Michelle Stafford shocked daytime fans last year when she left The Young and the Restless after a decade and a half of playing semi-reformed troublemaker Phyllis. She surprised fans again when she joined the cast of General Hospital as Nina, Silas’s unhinged wife who has awoken from her coma with a vengeance.
On the Daytime Emmys red carpet, Stafford revealed how Nina is different from Phyllis, what Nina wants and why it was easy to move from Genoa City to Port Charles.
Daytime Confidential: We got to see Nina have an epic freak out. What was it like to take Nina from calm to crazy?
Michelle Stafford: I knew that she was going to be psychotic.[Head writer] Ron [Carlivati] and I had a very long conversation about it and she’s a sociopath. She’s definitely a sociopath.
DC: What is her ultimate agenda?
MS: You know what? She was completely screwed by everybody. So her agenda is that they feel the pain that she feels. Like, when a man breaks up with you, you want him to feel pain. You don’t want him to move on, like “Oh I’m just happy he’s happy.” You want him to fell pain.
DC: Nina reminds me of early Phyllis.
MS: She’s going to remind a lot of people of Phyllis circa 1995. I’m like, “Wow this is really bizarre.” Ron doesn’t know Y&R, but there are a lot of similarities. But the person is completely different. Nina is completely bonkers. Phyllis was more villainous, while Nina is just really disturbed.
DC: Did you research sociopaths to prepare to play her?
MS: I did. I watched other [portrayals.] Fatal Attraction and There Will Be Blood.
DC: Does Nina know that Jason is alive?
MS: I don’t know. I saw what everyone’s saying [about it] but I don’t know any of that.
DC: Nina and Jason were at the same medical facility at the same time.
MS: It could be. I don’t know. I really don’t.
DC: Nina’s love for her brother Nathan seems sincere?
MS: Yeah. It’s genuine. That’s her heart right there. That’s what she used to have.
DC: Everyone wants to see you and Donna Mills, who plays your mother, together. Will we?
MS: I think so. That’s what I’ve heard.
DC: What was it like creating a new character after playing Phyllis for so long?
MS: I did three other projects after [Y&R]. I did two independent films and I did The Stafford Project. I’m just an actress. I do different things all the time. That’s what I want to do. Every role I do is fun.
DC: How do you like your new co-workers at General Hospital?
MS: They’re assholes. I’m kidding. I was friends with all of them. I knew Kelly [Monaco]. I knew Laura [Wright]. I knew Nancy [Lee Grahn]. So it’s not totally new. I know them all.