In Part 2 of my in depth conversation with General Hospital head writer Ron Carlivati, the scribe takes me into the motivations behind some of fictional Port Charles, New York's most fascinating characters. He reveals why Billy Miller's version of "Jake Doe" is so different than Steve Burton's Stone Cold Jason Morgan.
An amnesiac Jason may have developed a sense of humor—and an affinity for the movie Titanic—but one thing hasn't changed, both Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst) and Samantha Morgan (Kelly Monaco) are still powerfully drawn to him. Does the writer plan on capitalizing on the great Liason vs. Jasam fan wars with another red-hot triangle? More importantly, can "Jake" teach Shawn (Sean Blakemore) how to fire a gun?
Barrister Alexis Davis (Nancy Lee Grahn) and PCPD Commish Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) are both in love with mobsters. I found out which woman's attraction to a good fella may prove too combustible to resist and why the other law-abiding lady found her relationship needing to be shaken up.
Tony Geary is back. Does that mean a quick end to the "Fluke vs. Luke" story? Don't bet your Kelly's BLT on it. Carlivati reveals the story was only at the end of the prologue when Geary left the show to have surgery!For a sneak peek into what to expect from the tale's Act I and so much more, keep reading.
Daytime Confidential: You took Sabrina (Teresa Castillo), who could have been on Once Upon a Time she was such a Disney princess, and in her grief had her do something ghastly. She gave Ava (Maura West) the wrong medication, medication she knew would induce labor. What was that like to write?
RC: That was fun. Teresa had her baby and we had to hit the pause button with Sabrina. To me, it just seemed like a logical step for the character. As you said, she was a Disney princess and we told a fairy tale about her and Patrick (Jason Thompson) getting together. Once we told the story where the baby died [Pauses]...I sort of became interested in, "Whoa, what would this girl do?" How far could we push her? That was a tough one, because I loved seeing her, and I think the audience loved seeing her, take this drastic action. But your heart goes out to Sabrina. You don't want to see her go down that path. To me, it was like she was in a fog, a fog of pain and grief and she came out of it.
DC: Billy Miller has made his debut. He's out of the bandages. He's walking up flights of stairs and moved in with Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst). He's also met a woman by the name of Sam McCall Morgan (Kelly Monaco) and her little baby Danny. Are we gearing up for Liason vs. Jasam: The Sequel. Please tell me yes; I need the blog hits!
RC: [Laughs] You might be! I think what's been so great is, if you're gonna bring back a character that was as big and iconic as Jason Morgan, we couldn't just bring in another actor and say "Okay dude, put on your black t-shirt and be Stone Cold." It didn't interest me as something to write, and I don't think it would have worked. The idea was much like when AJ drove Jason into a tree and he had a new personality. We wanted to do something similar and maybe play on the strengths of our new actor. People who say, "Oh, he's not acting like Jason", that's exactly the idea. He's not that guy. He's not the guy that came out of the AJ car crash. That personality is, at the moment, gone. It's in there somewhere.
DC: He can still shoot though? Sonny (Maurice Benard) is woefully in need of an enforcer who can do the job!
RC: You know, I feel bad for Shawn (Sean Blakemore). He was supposed to blow away Kobe, the guy who went after Michael (Chad Duell). I wanted to give Shawn a win, because, for story's sake, he had to make some mistakes and mess some things up. So I wanted to give him a win and have him go over there and blow away Kobe, and someone else suggested maybe Michael should do it, to set the stage of what was going to happen with Sonny down the line. And I said, "You know, that's an interesting idea." Shawn still came running to the rescue, but I ended up even taking that from poor Shawn.
RC: That said, I do think Shawn is a loyal guy and has been effective. I think we just focus on the mistakes that we need him to make for our stories. Anyway, yes, we saw that Jason can still shoot, when he didn't have a face. I think you'll see it down the line, but right now I'm sort of liking the guy who's able to crack jokes at Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) and make Elizabeth smile. Right now, I'm enjoying this version of Jason, who we're calling "Jake". We did have our own debate in the writers' room. I wanted him, when he got to the top of the stairs [at the hospital] to do the "King of The World" moment by lording it over Obrecht. Someone else said, "Did Jason ever seen Titanic?"
RC: I was like, "Brenda was probably watching it while Jason was in the back planning a hit." Again, he didn't always have the personalty of Stone Cold. He went many, many years as Jason Quartermaine before he was Jason Morgan, and this guy is neither. It's not to say down the line that he might not become Jason Quartermaine, or might not become Jason Morgan, but right now he's "Jake Doe" and we're having fun with that.
DC: Speaking of fun, Tony Geary is back. Anything you can tease on that? Are we going to see a quick endgame to Fluke vs. Luke, or will this go on for a couple more months?
RC: Well, look, we had to pause our story because Tony went off to have surgery. Now we get to tell that story. It was really almost the prologue, the story that we'd gotten to. We revealed there were two guys at the end of that prologue. We still have story to tell there. I don't want him to walk in the door and go, "Hey, guess who I am?" There's a story there. We want the audience to enjoy it and go along for the ride. We made you wait for a story and want to now give you a story. That's not to say there won't be revelations, and the story won't move forward, because it will. But we're not going to tell it all in one fell swoop. I'm excited. We've got Tony back. It's a story people have been waiting for and there's obviously a huge element of mystery about it. Who is Fluke? Now that we've gotten the craziness of November Sweeps behind us, it's a story we're excited about jumping into.
DC: Speaking of jumping in, how long will Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) be able to resist before she jumps back into bed with Julian (William deVry)?
RC: Her resolve hasn't always been strong when it comes to this guy! When they get too close to each other there's the danger of spontaneous combustion, but she is pretty adamant she's going to stay away from him. Now she's involved with Ned (Wally Kurth), which complicates matters. Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) is also crushing on Ned, but she kind of missed her chance. So there's a lot of story there as well. Basically, right now the challenge is Alexis deciding to keep her paws off of [Julian], because we know he wants her. We know she wants him too, but she made a decision that she can't live with him the way that he is. It's not just his life, but the lies he's told her. But, when you have that kind of attraction and that kind of chemistry, it's going to be difficult to keep these people apart.
DC: Alexis should have drinks with Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) and compare notes on being in love with mobsters. What's going to happen with Duke (Ian Buchanan) and Anna, now that she knows he lied for Sonny? Is there any hope for this couple, or will Anna start looking for love elsewhere? Lucy (Lynn Herring) is already sniffing around Duke!
RC: Yes, it's true. People picked up on that right away about Lucy. We saw her crying on his shoulder when her life fell apart. I like those two together. Look, I love Duke and Anna, but I felt it was time to shake those two up. Even before he gave Sonny the alibi, when he first went to work for Sonny, we played a little thing where he was inadvertently passing around counterfeit money. She said, "If we end up on opposite sides of the law, this is going to be a problem for us." Now those chickens have come home to roost. The audience knows Anna may have done some questionable things herself. We still don't know what she did to Faison (Anders Hove). Does she have a leg to stand on when it comes to judging Duke? We have to see where all that goes. Of course, there's always hope [for Duke and Anna], but I think it's time to shake that couple up.
DC: Nicolas J. Bechtel (Spencer) is everything. Oh my gosh! The entire foursome of Spencer, Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer), Cameron (Michael Leone) and Josslyn (Hannah Nordberg) are everything. I really want to ask this to DAYS too, because they have an awesome, snarky, little girl playing Hope's daughter, would you agree kids on Daytime have become SORAS-proof?
RC: I would definitely agree. I think all four of those kids are gold. I adore them. I love watching them interact with one another. I think it's so much fun to play with soap opera conventions and put those little 9-year-olds in those situations. I laughed when Emma had her first "lurk and overhear". I think there is something incredibly sweet about it. It's not meant to be realistic. Yes, we are aware that this is not typical 9-year-old behavior, but I'm not interested, really, in seeing typical 9-year-olds. I think that our audience has typical 9-year-olds at home. These are larger-than-life characters on soaps. We thought it would be fun to show their lives are miniature versions of what is playing out with the adults. We joke that they're like Betty and Veronica and Archie and Reggie, only Betty and Veronica have opposite hair colors.
DC: What three stories are you most excited for as we go into winter?
RC: I would say definitely "Who is Fluke?". There are going to be a lot of twists and turns; a lot of payoff to it. It's going to galvanize a lot of people. I would also say, "What's The Next Step For Jake?" He's home with Liz. He's a patient getting back on his feet, developing a sweet relationship and starting to meet everyone else in town. I think the audience wants to know when is he going to remember he's Jason? Or, when are we going to find out what plans Helena (Constance Towers) has for him? Then there's "What's Next For Sonny?"; not just Sonny, but for all the characters in that story. What's going to happen to Sonny, now that he's been arrested? What path does Michael go down? How does it impact Carly (Laura Wright)? I know you said three, but also "What's Going To Happen With The Baby?" Nina (Michelle Stafford) and Franco (Roger Howarth) are off with Ava's (Maura West) child. And we still don't know who that child's biological father is!