This week on ABC’s General Hospital, a mother’s worst nightmare came true when her son is killed in the most tragic and horrific set of circumstances that will have a ripple effect on her entire family, and their sworn enemies.
When Daytime Emmy winner Bryan Craig (Morgan) made the decision to exit General Hospital, the GH writing team, along with series executive producer Frank Valentini, began to craft a story that will tear the popular duo of Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Carly (Laura Wright) apart at the seams, and place guilt on all the people in Morgan’s life for their part in his demise. In an ironic twist Sonny, who has decided to make his enemy Julian Jerome (William deVry) pay for his crimes (since the justice system failed to keep him behind bars for committing, or attempting murder) decided to call off the hit that would have killed him.
But Morgan, who has been spiraling out of control since Ava (Maura West) had been replacing his bipolar meds with placebos, got drunk and stole Julian’s car, only to have it blow up with him right next to it. When Carly learns that her son perished, it has been gut-wrenching performance after gut-wrenching performance from the cast involved in this story, but in particular Daytime Emmy-winner Laura Wright, as the mother trying to come to grips with the loss of her troubled son, and that her husband, for all intent and purposes, “murdered” him in a senseless act of violence meant for someone else!
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Laura to gain some insight into how she played some of the key moments viewers have watched unfold and that are about to come, what she thinks of how this story is about to play out for CarSon long term, and how she is getting through playing emotional beat after beat in one of the most dramatic storylines on GH in some time. An actor’s actor, and one-of-a-kind performer, here’s what Laura shared about this heart-stopping week of air shows, performances, and more!
It has been one of the saddest weeks in recent memory on General Hospital. Just when you thought all was patched up, and well in Sonny and Carly’s relationship, their entire world and foundation is rocked, when Morgan is dead due to a car bomb explosion. They had their calm before the storm, thanks to Sonny having a ‘come to Jesus’ moment, literally with Griffin (Matt Cohen) inside the church, where he calls off the hit on Julian, but it appears on the surface Morgan was caught in the crosshairs of this!
LAURA: They set it up so well, and it’s such good soap opera. Sonny comes to Carly and tells her he wants to be with her, and that he loves her. Then, as viewers saw, she says to him, “I love you so much, and I know what you’re saying without saying it.” They go back to their house, and they make love, and she gets called to the Metro Court. When she later goes home to wait for him, he comes back with devastating news.
After Carly learns from Sonny that Morgan is dead, viewers see her crumble to the floor as he tries to catch her. In the episode that followed, it’s now the next morning and some viewers commented about the decision to go that way in telling the story. What did you think of Carly waking up thinking Morgan was still alive with Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) by her beside?
LAURA: The idea they were trying to give to the audience is you wake up the next day after a tragedy, and the sun is shining. Carly is like, “Mom, what are you doing here?” She doesn’t remember being given a sedative to calm down the night before. It’s all as if nothing happened, and then it all comes crashing down again. It was just so sad, because she thinks Bobbie is talking about the dream she had about Morgan, and she says it’s not true, and it’s awful. Jackie Zeman was great in these scenes. I remember flicking her arm away from me in the scene going, “Don’t! Don’t do that!”
The emotional rollercoaster has been riveting to watch for Morgan’s family, and those who had a romantic relationship with him (i.e. Kiki and Ava).
LAURA: I have not seen a weak script in the bunch, and the only thing the fans might struggle with is that things had to be cut, because the emotional stuff plays longer and we only have 40 minutes an episode of story. So some scenes may seem shorter, or they are trimmed faster, so you might miss an emotional beat. That’s a hard one, because everyone was finding out Morgan died. And, poor Chad Duell (Michael)! He had to shoot when Michael finds out a week after he shot the aftermath scenes, but he was so great.
What was the last scene you actually filmed with Bryan Craig?
LAURA: It was the scene that aired when Morgan was freaking out about being expelled from school in front of Carly and Sonny, and when we shot those scenes, Maurice and I played it originally from more from an understanding place. However, our writer, Elizabeth Korte came down to the set and said, “You guys have to play more emotional!” So Morgan had to bring it, and Sonny and Carly had to be on him and pissed off, and not be believing him. Elizabeth said, “This is so huge, because this is the last time you see him alive.” Then, I had to walk off set. Frank Valentini comes up to me and says, “We can’t tell you anything!” (Laughs) It just affects people lives, because none of us know when it will be the last time we see someone before they walk out the door, and then there is a car accident, or something. So, taping this I was a mess. Later, even watching the episode I was gut-punched.
Did you say your “goodbyes” to Bryan?
LAURA: I had more scenes after we taped that. I still had Carly’s scenes with Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) to tape. I didn’t really think about it, because Bryan was back taping the next day, and taping a lot of scenes with Maurice. I haven’t seen Bryan since, and in the story of it all, I didn’t want to. I needed to stay in the headspace that I was in.
Were you surprised by Bryan’s decision to leave GH?
LAURA: Oh, no. I have known for a long time. I am never surprised when someone like him decides to leave. He is an actor, and he is young, and we didn’t become actors to just play the same roles for the rest of our lives. I have been fortunate enough to play three. I think people should do what they want to do, as long as they are not jerks about it, and Bryan is not. He is gracious and kind, and has always been fun to work with.
How awful do you think it will be if Carly ever found out what Ava (Maura West) did — switching Morgan’s bipolar meds for placebos? This action led to the downfall of Morgan, and set up this horrific chain of events.
LAURA: I think she would try to kill her. I think Carly would lose her mind, because in her mind Morgan would never have been drinking, never would have been in the car, and none of these things that led up to his death would have happened if his medications had been working. You will see that unfold in dialog coming up where she calls Dr. Maddox (Anthony Montgomery) over and says, “I want to know why my son is dead!” And, if Ava’s daughter was dead, and the situation was reverse, Ava would want to kill Carly.
It’s despicable what Ava did to Morgan.
LAURA: Yes, and Ava becomes riddled with guilt, and is in shock, and the ramifications are going to be huge. You can’t hand that to a better actor than Maura West!
Now that Carly believes that Sonny caused their son’s death, does she completely distant herself from him?
LAURA: Oh, it’s so good! Now that she knows that he is responsible for Morgan’s death, she is filled with anger and hatred. She is livid, and beyond distraught as it is. At first, remember, she is just thinking it was a car accident. So she calls over Dante and she says she wants to know exactly how Morgan died. Dante can barely speak when he tells her about the car explosion. It was like pulling teeth to get information out of Dante, because he knows what the final question will be from Carly: “Did Sonny put the bomb in Julian’s car?” So those scenes were really great. Dom and I were just right there in the moment. At one point they wanted me to get up and walk outside, and the producers said, “Can you just cross to make that work?” And I said, “Yes, because she probably wants to throw up, and she needs to get some air.” Dom and I really worked hard on those scenes, and thinking back it was so heavy. It was so sad for everyone, and Maurice just kills it in this storyline. He has a thousand things coming up he can pull from for consideration for the Emmys.
The key scenes, where Sonny walks in and sees Carly on the floor listening to the voice message she left on Morgan’s phone following his death; take me through how that was played, because it was outstanding and so raw.
LAURA: It was originally written when Sonny comes in that I would hit and punch him, and be screaming and crying. I said, “I can’t do the stereotypical thing.” I told Frank Valentini, I had been up since 3AM in the morning trying to figure this beat out, and I can’t. Unless I just hit Sonny and he doesn’t move, and I hit him again with everything I have and he doesn’t move, and tears are running down my eyes. But then I said, “Can we try something else?” I walked over to Maurice with a picture of Morgan, and we requested a photo of Bryan Craig when he was really young, as young as we could get. Carly just put the picture in Sonny’s face and I say, “Our little boy, our sweet little boy is dead!” Then I screamed and said, “And you killed him!” And then, I smashed the picture to the ground, and walked away. It was intense, and everyone on the set afterwards was silent. Later, I got an email from a couple of the producers who were like, “I don’t know whose idea it was to change it from the punching to that, but it was unbelievable.” And I go, “Oh, thank God!” Because you just don’t know if things are going to work when they are on the screen, and you get one shot at it … and smashing the photo. Frank did clear it with the writers first. It’s not about the punching, or the smashing of the picture. It’s the pain behind it that sells it to the audience. They trusted me to do this, and it turned out great.
The dissolution of Sonny and Carly’s marriage has been building for quite some time, and there were major hints of it back in February when Carly found out about the arms deal and went ballistic! She has been one step away with being so disgusted with his life, and the stage had been set that if there was a major tragedy it would be the breaking point for her. On Friday’s episode, viewers saw that Carly decided to leave Sonny and packed her bags. Will she go through with it?
LAURA: If she does, this would not just be about walking out on him, because of Julian; this would be walking out on him, because in her mind, he killed our son. Now every time she looks at him she will see the man that killed her son.
So far they have never found Morgan’s body, but some DNA evidence and remains. Doesn’t that leave the door open for a Morgan return via an actor with a new face?
LAURA: I guess, but if I even go there mentally it cheapens what I am doing right now. If that is what the show chooses to do down the road that is fine, but right now it’s full out being played that Morgan is dead. Jason (Billy Miller) saw it happen, and I have a really great scene coming up with Billy Miller.
Do you think this is the end of Sonny and Carly?
LAURA: I would say so … unless … she somehow finds out different about how Morgan died, because remember Sonny called off the bomb.
Chloe Lanier has been winning raves in her new GH role as Nelle. What are your thought on her performance, and the audiences’ concern she is going to screw over Carly, and may just be a “Carly mini-me”? Carly took to this girl rather fast, wouldn’t you say? Will Nelle be there for Carly in her time of sorrow?
LAURA: Chloe is so talented. I love her, she is great. I never have had a problem with Carly befriending her so easily, because Carly felt she needed a puppy to take care of, because Josslyn is becoming a bratty teenager, and her sons are grown up, and here is this girl which Carly has some guilt over and believes is the one that helped her daughter survive a kidney transplant, and her edginess Carly gets. Because I think Carly sees herself in her, and needs a project, I bought right into it. There are a million reasons why people will buy into something that other people don’t see. That happens all day in life. The audience sees all the other manipulative things Nelle is doing. For instance, Carly does not see her at the top of the stairs staring. In the big picture story something like that can only work if Carly believes that this girl is loyal and has her back, and then later has her knees taken out. Right now, Nelle is there for Carly and the Corinthos family, and being supportive.
A lot of people are suspecting that Chloe is Carly’s daughter! Thoughts?
LAURA: I have to say if that were true, I think Carly would know! (Laughs) If it were to turn out that Nelle is really Carly’s daughter, I don’t know if I would understand that one, but I would play it. Honestly, I don’t know why Nelle is so hurt and angry. I don’t know her back-story, as of yet.
You have had such a fantastic career in soaps with some heavy-duty storylines on Loving, Guiding Light and General Hospital. Where would you rank this one?
LAURA: All I can say is the scenes I shot after Morgan is dead, I don’t remember seeing the cameras, because as an actress I was, and had to be, so in the moment. I mean the ramifications of this story … it’s Dante’s brother, Sonny’s son, etc. When you are performing scenes in a story, and the crew is silent, you know it’s different and something special is happening.
How did you find out the story surrounding Morgan’s death, and how it would play out?
LAURA: It happened in passing that I heard that Bryan was leaving. Then I had heard something about how they were going to kill the character. It’s never the kind a story a mom wants to tell … it’s a hard story to tell. When I heard how they were going to construct it I thought it was great, because it engulfs everybody, and it was a way to cause trouble in the relationship between Sonny and Carly, and you understood why. It was a way to pull in and tie-in the Jeromes. Now it affects Michael, and they even shot scenes with the Quartermaine’s finding out. It’s an umbrella story that is really well-done. I am very proud of everyone all around.
Will scenes from this story be part of your Emmy submission?
LAURA: I am pretty sure they will be. (Laughs) But I have to see all the episodes and scenes together, first. Even sitting here talking to you as Laura, and thinking about Carly finding out her son has died and playing those scenes, it makes me very sad, depressed, and a little nauseous. It’s like it really happened.
That’s what makes you such a great actress – how deep you can go, and where you go, and how you feel these things – that’s what makes you so good at your craft.
LAURA: Thank you. I try to be as real as I possibly can. It’s the hardest work I have ever done. The material is the most heartbreaking I have ever done. I have been taping like three episodes a day, but on the flip side of it, I will say you are getting it all done, and you are staying in an emotional place.
We will all need ten boxes of Kleenex before all this is done!
LAURA: I was walking down the hallway and Jane Elliot (Tracy) says to me, “Unbelievable.” I said, “Thank you so much, Jane.” But then she adds, “And I’m so glad it’s not me” (Laughs) It’s a hard story to tell, and to honor the material that has been given to you as an actor, you have to go there one hundred percent. What’s weird is I can be at my daughter’s volleyball game, and then the next morning start driving to LA and my stomach starts getting in knots, and I become in Carly’s head space, and I can cry just when I am getting to the studio.
GH put out a casting call recently, which everybody presumes is a recast for Morgan. If they were to tell that story a year from now, and he was alive, that would be another huge beat for Carly to play! Would that ruin it for you an actor that you put all this work into the characters demise, and then lo and behold he is alive?
LAURA: No, not at all! A year from now if they write it, and it’s good, that’s a whole other story I get a chance to play. I believe being an actress on a soap opera is like being a kid in a candy store. There are no limitations, and the only limitations we have is what we put on ourselves. The second people say, “I never”, or “we never”, then we limit ourselves. But hey, soaps have been going on for decades, and still going, and it’s because we tell these kinds of stories, and the fans want these stories to continue on. So, if Morgan climbs out of the ravine a year later, and Carly goes: “Wow! That was a long time to hold your breath!” (Laughs) … if that’s my dialog I will figure out a way to deliver that.
As this story continues to unravel, what kind of journey would you tell the fans of General Hospital that they are about to embark on?
LAURA: Fans are going to go on this very emotional tragic journey with the Corinthos family. I was concerned how this story was going to be written for Carly, but it has been blowing my mind how good it is.
So, what has been your favorite scene thus far featuring Laura Wright as Carly following Morgan’s death? Do you think Sonny and Carly can work their way back to eacho ther from this huge rift in their relationshp? Will Carly find out what Ava had perpetrated against her son? If so, how will she make her pay? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!