All Soaps: How Much Storyline Control Should A Star Have?

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In a recent column by Carolyn Hinsey over at the New York Daily News she has a quote from General Hospital star Laura Wright on her character Carly Corinthos Jax.  Here it is.

Q. Will all the turmoil with her son have a negative impact on Carly's pregnancy?

A. "I hope so," quips the actress. "I've already been pregnant four times [on soaps], and twice in real life. I am done wearing the fat suit."

Needless to say, this comment isn't sitting well with "CarJax" fans who were looking forward to the possibility of a baby Jax. But for the purpose of my question that is neither here nor there. Sure I'd love a baby Jax but at the same time I can't imagine wearing a fat suit for nine months (or 12 months in the case of Nancy Lee Grahn's poor Alexis during her pregnancy with Molly).  It can't be fun.

My question is quite simply: How much storyline control should one actor have over their storyline? 

If the Head Writer of a soap wants to have an actress' character become pregnant, should they be able to refuse? If an actor doesn't want to be in a romantic pairing with a specific actress (or vice versa) but the Head Writer(s) see sparks between their two characters should he or she be able to derail a potentially popular pairing?

My knee jerk reaction would be no. No one actor or actress should be able to wield that much control over their storyline. However, if one gives it a bit more thought, I think things become a bit more muddled.

What about an actor who has experienced something in their personal life such as Colleen Zenk Pinter (who had throat cancer) over at As the World Turns. Reportedly she asked the Writers at As the World Turns to have her character Barbara Ryan suffer from throat cancer. At General Hospital we know that Maurice Bernard felt that having Sonny go through a Bi-Polar storyline could be educate fans or be helpful to fans who may be suffering from the same condition.

I am very interested to hear what you think.


Disclaimer: I want to make it clear I am not bashing Laura Wright. I only used the above quote for the purpose of what I hope will be a healthy discussion. The same quote might have come from any actress on any soap with the same storyline possibility and I would have used it if it was a recent comment.