September 2nd, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE KIM ZIMMER INTERVIEW – GUIDING LIGHT

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MICHAEL:

It looks like the upcoming wedding of Reva and Jeffrey may have many bumping moments on the couple’s way to the altar. Is that true?

KIM:

It’s a calamity and a comedy of errors. There is some heavy-duty drama mixed in there, too.

MICHAEL:

But, before the ceremony, Reva finds a lump in her breast again. Is the show revisiting her cancer?

KIM:

It happens. I was glad to know that we were going to revisit it, because that is the honesty behind cancer. To what extent we pursue it, is a whole other story. I know, but I can’t say. Let’s just say my contract is up in a year. It can go any way.

MICHAEL:

But Reva does tell Jeffrey that her cancer may have returned. She had a hard time telling Josh the last time around.

KIM:

Yes. I think a lot of it comes from her devastation of her decision not to tell Josh. But, that was a whole different situation. Josh was planning this whole dream project, and Reva did not want him to put it on hold. I think with the realization that this could happen all over again, Reva does not want it to have the same problems she had with Josh. She certainly does not want to send Jeffrey back in the arms of her sister. Hello! Well, half-sister.

MICHAEL:

When you were given the cancer storyline, did you do any research for it?

KIM:

My sister is a cancer survivor, and she was able to treat it with radiation. So, she did not have to have a mastectomy or anything. I talked with her, and I wanted it to be different because Reva is Reva. She is not a reader. She lives day to day. So, I wanted the story to catch her by surprise everyday, and to really leave it in the hands of the writers to tell what Reva was going to go through. I did not want to do a lot research on it, because I did not want to complicate the story with other people’s story. This was Revas’s journey, told through the eyes of the writer, David Kreizman.

MICHAEL:

What are Reva’s thoughts, as she fears her cancer has returned right before the wedding?

KIM:

For obvious reasons, she starts to think if this is something she wants to strap onto Jeffrey. Going through the marriage then comes in to question, even though she knows he wants to be there for her…that is after it is revealed to Jeffrey, as well.

MICHAEL:

I thought, “C’mon,” when Josh was their counselor! What did you think of that plot point ?

KIM:

I know. What happened was, they were supposed to have Reverend Rutledge with him for a couple of days, and Josh had no idea he was going to be counseling Jeffrey and Reva. Reva said, “C’mon, let’s go,” and Jeffrey’s the one that engages Josh…. just to dig on him. I absolutely adored those scenes. I thought Bradley Cole (Jeffrey) and Robert Newman (Josh) played them beautifully. You know, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

MICHAEL:

Big shocker…. she did not go back to Josh. Reva chose Jeffrey.

KIM:

Wasn’t that wonderful, though? I think if the show, God forbid, went off the air, that there would be some way that they could get the two of them back together. But some fans agree that Josh and Reva are much better off when they are not together. They are toxic together.

MICHAEL:

When they are not together you can see their underlying love, don’t you agree?

KIM:

Exactly! I loved what they had Reva say to him when he asked her, “So you still love your ex-husband?” She looks him dead in the eye and says to him, “Not the way you want me to.” I loved that! She does love Josh, and will always love him, but at this point in her life she is in love with Jeffrey. She wants to spend this wonderful time she has with him now, because he doesn’t pressure her. Josh and Reva just have way too much history!

MICHAEL:

Was the wedding hard to film, and as long as most soap wedding shoots are?

KIM:

No, it was not hard to film. It’s not a big wedding. The people that are there are really just there by accident. It’s Buzz, Lillian, Mallet, Marina, and Coop, and Remy and I think that’s it as far as guests. And those are people you wouldn’t expect to be at a Reva wedding other than Lillian and Buzz. All this wonderful stuff with Josh happens the day of the wedding, too. There is great stuff with Josh and Jeffrey, and Josh and Billy. Also, there is powerful stuff with Reva and Josh. It is just the good old Reva and Josh baggage that comes surging up right before the wedding. Jeffrey still doesn’t know if Reva will round the corner and meet him at the altar.


MICHAEL:

Does Reva completely trust Jeffrey?

KIM:

Yes, because Jeffrey and Reva have been friends from the moment he showed up in Springfield. She really was the only one he totally opened up to when he first showed up. And, Reva also accepted the fact that Marah was in love with him. Now that’s weird! She saw that he was committed to her daughter in a really weird, yucky way. And that made her trust him even more.

MICHAEL:

What are your feelings now about the current production module of “GL”? You were quite vocal about it, previously. You don’t see as many characters in a full episode anymore.

KIM:

That is because of budget. They cannot afford to work people the way they used to work us. I still have real issues with the interiors.  Personally, because I am an outdoor person. I love being in Peapack, New Jersey, because we have so much room. I don’t necessarily like the interior shooting we do in Peapack. I still have major issues with the studio sets and with the lighting and the sound. I still have issues with why we don’t wear body mics while we are in Peapack outside. It also limits the directors on how they can move the actors in that wonderful space we have out there.

MICHAEL:

Is it challening to perform in those small interior sets?

KIM:

Yeah! I know that Murray Bartlett (Cyrus) in a recent interview said, he thought what we were doing now is a lot more real. On the other hand, now I feel that we have closed off that fourth wall. You can’t use your imagination as your fourth wall, anymore. The reason I loved soaps is because it felt like you were onstage and performing for that fourth wall. Now, we have closed that off. I know Ellen Wheeler (executive producer, “GL”) loves it because it is so real, and I find it completely the opposite. I don’t even feel like we are prying in on people’s private personal lives. We have to enter and exit scenes avoiding camera guys and lighting guys, and sound guys. You can’t make direct entrances and exits, because there are just so many people in such a small space.

MICHAEL:

And it looks to me in the interior ones, that you are in such a small space! I, as a viewer, get claustrophobia sometimes watching the show.

KIM:

Yeah, you can have claustrophobia. I feel the same way when I watch it.

MICHAEL:

Will you and Reva Shayne be prominent in story throughout the rest of the year?

KIM:

I don’t think they can afford to keep me prominent. I think they have to do really creative storytelling now.

MICHAEL:

And that is because you are now working on a guarantee?

KIM:

Yes…”x” amount of days guaranteed per week. So, what they will do is bank shows. They will work me heavy in a story, which I don’t have a problem with as long as I know ahead of time, so I can then do an episodic. If they are going to work you 3 or 4 days in a week for 3 and 4 months in a row, and as long as they can tell you, I am fine with it. Ellen warned everybody, especially the young kids that this may be the scenario, and that they have to save their money. There could be long stretches of time where they don’t work. For the first time in my career I had to change the way I get paid. I am just paid as I work, but now I am being paid my guarantee. I have to know that I have a certain amount of money coming in every week.


MICHAEL:

When Ricky Paull Goldin and Beth Ehlers left “GL” and defected to “AMC,” were you concerned that more exits were on the way from the “GL” core cast?

KIM:

I was not concerned, I was heart broken… but every actor wants to play other roles.

MICHAEL:

When you look at your body of work on “GL”, are there some moments where you go, “Gosh, I was great in that, and I hit it out of the park that day on the set?”

KIM:

Oh, God! There are so many in the past, but they are fewer and far between these days. I will tell you that because the writing had changed, we had shorter snippets this past year, as far as scenes go. As an actor, you can’t get a run at it. You are doing a scene that is two pages long and you can’t tell a story that way. When you watch the show, so many other things that become vignettes, break it up. Of course now, everybody got used to doing those short little scenes. So now, we all got longer scenes and people are complaining. I tell ya, you can’t make everybody happy!

MICHAEL:

It seems like soaps went from longer storytelling scenes, to these short fast cut scenes for the past few years.

KIM:

For some reason… and I don’t know when it happened, some blame it on MTV, but they think everything has to move much faster. They don’t trust the audience to be able to sit and watch a six- page scene anymore. I don’t believe that. I think people who watch soaps like to be able to get to know a character six pages at a time. You can’t understand the relationships they have with other characters across the table from them.

MICHAEL:

If “GL” continues to be watered-down, do you think that’s the beginning of the end for the show?

KIM:

That’s a tough question, and I would hate to be the one to say, “Yes”… but yes!

MICHAEL:

If they keep watering it down, are you concerned of what would be left of the show to present to its faithful audience?

KIM:

I do totally agree with that.  However, they are going back to meatier scenes, and that was really evident with the Josh and Reva re-enactment of the wedding. There were two weeks worth of shows that were old-fashioned soap opera story. The ratings inched up a little bit. I know from just walking around, that people were so excited because it was old soap opera. It was full of history, and about an incident that affected lots of people. That’s what soaps are about, those ‘umbrella stories’.


MICHAEL:

Did you think of any scenes where you thought you did a great job?

KIM:

I would say that anything I did recently with Tom Pelphrey (Ex-Jonathan) was terrific.

MICHAEL:

To set the story straight, you were very vocal in not wanting Tom cast as your son Jonathan, on the show. What happened?

KIM:

Thank God they don’t listen to me, because he was my last choice to play the character. The reason was that I saw nothing behind his eyes, I swear to God! I went into them and said to them, “Anybody but the last guy!” Tom had that funky long hair, and I think it was that I had also worked with a little boy as Jonathan that was so totally different than this kid. I had done scenes with a Jonathan, who was this frail, lovely little child. It was too weird for me.

MICHAEL:

So the producers said to you, “Kim, we don’t care, we are going with this guy!” Then how did it iron itself out?

KIM:

The first day I worked with Tom in the first scene, because what had happened was he played the character he was told to play. He was told this guy was steel. He hates this woman. He hated his life. He hates people. He is a loner, and that’s what he played. And all the other guys, I could get them to break. I could! But this one, I couldn’t break and it pissed me off! (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Tom Pelphrey’s Emmy reels this year were spectacular!  Would you agree? Also, you did not submit yourself this year in Emmy competition, and your scenes with him were stellar.

KIM:

Yes, they were amazing. But, those were also one of the episodes for me that I would have chosen. Tom was like, “I can’t believe you are not submitting yourself this year. You have two episodes you could submit and I know which ones, because I watched them and submitted them for myself!” The scene was when Jonathan appeared in the bar after Tammy’s death with the baby. I watched again after he said that, and they were good scenes, but they were still his scenes, and as a judge I would be watching it going, “he’s good. She does the same thing all the time, but he’s really good.”

MICHAEL:

And then when I watched Crystal Chappell’s (Olivia’s) Lead Actress reel. You were in one of her submissions, and I thought, “She has a two-person scene with Zimmer!”

KIM:

I went to Crystal and I watched them. I said, ‘Why did you do that?” And believe me, I adore her. She says, “Because we were really good together,” and I was like, “OK, that’s cool. I feel honored that you worked through having me on your reel with you. “ (She laughs) Crystal is a great actress in her own right.

MICHAEL:

You have to hold a scene with Kim Zimmer!

KIM:

That’s how I always felt, no matter how hard Susan Flannery (Stephanie, “B&B) tried to hide in scenes with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke, “B&B”). You can’t hide Susan Flannery, even though Katherine was great and had great material, but also Susan elevated her performance. It was really hard to stay focused on Katherine when she was in scenes with Susan.

MICHAEL:

So, the reason you did not submit for the Emmys?

KIM:

I needed a break from it all, and seriously, I really did not think I had any other material except stuff with Tom.

MICHAEL:

Other than the Tom Pelphrey scenes, any other favorite acting moments as Reva come to mind?

KIM:

I will give you a pat answer. Anything I did with Larry Gates (Ex-H.B.) or Audrey Peters (Sarah) now those are some of my favorite scenes, the first Josh/Reva wedding at Cross Creek. We camped out in the Catskills in cabins. We all stayed in cabins, and it was like we were at camp. We would play poker at night and then we would get up and shoot the scenes of the boys fishing. Those were wonderful times!

MICHAEL:

But what about the famous ‘fountain scene’, “The Slut of Springfield”?

KIM:

Of course, that. I always say, “That is the first time acting that I lost myself.” I lost everything. I lost the cameras. I was totally unaware of anything except what was happening at that point in time. It is such a cool feeling when it happens, to be into what you’re doing that you forget you are not that person. That was one of the few times it has happend to me, but it has happened since. The ‘fountain scene’ really stands out as one of those moments.

MICHAEL:

Where are your Daytime Emmys housed?

KIM:

On top of an antique bookcase in the living room. I need to polish them. The funniest thing I will tell you are where Justin Deas’ 6 Emmys are. They are in pieces, going up to the third floor of his house. It’s so Justin!

MICHAEL:

Would you ever consider a return to “OLTL” as Echo DiSavoy?

KIM:

Yeah, if Guiding Light were to go off the air, I would love to go do another soap. I think there is room for the Contessa to come back to Llanview and I told Frank Valentini, (executive producer, “OLTL”) that at one time. Echo’s brother Giles, left town and she went to jail. So they could bring her back.

MICHAEL:

If you were to say a few words about working with Bradley Cole, what would you say?

KIM:

He is so handsome, and between Robert and Bradley, I mean, Robert has those piercing blue eyes and Bradley has these green-brown reptilian eyes that are really mesmerizing. And Bradley is a really good actor. It’s so bizarre when we are doing our scenes. I think, “God that was really good.” Bradley Cole is a damn good actor.

MICHAEL:

And Robert Newman?

KIM:

Robert is the other half of me. As for me, as far as characters on the show, he is my soul mate as is Josh and Robert Newman. He is a really good guy, and I have been fortunate to have him in my life for 20-something years.

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MICHAEL:

With your experience from the cancer storyline, what else could you say about the empowerment of telling this tale that is a very important health issue for women?

KIM:

What I tried to say about it in past interviews on the story, is stressing early detection and that Reva was an idiot! She never had breast exams. She never did what a woman her age is supposed to do. She paid the consequences for it. She did not loose a breast, but she almost lost her life. I really appreciate that approach to the story that they took. That it happened, was because she was stupid.

MICHAEL:

There was so much made in the press about the fact that you refused to shave your head during the storyline. Why was that?

KIM:

Because, Lesli Kay (Felicia, “B&B”) had shaved her head in her cancer storyline. I cut my hair as short as I could without freaking my kids out, and that was part of it, too. I sent my daughter a text picture of me with a bald cap on. I told her that I had gotten so much pressure that I finally had to shave my head. She nearly freaked out. She was like, “How could you do that? It’s a character you’re playing, and it’s not real.” I texted her back immediately telling her that it was a makeup job!

MICHAEL:

Did you receive letters from cancer survivors or women who shared their current cancer status with you?

KIM:

Yes, I did. It was really hard for me, because I hadn’t researched it. I did not have anything but Reva’s experiences, which are oddly enough, somebody else’s experiences. So, my hands were tied as far as people asking me for advice, or believing they would be well because Reva was well.

MICHAEL:

That’s a tough spot to be in.

KIM:

I loved the people who just wanted me to know about their struggles. Plus, there were people who had a lot of trouble with how we told the story, and trying to convince them that I don’t write the scripts.

MICHAEL:

And Reva did not come forward and tell her family….

KIM:

…And it also broke up Josh and Reva.

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MICHAEL:

So with the cancer this week on “GL”, is it a red herring? Or, let me guess, it’s something else?

KIM:

Uh-huh, and when you are dealing with cancer it’s never a red herring. It’s something else and it could potentially be life–threatening, and it is a major health issue.

MICHAEL:

OK, are you happy about the direction?

KIM:

I was glad. Yes.

MICHAEL:

Will we need, “hankies”?

KIM:

Yes, not right away. I think around June when my contract is up. ( She laughs) You will need hankies around; I am thinking… Oh…I don’t know how fast it’s all going to happen.

MICHAEL:

But was this brought into the storyline in case you are going to leave?

KIM:

Sure… probably.

MICHAEL:

Is your husband, AC, directing?

KIM:

He is teaching at Kane University at Rutgers. He produces, writes, directs, and shoots this campus soap opera for their intercampus television, and it’s really good!

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MICHAEL:

What would you say to fans about this week on “GL”? Are we in for a rollercoaster ride?

KIM:

Everything! A roller coaster, and you won’t know if they are actually going to make it to the vows until they are actually saying the words to each other. It’s simple and lovely and heartfelt when it does finally happen.

MICHAEL:

Will Jeffrey stand by Reva?

KIM:

Well, yes, as long as she doesn’t start screwing up. There is a lot more trust in this relationship than any other relationship Reva has had. I think it’s because it started out as a fling, and it was not a heavy-duty romance at the beginning. I think the love just happened purely by accident. I don’t think either one expected it, which made it better. It caught them both by surprise, and that’s why I think the relationship is refreshing and honest.

MICHAEL:

For those who have never met Reva Shayne, how would you explain to people who she is?

KIM:

She is an ‘Every woman’ that a five year old or 100- year old, could be best friends with. She can talk and give advice to any man, woman, child, animal. She has something to say to about everything and to everyone. You may not like it, but you will listen!

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