We Love Soaps’Damon L. Jacobs caught up with former General Hospital executive producer Wendy Riche to talk about her time at the show. In the must-read interview Riche shares how she came about casting Antonio Sabato Jr., Steve Burton and Vanessa Marcil in their popular roles.
We Love Soaps: Despite the turbulence we’ve described, you made some inspired casting choices. You chose unknown actors such as Anthony Sabato Jr, Vanessa Marcil, Steve Burton, all of whom made indelible imprints on the show. What was the key to finding and casting these young actors that would find such success on and off GENERAL HOSPITAL?
Wendy Riche: It starts with a vision of character. I would talk to the headwriter and with [Consulting Producer] Shelly Curtis. It starts with characters and archetypes of characters. Good girl / bad girl, but multi-leveled. Then there was the supposed bad guy who comes in with a good heart. We saw this when Jagger’s friends were going to steal from Kelly’s, and go after Ruby. It was designed so that we had a window into Jagger's heart because in his stopping the violence, we knew he wasn't all bad. We knew he was worth saving. From that moment on he was endearing to the audience and everyone wanted to save him, as did Karen and Brenda. So we designed the dynamic, and then I would sit down with Mark Teschner, because you need a brilliant casting director to work with to capture your vision. Casting is a very unique process. You cannot cast by committee. There has to be a clear vision, and Mark found this great talent. He knew what I was looking for and he found them.
Photo Credit: Phil McCarten