It’s not been a good several weeks, and that is putting it mildly, for the character of Kiki Jerome (Hayley Erin) on General Hospital. First, her father Silas (Michael Easton) is murdered. Then it is revealed that her believe-to-be dead mother Ava (Maura West) is actually alive and well, and masquerading as her aunt Denise. Then her mother is arrested for the murder of Connie Falconeri and sent to jail. Meanwhile, she learns that her boyfriend Morgan (Bryan Craig) has been sleeping with her mother behind her back, and who does she learn this information from … Franco (Roger Howarth)!
With so much drama going down, On-Air On-Soaps had to catch up for a much-needed chitchat with actress Hayley Erin. We had the opportunity do so while attending the Television Academy cocktail reception honoring the daytime community late last week. The actress came on to the ABC daytime drama series in not the most enviable position: taking over the role from Daytime Emmy-winner and long-time soap opera darling, Kristen Alderson. She was next charged with then putting her own stamp on a character that has often proved problematic for the audience, at times, to invest in.
In a delightful and frank conversation, Hayley shared her thoughts on all things Kiki including: working with her co-stars; the incomparable Maura West, Bryan Craig, and having to say farewell to the beloved Michael Easton. Plus, Erin weighs-in on the new writing regime and what it could mean for her character, and where does Kiki go from here, now that her boyfriend and her mother have deeply betrayed her. Here’s what Hayley had to say about it all!
So, what was your reaction when you found out that your on-screen father, Michael Easton (Ex-Silas) was being killed off, and it would spur a murder mystery whodunit?
HAYLEY: Ugh! I was like “Ugh” literally that is what I said! It was so emotional and I was upset. I gave him a hard time for leaving me. (Laughs) I took it personally. He’s my on-screen dad! But it made for a great storyline and there was a lot of great material for all of us. So I guess, that is kind of the bright side … if there is one? But Michael is dearly missed. Michael is awesome!
Was it hard for you to play Kiki’s reaction to Denise being revealed to be her mother Ava Jerome (Maura West) alive and well in the courtroom scenes during the murder trial?
HAYLEY: I was trying to think, “Did Kiki have any clue at all that this was Ava, or was it a complete shock?” I just kind of went with, “It’s my mom. She’s alive.” That was kind of all I had playing over and over in my head. But then there is also the level of the absurdity of the situation, and so I tried to bring that into it too. It was like “Denise? Ava?” (Laughs) Bless his heart, Bryan Craig’s character of Morgan is sleeping with this woman, and doesn’t apparently know who she truly is! (Laughs)
Your reaction as Kiki was emotional to the news that her mother is alive and deceived most people with her alter-ego, while Bryan Craig’s as Morgan was kind of a blank stare and very contained.
HAYLEY: I loved it! I thought it was awesome … the two of us sitting next to each other playing the reactions to the situation totally the opposite of each other. I thought it was perfect. We were having a blast doing these scenes. That was one of the most fun days on set I have had at GH. We were all buddy-buddy in the courtroom. Honestly, we were all joking around, because they brought up the character of Brad Cooper (Parry Shen). I never noticed it before, but Roger Howarth (Franco) realized that’s the motion picture actor, Bradley Cooper’s name. So we were goofing around with that before the cameras were rolling. Then I had hard time when we were taping every time they said the name, “Brad Cooper” and trying so hard not to laugh. It was hilarious.
Now Kiki has found out that Morgan has been sleeping with her mother. His cover is blown!
HAYLEY: It’s interesting, because Kiki does not know about Morgan being bipolar and that doesn’t come into play at all during the reveal on my end. She just thinks he is cheating on her, and has no idea there is mental illness, or anything else going on. There was an episode where Morgan gets all manic and is professing his love for her, and that he is going to get them a place, and they are going to live happily-ever-after. But that scene started off with an argument and so throughout the argument she is very understanding. Kiki was really trying to get through to him about Ava. And then it’s like, “Where is this coming from?,” when Morgan switches into happy lovey-dovey mode. There is a little bit of a clue there for her, but not enough for her to warrant her to stay with him. It was horrible what he did to her, just awful!
Then, what does Kiki think of what Ava did to her by canoodling with her boyfriend behind her back?
HAYLEY: What a horrible mother! What is so funny, and I was having this thought today: having Ava as a mother is like the worst thing that could have happened to anyone, but having Maura West as your on-screen mother is the greatest thing that could ever happen to anyone.
Did you know Maura’s work before coming to General Hospital … from her days on As the World Turns up till know?
HAYLEY: I actually didn’t, because I had gone from the The Young and the Restless where then I was 15 years old, and then I was out of the whole soap world, so I wasn’t familiar with it anymore. But as it turned-out, I didn’t even realize Maura had been on Y&R. It’s all so funny and karmic the way the universe throws us all into each others orbit. I love it, though. It’s like we are all one big family. Maura is a phenomenal actress, and even if she is given material that might be so absurd, she is able to take it to the next level to where it becomes so real. It then becomes the reality of the General Hospital universe, because you believe every word out of her mouth. I love it, because she makes me step up my game.
Kiki has never really felt to the audience as the most fully-fleshed out character, and that is even from the time Kristen Alderson was playing the role and quickly had to shift from playing Starr Manning to the newly-created character of Kiki. This was due to the lawsuit between ABC and Prospect Park over former OLTL characters. Are you at all concerned where the show will take your character now?
HAYLEY: It’s true … I can understand where it seems not fleshed-out. I don’t know what the new writers are going to do with the character. I just got my last couple of scripts from the previous regime and it looks like its going into a different direction. It seems to be more about Kiki finding herself. It’s hard sometimes to make your own character, when there is not that much to go on, and you can’t just completely fabricate a character, because you’re not the writer.
What are your thoughts then on head writer Ron Carlivati being let-go and the new head writers of Shelly Altman and Jean Passananate writing for the characters of Port Charles?
HAYLEY: I’m fairly new to the show. I had met Ron a couple of times and he was lovely, and he had done a lot of great work. I’m looking forward to the future, and I think great things are going to come, and it will be a breath of fresh air. I think the cast is all pretty excited to see what is going to happen.
So, what do you think Kiki should do now that the truth is out about Morgan and Ava’s affair? Do you think she would even consider taking Morgan back, if she knew, and the diagnosis was confirmed, that he was suffering from Bipolar disorder?
What did you think about Hayley’s comments about her co-stars and Michael Easton’s departure? Would you like to see the new writing regime infuse more definitive character traits into the character of Kiki Jerome? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!