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38 July 27th, 2015 GH’s Laura Wright Interview: The Honor Of Playing Luke’s On-Screen Mom, Her Pivotal Last Scenes With Tony Geary, CarSon & Head Writer Change!

Courtesy/ABC

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house for those watching General Hospital last week when Luke (Tony Geary) headed to Elm Street to visit the old Spencer house before it’s torn down.  Armed with a gun, he intends on ending his life.

But in a turn of events after being visited by the vision of his beloved mother Lena (Laura Wright), who Luke accidentally killed as a young man, their conversation changes Luke’s life course forever.  It sets the stage for Tony Geary’s final episode airing today, and gives some closure, and opens new possibilities for the character of Luke Spencer.

Laura Wright received massive praise from fans and critics alike for her touching and emotional turn as Lena, a role she played once before on the series’ 52nd anniversary episode where GH went back in time to 1963, and viewers learned the Spencer family secret.  However, in the key scenes last Thursday, Lena tells Luke: “I have been watching you all these years, letting that fateful night define you.  It’s time for you to stand up again.  You figure out who you are.  Better yet, you figure out who you want to be without all of those demons bottled up inside you.  The possibilities are limitless.  It’s time to move forward.”  Luke replies with tears in his eyes: “Momma, what can I do? What can I ever, ever do to make it up to you?”  Lena says, “You find the man you were meant to be. You find a way to be happy, and you choose to live.”

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Daytime Emmy winner Laura Wright to talk about: the emotional defining scenes for Luke Spencer, getting to work with Tony Geary in this tearjerker, and to play the icon’s TV mom, while also playing Carly Corinthos Jax! Laura also weighs-in on: Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) recent marriage proposal to Carly, finding out little Jake Spencer (James Nigbor) is alive and well, and the head writing switch announced last week that will see Ron Carlivati exiting the ABC daytime drama, and Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante taking over the position.  With one last look at her incredible scene partner, Tony Geary, here’s what Laura shared with us.

After the airing of last Thursday’s episode of General Hospital, you received major kudos for reprising the role of Luke’s mother, Lena Spencer.  It was a brilliant performance. 

LAURA: The response has been so incredible, and I have been so amazed that so many people had so many kind things to say.

When you got the script for this episode, it was an important key point to the entire exit story for Luke Spencer.  He goes back to the Spencer home on Elm Street with gun in tow with the intent on committing suicide, but he is visited by the vision of his mother, Lena.  At that moment, everything changes.  Everything she said was so poignant and so touching.  It was heartbreaking, and beautifully written.  What did you think of the writing?  When did you find out you would be playing Lena again?

Courtesy/ABC

LAURA:  Oh, it was beautifully written.  I knew I was going to be playing Lena again about a month before I shot it, but I did not know that the story was going to be that Luke was going to kill himself.  So when I received the script, I went, “Oh, my God!  I am the person who stops him from killing himself!” You know, thinking: “God, how huge is this!”  But it all made sense, because Lena had to be the one that released Luke from the pain.  It’s so funny to play the mother that is telling Luke Spencer what he should do with this life. (Laughs)   I remember watching old Luke and Laura scenes, and the day that Laura came back from the dead, and I remember jumping on my couch going nuts!  And to this day that was one of my favorite soap scenes, ever!  That was because of Tony Geary’s reaction and how he played that scene, because that, right there, was why everyone loves Luke.  Because when Luke goes for it, there is no thought process.  He just jumps over the balcony, he knocks things down, and he would die for her.  So then fast forward, and for me to play his mom, I had a moment of, “What?” (Laughs)   It was incredible.  These scenes were not about me, they were about him.  I was the vehicle for Luke to be able to let go.  I let those scenes be about the story, and the words, and what she was saying to her son.

And you knew these were going to be your final scenes with Tony Geary!  Did you feel the enormity of that in that moment?  Did you and Tony rehearse those scenes a lot?

Courtesy/ABC

LAURA:  I did not put too much emphasis on that, because I thought, “Wow!  How lucky am I!”  Many people didn’t have final scenes with Tony, and I realized I was one of the few lucky ones.  So, I didn’t really go too much into that world, because I was in such a grateful place.  Tony and I sat down quite a few times sitting next to each other in the hair and make-up chairs, because he had so much stuff going on that day, and it took forever for me in hair and make-up … hair, really. (Laughs)  That is because to get my hair to look like it did playing Lena, because my hair is so much longer, and we can’t cut it clearly because I have to play Carly.  They had to really work some magic to make it look short.  I knew how important these scenes were to the story, but I had to stop and say to myself this is not about you – these are the scenes that make Luke stop and not kill himself.  It was about giving Tony what he needed in the scenes for Tony to make the decision to do what he needed to do for his character.

The scenes were the key to everything: Luke coming to terms with his past and letting go, so he can have a future, and find some happiness.

Courtesy/ABC

LAURA:  I had to realize that, so I could tell the story.  If I got caught up in my own emotions or insecurities, then that just ruins it, and it takes away from really what is happening.  And when you go, “It’s not about me,” look what comes out of it?  Some really beautiful scenes!   There was such a bigger picture there that you have to let go, so then you can have it all, basically.

Did you make any adjustments to the lines of dialog in the key scenes between mother and son?

LAURA:  I added saying the line, “My sweet boy”.  I added that because that was the last thing she said to him before she left, and he never saw her again as the young Luke on the 52nd anniversary episode. There were a couple of other things I changed to try to tie-it in to the last time we saw Lena.  I wanted to connect all of that for him, and so when I asked if I could add that line, Tony got tears in his eyes. 

What happened when you finished the scenes?  Did you get a moment to share a private goodbye with Tony?

Courtesy/ABC

LAURA:  We finished the scenes and they rushed me down the studio to take pictures with the young Luke (Joey Luthman).  I then just walked back down on set as the director was trying to tape the next scenes, and Tony and I just hugged each other.   I gave him the biggest hug.  There just aren’t any words to say how honored I was to play his mother in those crucial scenes, with Tony Geary, the second to the last day of his career working as Luke.

These scenes are so strong!  Would you consider submitting them for next year’s Daytime Emmys?

LAURA: It’s a hard call.  The scenes with me as Lena are out of context, and people said I should submit the 52nd anniversary scenes, too.  But I think we, as actors, should be able to submit two shows for competition.  I am intending on bringing it up at the Actor’s Emmy meeting this week.  I don’t think one show is enough to show your work.  And I know what their argument is going to be.  I totally respect it, and I agree that it’s difficult to get people to watch two shows of work.  They are not wrong about that.   I am just saying from an actor’s point of view, it’s hard.  I think it’s great that they are having a post-Emmys actor’s meeting to hear our suggestions, and for that I bow to them.

Last week, the news broke that Ron Carlivati has been let-go by ABC as the head writer of General Hospital.   You took to Twitter with a very nice tweet and thank you to Ron.  What are your thoughts on Ron’s departure … and his contributions to GH?

Photo: Paley Center for Media Beverly Hills

LAURA:  The Ron and Frank (Valentini) team saved General Hospital, period.  Ron came in and made changes that needed to be done.  He brought back core characters that had not been seen forever that the audience just loved.  The first characters that pop into my head are Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) and Felicia (Kristina Wagner) … especially Lucy with the Nurses Ball.  Frank is definitely a huge part of that as well, and I am not taking anything away from Frank, who is still there and tirelessly working for us.  I love Ron.  I love him personally, and there is nothing more fun that sitting next to Ron at the Daytime Emmys! (Laughs)  I adore him, and his writing, and his talent, and it’s all there.  I wish him the best.  Ron is so talented, and so I am just calling this a “nice break” for him, because I am sure Ron is going to kick ass somewhere else.

What do you think about the incoming co-head writing team of Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante?  This time it’s two women who will be charged with the task of keeping things interesting and kicking in Port Charles.

LAURA:  I‘m excited to see what happens.  They have a job and they are writing General Hospital now, and so the reality is it’s already underway, and so … bring it on! Let’s see what’s next.  I have been doing daytime for 24 years. and when I was on Loving in my first 7 years there, I think we went through 4 head writers and 5 producers.  Stuff like this happens, and you just keep going.  I look at the change as a positive thing.  I got to work under Ron for 3 years and his writing, and before that it was the legendary Bob Guza, and now it’s going to be two women, which is awesome.  I just look it as experience, after experience, after experience.

In other Carly news, she just accepted Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) marriage proposal!  Do you think it was too soon for her to do so, given the nature of their often combustible past?

Courtesy/ABC

LAURA:  I am loving working with Maurice, and it’s so much fun.  We love our storytelling. We have a blast working together. And he better say the same thing about working with me, by the way! (Laughs)  I loved the dialog where she said, “I know we have done this before, but we haven’t done this wedding.  This time it’s a new beginning that ends in forever.”  I think she believes that.  Sonny and Carly are different now.  He is saying, “I am old-fashioned, I love you, and I want you to be the mother to my daughter.”  I think life is more important to them now.  They both get that loss is huge, and when you have someone who will stick with you through thick and thin, it’s worth more than anything, and that the love is deeper, and richer, and more important.  Now I don’t know what Carly will do when she finds out Jason (Billy Miller) is alive, or what Sonny will do if he finds out that she knew that “Jake” was working undercover.  And we don’t know what they are going to write now with the new writing team.  So, I don’t think it’s too soon for her to have accepted his marriage proposal, because we are riding this fun wave.  It’s really sweet and romantic, but they are still Sonny and Carly at their core.  They still bicker, but it’s not as intense as it was.  I think they are wiser.

Courtesy/ABC

I have to say; I got a kick out of the scenes where Jake tells Carly that little Jake Spencer (James Nighbor) is alive.  She then has this moment of clarity and shock realizing, if little Jake is alive, then who’s kidney does her daughter Josslyn’s have inside of her? (Laughs) You were great in those moments, by the way.

LAURA: Those were the hardest scenes! (Laughs) Billy Miller and I had the most fun doing those scenes, and we couldn’t stop laughing!  But when Carly saw little Jake, he was so adorable, and it was so emotional. They had him looking just like Steve Burton! (Ex-Jason, now Dylan Y&R) (Laughs)  So you have to make it as an actress plausible for yourself, so I was like, “Really, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst)?” (Laughs)

In closing, Monday on General Hospital it’s an end of an era as we watch Tony Geary’s final episode as Luke.  What are your final parting thoughts on Mr. Geary?

Courtesy/ABC

LAURA:  The first time I worked with Tony he said he wanted to change a line, and do something fun in the scene.  I think it was my second or third day with dialog basically on GH.   Tony goes, “I would like to juggle, tap dance, and sing all in the same scene.  Is that OK with you?”  I am like, “Yeah!”  Tony is, was, the most giving, funny, talented, in the moment, supportive person to work with.  It’s almost like you don’t know who you are working with, Tony Geary or Luke Spencer, and all that stuff that goes with that.  You don’t see that.  He is just an actor on set.  That’s the beauty of Tony Geary.  I will miss him.  Yes, he’s Tony Geary, and he played Luke Spencer, but I am going to miss working with an incredible actor.

So, what did you think about Laura Wright’s performance as Lena Spencer in scenes with Tony Geary as Luke for the final time?  Did you reach for the hankies? What do you think about how Laura paid tribute to Tony with her acknowledgement of how honored she was to have had the opportunity in her career to play his on-screen mom? Laura also shared her thoughts on the state of CarSon … do you think it will last under the in-coming head writing regime? Share your thoughts and comments below!

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  1. Linda Berthiaume says:

    awe love what Laura said about Tony. I loved their last scenes Laura and Tony always worked well together as niece and uncle and as mother and son LOL.

    I also love what she said about Mo. She and Maurice shine together on screen and as a long time S&C fan (since hate sex of 99) I hope they dont break up S&C and keep them for the long haul together. IMO Sonny and Carly are a perfect match, each other soul mates and there is so much more to tell for S&C as a couple. I also hope the show has Carly adopt Avery like Sonny adopted Michael.

    Reply

  2. su0000 says:

    Tony and Laura = awesome!
    The scenes were heartfelt..
    Laura gave one of her best performances, we will remember those last moments..

    The past 3 weeks were an emotional closing of the Tony era …

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  3. kathy says:

    She was just amazing!!! She should submit these scenes for emmy. She certainly deserves it!!

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  4. Jimh(leave it to beaver) says:

    LW looks best as a 1950s mom…wish she could keep that retro look on the show but she also needs a white pearl necklace and a hoover vacuum…lol

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    Jimh(leave it to beaver) replied

    She also needs to call Micheal ‘Wally’ and Morgan ‘Beaver’…lol

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    Timmm replied

    And Franco as Eddie Haskell.

    Aden replied

    And she seriously needs to STFU as Carly. It boggles my mind that they have one of the most beautiful, luminous, talented actresses and they make her a delusional, screechy, narcissistic, violent mob moll. Laura Wright deserves so much better. I am glad she gets a reprieve from playing Carly, however briefly.

    Reply

    Shay replied

    That’s certainly telling it like it is, Aden. Whilst I have no quarrel with LW, per se, I do take issue with her Carly for all the reasons you list. Her “bull in the china shop” approach to everything life throws at Ms. Jacks is a bit much–to say the least—and fails to permit this actress to share her more nuanced, softer side that the skillful portrayal of “Lena” twice beautifully highlighted. Although I have no real expectation that Carly will ever be allowed to shine in this traditional, more feminine manner, it would definitely not go amiss to see Wright given future opportunities to present this far more appealing aspect to her onscreen persona….she is actually quite likable and enjoyable in that particular mode.

    CeeCee replied

    Yeah, Aden…the same could be said about the ultra-talented, Michelle Stafford.

    Patrick replied

    “oh, Aden”

    I love your words

    I don’t mind getting slammed about my take on Carly

    you said it best

    because Laura Wright’ Carly is dynamo… “stunning” and her Carly has been so lost

    don’t we all miss her

    here’s to the new writing team

    LOL

    Yes, Aden…

  5. KMB says:

    i Will always have a soft spot for Carly and Jax. If Jax ever came back and Carly is now permanently with Sonny, I hope Jax and Carly can be friends and that the new writers pair Jax with someone really good.

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    Timmm replied

    Jax is a bore!

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    KMB replied

    I find Carly and Sonny #3672 a bore, but hey, to each his own. :)

  6. janet says:

    I will say one thing abut LW she knows how to say the right thing. Everyone is wonderful, and she loves everybody. OK no one will be mad at her. She should have given Tony a few lessons on not bitting the hand that feeds you. How to not make the fans all happy to see Tony go. I have no respect for Geary. he burned his bridges and good riddance. So I guess he gets to take some of the blame for Rons lousey exit.I guess its hard to write for someone who won’t allow it, and TIIC allow said character to run the way he will play it. I saw Laura come on and shut the show off and went to the gym. Ron may not have all the blame for this Fluke mess , but he certainly wouldn’t listen to what the fans wanted to see. This show is all mobs and I don’t want and will not watch that. Laura can act, we saw that on loving, Carley with Sonny is just a good chance to ff quicker.

    Reply

    Timmm replied

    Janet, maybe Laura is just a sweet person who doesnt hold grudges and is grateful for what she has. You know not everyone is bitter in life.

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    janet replied

    You could be right. Guess LW is not Carly. Who is though ?

  7. Jimh(leave it to beaver) says:

    Yeah, Ron brought some beloved vets back but doesnt know how to write for them…he kills AJ and Duke off…Kevin?…Felicia—her picture with Mac need to be put on a milk carton asap…time will tell if the next writers are any better…or worse!!!

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    heeey Jim ! :)
    AJ wanted to go back to DOOL..
    He was making the deal behind Ron and FV’s back, set it up and said he was leaving.. he wanted love scenes lol So yah, he needed to be killed off for what he did lol..
    Felicia was a shorter stay.. she had been making/producing movies or some such thing with her hubby and avtively working for some cause and has a business..
    Kevin had other things in the fire when he came back in..
    Some of the returns just wanted short stays ..
    Not every actor who was with GH wants to be back full time etc..
    some don’t want to back at all aha!
    can’t write long involved stories for people who don’t want to invest the time or want to do long term :)

    Reply

    Aden replied

    AJ, Sean Kanan, was never on DOOL. nor did he broker a deal to go there..

    Jimh(leave it to beaver) replied

    He went to B&B not Days…and it was because of RCs terrible writing for his character AJ…RC still didnt have to kill him off…just put him in a coma for 20 years!!!

    su0000 replied

    ooops my mistake .. BB it is, thanks

    rebecca1 replied

    Su…sean kanan was very happy to be asked back to GH. He had no intention of leaving and has said he was disappointed in tbe writing for AJ…”relish and panic attacks.” He also thought he would have a relationship. Ron didnt respect Sean or even attempt to meet him half way when he expressed his dissatisfaction. And let’s not forget the jabs at SK’s weight gain. Ron led SK, and fans of the actor and character, to belueve he would finally be a formidable presence in the Q fold…that he’d finally come out on top. It was disappointing for lot ofong time viewers…reducing AJ once again. Killing him? Big time mistake./

    Timmm replied

    Felicia is the cleaning lady on the Haunted Star!

    Reply

    Jimh(leave it to beaver) replied

    I wish Felicia was that lucky…and as for the other reply, i forgot about Eddie Haskell!!!

  8. Jess B says:

    Great interview! Sounds like some dialogue was cut from the proposal that was beautiful-wish we would’ve heard that.

    I truly hope the new writers keep S&C together & show what a real marriage is-working through good & bad times. It would be a shame for them to break them up after they just reunited but anything could happen.

    If they break them up-I hope they give Carly a decent story & love interest but my choice would be to keep S&C together for the long haul but like she says it’s a soap

    Reply

  9. Sandy says:

    Beautiful heartfelt scenes between Lena and Luke! I think Laura is a wonderful actress who never seems to phone in any of her scenes. I appreciate that about her, and her wonderful grateful attitude as well. A class act!

    Reply

  10. Lin says:

    loved the interview. But CarSon? I thought, what is that? I don’t like these cutesy couple names.

    Reply

  11. Sandy says:

    She was amazing and she’s the best Carly ever I’ve been watching GH for 50 yrs and she is the perfect Carly

    Reply

    Timmm replied

    They had four and one was bad, the other three were all good! I loved when they brought all three Carlys on for one day. So much talent!

    Reply

  12. Fanny says:

    Laura’s portrayal of Lena Spencer was spot on..from the moment
    she reappeared to confront Luke tête-à-tête, I knew it would be
    emotionally moving and incredibly special.

    Reply

  13. TMJ says:

    Laura was excellent as Lena. I never saw Carly when I watched those scenes. She also blew me away in her scene where Carly saw little Jake. Carly always seems in control, even when she is upset or angry. Laura always plays her as strong, so it was a surprise to see Carly so stunned, so shaken, and so out of control. Again Laura proved yet again how truly talented she is.

    Reply

    CeeCee replied

    I got the same impression, as you did, TMJ. Carly’s face had such an incredulous, real look that it made me feel her power of owning that moment. I was also blown away by that. The woman can act….unfortunately Sonny’s, I am He-Man, persona blurs what Laura/Carly has to offer. Yeah, I know…it’s always about Sonny with me. LOL.

    Reply

    Timmm replied

    Carly stands up to Sonny boy. At least she is stronger than Nicky. She cowers everytime the Mustache mumbles!

  14. TMJ says:

    Laura is right in her concerns about the Emmy structure. It’s not right to force an actor to chose a full episode to submit. Sometimes a episode includes a beautiful moment, such as Carly seeing little Jake, but not enough else to showcase the actor. The Emmy committee should set a time limit (one hour?) and let the actor or the producers decide which scenes to chose, and how many clips from different episodes to include in the reel. This way an actor can pick special scenes from the beginning, middle, and end of a storyline to showcase themselves. This would also showcase the actor’s work over the year, and not just on that one day with that certain script. Then we would get a better judgment of overall talent, and not just a reaction to one particularly emotional scene or story point.

    Reply

  15. judy phelps says:

    I love Laura and her characters she plays too.I love her with uncle luke, sonny and bobbi. Good scenes.Both actors were brilliant. I will miss the legend A,G as Luke so much. Now it is time for Sonny to take the reins and with Carly by his side. GH will not be the same with Luke gone. Very good interview.

    Reply

  16. Jane says:

    I think they did it right both in acting and writing. It was weird this week so far not seeing Luke. But now the serious stuff will come to head with Jake and Liz which I like together but really Liz is in deep and it’s just wrong of Liz.

    Reply

    Timmm replied

    Tony took a lot of time off so to me it isnt so strange that he isnt around YET!

    Reply

  17. Timmm says:

    You either like Carly or you dont. I always liked her because she mixes it up with the boys. My best friend is a girl and Carly and Jason remind me of the friendship I have with my girlFRIEND. Laura was great as Lena and the first go around on the 52nd anniversary show I didnt even realize it was her at first! I[‘m a fan and she seems like someone who would be friendly and loyal in real life.

    Reply

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