Daytime’s enterprising superstar, Crystal Chappell spoke with On-Air On-Soaps for the skinny on her plans for her exciting new web soap, and her concept of developing, producing, and housing a very special online network of series. Chappell, ever the mover and shaker and visionary, has some exciting plans for her fans and twitter followers everywhere. In fact, her new series is a collaboration with her talented husband, Michael Sabatino! We will let Crystal fill you in on the rest!
Already the hardest working woman in soaps, tell us about your new project!
CRYSTAL: My intention from the beginning was to create various online content and create an online network. So, what I have been doing is developing other projects. And the one I just finished is one that I have been developing with Michael Sabatino, my husband. There are so many daytime actors who are going to be out of work soon. So I thought I would love to be able to pull some talent into this new show. But I can say it will star me and Jessica Leccia. It has a classic soap structure about a wealthy family vs. the working class. It has been fun to write, and it’s called The Grove. It’s about a family who lives in sort of a Topanga Canyon (California) grove area, and comes down to a slice of life family business of nouveau-riche versus the working class. I have also started my company called New Voice Productions. With The Grove, getting to work with Michael on this has been a lot of fun. And you never know how that stuff is going to go! (Laughs) I am very decisive. So I love collaboration, but at the end of the day I know what I want. And, my husband has put up with me for years. (Laughs) He will say to me, “You know Crystal, you are a passionate person. And, if someone comes to you with a stronger argument than your own, you concede.” This is why I should have been an attorney! (Laughs) I am excited about The Grove. I am planning on shooting it in October and it will probably be the end of the year before it’s put up online. There are two or three other projects I want to do that are more reality based, and eventually I would like to create an online network where you can go in and buy certain packages.
If The Grove is a classic soap, will the LGBT community be represented?
CRYSTAL: I can tell you that I play a married woman to another beautiful woman, and the show is about families. There will be all kinds of people and characters in the show. It is not Otalia, but it is Otalia-esque. I feel like what I loved about that story was the simplicity. I remember Jessica Leccia and I would talk about this going, “God, are they going to want to watch us folding laundry?” We were not sure about a lot of stuff, but it became such an important lesson for me, because something about it was just so simple and the purity of their love. I think people will be very happy. I think the LGBT community will be OK with this. My perspective on my own world that I live in is that I surround myself with all walks of life: heterosexual, homosexual, Caucasian, African-American, etc. I live in a world that is diverse, thankfully. So those stories are very much part of the new show.
Now with the soon-to-be available talent pool from OLTL and AMC, will some of those performers be on your radar for roles in the new series?
CRYSTAL: I am a huge fan of One Life to Live and the cast, and a lot of my friends have gone over to All My Children, and even the people I don’t personally, I am a big fan of. And in what we do, it is a very collaborative and creative effort that shoots really fast. The Grove is about getting back to family strife and all the stuff that comes with relationships. The soaps I remember growing up with are also my inspiration for this series. I would love to have some of the OLTL cast come on the show, and I have spoken with some actresses from GH, too. It has been nice that people are willing to take a chance and get in on something from the ground floor. I know my IT team is building out The Grove site, but they are also building out the New Voice site, and a lot of great people are coming aboard. I think it is very exciting and we will get to hopefully use these actors and see their beautiful talent and faces on-screen again.
How many shows do you see yourself producing to be part of your online network platform?
CRYSTAL: I don’t see a limit, and with the help of these wonderful fans we have been able to create an online show. It’s not inexpensive. The fact that we have been able to do it, and they have been so passionate and loyal, then they will go and support it. The second we were able to do that meant that we could do this show and grow it. The fact that sponsors are contacting us is a good thing. So I don’t see why we need to put a limit on something unless it starts to become detrimental to the overall network.
You seem to be so inspired by twitter and your legions of followers who you communicate with so often. Are they having some input as to how you cast the new series?
CRYSTAL: I do have a casting wish list and a lot of my casting ideas have come from twitter, honestly. I get told all the time who should be on the show, and so I finally got in touch with those actors, and the performers have been positive in responding. So I think I can say the twitter fan base will enjoy The Grove. And, what is good about this is that I have the internet teams that I need to make things go more smoothly, and so the viewers and the audience will be more than taken care of.