December 21st, 2010  |  Leave a comment

The Hillary B. Smith Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

If you have been witness to the shenanigans and skullduggery being perpetrated in Llanview over the last several weeks, you know that everyone’s favorite couple, Bo and Nora, have been victims of a well-calculated series of events, thanks to Clint Buchanan with an able assist from the now deceased Eddie Ford and Inez Salinger!  Everything was orchestrated to drive a wedge and destroy the marriage of Llanview’s’ most loveable duo, after the couple had a lover’s spat about their past.  From kidnapping Nora, to bogus text messages, to blackmailing Inez to sleep with Bo, Clint pulled all the strings, but then some things went amiss, namely Eddie was found murdered!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with one of our all-time favorite actresses, Daytime Emmy winner Hillary B. Smith (Nora Hanen Buchanan) to shed some light on the machinations that has given her some frontburner material including scenes where Eddie almost raped her, and later, when Rex finds her tied-up, bound and gagged to a chair in a motel room. So where will the story go from here?  Will Bo and Nora have a Happy New Year?  Is what broke them up ten years ago (Nora slept with Sam Rappaport) going be the same thing that breaks them up now, even though it’s not true, and this time it’s Bo who believes he cheated on Nora?  Hillary fills us in.  But, we can tell you that right after Christmas look for some major developments in Bo and Nora’s relationship, when certain truths may come out sooner than later.

Hillary also chats about her scene-stealing role as Guya on Crystal Chappell’s hit web series Venice, and the opportunity to work with her on-screen love interest there, Days of our Lives star Shawn Christian (Daniel).  Plus, we get some more information and insight into Hillary’s beloved project to help pet owners and their dogs, The Willee-Coppee Fund.  Finally, we get Hillary’s thoughts on Nora’s Best Moments of 2010 and her hopes for her alter ego in the New Year.  Without further ado, here’s Hillary! 

MICHAEL:

Over the past week, you have gotten some great story to play. The scene where Rex comes to find Nora in the motel room, where Eddie Ford held her captive, was one of those great Hillary B. Smith moments.  Nora’s reactions to the situation were so right on, in lieu of the fact that Eddie almost raped her.  Did you see your performance?

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HILLARY:

I saw it on the air and it was very real.  Here we are.  Nora is tied to a chair and jibber-jabbering. Then, when Rex goes to reach for the knot on her coat to help untie her, I thought, “Wouldn’t I bat his hands away?”  So Jill Mitwill, who is our director said, “Just do it and let’s see what happens.”  So we did it and it became this big moment.  It really grounded Rex, and it became a really beautiful moment between two people who have always cared about each other.  It was just was one of those moments you can’t quite put into words that would never happen between them ever again, and would not have happened between them, except under these circumstances.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the change to the dark side of Clint, played brilliantly by Jerry verDorn?  I mean, it is Clint that is truly Bo and Nora’s worst enemy and they don’t even know it yet!

HILLARY:

Well, thank God, because it’s really given all of us something to do! (Laughs) Jerry verDorn is so interesting because he says all these horrible things, and does all these horrible things pretty much in the same way as he says, “Good Morning” and “Would you like some coffee?”  I think its right, and at some point it had to happen because Clint was humiliated and he will never forget that.  And then Jerry jokes around the set saying, “Bring Kim back and everything will be fine.”  I think he is doing some great, great work.  It does give you a chill down your spine, doesn’t it, when you watch him?

MICHAEL:

When you found out that Bo and Nora were going to be manipulated by circumstances via Clint so soon after they had just gotten back together after all these years, what went through your mind?  “I can’t believe they are trying to break us up after all we went through to reunite.” Or, did you think, “Good.  Frontburner story.”

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HILLARY:

Well they didn’t say, “This is what we are going to do.”  We sort of took it one step at a time and when they brought Inez in, I thought, we just got married and they are bringing someone else back in?  And, I think that is what the audience thought, too. Then my thought was, “Are we going back to the Georgie days where Inez would have this irrational crush on Bo?”  So, I think bringing Clint in, and that Nora is the one that pushed Inez and Clint together, I think is really interesting.  And then to have Clint turn around and use Inez against Nora is an interesting twist of the knife for Clint.  He would be thinking, “Oh, now Nora is trying to set me up with this girl?  Well, great!  I will use her.”  I think it makes more sense for Inez to come in and not arbitrarily worm her way into this relationship, and that Clint is actually using her kids against her.  I don’t know how they are going to redeem Clint, or deal with this, or if they ever will!  But we were not privy to any of this. We just opened our scripts and read it as we went along. Remember we shoot scenes very much out of order. We really jump ahead and jump behind.  You kind of have to go with faith.

MICHAEL:

You know what I thought when she went missing last week? (Laughs)  I thought what if Colin or Troy McGiver, and Lindsay Rappaport took her again!  Maybe it was a clever bit by head writer, Ron Carlivati, doing homage to that OLTL classic.  Nora is always disappearing at least once every decade!  (Laughs)

HILLARY:

(Laughs)  You will see why, and it’s very interesting the way they set that up. Nora does not remember where she was. All she knows is that she went off to get help and when she came to she had collapsed in the woods, and made her way back to the accident site. I think it’s important that the audience knows that there is this missing chunk of time.  Then, when I got back to the accident site, Bo is there and he knows something is not right, because he found my ring. Then, I am trying to piece together where I was and what I was doing, and to tell Bo about Eddie Ford.  And meanwhile, he knows that Eddie Ford is dead.

MICHAEL:

And he has yet to tell her his guilt over what he believes he did, which was sleep with Inez! Oh, poor Bo! Poor you!

HILLARY:

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You know, we are a very honest couple. Do you think he will tell me?

MICHAEL:

Yes I do, eventually!

HILLARY:

He should eventually tell me, but he doesn’t after the first opportunity to do so! So that makes everything worse.

MICHAEL:

And Nora will be rocked to the core, and then God knows, what she will do.

HILLARY:

First of all, she has just told Bo that Eddie tried to have her, and she says, “He didn’t rape me, but he tried to.”  Bo is just beside himself, and then when he says, “I have something to tell you,” I don’t think she has a clue where he is going with it.

MICHAEL:

So Nora still believes that after all those horrible text messages sent by Eddie, that Bo did not act on anything.  But, they were awful messages for any person in love with someone to receive!

HILLARY:

Why would you think if you sent somebody a text message that said, “Oh, by the way, I want you to sleep with that woman,” that they would?  That is where Nora is at.  She is in a fog and she has decided that all of this is a terrible nightmare, and that she really just wants to get away from it.

MICHAEL:

Do you think (A) Nora could be a prime suspect in Eddie’s killing? Or, (B) become involved in the court case as an attorney?

HILLARY:

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I think it is really interesting there is a period of time that is unaccountable, and I think they have very carefully put that there.

MICHAEL:

Eddie Alderson (Matthew) now has a subtle turn to the dark side, too, thanks to the influence of Clint.  How do you think Eddie is doing playing this new version of Matthew?  I think he’s doing a terrific job!

HILLARY:

I think it’s great and makes sense, because Clint has been such a constant in Matthew’s life.  Clint was the great uncle before Nora and he got together.  Matthew loved Clint. Then when Nora and he got married, Matthew was there with thumbs up.  And, Matthew felt very much betrayed at first, when Nora and Bo got back together, because they were in love behind Clint’s back.  So Matthew has had this allegiance to Clint.  It’s very interesting to see as he is learning about his Uncle, and where he comes down on the issue.

MICHAEL:

So this is another little red herring dangling out there for Bo and Nora fans.  How will Matthew play into this?  He saw Bo and Inez making out, which led him to believe they were truly sleeping together.  And he could tell Nora at any moment before Bo does!

HILLARY:

That is an interesting dynamic too, and Bo does not know that Matthew saw Bo and Inez together. Bo knows what he thinks he knows, and Nora knows nothing, and they are all living under the same roof!

MICHAEL:

How was it playing opposite John Wesley Shipp (Eddie)?

HILLARY:

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You know, we worked together on As the World Turns when I was Margo, and he was playing Doug Cummings.  It was so funny.  We ended up shooting out of order at One Life to Live because John got sick.  And all of the stuff he had with me in the motel room, we shot in one day, where he attempts to molest me, and has me in the closet, and all of that material.  It was his last day, too.  And, he was so out there and interesting.  He is the nicest and loveliest man in the whole world, and he is such a good actor.  He really was very thorough in his character development to the point where I am sure he was ready to shake this guy off… as that guy was pretty damn creepy.  At one point, he turned around to Larry Carpenter, our director, and said, “I have loved this woman most of my life and you are making her hate me on my last day?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

When you were Margo to his Doug Cummings on ATWT, he turned out to be a nut job then, too!

HILLARY:

Well, we did not know that.  He was acting then with now film star, Julianne Moore (Ex-Frannie/Sabrina ATWT). Then in that storyline, Doug became a whacko, and being the cop that Margo was, I had to go get him, and things did not end up well for him.  I think his character got murdered, too!  He is so much fun, because back then he had that beautiful little boy face.  Now he has aged into this really interesting character with those fabulous features and that prizefighter nose.  It truly is just fabulous.  The whole experience with him at OLTL was great because he committed to it.  He made the character and he filled every inch of that, and it made it easy to work with him, because he was who he was.  There was only one way to react to him!

MICHAEL:

How is working with Jessica Leccia (Inez) as your pseudo-nemesis?

HILLARY:

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I adore her.  We have a good time and we both are on Venice. And even though I don’t get to work with her there, I was excited when she came on to One Life to Live, to get to work with her.  Jessica is a very subtle actress. Our scenes together have been different dynamics then let’s say my scenes with Lindsay.  It’s such a completely different thing because Inez is truly a victim, not like Lindsay, who just played victim.  It’s been fun.

MICHAEL:

Is that what prompted Nora’s psyche regarding Inez, a flashback to times with Lindsay?  She was already feeling the vibe that Inez was on to her man before anything happened.  Is Nora just a very jealous person?

HILLARY:

I don’t think she was jealous as much….well…. I think because of Nora’s past experiences with Georgie and Lindsay, the history is there.  But with Georgie especially, you learn from your history, so that the same mistakes don’t happen again.  I think there was just something about Inez.  I also remember Nora had people in her ear all the time saying “Oh, my God. They are getting very close. Oh, my God, I would not leave her alone with him.”  And then all the time Inez is bringing Bo cookies, and always running to him. You know, I am talking my real life now. I love my husband to death, I really do.  I have seen women try to throw themselves at him and he does not get it.  I think married men don’t get it. They think, “She’s so nice.”  You have to go up and say to him, “Honey, you’re not seeing it,” and my husband will go, “Well, what do you want me to do?”  And I go, “Just be aware so you don’t get caught in a situation where something can be misconstrued by her.”  And then you go to the girl, (which I would never have done), but Nora did, and go, “He is this way to everybody.  Don’t read anything special into his reaction.”  And I think Nora thought that was going to be the end of it, and then Clint started in, and then it was her saying to herself, “I knew it!”  So I am trying to say to Inez, “Stay away from my husband,” and to Bo, “Don’t let her in the door so often.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Robert S. Woods (Bo) is one of the finest and most understated actors in the soap game.  How has it been working with him again after all the years being apart on the show?

HILLARY:

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It hasn’t changed.  Here is the thing: chemistry is trust and respect.  And, we both respect each other’s talents, and we both trust where the other one is going to take us.  So that high-wire act where you trust that the other person is there to catch you, it is still there.  I think the more we work together again it becomes very solid, because remember, we did not work with each other for ten years. And, I don’t know why it took them so long to put us back together again, but both of us are thrilled that we are.  It’s easy… it was like putting on your favorite pair of flannel pajamas and going, “Ah”.  By the time our characters got together, we realized that they were in love with each other, and a lot of it was we had to listen to each other and act off of that.  Also, the scenes were written well. Bob and I were lucky, and it was really easy.  We had forgotten how easy it is supposed to be.

MICHAEL:

So as we head into New Years Eve in Llanview, do you think there is hope for Bo and Nora?  Can they figure out that they have been duped?

HILLARY:

I think there is hope. You are going to see what works between Bo and Nora in the process, and see them overcome and work together.  I think this is the beauty of the story, and that is, when the forces go against them and everything seems like it’s falling apart, their trust and their love and respect will not let it go, and they fight for each other.

MICHAEL:

If you could take the writing reigns for the day, what would be your New Year’s wish for Nora in 2011?

HILLARY:

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I want her to go back to being a defense attorney.  I think it’s a lot more fun.  I like the legalese and all of that, but being a prosecutor is very cut and dry.  I like being able to have to think fast on your feet, and when you are a prosecutor you don’t.  Everything is mapped out and you have to follow the course.  So, I don’t think it’s as good a fit for me as a defense attorney.

MICHAEL:

Well, here is what I would like to see…I would like to see Tea defend Nora for the murder of Eddie Ford!

HILLARY:

There is an interesting thought.  I like that.  Put it out there to our head writer, Ron Carlivati!  That is a good one.

MICHAEL:

What do you think were the Best Nora Moments of 2010?

HILLARY:

I think the kidnapping and the turn of events with Eddie Ford and Rex coming to find her. The wedding of Bo and Nora was fun. That was high comedy and I enjoyed that from the standpoint that I got to do my comedy.  And then for drama, I really liked being able to play the subtlety of what happened in the motel room with Eddie.

MICHAEL:

You know I am very pro-doggie.  So tell us what is happening with your Willee-Coppee Fund that you created to assist pet owners to help man’s best friend with medical costs when they become ill?  What do you want to tell the fans that you need help with?

HILLARY:

Courtesy/WCFund

Here is the thing: we have raised over $20,000 since last fall.  We are very happy about it since it is not a tax-deductible charity; it’s just a discretionary fund that my friend Lindsay Harrison and I started.  From that $20,000 we are now low again, because we have been helping out so many animals, a lot of strays and rescues that people have adopted that have been brought in. We have had to bring the dogs back from death’s door.  We have been doing all of that and it’s really wonderful because we have saved the lives of animals that otherwise would have died, or were going to be put down, because their owners could not afford the medical treatment.  My goal in 2011, and I am putting it out there for any fan that has a law degree or knows how to do this.  We are looking for someone who will help us do all the paperwork in California to help us turn this into a non-taxable charity.  But it costs so much money to do so that we would rather put that money into the fund. Other than that, I want to thank everyone for their contributions.  It’s been wonderful.  It’s changed owner lives and dog’s lives, and brought us joy to help out.  So anything that anyone can contribute is wonderful. What we are looking for is to take the fund to that charitable level, where we can start getting donations and things.

MICHAEL:

So we need a Tea Delgado at The Willee-Coppee Fund!

HILLARY:

She is a defense attorney, and you know I should be giving Bob Krimmer (Ex-Rev. Andrew Carpenter, OLTL) a call, because he is a lawyer in California and he sets up grants and all of that!

MICHAEL:

Venice is about to come to a close with its final two webisodes of season two!  It’s been great to watch what is happening to Guya.  How was your time with Venice this time around?  And especially, working with Shawn Christian as Guya’s boy toy, Brandon?

HILLARY:

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It is a joy to stretch a different muscle because Guya is very different than Nora.  I love the experience of Venice. It’s a very close-knit group, and it was a lot of hard work in a very short amount of time. We all bonded very quickly and deeply, and if I could have brought Shawn Christian home with me, I would have (Laughs).  However, I don’t think my husband would have understood.  And I don’t think Bo would have understood either! (Laughs) Had I known that Shawn had been on One Life to Live at one point, I would have flown out to Hawaii myself!

MICHAEL:

You did not know that Shawn had been on OLTL as the original Ross Rayburn?

HILLARY:

He shot in Hawaii and I never met him.  So when Shawn said to me, “I was on your show for awhile. I played Ross.” I went, “Oh, my God!”

MICHAEL:

What did you think of Shawn?

HILLARY:

He is wonderful and adorable, and very easy on the eyes. I think when we first started working together he did not know what to do with me.  I think he was a little scared, because I was a lot more direct than he might have anticipated.  I look directly into people’s eyes.  So then I think he got used to me, and he said, “Wow, you are so there!” But I think I did scare him a little bit.

MICHAEL:

Guya is a psychic.  Did you get all of her metaphysical terminology?

HILLARY:

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She is a spiritual guider.  I understand most of what she is saying and whatever is on the page, I just say it.  That it the beauty of being an actor.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what would you like to say to the fans of OLTL as we close out 2010?

HILLARY:

I would like to say to the fans thank you so much for watching us on One Life to Live. We work really really hard to give you the best that we can, and with these economic times that are tough, we all have had to be tightening our belts.  But, we are here putting it out there, and we hope you are enjoying it, and hang with us.  I think that we are learning that love triumphs all, and that you can have all the craziness of the world, but as long as you got love, you are good.  I think they are bringing more love and relationships into OLTL, and that sort of offsets this dark stuff that we were going through.  The show has a nice balance now.

  1. sara says:

    GREAT INTERVIEW …I LOVE HBS…AND I HOPE THAT OLTL WILL KEEP THE BALANCE AND LET THE VET BE ON MORE……

    Reply

  2. semaj says:

    love nora on oltl and love bo and nora bo and nora endgame

    Reply

  3. Ceridwyn2 says:

    LOVE the interview. Hillary is such a doll. I love both Nora & Guya/Jane. Very different, but Hillary knocks it out of the park everytime.

    Thanks, Michael!

    Reply

  4. Brian says:

    Yay Hillary–We Love You Madly! :)

    Reply

  5. Doe says:

    This story with Clint buying off Eddie so Eddie can kidnap Nora, was so evil and more so because Eddie was a menacing character, done extremely well by John. He was really scary! I love Nora and Bo together so I hope that they will find their way back to one another. I’m kinda hoping that Inez killed Eddie, and that her conscience will get the better of her and maybe she will be the one to expose Clint. Or maybe Matthew will figure it out. It’s a genuine mystery at this point, but in truth, it’s quite a stretch to make Clint so vindictive. Jerry verDorn is outstanding! Looking forward to the next episodes. Happy you did this interview with Hillary, Michael.

    Reply

  6. Jan says:

    Great interview Michael. Thanks for doing it. Hillary has been my fav actress for many years and I always enjoy hearing what she has to say. She’s very interesting and really thinks about the question. But you asked great questions!

    Reply

  7. Ashlee says:

    The character of Clint Buchanan has NEVER been written, portrayed, or represented as evil. He had little use or concern for the Buchanan family ties, or legacy, or whatever. He had an unknown son, Cord, whom he immediately embraced. Now suddenly, due to a drastic rewrite, characters are CONSTANTLY talking about how Clint has ALWAYS been the one to preserve the “family” at all costs. The REAL Clint would NEVER deny Rex as his own flesh and blood. Between the Eli’s and the Eddie’s, OLTL has enough middle-aged male psychopaths running amok without changing Clint from a hero to a scumbag. Ron Carlivati usually honours show history, but he is making a dreadful mistake here with this character assassination of Clint. It is disturbing and disgusting, NOT entertaining.

    Reply

  8. martha mcdade says:

    love and Bo and Nora together

    Reply

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