May 30th, 2012  |  Leave a comment

The Lauralee Bell Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: CharlesBush.com

If you are watching The Young and the Restless this week, the past is truly being revisited, which will have far reaching consequences for many of the citizens of Genoa City!  To kick things off, Christine (or known best to those from her past as Cricket) has just returned to Genoa City with a job to do, and Danny Romalotti has returned to check in on his son Daniel, after all the young man’s trouble with Daisy!  So enter soap favorites Lauralee Bell (Christine) and Michael Damian (Danny), who after a long stretch of time not being on Y&R together, finally have their reunion!  And it’s quite a spectacular one!  The old on-screen lovers end up hitting the sheets in short order!  But then comes the fallout!  Where do these two go from here?

But that is only half of the story!  As Lauralee talks and previews with On-Air On-Soaps, there is much more to her exciting return and the upcoming components of this story, where an unsolved crime puts her smack dab in the middle of all the controversy.  Cricket was run down by a vengeful Phyllis back in the day, and Phyllis never paid for the crime!  She got away with it!  Now with evil Ricky, the bad seed spawn of Paul and Isabella wanting to teach Phyllis a lesson, old wounds and old rivalries will be reopened, which gives the actors in this story some meaty material to sink their teeth into.

So, how does Lauralee feel Y&R is doing, while the series is receiving such backlash from fans unhappy with many of the current stories?  What was it like trying to capture the magic decades later with Michael Damian on-screen?  And, will this story be the one to finally make Lauralee want to stay on Y&R more long-term?  The answers to these and more burning questions can be found below in our conversation with the always “tell-it-like-it-is” Bell!

MICHAEL:

Finally, soap fans get to have both you and Michael Damian on Y&R at the same time and in scenes together … and in bed together!

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

On last Friday’s air show, I would say it was how a classic Bill Bell moment would be where we built it up to where Danny and Christine just see each other!  Then came the three day Memorial Day weekend!   For me, as a viewer, I really get into stuff like that.  It was almost painful to have them just stare at each other, and so Tuesday’s episode was intense, and then Friday’s episode is wicked.  Every day is intense, but where Michael Damian and I had big scenes was on Tuesday and then Friday.  Those are the big days.  My time is not quick this time around at Y&R.  I am there.

MICHAEL:

What really brings Christine back to Genoa City this time?  All of a sudden there she was!  Did it make sense to you why was she was there?  Many times you have chosen not to return for a guest-arc to Y&R if it didn’t feel right to you.

LAURALEE:

Well, it did make sense for her to come back.  Genevieve is in such hot water, and it has become a much bigger issue than the Genoa City cops can handle.  It is now a federal investigation.  So it did make sense that Christine was there, and it did make sense for Danny to be there with all the stuff going on with his son, Daniel.  That is what I was so excited about, because it wasn’t really forced.  I did like that we were both in Genoa City, but did not see each other the first few days we were back.  A lot of things occur in these few weeks!

MICHAEL:

The cool thing about how Christine and Daniel were brought back onto the canvas was they were there for completely different reasons, which I thought was a good way to write it.

LAURALEE:

I liked that, too.  So we are having scenes and then all of a sudden on Tuesday’s episode Danny and Christine end up in bed, and that is a shocker!  That is showing again the growth and the history of the couple, but the growth of them as adults knowing they can just do some things on the spur of the moment, where it’s like, “I have a couple days with you and I am going to make the most of it.  And after that, we will deal with it.”  The history of their relationship justifies basically anything at this point.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

After they have sex, some territory is covered about their relationship and if they could ever be back together.

LAURALEE:

At the end of it all, there is a question of, “Do these two want to get back together?”  It really comes down to logistically how would they make that work?  He loves being a rock star and she loves working for the Justice Department … and who is going to give that up?  It sounds great and could be fun for a couple of weeks, but the reality is; who is going to drop everything?  Which one of us is going to drop everything and go to the other and really be happy?  I think they both love their careers so much that the sacrifice would cause them to hate being with the person that they wanted to be with, because they changed their life.

MICHAEL:

Then they come down the stairs from the GCAC from their romp and who should be there but their exes, Phyllis and Paul!

LAURALEE:

I think there is a little bit of  “Sorry, we don’t want to hurt you.”  But you know what?  None of us are technically together.  Paul is going through a lot, so he doesn’t need that in his face, but it is touched on so briefly, which I think it’s great.  We are all adults and Paul has been with Nina, so there are no dibs on anyone.  But it is always nice to throw something back in Phyllis’s face!  Lord knows, she deserves everything she gets.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Your return is part of this overall story arc of the show reopening the cold case of when Cricket was mowed down in a hit and run, thanks to Phyllis, who has never paid for her crime.

LAURALEE:

There are some scenes coming up with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) which I will need to ask the production manager to get me a copy of the old scenes, so I know what I am talking about.  I don’t mean the actual hit and run, but there are scenes around that time that I start snipping with Phyllis over.  The lines are great, but I would like to have that vision of what I am talking about. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Phyllis hated Cricket!

LAURALEE:

Yes she hated Cricket.  It’s interesting.  I didn’t remember that Paul and I were about to get married, but she apparently saw Danny and I saying goodbye to each other and it made her very upset.  Cricket was on to Phyllis’ shenanigans.  For some reason, I feel like Paul and Cricket had people that were angry with them because of their work.  So it was always just assumed that it had to be someone from his P.I. work, or Cricket’s legal work, that had a vendetta against us.  I don’t think Phyllis was ever really considered.

MICHAEL:

So this cold case involving Cricket’s hit and run is really the spark for Ricky’s revenge plot against Phyllis, and there seems to be lots of twists coming up with many long time favorites involved in it.   How has taping gone have so far, in particular the scenes with Michael Damian?

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

When Michael Damian and I were sitting there running lines, it was interesting to see the crew there and their reactions to us, and when Michael and I taped our goodbye scenes.  It was so intense and people came out and said, “Oh my God.  That was very emotional.”  It’s Cricket and Danny, and that is one of the reasons I did not come back a couple of years ago when Michael was back.  Because if you don’t do it right, it could go wrong.  I have to say this was done so well, in terms of the reasons why they are there … the surprise of seeing each other, the intense quickness with them recognizing even though they have not seen each other, the connection is there.  They have such a strong connection, and then it’s goodbye.  That is why I have been eager for people to tune-in.  If you don’t watch Y&R that much anymore, but you were a fan back then, you have got to watch these episodes.  Watching the last few days of episodes with Jack and Victor and Nikki, these seem to be really strong shows.  And what is great now too, is that there is a lot of suspense.  You have Ricky getting creepy on everyone.  I kind of like those feelings where you are nervous.  I think there are multiple emotions going through the viewer’s mind when they are watching these days.

MICHAEL:

But Danny comes to town, and then is gone pretty quickly.  What’s up with that? How much of Danny/Cricket can we expect to see?

LAURALEE:

I think we are on for five days together.  Danny is on tour ‘baby’ and he has to get back on the road!  We were laughing in rehearsal when Danny tells Cricket he has to go.  It’s like, “Hello?  Maybe you should have told me this four hours ago, before we hopped in the sack.”  What is so great with Cricket at this age and point in her life, as we saw with Nick, I think she is very much in control of this, as you saw on Tuesday.  She is not the weak “Oh, I am not so sure if this is the right thing to do.”  There is none of that in her anymore.  There is the kindness in her, but no longer the naïve or scared side to her.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

So, Danny calls you Cricket, and not Christine!

LAURALEE:

I know, and he had to!  What was great about it was how it was addressed.  Michael, Michelle Stafford and I have this great scene where he is defending Cricket.  Phyllis says, “You know what? You have to move on, because she has.  Her name is not even Cricket anymore.  She is working woman.  So you have to get on with it and not live in the past!”  I am all for calling out what the audience was thinking and she nailed him with, “What era are you living in?”  To Nina and Danny, she will always be Cricket!

MICHAEL:

Should we expect some key showdown scenes between you and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis?)

LAURALEE:

I work with her a bit more coming up.  She came up to me my first day back and she was like, “I love what your character brings to the character of Phyllis. I immediately feel like the old Phyllis.“  I think people love seeing her like that.  I think by making her pregnant and having her do all these weird things because her hormones are out of whack, that is the Phyllis people want to see.  They don’t want to see her motherly and sweet, or if they do, they want to then see her flip out the next day so you can see she is not entirely stable.   What is great about their dynamic is… you can grow up, but it’s that deep- seated jealousy that is always there, even if you are sugar coating it.

MICHAEL:

Jeff Branson (Ronan) is coming back to Y&R, too!  Will you be working with him? Do you think Ronan and Christine could have a thing for each other?

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I did not know that at first, but I got my scripts for this week and we are working together.  Jeff is a really good actor, and I like Christine and Ronan.  There is an element of “Have those two gotten together?”  We both try to play it like that, because again, you don’t know what we do on our off hours.  I think that is what is so fun about playing my character now. You can sort of manipulate the story a bit, because I am off the canvas a lot and the audience has no idea what I do with my nights … whether Christine is drinking scotch alone, or at a strip club?  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

If you and Jeff Branson could both stay on the show long enough, (laughs) what about a Phyllis/Ronan/Christine triangle?  Phyllis was having sex with Ronan!  And Phyllis is pregnant with what we believe is Nick’s child… but what if it is Ronan’s?

LAURALEE:

I know!  How crazy was it that those two hooked-up?  And again, having all of us back now make senses, and it is all very justified.  Now with Michael Baldwin becoming the D.A. and then Heather Stevens coming back into his life.  I met Jennifer Landon (Heather, Y&R) and she is great!  What I can tell you is Jennifer is very real, there is nothing in her acting that will come across forced or fake.

MICHAEL:

Y&R has taken a hit by its fans in recent months with consistent criticism that the stories are not to their liking, and it doesn’t feel like the show they remembered wanting to tune-in to every day.   They have been very disgruntled, to say the least.

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

My big request to people is this: I know the story is there and I understand people are frustrated, but I am just saying, if you are going to give it a week and you are asking for classic Y&R, then you have to watch this week!  This is the beginning of a lot of good story.  I am all for watching shows that I don’t like and saying, “Why are they doing this? Why are doing that?”  I think what we can all agree on is it’s a lot people you know so well.  And I love watching a scene where you could have no dialog, and you put five Y&R characters that you have grown up with, you just know what they are all thinking about because you know them so well.  Everyone has their dynamics with everybody, and this is the time to watch.  If we don’t do in story what the fans are hoping for, it will break my heart, but I really feel like they are strong shows.

MICHAEL:

So has this return whet your appetite for possibly making it the real deal and coming back to the series on a more permanent basis?

LAURALEE:

Judging by what I will be taping next month, it looks like I will be around for a while.  There is a pretty steady amount of Christine.  But you know me!   I always like to wait to see how it is received before I make any other commitments.  I really have a bunch of shows that I am pitching full force right now, so I am in that mode to get them out.  I don’t want to commit to anything, but fingers-crossed, I can move forward with one of these.  And by the way, they are not my web projects.  So I believe things happen the way they are supposed to.  I will be on a ton on Y&R in June and July.  Then I will be taking a trip with my kids, and then we will see in August if this was all successful.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

How was it for you, personally, working with Michael Damian again?

LAURALEE:

He is great!  It was odd, I have to say, because we haven’t seen each other in years. Rebecca Street called me and said, “I’m in town”  So we arranged to have lunch together and 40 minutes into the lunch she said to me, “Do you ever talk to Michael Damian?” And literally within 30 seconds he tapped me on the shoulder!  He happened to be in the same restaurant!  So that was so weird.  And this was not intentional!  And after that, I had not seen him in 2 years.  You can’t spend the kind of time Michael and I spent together, without having a really tight relationship.  It was great seeing him at Y&R.  But I did tease him that he was telling the same jokes he did back then.  Some things never change.  (Laughs)  But it was nothing but great, and I think it showed on camera.

MICHAEL:

Who do you think is Christine’s true love?

LAURALEE:

That is a tough one!  It’s hard to pick between your first and then your adult relationship. I think she only has two true loves, Danny and Paul.  I think there is always something about your first love, because it was the first time you ever experienced those feelings that are that intense.  On the goodbye scene, you will see how intense Danny and Cricket’s relationship is.  They weren’t planning on this.  It dredges up feelings.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Speaking of dredging up the past, the Danny/Cricket romance was 80’s Y&R, and you wearing the typical look of the times, and sporting the big hair!  Can you look at those episodes and pinch yourself at all the cool things you did in story, or are you mortified when you see yourself in those days?

LAURALEE:

I am mortified, and that is why I never read the message boards.  I would be the first one to say that I looked ridiculous, but that is what it was back then.  I wouldn’t be defending how silly we looked, but it was a sign of the times and it is funny that I now can say, “We look better now than we did 20 years ago!” (Laughs)  You have got to laugh at yourself.  I am always trying to find the humor in everything and people take life to seriously, and if you do, you will just stay locked up and cry all day.

MICHAEL:

Where is Christine at with Paul?  The two of them to me look like there is still such love there between them.

LAURALEE:

I don’t think that is done.  Doug Davidson (Paul) and I purposely play that they still do love each other where we can.  With Paul and Christine, when they need support, or help or a friend, they always go to each other.  It’s hard to do that without crossing the lines for Paul and Chris. 

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: CharlesBush.com

So what do you hope unravels as the story kicks into high gear and Phyllis’ crime could be exposed?  Do you hope that it will put Christine in grave danger from Phyllis or Ricky?  Or, do you hope she will be able to finish the job she originally set out to do when she returned to GC?

LAURALEE:

It’s too soon for me to say.  I would like to play both, knowing that there is huge danger and fear looming for her, and also knowing she has a job to get done.  Christine comes to help Paul do a whole background check on Ricky and finding out his past, but she really comes back because she knows Paul is not doing well and that he needs some guidance. (Laughs)   I am just a flight away from Genoa City via Washington D.C.! (Laughs)

 

 

 

  1. Michael says:

    Michael, you had to know that Lauralee wasn’t about to badmouth her sister-in-law, Maria Arena Bell. I don’t even know why you asked her about the extremely negative publicity that the show has been getting thanks in large part to MAB’s horrific writing of the show. For her and for the sake of “family harmony”, she had to keep her personal opinions about Maria and her writing to herself, even if she absolutely HATES what Maria has done to her late father’s show.

    I’m now in Week 4 or 5 of not watching Y&R. I refuse to watch the drivel that Maria is putting out each week. It’s enough to make me nauseous and ask for a barf bag!

    Reply

    kay killgore replied

    Michael I am with you 110% but the Bell family has always been about nepotism as a lot of familes are and that is fine but MAB to my knowledge had no previous writing experience. This could be a good plot if I was writing I would have the character Ricky whack Daisy and pen it on Phyllis. It would be a kick to have some Karma finally come back to her, it is amusing how they have whitewashed her character to complete boredom.

    Reply

    jackie replied

    michael i need { ya to stay on young ^ restless ‘
    huge fan of you _ on the show + danny w / christine + late 8o _
    great seen you + jackie } no#1 fan

    Reply

  2. tash36 says:

    Hi Michael. How r u? Yes, I am asking same question and I know u r tired me asking. Bit do u have any news about Jack Wagner returning to GH and reuniting with Kristina Wagner(Felica) and Maxi? I wish they bring him back. I hope u have good news about that or any info y
    ou can,give us fans.
    Again Michael I thank,you for answering my question. I appreciate it so much.

    Tash10204@aol.com

    Reply

    jackie replied

    how are ya michael _? miss seen ya on the young & restless _ so much +
    great to see ya on the show with laurnelle _ { danny & christine __
    * how is your music coming along & movies _ coming out soon _
    *
    i appreicted you staying with the show +
    *
    i am hard of hearing + and talk + & single +
    *

    Reply

  3. jackie says:

    wish you was coming to pgh pa – so i can met you in person = handsome -& tall -
    as i remember danny and chrisitne married – and have children _ and become granparents – when they do marries + please – michael + as danny +
    love ya * you need ya & christine toqther ] please =please & stay on the show

    Reply

  4. Stacy says:

    They really need some good story lines. Who ever was writing the story lines in the mid to late nineties did an awesome job. After that, I basically stopped watching . They have to realize that y and r is shown in many countries including the one I’m from. They have to please the world, not just America.

    Reply

  5. Alyssa says:

    I hope someday you can be back on The Young and The Restless for good. I am a huge Danny Romalotti fan. And a huge Cricket Blair fan also. You two are my fav couple on Y&R. I hope they can get back together. Well thanks for reading! Bye

    ~Alyssa~

    Reply

  6. Susan says:

    After reading this interview almost a year after, I have to say almost if not everything has changed. Almost all the people mentioned in the interview are gone. Christine is now back with Paul. The question I would love to ask Lauralee now is: Is Paul the great love of her life because she gave up her job in DC in order to make the sacrifice of moving back to GC with the man she loves. I remember her stating to you that logistically speaking, she cant give up her job for Danny.

    Reply

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