April 1st, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE JOHN MCCOOK AND JENNIFER GAREIS INTERVIEW – THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

John-Jennifer.jpgBy Michael Fairman

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TV SOAP:
Are you worried that Eric is being taken by another woman, like he has in the past?

JOHN:
Certainly not!  Eric is not being taken, and this is not just any other woman!

JENNIFER:
I am not just any other woman! (She laughs)

JOHN:
Eric is not being taken by Donna.  Donna is not coming after Eric the way
she had manipulated Thorne, not at all.  Eric is surprised at how open, and honest, and
vulnerable this woman is.  She is not a girl.  She opens the door, and he sees her and he
goes, “Oh, my God!”  Donna has things to offer him emotionally, that he has never been aware of.

TV SOAP:
Stephanie has perpetrated so much.  How has that affected Eric’s decision-making?

JOHN:
Stephanie walked out on the entire family after perpetrating this last
debacle, and Eric is finished.  There is an emotional void in his life now, as there is nobody living upstairs with him, either.

TV SOAP:
Jennifer, what do you think Donna’s modus opperandi truly is, in regards to Eric?

JENNIFER:
I think she is just reacting, and not in a mode, or anything like that.  She is being honest. Here this great, wonderful, talented guy comes into her life and sweeps her off her feet.

TV SOAP:
But doesn’t Donna want to punish Stephanie?

JENNIFER:
She wanted to get back at Stephanie and that’s why she got together with Thorne, and that is why she went for him.  But, it still wouldn’t have been really nice to be with Thorne, because he is really hot and nice, and everything like that.  With Donna’s relationship with Eric, it’s bigger than that.  It’s not about revenge.

TV SOAP:
So, Donna’s feelings are true blue for Eric?

JENNIFER:
Yes, she has honest feelings for Eric.  For Donna, that surprises her because she doesn’t know what that is. This is the first time in her life she has really fallen for someone.  She has just been blindsided with this new relationship.

JOHN:
It’s great!  Yes, Eric has had several love interests in the past.  What has been delicious for me as an actor, and for Eric, is that Jennifer pretty much has been an unknown quantity.  I mean, I have seen her and said, “Hi!” and we know each other, but now it’s really wonderful to open the door in the scenes of discovery.  These two characters are discovering one another, and as actors, discover one another, too. We discover what is fun about this and what is deliciously different about it. That is the fun of being an actor.

TV SOAP:
So, you were surprised by Jennifer’s commitment and ability as an actress, in regards to this new on-screen relationship?

JOHN:
She surprises me damn near everyday as an actor.  It doesn’t scare me or blow me away,  or anything.  But, she will do something and I will go, “That’s nice!”

STEPHANIE:
He surprises me, too. I will be in the middle of scene, and he does something when he acts like a little boy and gets all excited, and it’s really fun.  John is energetic, and I think seeing that in John and in Eric, makes Donna really happy.  It’s wonderful to work with that energy and spontaneity.

TV SOAP:
Do you ever think about the older man/younger woman dynamic of this new coupling?

JENNIFER:
No, I don’t think about that very much.

JOHN:
No, I have been very careful.  I have made a concerted effort not to refer to it as a May/December romance.  This is a new Eric.  He is unburdened by the negativity of his marriage to Stephanie, and the emptiness of it.  He is unburdened by it because Stephanie is gone right now, and here is this wonderful woman.  She is honest and supportive and energetic with him, and it’s pretty cool.

TV SOAP:
But the big dilemma is whether to go back with Stephanie or divorce her and win back the company from Nick. That has got to be a huge part of this.

JOHN:
I think he anticipates a dilemma when Stephanie comes back.  But, when Stephanie comes back, I don’t think it’s going to be much of a dilemma.

TV SOAP:
But Eric could fall back into old habits!

JOHN:
He is vowing not to. This is different than before, in his relationship with Stephanie.

TV SOAP:
But, what is going to happen to Forrester Creations?

JOHN:
He desperately wants his company back.  I don’t know what is going to happen there, but I would like to see him get his company back, at any cost.  So, let’s see how that goes.

TV SOAP:
What about how Thorne feels, now that his Dad and his ex-fiancée are hooking up?

JENNIFER:
I think Thorne and Donna made peace, and we wished each other well in previous scenes… but then Thorne ends up catching Donna and Eric kissing.  I think after he sees  that his Dad is moving in, he is freaked out.

JOHN:
He freaks out!

JENNIFER:
There is a bit of jealously, and a feeling that it is kind of creepy. There is some disgust and it’s very gossipy to Thorne.

JOHN:
Yeah, it’s creepy to him and it offends him.  Eric says to him, “Stop it.  Just stop it.  Be a man here and get over it!  And let’s have a little respect here!”  Thorne is not coming at it with respect, because Dad has a new woman and it’s Donna.  It’s too fresh and it freaks him out.  Then, we have other members of the Forrester family, like Felicia… she freaks out.

JENNIFER:
Everyone is freaking out, but I don’t think Eric and Donna really care.  I think they are going to do what’s best for them and that’s being together.
JOHN:
That is something that has been very important for us to keep this going.  We deal with the other characters on the show, and when we are alone together is when we get to show each other about what this relationship means to the audience, and us, too.  And hopefully, the audience will see that.  And then they see us dealing with everything else out there, and it’s hard to deal with everything else.  But, when we are alone together we are very happy!

TV SOAP:
Brad Bell (exec. prod. and head writer, “B&B”) often changes direction in the middle of storyline and takes it off its course into another story arc.  Are you concerned about that with Donna/Eric?

JENNIFER:
Well, I hope it doesn’t change.  It would be a shame if it did.

TV SOAP:
Did you see this coming?  That after the fallout from the Thorne/Donna Wedding, that Donna would be paired with Thorne’s dad, Eric, of all things?

JENNIFER:
No, I did not see that coming.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

JOHN:
No!  It was a nice surprise to everybody.  Then, when Rhonda Friedman (supervising producer, “B&B”) said to me, after we were just wrapping up the wedding scenes with Thorne and Donna….

JENNIFER:
(She interrupts him)….Oh, yeah, John said to me, “Do you know what I know?”

JOHN:
And I go, “Yeah I know!”

JENNIFER:
And I go, “We are not supposed to talk about it.”

TV SOAP:
But when you first figured out that you would be romantically paired, what was your initial gut thought?

JENNIFER:
Wow!  I can’t believe we are going there.

JOHN:
Me too!  Rhonda whispers to me, “Donna falls in love with Eric” and I went, “What? Cool!”  The first thing you think of is, “Wow, this will be fun to play.”…and the next thing you think is, ”This is going to impact every other character on the show… it’s cool.”

TV SOAP:
John, what do you think is the core of Eric Forrester?

JOHN:
The core of Eric is that he is an artist and he enjoys the beauty in life, and he only wants to do that. That is what drew him to Stephanie when they were 20 years old.  That she was this business person.  She was practical about things, and the two of them sparked things in one another.  They thought that this was a great partnership, and they were right,  it was for a long, long time.  What happened to Eric is that the enthusiasm of their young time together went totally away.  Stephanie focused more and more and more on her children and less and less on Eric and the business…. and her offenses have been numerous.  She has offended the law.  She has crimes, misdemeanors and felonies for her protection of her children, and Eric has been trapped in that.  I think that it is not so much that he is weak…. because he is my Eric!  I think of him as manipulated and squashed down, and inhibited.  He’s been pushed into a corner by a relationship that has evolved into something that is not very good.

TV SOAP:
In reality, you do see many men in long-term relationships with domineering, tough, and powerful women, where they have the feeling of being stifled.  So, it is an important issue you are representing.

JOHN:
This is why I am very proud of Eric, for keeping Stephanie out of his life right now.

TV SOAP:
Jennifer, what about Donna’s feeling for her sister Katie?  Does she resent her?

TV SOAP:
I thought for a while Katie and Donna would have some problems, but she is my sister.  I guess if Katie would have not stopped the wedding, I would not have met Eric and been with him the way I have.  So, it is hard to be too mad at her when her actions caused me to fall in love with the man of my dreams.  I have mixed feelings with Katie. She is always a pain in my butt.

TV SOAP:
So, how are you going to play Donna when Stephanie returns to the mix?  Will you set out to get back at Stephanie through Eric?

JENNIFER:
Am I trying to get back at Stephanie?  No.  I think it’s a fringe benefit, and it’s not a cause anymore.  If anything, I don’t have vengeance in mind, but more justice in mind, because she has done criminal acts.

TV SOAP:
Who is perpetrating what on whom then, seems to be the central theme coming up.  Will it be Donna or Stephanie?

JOHN:
That is a good speculation! (He laughs)

JENNIFER:
She has been wrong before, and it’s not Donna wanting revenge.  It’s just that Stephanie needs to get the hell out of our lives.  It’s not just my life; it’s everyone’s life.  She is nuts!

JOHN:
She has offended everyone on the show with what she has done.  There is no reason for anyone on the show to let her through the door when she knocks.

JENNIFER:
But of course, her children are going to try to defend her.  If you are a woman, you should know what Stephanie did to Brooke was wrong, and stand up for Brooke.

TV SOAP:
What did you think about the recent Brooke storyline where she was raped?

JENNIFER:
I thought, “Ooh, that is going to be really hard to play.”

TV SOAP:
John, what did you think?

JOHN:
I think those things are always hard to play.  I salute Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke), because she did an amazing job.  It is hard to imagine that and play it, and execute good scenes, but Katherine does it every time.

JENNIFER:
She did an amazing job!

JOHN:
It’s a cool story!  The thing that has happened with us is, that Stephanie has narrowed her cause in life so much in the last ten years, that there is hardly any room left for sympathy with her.  I think that the characters are more and more feeling that way.  I don’t know how the viewers feel, but as I said, I don’t even know why anyone would answer the phone for her or let her in the house.  When she comes in the front door, she is already in a tirade.

JENNIFER:
She throws Jackie off a balcony…. takes Brooke’s kids away…. gets Brooke raped….

TV SOAP:
Are there emotions or things in scripts that are harder for you to pull off?

JOHN:
Not for me.  I think the hardest thing I am asked to do on this show is to be angry, and to be in confrontational scenes, because I am not a controversial guy.

JENNIFER:
I love being angry!  I don’t know.  One time, I had to play high on heroine, cocaine and pot, in a movie.  I felt like, how I am supposed to know about heroine and pot!
That was a challenge.

TV SOAP:
What about when called upon to cry?

JENNIFER:
I kind of have to walk around miserable all day, if I have a crying scene that day.  The hair and make-up people are asking me, if I am all right?  And I go, “Yeah. I am just thinking about my scenes,” and they leave me alone.

TV SOAP:
John, is it hard for you to cry, on screen?

JOHN:
It’s hard to cry a little bit, from time to time.  That is the beauty of being on a soap opera with people for decades, when someone I love on this show, their character is dying.  Or if there is an emotional sweet thing that happens with my daughters, and when I look at them, it’s easy for me to well up.  I don’t have to go, “I am going to well up here.”  I will do it if it happens and when it’s appropriate.  We love each other here, and we have emotional connections with one another.  It’s not about the show or the script; it’s about each other.  We depend on each other so much.

JENNIFER:
But there are two types of crying, though…. there is eyes welling up, and then there is tears dropping out.

JOHN:
Tears dripping out, I can’t do.

TV SOAP:
Do you joke on the set with one another?

JENNIFER:
That is what is really fun about this.  If there are really serious scenes, Patrick Duffy
(Stephen) and John McCook, are so funny together.  They will exit the scene and pretend to bump heads in the door.  Laughter and crying are so close, so its fun to have some comic relief.

TV SOAP:
It helps relieve the tension during a hard day’s work?

JOHN:
When you have serious scenes that day, Mr. McCook is not going to be as funny and as goofy as he wants to be.  But, I am still going to do that, because you want to blow off steam when it’s building up.

TV SOAP:
Who is the goofiest “B&Ber”?

JOHN:
I am goofy, and Ronn Moss (Ridge) and Patrick Duffy are great.  Patrick is great coming back on the show, because he worked with Larry Hagman (Ex- JR Ewing, “Dallas”) all those years.  Those people were crazy on “Dallas”.  So, it’s really goofy and fun.

JENNIFER:
All the girls are giggly.  Katherine Kelly Lang and I are giggly.  Heather Tom (Katie) is pretty giggly, too, but not as giggly as Katharine and I.

JOHN:
Heather came in with two copies of a magazine that had someone else on the cover besides Forrester.  She came in and her first line is, “Have you seen these?”  And we’re talking about PR, and she’s wearing this pretty low cut dress.  She came in and put the magazines down and said, “Have you seen these?”  (He laughs) She is such a funny girl.

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TV SOAP:
How is it rolling around together in bed, on screen?  Is it fun?

JENNIFER:
Yeah, sure it is. Why not?

JOHN:
We have to have a matter of fact, point of view about it. You can’t be 17 years old and come in here and be naked in a tube top, and come into a bedroom scene.

JENNIFER:
I think on Monday, I got too into it.  I think I forgot where I was.

TV SOAP:
What can we tell fans to look forward to from Donna in the coming months?

JENNIFER:
Look for Donna to stand up to Stephanie, and stomp her into the ground.

TV SOAP:
And Eric?

JOHN:
Look for Eric to tell Stephanie to get a room somewhere.

TV SOAP:
Jennifer, in a few words describe John McCook.   John is…?

JENNIFER:
Funny, silly, handsome, good kisser… did I say that?  I am embarrassed!

TV SOAP:
And John, describe for us Jennifer Gareis.

JOHN:
She is a sexy girl!  I love that she has opened her creative side to playing this woman, and being touched in a different way in the character, than she has done before.  I have seen all of her stuff and she is a sexy girl, and I love what she is doing with this material.  I love what we get to do together.  She is not only sexy and beautiful; she is conscientious and working really hard on it.

TV SOAP:
What is better… being on the front burner or back burner with storyline?

JENNIFER:
Front, front, front.

JOHN:
Front, for me, too.  I want to be out front all the time.

JENNIFER:
It makes me feel anxious when I am not.

JOHN:
You go, “Oh my God, now that I am this age, am I less important to the show than I was ten years ago?”  That happens, too.  We are all children and we are afraid when we are not being used.  When I am on the back burner, it bores me.  I love to come in and work, even when I am on the back burner, if I am being cavalier about it.

JENNIFER:
I guess the thing is, being on the back burner helped me with school.  I am half way through my MBA, and now I don’t have time to continue it at the moment because of the new storyline.

TV SOAP:
In the soap world, you never really know from week to week, month to month, what direction your character may go. How do you deal with that aspect of being a soap actor, and the insecurity it can bring?

JENNIFER:
You’ve got to take it one day at a time and one week at a time.

JOHN:
The cliché is true.  If Eric is having pain in his heart before dinner; you better call your agent!

TV SOAP:
What do you think Donna thinks of Thorne/Katie’s budding romance?

JENNIFER:
I think if it hadn’t been for Katie breaking up the wedding, I wouldn’t have met Eric, so I don’t think I can be too upset.  It’s not like I really loved Thorne.  So, when you are really not in love with someone, there is not that weird jealousy thing going on.

TV SOAP:
Can you see the four of them, Katie, Thorne, Donna and Eric, having dinner together?

JOHN:
That would be an interesting dialog.

JENNIFER:
Yeah, I think it’s fine.  As long as Donna gets her way, Katie can do what she wants.

JOHN:
Once in awhile I think, “This is a silly thing for an adult to do for a living!”

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