September 28th, 2008  |  Leave a comment

SCOTT, TOM, STAFFORD INTERVIEWS -IN LA MAGAZINE, SOAPS IN THE CITY

groupshot1.jpg

By Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

Play

JAMES SCOTT

DAYS OF OUR LIVES

Days of our Lives’ James Scott raises temperatures daily on TV screens playing sexy, charming, bad boy EJ Wells. Scott has just been named this year’s, “Soap Adonis 2008,” voted on by the readers of Soaphunks.net. This is his second year voted as, “the hottest male actor on daytime.” Scott hails from Newcastle, England. A world traveler, he had made stops in under-privileged nations for humanitarian efforts. The sexy Brit took time out of his acting schedule to pose for our latest cover and answer some of our most burning questions.

MICHAEL:

Why did you decide to participate in the “IN LA” cover shoot for “Soaps in the City”?

JAMES:

I did not think I went through a process of making a decision. I knew you had asked me and it was a great opportunity to do a cover. I don’t get asked to do covers very often. I felt quite flattered.

MICHAEL:

Since we are doing this benefit, “Soaps in the City” for AIDS Walk Los Angeles to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles, what are your thoughts about the current AIDS crisis? Do you feel that in the United States it has been pushed under the table more now than in recent years, and less at the forefront?

scott91508_805011.jpgJAMES:

I am not going to pretend to be an expert. However, when I was living and working in New York for example, I did some work with an AIDS hospice with kids who were HIV+, whose parents had died. Some of the children had been put in care facilities when their parents could not deal with them anymore. That was because children born with HIV have a lot of problems, and they all seemed to fall in the same socio-economic demographic. They were the people who had no voice. If it was a disease that affected the most affluent one percent of society, you can be pretty sure it would have been a major election and political issue. I think you will find that it falls to the smaller social groups be it: race, economic, social, or sexual statuses, who tend to have less of a voice in this country. The problem is in America; there is this idea where you can live with AIDS now. Now, if you go into other parts of the world, such as in Africa, you can’t. They are not living with AIDS. They are dying with AIDS.

MICHAEL:

You are quite the accomplished world traveler, so perhaps you have seen more of this pandemic than other soap stars?

JAMES:

I have more experience than someone who has not left his or her armchair, and you see what you see, and it lends you to have somewhat of an opinion, while not a mission, but you have a little more information to base your perspective on.

MICHAEL:

In the latest Nielsen ratings that just came out 22% of the audience were males ages 18-49 while women were 26% 18-49, not much of a difference. Men are watching the soaps but it seemingly goes unnoticed. Why do you think that is?

scott91508_804991.jpgJAMES:

People do not notice that men watch daytime. It has a smaller male following. It is paid less attention to, because if you want to get into the business behind the soaps, the advertisers who are looking to sell into the show are looking for women 18-49, that’s their market. So, they don’t cater the show for men in that way, and they are not well represented. But, I am really happy to hear that we have a large number of men watching “Days of our Lives”. I don’t care who you are; it’s an addictive thing. You start watching, and it’s hard to switch off. It’s frustrating! I was talking to our new executive producer, Gary Tomlin the other day, and he said, “When they get to the end of my show, I want the viewers to be so angry at me,
and angry at the fact that that they have to tune in the next day. It’s that reaction which is built into the ways soap operas work. I don’t care if you are a man or a woman, you are left with a piece of information you have to know and crave.

MICHAEL:

What do you think fans of your character, EJ Wells, can expect in the coming months, now that there is a new executive producer at “DAYS”?

JAMES:

I don’t know what that means for EJ. They are making changes with the writing since Gary Tomlin came on board, and I think it’s a good thing. I hope the audience will like it and it will be more compelling to them, and in turn they will invest in it. I think Gary has a good vision for the show, and the support of the writers in his vision, which is very important. There is some stuff coming up with EJ that will keep him on the canvas… in the long term, I don’t know.

MICHAEL:

Being very attractive and one of the hottest men on daytime screens, are photo shoots like this easy for you?

JAMES:

I hate photo shoots. I hate it. I am incredibly self-conscious. I have never felt comfortable in them. Now people will take photos of me when I don’t know they are taking them and they come out very nicely. One thing is when people come up behind me and want me to smile at fan events, then I can’t smile! It’s tough. I am probably not the easiest subject to photograph.


HEATHER TOM
tom91508_80409.jpg

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

A political activist and accomplished actress, the outspoken Heather Tom plays Katie Logan on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful. Tom has received two Daytime Emmy awards, and has become the only actress under the age 35 to receive a record 12 nominations. Fans may also recognize her for her work on The Young and the Restless and One Life to Live. The IN Los Angeles cover girl has always been a good friend to the LGBT community in supporting its fight for equality. She sat down and with me and chatted about her work for the Barack Obama campaign, the current state of HIV/AIDS and what’s next for Ms. Logan!

MICHAEL:

Heather, you have been so politically active and socially conscious for so many years, and currently, I know you are out on the campaign trail on the weekends!

HEATHER:

I am working for Obama right now, and we are working hard to bring change to America. The other issue is for the proposition 8 issues for people living in California. I think it’s important they have to vote “No”. A lot of people are confused as to what this is, and basically it means they want to strip rights away that have been granted by the Supreme Court of California. We have to make sure they fail in their efforts, and that they are exposed for the hate-mongers they are.


MICHAEL:

What is your feeling on the state of the domestic awareness of HIV and AIDS?
tom91508_804153.jpgHEATHER:

Unfortunately, for the last 8 years the focus has shifted from domestic AIDS issues to international AIDS issues, because it suited the Bush administration. Then, they could get away with telling other countries what to do, and not have to talk about contraception here in the States…. which is one of the main ways of combating the spread of HIV. Also, they have shied away from domestically talking about HIV. It’s still an issue! It’s a killer, and people are dying from it! Luckily, we have had major medical advances where people are living longer, but it’s not cured, and it’s not chronic. It’s not holding steady. The numbers are going up. It’s definitely an issue we need to focus on here domestically. I think HIV is also so much more prevalent in the African American and Latino communities, that I think Obama will be a presence who will focus on domestic issues regarding HIV.

MICHAEL:

What’s coming up next for your character, Katie Logan, on “B&B”?

HEATHER:

It’s so funny. They don’t tell me anything. I get these scripts, and I go, “Oh, that’s good to know!”


MICHELLE STAFFORD

horizontal4shot1.jpgYOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

As the sexy, brash, unpredictable schemer Phyllis Summers Newman on the top-rated daytime soap, CBS’s The Young and the Restless, Michelle Stafford is one of the most critically heralded and lauded actresses of the soap genre. The two-time Daytime Emmy winner and IN Los Angeles cover girl sat down and discussed the cover shoot, soap fans and her philanthropic efforts.

MICHAEL:

Do you like doing photo shoots? You seemed to have a great time with us for the ”IN LA” cover shoot!

MICHELLE:

I liked the “IN LA” cover shoot; because I got to hang out with people I never get to see. It was nice to get to know James. I just met him. I had briefly met Kimberly a few times before this, and to catch up with Heather Tom was great. It was cool! I usually am not a fan of photo shoots, because most of the time it’s the same thing, same pose, and the same look, and they can get boring. This shoot was different and it was fun to be a part of it.

MICHAEL:

You have participated in AIDS Walk Los Angeles before, correct?

MICHELLE:

I have done it three times in a row… of course! I did it a couple of times with my sister and my mom, just the three of us… like normal people… and then one time with my show, “Y&R”. It’s great fun! You are doing something for someone…and for people. Everyone feels good with that going on.

MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts on HIV and AIDS awareness here in our country, with the rise in HIV+ cases this past year? Do you feel some of the focus has been shifted away from this disease because people are now, “living with HIV”?

MICHELLE:

I think, in the beginning, it was so misunderstood this new virus that came out of nowhere. Certainly people were leaving us right and left. I think since we have some medications that gave us a handle on it somewhat, then it’s like, “OK. We’re good. We have a handle on it.” I think it’s just normal for people to do that. Listen, I raise money for many things, and believe me; a lot is going to AIDS research. If you think that people are looking the other way, that ain’t happening, comparatively to other things. There are a lot of different cancers that people don’t donate to. I have noticed that’s where it’s hard to get money from… lung cancer for one. The rise of people who don’t smoke and who get lung cancer is heightening. The reason a lot of people don’t donate to lung cancer, is because there is this perception that: “It’s you. You smoke, and it’s your own fault.” It’s been very difficult to get donations in the past. It’s really since Dana Reeves died from it, and she was not a smoker, nor was Christopher Reeves, that it changed a bit. AIDS is still getting a lot of attention and money. However, I think there was just more attention in the media previously, because so many celebrities passed away from it. That’s just how it is! If somebody in the public eye gets taken by one of these diseases, it gets noticed more.


MICHAEL:

Have you lost people close to you to AIDS?

MICHELLE:

Oh God, of course! We are in the arts and there are so many creative men and women who have been taken by this.

MICHAEL:

You have always been so supportive in your humanitarian efforts for many charities. What compels you to give back ? Have you always felt the need to give back?

MICHELLE:

I feel that people with a lot of things and a lot of money, who buy pretty things, and don’t do things with it, are just the most boring people in the world. They are the most angry, most selfish, and they are stuck to their things. I would rather stick 16,000 needles in my eye than hang out with somebody like that. There is nothing wrong with having things, if you have the money to buy it, but if you are not giving back you are just a very sad individual, to me.

MICHAEL:

I always think, “How can people not support people in need when they have the means to help out?”

MICHELLE:

It’s not about the money, because I do things to raise money for many different causes. You know, 20% of the time, it’s not people who have a lot of money who are donating. It’s mostly the people who do not have the money that donate! It’s phenomenal and it eludes me. That’s amazing! When I did the September 11th fundraiser, I got a huge check from a little child who was on, “GH”. I got $250 from this child, and I also got $250 (from a person who shall remain nameless) who makes a lot more money than this little boy. So, it’s just where you heart and soul is.

michelleblackdress1.jpgMICHAEL:

A recent Nielsen Ratings report came out showing that 6 Million men (22% of the 18-49 yr. old male demographic) of the audience are watching the soaps. So many gay men have spoken to me about loving the soaps, and they are a very big core part of the loyal audience. It’s time we recognize them.

MICHELLE:

And they are all Phyllis fans, girl! (She laughs) I have to say, “I have yet to meet a gay man who is not a ‘Phyllis’ fan.”

MICHAEL:

But I think it’s great that we acknowledge that gay men can “come out of the closet” and admit they watch the soaps, too!

MICHELLE:

Of course! I even hate to say, “Oh, the Gay people. It’s just people.” If we must point out an audience as being gay, then all right, but the soaps are a guilty pleasure and guilty fun. You get to talk with your girlfriends about it, or your co-workers. It’s just fun to do. Soaps are for anybody who likes to have fun.


MICHAEL:

Who is Phyllis Summers Newman? How would you explain the character you portray on “Y&R” to someone who has never watched the show?
darkdress1.jpgMICHELLE:

She is a completely damaged woman, who is always trying to win the prize and never gets it.

MICHAEL:

Have you always enjoyed the different storylines, journeys, and challenges that Phyllis has gotten the chance to take on “Y&R”?

MICHELLE:

I have always enjoyed the challenges. The last couple years, Phyllis has been a little tamer than she once was. Some people on the street go, “I like Phyllis. She is not as mean anymore.” However, reporters say to me, “When are you going to be vindictive and conniving again?” It’s interesting to me. I like the change in Phyllis and it’s something different to play. I have been playing her for 11 years now. You want to have ebbs and flows, and not always play the same thing. So, it’s been nice to be a little bit different over these past few years.

MICHAEL:

But, Phyllis has to remain redeemable no matter what bad deeds she does, right?

MICHELLE:

I think that’s kind of up to me. Even when you play a villain in soap operas, you have to give the audience the reason why you are doing what you are doing. It’s day in and day out. You have to allow the audience to be on the same journey with you and your character, or they will check out, and they will not invest in the story.

Leave a comment