General Hospital viewers are in for major story developments in the days ahead involving JaSam. On recent episodes: Sam (Kelly Monaco) and Jason (Billy Miller) tracked down Nikolas (then Nick Stabile) to Cassadine Island, were held hostage by Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), almost perished in a plane crash, were rescued, and through it all Sam has been having periodic fainting spells. Speculation has been running wild on social media that Sam could be preggers. Is there another JaSam baby on the way, or is there something else going on?
On-Air On-Soaps sat down with the elusive Kelly Monaco at the just concluded GHFCW for an exclusive interview, where she opened up on a myriad of subjects both on-screen and off. From the Jason and Sam love story since Billy Miller took over the pivotal role, to if Sam is truly on the receiving end of the Cassadine Curse, to the Liz (Rebecca Herbst) vs. Sam fan faction wars on social media, and why Kelly feels there are misperceptions about her personally, and where it stems from. We even touch upon Sam’s often maligned wardrobe choices!
As for some dish on her GH co-stars, Monaco reveals her critique of her longtime soap scene partner Michael Easton, and his take on his latest Port Charles incarnation of Dr. Hamilton Finn. (Don’t miss Monday’s episode when they share scenes together for the first time since he returned to GH as the quirky doc!) One thing can always be said of Kelly – she’s the real deal, who is candid and possesses a great sense of humor. Read on and you will also learn why Kelly is very appreciative about being part of the A-list cast of General Hospital, and what it has meant to her all of these years. Without further ado, here’s what Kelly shared.
During our interview back in January of 2015, Jason and Sam were in a very different place. What did you think about the length of time it took for Jason and Sam to be reconnected back together in story?
KELLY: I think it’s been unfortunate for Billy that he has had to wait as long as he had to actually play the character of Jason, and not “Jake”. I think he’s doing great. The writers are doing great at trying to find a middle ground of what works for the character, and what works for the future of the characters, and what Billy is capable of delivering. I think they finally figured something out. So, I am super excited.
Many viewers felt that it was long and drawn out, and that by the time of the crash where Jason began getting his memories back, that it felt somewhat anti-climatic. And in story, Sam certainly got gypped out of time, because she waited so long to have her husband back, and the man that she loves.
KELLY: I feel like there will be an opportunity to not be gypped in the future. Many times you think it’s going to go in one direction, and then it’s pulled into another and you are like, “Oh, OK. Let me get my footing.” Billy and I are trying to do our best, and it’s our job as actors to make the writing come to life.
How has it been working so closely in story now with Billy Miller?
KELLY: Oh, I have so much fun with Billy, and we have a blast on set. I am enjoying it a lot.
Many fans like seeing Sam kick butt! Do you want her to do that once again?
KELLY: Yeah! Now that they are solid, I am ready for the next challenge for the couple, and for Sam. I’m excited to see what hoops and obstacles they will have to jump through to prove that they were worth fighting for. I think that’s exciting, but it took them a while to get there.
We haven’t seen Sam in that many scenes with her, and Jason, and their son Danny.
KELLY: I don’t remember the last time I have seen Danny! (Laughs) One day Sam tucked him into bed, and I have not seen him ever since. I had to sing this lullaby, and I did not know what I was doing. (Laughs) And, this was to the new kid playing the part. I am like, “Oh, Hi child. What’s your name? You’re five years older than the other kid!” (Laughs)
One of the big questions facing Sam: Is the “Cassadine Curse” following her around?
KELLY: I guess so! (Laughs) All I’m going to say is when we were taping those scenes at Helena’s bedside, and Constance Towers (Helena) was doing her dialog, and she is like, “I curse you Samantha ….” I go, “This is really going on, isn’t it? I’m being cursed!” They are like, “No, no, that’s not happening.” (Laughs) But yes it is! I have to say, I don’t think Helena is dead. I think Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) poisoned her with the tea that he gave her before her “death”. He poisoned her so she would be dead for a couple of seconds, and then we all went out of the room, but she is actually alive, and probably went through the trap door or something. Now this is just my opinion, but I believe she is alive and well, and yes, she has cursed Sam, and yes it’s following her around. It’s Sam’s parents, and her sisters, and she has cut herself after the cursing and had blood on her hands, and all of that and there is more to come! It’s really cool to play.
Did you talk to Genie Francis (Laura) about how Laura was cursed for decades by Helena?
KELLY: Genie did say that when Helena’s will was being read. She turned to me and says, “You know …” I go, “No,” and she goes, “Ah-hah”. I go, “I knew it! I knew it!” That makes me excited the more I think about it. It’s awesome, and it’s like being on a giant adventure trail.
Let’s discuss your thoughts on the Elizabeth vs. Sam fandom, and fan factions on social media. It gets very nasty out there.
KELLY: They are so against each other, and it’s partly why I stay off social media. It’s really, really brutal, and there is bullying on both ends. Even if you are just talking about a character, some of the language that is being used is so inappropriate. But they are super passionate, and if these fan factions really hate each other then I guess we are doing our job well. It’s the nature of the beast, but as long as they are character-driven remarks and not personal. It’s not good at all when they attack us personally. However, I can’t win with some of the critics.
Why do you think that is?
KELLY: I have been for a decade trying to think about this. You either love me, or hate me, and there is no in between. I feel like people really don’t know me. The assumption people make of me, because of my past in Playboy, Maxim, and on Dancing with the Stars. They have this image in their head of who I am; I’m not married, I don’t have kids. Some people can look at that and see it as something negative. I think people will take those images, and just judge a book by its cover. I really think that has a lot to do with it. They don’t see me in another light. It could just be my own insecurities that I am thinking about, but I think I’m on to something. Even the other day, I was walking in the hallway and I had just come off set after two crying scenes. I go into the hair and make-up room, and the head make-up artist Donna Messina said something to me like, “You have to go in and sign some stuff for the people in there.” I’m like, “I walked by there three times today. Why won’t anyone of them come up to me?” And she is like, “They’re afraid of you.” I’m like, “Why?” She goes on to say, “Kelly. People just assume.” I think it all started when Sam started sleeping with Sonny (Maurice Benard)! I was doomed from then on. (Laughs) I became the tramp on the show then, and I have been fighting my way back to goodness ever since.
You chose to do Playboy, Maxim etc, when you were younger. Do you now regret any of those decisions?
KELLY: I thought growing up these were all cool decisions, but I wouldn’t necessarily be making the same decisions today. But it was my path and my story, but I think it comes back to bite me.
Many people feel that you are very reclusive about your personal life. Would you agree with that?
KELLY: Well, yeah. I was in an 18-year relationship with Mike, and we were never photographed even once together in public, or at an event. It was the only thing that I did have, and that’s before even social media started, and that was so long ago. I still feel that, but now I have nothing to protect. (Laughs) I also want to say, while the fans seem divided, I just want everyone to know that Becky Herbst is probably one of the top three closest friends that I have. So, it’s interesting that our fan base is in turmoil.
What do you think about all the drama going down between your on-screen parents Julian (William deVry) and Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn), or better known as “Julexis”? Will has been fantastic in playing the darker aspects of his character again.
KELLY: Will was so good that he creeped me out so bad. I don’t know if he was intentionally trying to do it … but it worked! (Laughs) It’s so good, and I love him dark. He is such a good bad guy, and he was scary creepy, and I don’t think Will knew it. I told both Will and Nancy. I said, “You guys are awesome!” When Alexis was texting Julian while in the tub, and he comes in and drowns her, I’m watching on the monitor going, “What is going on?” Then I realized Alexis was dreaming. Of course, I tape GH, and I do watch it, but not always, and I want to catch up. We don’t get the whole scripts, and so I don’t know what’s going on with all the other stories. But I will watch everybody. I think Will and Nancy are knocking it out of the park right now. I think we will see Sam involved in the fallout of what Julian and Alexis have become.
Would you like to see more father/daughter scenes between Julian and Sam moving forward?
KELLY: Right now, there is no reason why they should be. If anything, she should be out for revenge to protect her family.
If you were to write something that you would like to have happen for Sam in story, what would it be?
KELLY: I can’t answer that right now, because something is going on currently, and if they go through with it, then there is something that I would like to see happen. If they don’t go through with it then that can’t happen. The show doesn’t know what I would like to do, yet. (Laughs) However, there is a part of the story that is being taped right now that I can’t discuss at this moment. I don’t know where they are going with it, but if they go through with it there is really something I would like to play, because I don’t think its been played before on General Hospital, but maybe it has on other soaps. But for me as an actor, I will be requesting that if we are doing this then can we please do that. Make sense? (Laughs)
If that doesn’t happen, then what are your thoughts on said story?
KELLY: If they don’t go through with it then I can’t play that. I can play something else, but it would be way cooler if I got to play this other thing. In my role as Sam thus far, I haven’t been able to step outside my character, and be outside of my character’s morals and values, but this would give Sam a reason to step outside of that.
What do you think about Roger Howarth as Franco, and his relationship with Sam?
KELLY: I love Roger. He is so good. I think he is awesome, and one of the most talented guys in daytime, period. And, if there is any opportunity to work with him, I am grateful, and that is even if I have to play hating him, or anything else. I am all for it, because I think he’s great. And can I just say, Roger and Michael Easton are the two most funny, honest, loyal people you will ever meet.
Coming up next week on-air, you will be sharing scenes for the first time with Michael Easton since he returned to GH in his latest incarnation of Dr. Hamilton Finn. What do you think of what Michael is doing with this character?
KELLY: He’s the best, and I love what Michael is playing right now, and his character. He’s making choices that I don’t know if they are his, but I think they have got to be his with all of these OCD things he does with Finn. I think what he is doing is super intriguing and interesting. I love watching it, and it makes me look at him like a different character. I don’t get a Silas, or a Caleb, or John McBain. I get that he is someone different.
Clearly the show is moving toward a romantic pairing right now between Rebecca Budig as Hayden and Michael’s Hamilton Finn. What are your thoughts on the two of them together? Any thoughts of: “Wait a minute! I want to come in and play those types of scenes with Michael!”
KELLY: No, that’s what’s going on right now, so I think that it will work. I don’t think Sam and Finn would work right now. It’s not about his character traits, but just where Sam is at in her life. She is all about her man, and her family, but if this thing happens that I hope happens, and I could play this other “thing”, then it opens the canvas up for some really interesting choices.
During your time on GH, what do you think was Sam’s best story … evah?
KELLY: I think her being pregnant with Sonny’s baby, and then she and Jason falling in love. I think hands down that was the meatiest, juiciest, best story that the character of Sam has gone through.
Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Steve Burton (Ex-Jason, now Dylan Y&R) were your scene partners back then. If I recall, Steve did a lot to protect the integrity of the Jason and Sam love story.
KELLY: They handled that with kit gloves with me, and methodically went up to the powers-that-be every single day to make changes, and to make it work. Originally, it was rushed, and Steve Burton had a big, big hand in changing that. He was like, “No, no, no. We can’t do this.” Knowing him and how a soap story was supposed to play out, coupled with the fact that I was so young that I really didn’t know what they were doing, it all came down to that I just trusted both of them. Steve had my back! The story was supposed to move so fast where all of a sudden Jason and Sam were in love. Steve made sure that our story was carefully planned.
Back in the day, the original Jason and Sam love story played so well. Maybe it was all just a moment in time, and the perfect storm.
KELLY: Yeah, the writing, the story, the timing – it was a perfect storm.
I think that was the Sam the audience wants to root for, and hopes to root for again. Agreed?
KELLY: Agreed! Me too. I want to root for her, too. I really enjoyed that time.
At this year’s GHFCW 2016 there was quite a stellar line-up of cast members that showed up. What were your thoughts on participating in that, and being witness to it?
KELLY: It’s awesome, and always great to meet the fans. What a turn out! When I walked in the green room and saw the cast I went “Everyone is here!” Now, I know Billy Miller was not here because he was at a bachelor party in Texas, and Laura Wright (Carly) was up north with her kids. But there would have been no excuse for me not to be there, especially since I don’t have children. This was the biggest turn out I have seen from our cast.
Did you look around and take stock at what a great powerhouse cast you are a part of at GH?
KELLY: I am so appreciative you have no idea. Every day I go to work I have to get off the 101 Hollywood freeway. I remember when I first moved to L.A., and I was living out of my car with my boyfriend at the time. We would rollerblade up and down Hollywood Blvd., and eat eight dollars worth of Chinese food for the day. So now every time I get off that exit, I thank God, or whatever the powers-that-be, that I’m fortunate enough to still be driving 16 or 17 years later to the studio, and go work with what I consider my family. I see my real-life family twice a year, but I am with this crew every day for the past 16 years, so to me this is my family, and I am extremely grateful. I know how hard working and talented those actors are on GH, as well as the crew. Donna Messina and Sandy are like my pseudo-moms and aunts. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have that every day. I am very fortunate.
Let’s talk about another subject fans always comment about – the outfits that Sam wears on the show. Do you have a say in that?
KELLY: I know, poor Sam! She is stuck in jeans and t-shirt. The only time we got out of that was when she was the talk show host for “Everyday Heroes”. (Laughs) It just doesn’t make sense for her to be in dresses. When she was doing P.I stuff with Anna (Finola Hughes) for a little bit I was thinking maybe we could sharpen Sam’s wardrobe a little bit, and put her in slacks and a button up blouse and clean her up, but it didn’t work. I would love to be in dresses every day!
People are always dogging on Sam for her clothes!
KELLY: I know, but truth be told, I would love to have Maxie’s (Kirsten Storms) wardrobe! I don’t get to have that on GH. I’m a woman. I would love to wear a dress, and I love color, clothes, and fashion.
But she wears a lot of black!
KELLY: Always! (Laughs) She wears black and navy, and once in a blue moon I think she has on a red t-shirt! They really don’t have to have to spend any money on my wardrobe.
You are a good budget-cutter! (Laughs)
KELLY: Yes! (Laughs) Sam doesn’t even carry a purse. The directors have talked about it and came back with, “No, that’s not her. Get her a backpack.” (Laughs)
Sam just got off of Cassadine Island along with: Jason, Ava (Maura West), Laura, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), Lulu (Emme Rylan), and Kevin (Jon Lindstrom). Did you enjoy those group scenes?
KELLY: Well, (Laughs) I was hoping we would be like “Survivor” and they would have us stranded for awhile!
OK, Sam has been fainting! Social media is abuzz that she may be pregnant, or something else is afflicting her. What’s up?
KELLY: Sam needs to take a multi-vitamin. She is low on iron! Stay tuned.
So, what do you think is in store for Sam and how it will play out? Kelly on her hopes for her upcoming storyline? How she opened up about how the public may have been perceiving her? The Liz Vs. Sam internet wars? Her comments on her GH co-stars, Becky Herbst, Michael Easton, Roger Howarth and Billy Miller?
Share your comments below, but first watch a preview of Monday’s upcoming episode of GH, where Sam lands in the hospital and is being evauluated by Dr. Finn!