November 15th, 2012  |  Leave a comment

The Finola Hughes and Ian Buchanan Interview – General Hospital

Photo Credits: ABC/Jim Warren

These days you can’t miss an episode of General Hospital, as you just never know who may show up, or what blast from the past!  However, nothing prepared viewers for the startling revelation on last week’s episodes when it was revealed that this evil version of “Duke”, who had re-emerged in Port Charles, was really super-villain Cesar Faison (Anders Hove) in disguise, who was running around with a prosthetic Duke mask on fooling Duke’s beloved, Anna Devane!  And as has been revealed, the real Duke and Robin Scorpio Drake (Kimberly McCullough) are being held hostage in the Swiss Alps somewhere by this obsessed crazy man!

On-Air On-Soaps sat down on the set of General Hospital with Finola Hughes (Anna) and Ian Buchanan (Duke) to attempt to get the inside scoop on what went down behind-the-scenes as the twists and turns of this fascinating storyline have been constructed, and how they have had to portray it.  First, Ian has had to play faux-Duke and the real Duke, and Finola, has had to play a grieving mother falling again for the love of her life, who unbelievably just showed up in Port Charles back from the dead!

Chatting with Finola and Ian is such fun, because as many soap fans know the duo are best friends in real life.  So, how do they feel about creating the romance of Anna and Duke once again? Will the real Duke return to his beloved Anna, and save Robin before it’s too late?  What did they think when it was Ian as “Duke” who “killed” the most popular guy in soapdom, Steve Burton (Ex-Jason)?  For the
answers to these and more, check out our conversation with the fantastic Finola and the indelible Ian!

Listen to the audio:

Play

MICHAEL:

Ian, when you agreed to return to General Hospital to reprise the role of Duke, did you know the entire outline of this treacherous story?

IAN:

Courtesy/ABC

You mean, did I know several people had to go and they needed someone to take care of it? (Laughs)  No, not initially, but then I did.  You know, the thing about Duke is that Duke was a bad boy who fell in love and then he wanted to be a good boy.  But he always struggled, which does not excuse all the other stuff playing out on screen.  So, obviously something seriously had gone wrong! (Laugh) To be honest with you, as the audience has said about “Duke”, he is evil and he is a creep.  It feels creepy to me some times.  It’s hard for me now to play what we have always played.  There is an element to it there, but it just feels like, weird.  I mean, Duke, was always a little duplicitous, but now he is down right “threepliticous”, and evil and nasty, and you have now seen the reason!

FINOLA:

All I can say and add to that is this is going to be a big fat ass end of story!

MICHAEL:

Well, “Duke” (Who we now know is Faison) supposedly killed Jason!

FINOLA:

Courtesy/ABC

The first thing Ian said to me when he found out how this story was going to unfold was, “Oh, I just don’t want to kill Steve Burton (Ex-Jason).  I just don’t want to kill Jason.”

IAN:

But, I really did not know that was going to happen at first.  It really wasn’t made clear.

MICHAEL:

So wait!  You said you did not want to kill Steve Burton, even before you knew this was going to be in the script?

IAN:

Yes! You know, when I came on the show in 1986 Duke did clean up some people, and there were three bodies in the harbor that were never found, and then we had the writer’s strike and they wrote these full confessions, and I just forgot all of them. (Laughs) So he did.  Duke did shoot people that were leaving the show, off-camera I think … maybe one was on camera.  And so I thought, “Oh no!  He’s doing it again!”  But … there are great reasons the way that story will unfold, and I hope people will be patient a little bit.  I know people still like the Duke and Anna dynamic, but there is obviously one heavy shoe that is going to fall, and it’s not a stiletto!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Anna is this brilliant woman!  Do you think it’s even realistic to think she would buy into this odd “Duke”?   Is he just so overcome and overwrought with losing her daughter, that when it comes to matters of the heart, she can’t think straight?

FINOLA:

Yes, it’s that she is grieving the loss of Robin, and Anna really wants it to be true that this is Duke.

IAN:

As much as she believed on very little information that Robin is alive, then on the end of that, she wanted something back in her life that was very familiar and comforting.  I want it to be what it appeared to her to be.  But of course, Anna does not know all the things “Duke” has been doing.

MICHAEL:

Finola, would you say Duke is the great love of Anna’s life?

FINOLA:

Yes, I do.  I do think that he swept her off her feet, for sure.  Anna is someone who wouldn’t be swept off her feet.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Finola, did you freak out when you saw the old clips of you and Ian as Anna and Duke?  There was big hair!  They have been utilizing those a lot in flashbacks to propel the story.

FINOLA:

They are cruel! (Laughs) Massive hair, lot of make-up, and that was just Ian! (Laughs)

IAN:

Yes, lot of hair and big eyebrows and eyelashes.

FINOLA:

And such big hair. What was I thinking?  Ian, why didn’t you stop me?

IAN:

I don’t know.  I think I had other things to think about.  (Laughs)

FINOLA:

Courtesy/ABC

But what?  Why didn’t you just say, “Finola, you look like a reject from the Warren Jeffs polygamist sect with those blouses?” (Laughs) And, I had the MC Hammer pants on!  My shoulders were like linebackers, too!  I mean seriously, who sat up in the morning and went, “I am going to make my hair look like it’s crispy and have bangs like a cockatiel, and I am going to be wearing the biggest linebacker shoulder pads.”  Actually, someone tweeted, “Why were you wearing clothes three sizes too big?”  (Laughs) And, I cannot answer that.  I don’t know why! (Laughs)  But I should have had my breasts out or something.  Everything else was covered.  And it was this idea, because I think all the other girls on the show were sexy, that I wasn’t going to be that kind of sexy.  I don’t know if I was in on the joke, or not? (Laughs)

IAN:

Wasn’t that the whole thing about your character, being a little restrained?  Anna was very academic and cerebral.

FINOLA:

… And she was playing in a man’s world.

MICHAEL:

Back in that day, fans loved Duke and Anna as a true couple.  So it was so puzzling and off-putting at first, till we understood what was really going on with Duke’s false face, thanks to Faison, which then explained why “Duke” was acting so snarly!

IAN:

Courtesy/ABC

We love Duke and Anna together too, and I thought originally, “We are really going to play it this way?”  But, because I trusted that it is going to play out well, I can say we are in the good hands of our head writer, Ron Carlivati.   That is the great thing, because I have gotten creeped out myself by some of the stuff I have been doing.  I get totally creeped out!

FINOLA:

There was one thing at the end of the tango that aired a couple Friday’s ago.  I walked away and he had to smirk, and afterward I felt so bad for Ian.

MICHAEL:

And then there is the issue of Robin!  I thought it has to be Faison the whole time, because why would Duke hold Robin hostage?  What did the two of you think was going on in the first scenes between Robin and Duke before you knew how this all really played itself out?

FINOLA:

Well, at the beginning when Duke was talking to her, I thought he was protecting her.

IAN:

Courtesy/ABC

I thought he was keeping her in a safe place till he could bring her home, but even that had a taste of something else was going on, and there was more to come.

FINOLA:

I did, too.  I thought Duke was protecting her.  I thought Duke has taken Robin because someone was trying to kill her, and that was the easiest way to do it.  Just pull her out of the rubble and make everyone believe, including Anna, that she was dead.  So that was my initial thought when I saw those scenes, but then he got creepy. Then our executive producer, Frank Valentini, discussed the story with us.

MICHAEL:

After you knew what was happening, that clued you in on how to play it?

FINOLA:

Right, and after that we were very quiet! (Laughs) We walked away and were like, “Wow! This is such a huge story.”

IAN:

Yes, it is a huge story, and hopefully there will be a huge story that follows that.

FINOLA:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s big story that they are telling, and you just have to wait and see how it all plays out.  I can tell you its been fascinating being on the inside of it.

IAN:

It’s pretty intriguing, I think.  The audience is on to what is going on way before Anna is, even right up until the end!  She maybe starts to suspect it, but the audience already knows what is going on.

MICHAEL:

Do “Duke” and Anna consummate their relationship?

FINOLA:

You will have to see!

MICHAEL:

But I read that it was weird for the two of you to even go there, because you’re best friends in real life?

FINOLA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Oh, the kissing, yes, because we are besties in real-life.  My concern was that my children would see it.

IAN:

Yes, my godson, and even little Sadie!

FINOLA:

Yes, my daughter Sadie saw it.  I had on my phone what someone recorded, as Ian and I were rehearsing the Tango scenes, just to see if it looked okay …

IAN:

… Or, to worship ourselves! (Laughs)

FINOLA:

….Right, or to worship ourselves and say, “Aren’t we fabulous! Look at us. We are 90 years old and we can still do it.” (Laughs)  So Sadie looks through my phone just to see what I am doing. She comes across this tape and of course, my kids call Ian, “Uncle Ian” and Sadie is only five-years-old.

IAN:

Yes, even Susan Flannery (Stephanie, B&B) calls me “Uncle Ian”! (Laughs)

Courtesy/HamptonsMag.com

FINOLA:

Yes, we all call him “Uncle Ian”.  So Sadie is watching Ian and I doing the Tango and dancing, and it ends with this very close moment and we kiss.  And Sadie looks at it and goes, “Oh, is Uncle Ian your uncle too?  (Laughs)  And I go, “No. He is my friend” And Sadie goes, “Do you like him as much as we like him? You like him too, don’t you?” And I think to myself, “Oh my God.  I am destroying this child’s brain, because I am married to her father and here I am kissing her Uncle!”   But she did it so diplomatically and so very Church Lady like, “Is Uncle Ian your uncle too?  Do you like him, as much as we like him?  (Laughs)  It was classic!

IAN:

And to add to that, her son Cassius was on the set the other day, and he was walking up to the crew people going, “Finola is my mother, and Uncle Ian is my godfather.”  He just wanted to let everyone know who we were to each other.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Well Ian, I hope you will be on GH longer after this whole Faison situation plays itself out.  Will the real Duke please stand up? (Laughs)

IAN:

Courtesy/ABC

I never asked for anything, but that is what I would ask for, in that it would be an opportunity for Duke to redeem himself.

MICHAEL:

I hope it’s Duke that brings Robin back to Anna and Patrick.

FINOLA:

God, I hope so.  Someone has got to do that, and something has to be done.

IAN:

I think it would be cool for Duke to go back to Port Charles and deal with what has gone on, even though he hadn’t had much to do with it, really.

MICHAEL:

Will Anna have to make a choice between Luke and Duke?  Or, who she wants as the man in her life?

FINOLA:

I don’t know.  Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati have all the answers to that one.  But it is really kind of cool that I get to work with Ian and Tony Geary (Luke).

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

I have loved the scenes both of you have had with Tony Geary.  How has it been to work with him?

FINOLA:

Awesome!  There was one day that it was Jane Elliot (Tracy), Ian, Tony, and myself, and we all had scenes together and I thought, “Somebody pinch me right now. This is really good.”  I am so thrilled to be involved in this story right now.  It’s a thriller!

 

  1. Beacon says:

    I never thought to see Anna & Duke back on the show. I was convinced that when the show became the Sonny/Carly/Jason Hour, GH would never reclaim what made it so great in the 80s. This is a time to be very thankful.

    Reply

  2. Susan says:

    I was lucky enough to be at the “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” taping with Finola, Jason, Ian and Ron – And got to chat with them all and take pics. LOVE them all! DO watch that episode when it airs!!!!!

    I got to thank Ron for bringing the “Awesome” GH of years past back. I am a 32-year GH watcher and am THRILLED at what is going on now. Thank you to ALL of them!!

    Reply

  3. louisa says:

    Love the returns! And Robert Scorpio too!

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    Ditto!

    Reply

    Carlee replied

    That is the best part of this whole story. Love having Tristan back on screen again and it looks like they are finally writing the real Robert Scorpio

    Reply

    Jeffrey Anderson replied

    I’m glad Tristen’s back that made me feel real good.

  4. Hazel says:

    What a terrific interview! Thanks for that. These two are wonderful together on screen and off, and they just seem so happy right now. It’s a joy watching them and reading their thoughts on what we’re watching as well. I’m glad they both love Anna and Duke as much as we do! GH is better than it’s been in ages, and IMO, they are the reason. Go FinIan!

    Reply

  5. heidi says:

    Great interview Michael! Love the two of them and the story!

    Reply

  6. Robynne says:

    I am very glad to hear that the actors are having as much fun creating and playing out this story as we the fans are watching it. Happy to see a revitalized GH and much more use of periphery characters who help make Port Charles the destination viewing it is. Can’t wait to see what this story brings to the rest of Port Chuck as well as Anna, Luke, Duke & Faison! Looking forward to the Nurse’s Ball, Lucy Coe and the opportunity to properly mourn Edward Quartermaine (along with David Lewis and John Ingle).
    Thank you for proving the fans right by telling more stories with class and energy. SOAPS STILL MATTER.

    Reply

  7. Christy says:

    it’s all delicious! MORE! MORE! MORE!

    Reply

  8. JR says:

    You are the BEST Michael. Thanks for clearing some things up. No matter what happens, FinIan are blockbuster material as Anna & Duke on our TV screens, and I’m holding out for the ‘fat ass end of story.’ Glad that Finola and Ian are invested in DNA as much as the fans and that they are having the time of their lives bringing them back to us. GH is must-see TV again.

    Reply

  9. Doe says:

    Great interview, Michael, Especially because we hadn’t seen that group of Finola, Faison, and Duke for a very long time. I’m waiting to see if Luke will unveil the truth about all the shenanigans! However I can’t buy into this rubber head Faison is wearing. Are you telling us that no one sees through this? That is so cornical. It really takes away any thought of seriousness even though we like to see the past actors come back to GH.

    Reply

  10. DEXTER MORGAN says:

    BRING BACK FRISCO

    Reply

  11. Finian FTW says:

    Love these two together and this interview! The fact that they are “besties” adds to my enjoyment of their amazing dynamic.

    Reply

  12. susan M. says:

    I alway’s like Robert & Anna together much more than with Duke….I like Robert’s sense of
    humor & his accent & his whole personality………

    Reply

    maddiehayes replied

    yeah, I prefer Robert&Anna too, but I do love the tango dancing …. :)

    Reply

  13. MBmomof3 says:

    Awesome interview. Loving GH and On Air/On Soaps!

    Reply

  14. Canary says:

    What if Robert i actually GRANT PUTNAM in disguise!!!

    Reply

  15. Kenyona says:

    Wow, really good to hear these two interview. I love FH and IB. They have really brought back the suspense in a SL. Hope to see more, more, more….

    Reply

  16. anonymus says:

    I love this woman always so natural and simple!. There are few real actors, to this day, so it is appreciated when actors appear on screen who love their work and are not only interested in fame.

    Reply

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