What goes around comes around, or so they say! And for Carly Cortinhos (Laura Wright) on ABC’s General Hospital, ‘karma is a bitch’ in the form of Nelle Hayes (Chloe Lanier), the mysterious young woman who appeared suddenly in Port Charles. As the story began to unfold, Nelle was ‘revealed’ to be Jax and Carly’s (Ingo Rademacher) daughter, Josslyn’s (Eden McCoy) kidney donor, which brought her to town in the first place. After ingratiating herself to Carly and the Corinthos clan, Nelle is now Carly’s assistant at the Metro Court and taking care of baby Avery, while the family grieves the death of Morgan. But viewers soon began to suspect there is much more than meets the eye; for Nelle couldn’t be that saccharine sweet. Au contraire! This gal has got an agenda, and its directed right at Carly to make her life a living hell.
This week, fans of GH got their first glimpse of just how low Nelle will go to bring misery into Carly’s world, when she drugs Sonny’s drink then makes it appear that the two had sex together, while seemingly filming the whole set-up on her phone for posterity. She even makes it appear to the confused mobster that she feels horrible for sleeping with Carly’s husband! Meanwhile, Nelle seems to be fighting her legitimate feelings for Michael (Chad Duell). But are they really legit, or just another part of Nelle’s master plan?
On-Air On-Soaps spoke to actress Chloe Lanier, who viewers first saw on their daytime screens as a young Patricia Spencer in the Daytime Emmy Award-winning 52nd anniversary episode of the series. That performance won her rave reviews from fans and critics alike. Now back on GH raising hell as Nell, she shares with us: her thoughts on Nelle’s plot, when she thinks the audience will know just what is driving her to do what she is doing, working with her GH co-stars, and how she is loving the audiences’ response as they post their theories on social media as to how Nelle is linked to Carly. Here’s what this effervescent, and wickedly-good young star had to say about the life and times of homewrecker Nelle.
Did the powers-that-be at GH tell you what is going on with Nelle, and what this vendetta with Carly is all about, or have you been in the dark?
CHLOE: I do know. They told me, and I have done all of my back-story and everything. So, yes I know exactly what is going on, which makes it ten times more fun. (Laughs) I am having a really, really great time.
What we, the audience, know is that she clearly is not what she seems to be. There is this letter from what we believe is from her father that she is carrying around. The letter ends with “You owe me”.
CHLOE: Yes, you could say that is true. However, that letter may not necessarily be addressed to Nelle.
Does Nelle really like Michael (Chad Duell) or is she manipulating him?
CHLOE: Oh, no. She likes Michael. Of all the people in the family, he is the most genuine, and kind person. Michael was the first one to reach out to Nelle when she first got to Port Charles. Everyone turned her away, and he was the one to chase after her and say, “Look, I believe you. Let me see if I can work something out for you.” He is one of those people who seem to not have any alternative agenda. I think Nelle has never had someone like that in her life, with an unconditional friendship, or love interest, or anything like that. I think that is why she is drawn to Michael.
So those feelings are coming from a sincere place?
CHLOE: She is not conning Michael, and because she has feelings for Michael, it makes it ten times harder for her to do the things she needs to do.
How has it been working with Chad Duell?
CHLOE: Oh, it’s great. We have a really great time. We goof around a lot of the times, and then are serious when we need to be. He is just a really nice, normal guy.
When you came back to the show after doing the 52nd anniversary episode, did they inform you, that you would be Chad’s new on-screen leading lady?
CHLOE: Yes. Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) called and said this part would have the potential for a love story for you and Chad. So, I was told that in advance. It wasn’t definite, or anything, but it was hinted at.
Did you watch the work of the other Carly’s; Sarah Brown, or Tamara Braun (who you have been compared to) before coming to GH, to possibly glean more back-story on the character of Carly?
CHLOE: Because most of my process is back-story, and everything I do for my preparation for the scenes, I feel if I look at something that might be very similar to what I am doing, then I don’t want to try and copy that, and I want to make it fresh. I have watched scenes of Tamara Braun and Sarah Brown, and they are both incredible actresses, but I wasn’t looking specifically for how they interacted as Carly, just watching their immense talents.
Nelle has it out for Carly! Why did she keep Sonny’s letter to Carly from her at the funeral? What was she thinking at that point?
CHLOE: I think in Nelle’s mind it was the wrong time. As much as she does have it out for Carly, Nelle does have a heart, and is not completely vicious, and evil. She is a very conflicted person. I think it wouldn’t have been the right time to do that, so that is why Nelle pulled out the earrings from her purse instead, because at the time it would have made things much worse then what was going on at Morgan’s funeral.
Then Nelle was lurking, even at the funeral! (Laughs)
CHLOE: Oh yeah, Nelle is always lurking. (Laughs) It’s really funny. She is a lurker! The thing about that is she doesn’t have anybody. She is starting to have Michael a little bit in her corner, but she doesn’t really have anybody that is her friend in town, or somebody she can talk to and to just go home and hang out with, or go to the movies with. I think she sees all of these people in this Corinthos family, who love each other and are so connected and close. She wants that, but she doesn’t know how to address it. She also feels awkward in that is not her family, and she does feel some distance from them, but she also thinks, “I want what they have.”
Does Nelle feel entitled to get what the Corinthos family has, because her life was derailed because of this kidney that was that was taken from her, and supposedly given to Josslyn?
CHLOE: I don’t know if entitled is the right word. I think she thinks she is owed a certain amount, because of what she has gone through, but I also think she wants to work for it as well.
She really wants to stick it to Carly, especially after she sees her with Jax, which sets her heinous plot in motion. What is she thinking?
CHLOE: Nelle sees Carly seemingly back with Jax and completely ignoring Sonny, and that makes Nelle incredibly mad. I think this may sound strange, but I think Nelle values honesty above all. Now she is not the most honest person (laughs) and I think she expects that from other people, especially people that could have wronged her. So she goes over to Sonny’s and is there for him, and talks to him. Nelle is sort of like Sonny’s surrogate therapist where she can extract information, but she also sees him as a father figure, someone who is strong and loyal, which she has never had in her life. As much as she does feel guilty about what she does, what Carly does with Jax kind of solidifies for Nelle what she needs to go through. It justifies every preconception she has had about Carly, which is she is selfish and she only cares about herself. She very much despises that in Carly, and that’s what makes her go through what she does.
Does Nelle in some way have the “hots” for Sonny?
When she drugs Sonny, what is she hoping to accomplish in the grand scheme of things?
CHLOE: Well, that’s a loaded question. (Laughs) If she can convince Carly that she and Sonny slept together at some point of time, and especially, if Sonny and Carly were to get back together, Nelle knows that metaphorically it would slit Carly’s throat. I think Nelle was hoping to feel dignified after that moment, and there is some guilt there, but she doesn’t want to necessarily hurt Sonny. However, he does say some things to her, which upsets her and are inconsiderate, and I think that pushed her over the edge as well.
What did she put in his drink?
CHLOE: She “Roofied” him! She basically “Charles Manson’s” him, where she convinces him she was drinking with him, as well. She acts like she is commiserating with him, and she plays upon his pain and suffering. And then once he is out, she goes in! (Laughs)
Did she take numerous pictures of this faux liaison to frame Sonny, and eventually show to Carly?
CHLOE: There could be pictures, there could not. There is a lot of recording going on. Nelle records everything on her phone, or in her mind. Everything is clocked, she doesn’t miss a beat. She doesn’t miss anything.
Did Nelle really think Carly and Jax were together and hitting the sheets?
CHLOE: I think she thinks Carly is shacking up with him again, and Nelle doesn’t like Jax. There is something about him that she definitely does not like! I think the feeling is probably mutual. There is something about Jax she doesn’t trust. She sees them together, and she also spent all this time with Sonny while he is suffering and in pain. So Nelle goes, “Well, what a queen bitch? What is she doing going behind her husband’s back and hooking up with her ex-husband?” Nelle sees Carly as completely neglecting her children, and that she doesn’t even care; she only cares about what she is going through. Now, Carly lost her son, and that is a horrible, awful tragedy. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, but she also has a family who has stepped up to the plate, and who has tried to make things better and make things more comfortable for everybody. To Nelle, Carly doesn’t seem to care about the repercussions of her own actions.
When you saw the script, or were told about this moment in the storyline, what was your reaction?
CHLOE: I was excited, because if it were to be just Nelle hooking up with Sonny, I don’t think it would have worked. First of all, there is a huge age gap between the two, and also Sonny being who he is would not cheat on Carly in the right state of mind, and also, Nelle has feelings for Michael, which are very strong, and she is trying to contain them. But if Nelle should sleep with Sonny it would be horrible, and I don’t think she could function. She would cry for days, and she would feel so guilty,
When Nelle showed up on the scene, she said she believed she was Josslyn’s organ donor and her parents were paid a lot of money. Where to you see the trajectory of this story going, and how do her parents play into this?
CHLOE: Nelle’s parents were supposed to receive a large sum of money for her kidney, and her parents are no longer with us. I think this is all going to play out, but I don’t have all the scripts yet, just what I have done so far. I can say there are going to be some really great scenes between Carly and Nelle. I think they are going to have a “come to Jesus” meeting in a way. I think it’s all going to play out through February and March. Nelle’s back-story is unfolding by the day. Viewers will certainly be learning more about her and her agenda in the coming months.
Did you think the way the story is constructed was a good way for you and your character to come on to the canvas? It’s worked exceptionally well!
CHLOE: I think it was good. Because a lot of people were going, “Is she really that sweet?” She can’t be that sweet. No one is that sweet. I mean, maybe there are people who are. I don’t know, but I feel if a person is that sweet all of the time, you’ve got to have a lot of rage inside, just bubbling under the surface just waiting to come out.
What has it been like working opposite Laura Wright?
CHLOE: I love her! Oh, my gosh. I love her so much. Laura is so sweet and down to earth. She is not a primadonna, and lot of actors can be very needy, or want special attention for certain things, and Laura doesn’t need any of that. She knows how good she is, and how talented she is. Laura shows up on time, she does her job, and she works really hard. And on top of all that, she is a great person.
How is it up on set when working with Maurice Benard?
CHLOE: Maurice is an interesting person (Laughs). I love Maurice. It’s always different working with him every day. I never know what it’s going to be like with Maurice, as he is always bringing something new to the working environment. Maurice is a really funny guy. He is very supportive of young actors wanting to try new things, and so I have had a really great time with both Laura and Maurice.
There are all these theories out there on social media, just who Nelle really is. What are some of the oddest ones you have read, or received?
CHLOE: There was one where the person was saying that Nelle was really Anna Donely. So I would answer, “Well, you never know!” (Laughs) There is definitely history with Carly, and a tie to her. I will tell you that.
Do you think Jax knows what the tie is between Carly and Nelle, and that’s why he doesn’t like her?
CHLOE: I think Jax knows there is a delicate situation going on, but I don’t think he knows the full extent of our past life.
Would you like to see a Carly/Nelle catfight?
CHLOE: I would be up for a catfight! I used to film catfights at my high school on my phone. They are so hilarious … and I love watching catfights. If Carly and Nelle have a catfight, it’s going to have to be done in a way that is not too cheesy, obviously. But yes, I think it would be great, because I think Laura and I have a fire inside of us, and our characters are like that, so I think when everything is out in the open and on the table, I think everything is going to hit the fan, and be very explosive.
When the truth does come out, it will be a rude awakening for Carly. Thinking back to how she came to town and what she did to her mother, Bobbie, and others when she was younger. It will definitely have ramifications.
CHLOE: Yes! I think she is going to have to re-organize herself, and come to terms with what she has done in the past that is wrong. However, I don’t think Carly necessarily thought about how it affected other people, and other people that she loved. Again, Carly can be very selfish. She does lover her children and Sonny, but she does have a selfish tendency to her, but that’s what makes her human, and such a great character.
You think, Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) will be integral to this?
CHLOE: Yeah, she could be. I think Bobbie will take a special interest in Nelle at some point, and I am just speculating here.
The funniest thing is … Bobbie has been on to Nelle this whole time, and no one else is believing her … yet!
CHLOE: Oh yeah, Bobbie has been around that block before, so she knows what is going on.
How hard it is being on your first soap, playing a mysterious character, and not stumbling with the press by letting the cat out of the bag?
CHLOE: I just try and stay as politically correct as I can, because I want to keep my job, but I like that people are into the mysteriousness of Nelle. I like that people are picking up on that. I don’t think it would be as effective if I would have come in and just had everything out on the table. It’s interesting to know why people do what they do. If you met someone on the street that was a complete jerk, and you were to spend five hours conversing with them and hear their back-story, there is usually a reason that people are the way that they are.
Can you see Nelle be redeemed, and later becoming a bonafide heroine? Would you prefer to see her in shades of gray?
CHLOE: I like playing with all the different facets of Nelle. I don’t see a character as a good or bad, because I think everyone has good and bad inside of them. We are all people. We do good things, and bad things, and it all just depends on what has happened to us and what we want. I could see Nelle being redeemed. I would like to also see the lighter and more truthful side of Nelle come out.
When you were part of GH’s 52nd anniversary episode, did you have any idea it would be such a major thing?
CHLOE: No. I had no clue. Are you kidding? I had never watched the show. I knew I was auditioning and it was very secretive. Mark Teschner (casting director, GH) had the part marked down as “girl number two”, and to be honest with you, I was thinking I’m not even going to go in for it. I thought, “Am I just standing in the background? What is going on?” Then I read the side for it, and I went, “OK, there is something I can play with here.” It was a fake scene where I was talking to Lena (Laura Wright), after she has passed away where Patricia is saying, “I’m so sorry. I feel terrible.” My boyfriend was like, “Go in for this role, I think this is going to be a good thing for you.” I went, “OK.” (Laughs)
I was blown away by your performance as young Patricia Spencer. I was like, “WHO is this girl?”
CHLOE: That is so sweet. I was working at an Umani Burger at the time. I had a Twitter account, but at that point my only fans were those who saw me on Army Wives or NCIS. So I had a limited fan base. Then, I looked on my phone after the 52nd anniversary episode aired and I had 100 new notifications. I was like, “What the hell is going on?” (Laughs) I saw that people were really responding to the character of young Patricia, and I thought it was very, very sweet. I was very humbled that they had responded to the character and to the episode, because everyone was fantastic in it.
Did you ever see the episode? It won the Daytime Emmy!
CHLOE: Yes, that was what I was told. I was very happy that I was able to have that opportunity, and then for Frank Valentini to bring me back for this great character of Nelle.
In closing, what should we watch for in the coming weeks for Nelle as she plots away on the Cortinhos family?
CHLOE: Watch for Nelle’s true feelings to unfold!
So, what do you think is the reason that Nelle is hellbent on making Carly suffer? What could be the history between these two? Are you enjoying the performances of Chloe Lanier as Nell? Do you hope Nell and Michael become a bonafide couple? Will Bobbie save the day and figure out who Nelle is before Carly does? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section below!