Sunday, June 29, 2008 Young & the Restless stars: Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin), Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher), Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby), and Emily O’Brien (Jana Hawks) along with fans braved extreme heat and looming rains and storms for a meet and greet at Kings Island amusement park just out side of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The stars took the stage to answers questions from the audience members who had driven from many different states for the opportunity to see the faces of daytime in person. Despite the heat and rain showers, that did get us in the second half of the show, the gang was friendly with each other and the audience. They often times joked and played around, a pleasant surprise for those in the crowd. Regardless of the turbulent relationship these four may share on screen, it is certain they are friends in their real lives.
Fans got a glimpse of some inside scoop regarding the show and some personal information from each of the stars. Unfortunately, there was too much information shared on this Sunday to even begin to sort and relay to you the reader. I will, however, try to consolidate all that I have into an enjoyable read for you, and be more than happy to take questions via the comment log below and share any answers to specific questions that I may have, as I took very detailed notes.
The afternoon was divided into two shows. Between shows I got the opportunity to speak with Greg Rikaart. He shared with me about his new “Green” house that he is over the moon about. Being Earth friendly and conscious of global warming is a personal interest and hobby of Rikaart's that he loves sharing with fans. He recently kicked off a campaign asking fans to replace at least one light bulb in their house with one of the new energy efficient bulbs. I couldn’t wait to share with Rikaart that his personal initiative to reach out to his fans for such a worthy cause inspired me to utilize the same idea for PTA project at my daughter’s school. Rikaart was excited to hear that his passion has reached people all over the country and shared with me a name of a friend that works with students and schools to help them enjoy and take pride in making their school and environment a little more green.
Being from Staten Island, New York, Rikaart explained that roots played a major role in his interest in the environment. He grew up seeing pollution and the effects of industry on his community. He also explained he understands it isn’t easy to completely change the way you live your life. For example, carrying the canvas shopping bags, in the beginning; he had the intention and bought the bags but it took some time getting used to remembering to take the bags back out to the car after you carry in the groceries. Frustrating as it was at first, he quickly got in the habit and now it is second nature to have his eco-friendly bags available when shopping. I myself have run into the same annoying issue but have taken special action and initiative since speaking with Rikaart to remind myself to replace the bags in my car. Other than creating a completely “green” friendly house that the soap magazines are doing a spread about in some upcoming issues, Rikaart rides his bike to work at least once a week.
The environment isn’t the only cause Rikaart is taking up. I asked what projects outside of work he had coming up and he answered, with enthusiasm, he was going to start doing some work campaigning for Barrack Obama.
Interviewing Rikaart was difficult as he was so personable and interested in simply chatting, we seemed to speak more as friends than interviewer and interviewee, making me respect him so much more than I already did. During the interview, backstage the other stars in attendance were mingling around and were just as friendly and polite. I would have loved the time to speak with each of them, unfortunately everyone’s time was very limited. The one-on-one experience with these four superstars was fun and memorable. I look forward to another face-to-face with
On stage for the audience, as I mentioned above, I got a little insight in what is to come for future storylines. The biggest inquiry from fans seemed to be Cane’s true DNA. I have that answer for you Cane and Jill fans. Cane is in fact Jill’s son. The mysterious phone call he made that sounded as if finding Jill was an act, was only to exhibit that Cane felt he deserved to vindicated for all of the years he lost and opportunities he missed out on growing up. Cane is a good guy, Daniel Goddard explained, though we will see a very dark side come out in the upcoming weeks, all due to Chloe. Goddard also shared that the show will be delving into the history of the Chancellor’s very soon, especially the children. It is suspected by Goddard that Cane and Lily will have a future together, a storyline he looks forward to because he has wonderful chemistry with Lily’s portrayer Cristel Kahlil, and enjoys working with her.
Kahlil isn’t the only actress Goddard holds in high regard. Veterans, Jeanne Cooper and Peter Bergman have been great help since he began on Young & the Restless in January 2007. Goddard reveals that Adriane Frantz is nothing like the character of Amber Moore and he has nothing but adoration and love for her. Emily O’Brien (Jana) seconds that by stating she “has never seen Adrienne mess up once.”
Goddard predicts that Cane and Lily will get married, but the portrayers of Kevin and Jana had lots to say about their impending nuptials. This was a subject that fans couldn’t get a straight answer from them despite how many times they asked. The one thing Rikaart and O'Brien agreed on regarding Kevin and Jana’s marriage, is they hope the tattoo wedding ring isn’t scripted into the story as the show has hinted in the past. Rikaart and O'Brien together shared that there will most likely be a wedding, as they said this there were some sneaky looks exchanged. Wedding or not, Rikaart suspects fans have not seen the last of a Kevin and Colleen love story.
Christian LeBlanc and Greg Rikaart were excited to reveal there is going to be “much, much, much more in store, that will involve Kevin, Jana, Gloria, Michael, and River. Rikaart did inform us we would be definitely see more of Kevin on screen in the near future.
LeBlanc told us the idea of River Baldwin was originated, including the name, by Lynn Marie Latham the former head writer for Young & the Restless, who had big plans for this character and story. According to LeBlanc and Rikaart, it doesn’t look like their alter-egos, or fans, are going to get any relief from Gloria’s antics. The men couldn’t talk about Judith Chapman (Gloria Bardwell) without grinning mischievously from ear to ear. Chapman is very loved and respected by her co-stars, who call her “the bravest actress.”
Gloria’s onscreen sons’ portrayers gleamed when telling the audience that working with Chapman makes it easy and natural when it comes time to be stunned by her onscreen quirks and schemes. Rikaart described his acting as “natural” when Chapman delivers her lines, it is so easy to give a crazy look, a very familiar look of utter confusion and shock that Kevin fans see often and Rikaart mimicked for us on stage.
When asked if viewers will ever learn who shot Ji-Min Kim, the panel unanimously answered “YES!” Daniel Goddard elaborated on the answer; sharing when Ji-Min died seven actors/actresses were filmed going in and out of the room and killing him. The show has released and aired two of those characters. There are still five left that Y&R will expose when they are ready. Viewers will learn who killed Ji-Min, Goddard assured us.
Returning to the subject of family oriented storyline insight; I was excited to come home with a juicy relation that was slotted to be revealed down the road, only to be disappointed to learn it doesn’t look like the show is going to move forward with it. Emily O"Brien answered a certain “Yes” when asked if Sabrina and Jana were sisters. O’Brien gave little detail as to the exact way this was to come out, but she did say we would learn Sabrina and Jana were sisters. Upon my return home, I did learn Sabrina is suppose to exit the show via a car accident that will kill her and the baby she is carrying. I can’t guarantee the sister connection will be revealed in light of Sabrina’s death, though it is still possible post Sabrina’s death. I am still holding out hope for this new angle with tons of possibilities. One fan asked LeBlanc if Adam was really Victor’s son and he refused, in a friendly way, to answer then snickered, so there may be a big turn of events for Victor’s youngest son.
O'Brien did add that her character may not be out of the dark health wise. With her beautiful smile and soft voice she teased fans reminding them one percent of her tumor still remains.
The stars of daytime sometimes are just in the dark as fans regarding their character and show storylines. They explained they do not have personal input on their storylines, and they only get their script a week to week-and-a-half before they shoot. The show itself is approximately three to five weeks ahead of what we see on television. LeBlanc, the oldest and longest running actor of the panel, tells the audience that it is best as an actor “not to get ahead of yourself when reading scripts, otherwise you will end up running into yourself”
As always, meeting, interviewing and the overall experience with major names and stars of daytime, proves to be a wonderful and informative time; creating a life long memory that I am pleased to share with fellow fans. I have had the great opportunity in the past few years to meet many soap stars from all networks and shows. All of whom are very quick to share their respect, and appreciation to the fans; recognizing without the fans, there isn’t a character to be loved or hated, or story to be told every day.
For more on my trip to Paramount’s King Island in Mason, Ohio just outside of Cincinnati please feel free to leave comments, questions, or your own experience at this event below in the comment log. Also check out the second part of this coverage to learn more about the stars personally. In part two of this article I’ll share what Christian LeBlanc, Greg Rikaart, Daniel Goddard, and Emily o"Brien shared with me and the audience about their personal life, past, and goals. Stay tuned!
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