" then does what she feels works best.
Lindze's passion for performing began very early in life when at the age of six she began to say, "I can do that" when seeing others act. As attested to by her aunt, Lindze would not be dissuaded from her dream and was soon telling her family, "You don't understand...," then proceeding to plead her case for acting. Her persistence paid off and soon she was working in commercials. She excitedly tells of her first commercial: Floyd's Hardware for a salary of $50. Lindze joyfully spent the money on candy and stuffed animals.
Her turning point came at age 11 in her work on the feature film "Virginia's Run" with Gabriel Byrne, a movie about a girl whose mother is killed in a horseback riding accident, after which, the girl nurtures and raises the foal of her mother's horse. Lindze cites this film as a transitional point in her career, with filming obligated into completion within a harried 33 days. Forced by necessity of the hectic pace, she quickly matured as an actor, which helped prepare her for work in daytime drama. Moving into a higher octane working mode was not the only bonus gifted to Lindze from her time working on "Virginia's Run." It was also her first experience working with horses, which opened the door for the acquisition of Cody Joe and Rose into her fold and her heart.
Many fans do not know that Lindze also has quite a passion for singing and hopes to explore that at some point in her career. When asked if she could see herself doing both in tandem, her aunt quipped, "Do you have another aunt?" Her plate full with her work on General Hospital, she says she'll be leaving singing for an avenue to be tested out later.
Lindze enjoys watching other actors work, in particular on the CBS series, "CSI," which she deems a "mortal sin" to miss. She also appreciates the depth of character offered in the WB series, "Smallville," in particular the conflicted character of Lex Luthor. Lately, she has been exploring old classic movies with the same fervor with which she approaches the other interests in her life.
In regard to General Hospital, she enthusiastically offers her praise and admiration for Ted King, Nancy Lee Grahn and Cynthia Preston in particular. Loving the ongoing body of work available in the genre of daytime, she displays a genuine joy for what she does and an eagerness to push the boundaries and stretch her acting legs. Undaunted by the daily pressures inherent in working in soaps, she eagerly looks forward to what's coming up in Georgie's life.
The unwavering support of her family is the asset that Lindze seems to value most. She speaks with great admiration and gratitude of her mother and father saying, "They're just regular people with jobs and they dropped everything in their lives so that I can do what I love." Considering the stellar performances Lindze delivers on a consistent basis and her contribution to raising the entertainment level of the teen stories to a level heretofore unseen on GH, I sincerely hope that her parents feel that their investment is as worthwhile as we do!
When asked if there was any message she'd like to convey to her fans, Lindze said simply, "Tell them, 'thank you.'"
Lindze, darlin, thank YOU.
Interview date: August 23, 2003