In an ironic twist to the 39th Daytime Emmy nominations, soap legend Genie Francis was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in her first year of work on The Young and the Restless playing Genevieve Atkinson, when it took her a few decades to even get a nomination for her role as Laura Spencer on General Hospital!
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Genie to congratulate her on her recognition for her time in Genoa City. But, what was interesting and revealing during our conversation, was finding who she is really rooting for to win in her category, and if she will show up on Emmy night. Plus, how she chose the scenes that got her into the final round! And, we get the answer to the burning question, “Where is Genevieve, anyway?” Here’s the one and only Genie Francis!
Genie, congratulations on your Outstanding Supporting Actress nod for a role you haven’t play very long, in contrast to the decades it took you to get your just recognition for your legendary role as Laura on General Hospital! Were you surprised by the nomination? And, how did you find out?
GENIE: Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Bell, called me at 6:45 in the morning. I was up with the kids getting them ready for school. It was a very nice surprise. And the funny thing about it is; it took 31 years as Laura on GH to get the Emmy finally … crazy, right? This nomination comes for a role that I have only been doing for a year! I got a great text from my Y&R cast members, Daniel Goddard (Cane) and one from Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) congratulating me. I also got a text from Herbie Weaver our stage manager, and I got calls from people at the network and at Sony. Oh! And I got flowers from my husband and flowers from the Hallmark Channel, too. It was all so nice.
What episode did you choose that got you into the final five nominees in your category?
GENIE: The episode I submitted was the day that Genevieve told Jack about the daughter she had that died, and that it looks like she is getting a divorce. She talks about her relationships with men and how she has only had her husband in her life for most of her adult life. And it ends up with the two of them making love for the first time. The scenes were with Peter Bergman (Jack), who is God’s gift to an actress. He is! It’s so true. He is not only an extraordinary talent, he is also an extraordinary human being, and his kindness and caring equals his talent. You just don’t find that. It doesn’t exist. And I have worked with a lot, trust me! So because of that, he creates such a feeling of safety and team spirit, so of course, my best work is with him.
So those scenes are where we learn about Genevieve and what makes her act out! Well, that’s putting it mildly. (Laughs) They are sort of tragic moments, wouldn’t you say?
GENIE: They are about what makes Genevieve harsh. It’s the reason she is harsh. (Laughs) It is what has made her into what she is. Tony Morina produced that episode and he said to me, “Now everybody is going to understand why you are the way you are.”
When you watched your work in that episode what made you want to submit it, from an acting perspective?
GENIE: To be perfectly honest, I didn’t watch it. I just know from doing it that it was my best work. I also know that I heard a lot of great things from other people about it. But when they asked me what I wanted to submit because it could only be one show, I remember when I drove out of the studio that day feeling ten feet tall. So I thought I would submit that.
That’s brave of you. Many actors struggle with picking a reel and a performance and have to pour through lots of material to find what to submit.
GENIE: Oh no, that would make me crazy. I don’t think I could handle that. That whole thing would make me obsessive! I got such nice response from so many people about that episode, and I knew it affected people. I just decided then to go with that.
I remember the incredible night when you won your first Daytime Emmy. Where is the Emmy now? And when you look at it, do you think it is worth it in the end, after all your trials and tribulations of playing Laura Spencer on GH?
GENIE: Yes, it was worth it in the end. Absolutely! I am still proud of it. It is right in my entertainment center where my TV is, and it’s right in the middle where I can see it! (Laughs)
You have some amazing women nominated in the Supporting Actress category with you. Are you aware of their work? I know you know Becky Herbst’s! (Elizabeth, GH)
GENIE: I think Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe, Y&R) is a really wonderful actress. I know Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) she is also a wonderful actress. But … Becky Herbst, I would love to see her win, to be honest. She has done some wonderful work! I will tell you the year I did win; she was nominated alongside me as well. I have to say, she came to me with a full heart and said, “I am so happy for you, Genie. It has been so many years and you deserve it.” She came to me and put her arms around me and I hugged her and said, “Your time will come. Your chance is going to come.” You are young and you still have loads of time.” For an actress who has just lost the Emmy to have that much of a giving heart, is rare. So the truth is, I would really like to see Becky win this year.
And your former on-screen husband, Tony Geary (Luke, GH) is up for Lead Actor at the Daytime Emmys, and your on-screen son, Jonathan Jackson (Ex-Lucky, GH) is up for Supporting Actor! It’s like the original Spencer family are all in the Emmy game this year! Jonathan told me in a recent interview how exhausted he was after last year’s workload at GH, which is something you also related to me, that they worked you to death at one point.
GENIE: I know! Jonathan is my boy! He is an amazing talent. They ring you out at GH, they do! (Laughs) I am thrilled for Jonathan, and I actually judged in his category. So I saw all the work that was submitted. What was nice for me was that we were allowed to choose five performances, and to me there were five people that stood out. So it wasn’t this awful angst filled moment that I thought it would be. I have judged before, but it was years ago. I asked to judge the Younger Actress category because it was the category added after me. So I felt strongly to judge in that category, and I did. This is my second time serving.
You will be attending this year’s Daytime Emmy ceremonies, won’t you?
GENIE: No, I cannot go to the Emmys this year. I promised my son for years that I would take him to Alaska on a fishing trip, just him and me. And I secured the vacation time from The Young and the Restless, which is the last two weeks of June. I booked and paid for this very amazing fishing trip for me and my son. My son is turning 18 this summer. He will go off to college very soon. As much as I want to be there at the Emmys, it is more important to have this time with my son. This is a special trip. It is a promise I made. The two of us have never gone on a trip together and to have an adventure. You know when I am an old lady on my deathbed, do you think I will be going, “Oh. Why didn’t I attend another Emmys? Why didn’t I get one more spangled dress? And, put on my false eyelashes and go!” (Laughs) That is not what you are going to say. You are going to say, “Where is my time with my children? Was I there for my children enough?” So that is my choice.
If you do win the Emmy next month, who do you want to pick it up and accept for you in your absence?
GENIE: I know. I have to think of who to appoint to get it for me, if I should win. I don’t know who is going, but if Daniel Goddard is there, my on-screen son, I would ask Daniel to get it for me.
Finally, is it all going the way you wanted at Y&R? Do you still like playing the character of Genevieve at this point? Is it living up to your expectations?
GENIE: I am cool with it, but they dropped my story recently and put me on the back-burner. I am not working right now. I am popping in for one show every couple of weeks. I hate when that happens. I like it for a couple of weeks, cause I get the break. But then after a couple of weeks, it’s like, “C’mon. I want to work.” I have a feeling they won’t really have a nice story for me till the fall. I am taking two vacations this summer. My husband is turning 60, and as I mentioned, my son is turning 18. There are just some family things I need to do. But my guess is they won’t turn up the juice on my story till September. You also know how soaps are. We have such an enormous cast. I think that Y&R has a knockout gangbusters cast. There is only so much air time and everybody needs to have their turn at-bat. We have to pass it around. What I noticed with me is; they do not play me heavily in spring and summer, but they play me really heavily in the fall and winter, which is fine. That is when the adults are home. Right now, the show just brought on a whole lot of young people for the summer, who are really good. So they are turning up the juice on the younger storylines, which is the way to do it, and it’s smart. I am a little involved in that, but not too much. But, Genevieve will be back!
So what do you think of Genie’s chances of winning the Emmy for her portrayal of Genevieve? Would you like to see her win two Emmys for different roles? What do you think about what she had to say about her former GH co-stars? Do you still want Genie to return to GH? Let us know.
And for more Daytime Emmy nominee reactions, make sure to visit our 2012 Daytime Emmy Nominations Reaction Page by clicking here, and read what your favorite nominees had to say!