Soapdom puts rumors to rest...
Includes Soapdom's exclusive interview with Jen Lilley
Last September, all of soapdom was saddened to learn that General Hospital's Kirsten Storms (Maxie) had taken ill and would not be appearing on the soap for some time. In order to keep her character on-air, General Hospital recast the role temporarily with soaps newcomer, Jen Lilley. Lilley took on the character, filling Storms huge shoes, and has succeeded in making Maxie her own as she pinch hits for Storms.
In early January, SOD published that Storms was on track to return to the set in late January, to begin airing in February. Storms tweeted on January 9th, "I guess it's ok to tell you that I'm going back to #GH at the end of the month. I want to thank Jen Lilley for 'keeping 'Maxie' alive and kickin.'"
Subsequently, General Hospital announced that Storms would not be returning for longer than originally expected and that Lilley would be continuing in the role.
On Tuesday, February 14, Lilley tweeted that "because of unforeseen circumstances," she would be staying as Maxie. Her entire tweet (via TwitLonger):
"First, I, Jen Lilley, LOVE Kirsten Storms. I think she's talented, funny, beautiful and kind. While I have loved my time on GH, I think it's under the saddest of conditions that I'm here. Because of unforeseen circumstances, I am staying as Maxie. Please know that as a KS fan, I am really sorry. Kirsten is irreplaceable. To keep GH alive, someone had to step into the role. I cannot change what's happened. Yes, I love being on the show, but if KS could have stayed all along, I would have wished a thousand wishes that I could have come on as a different character, for her sake and for your sake as a GH fan. Change is never easy. I hope you will find it in your hearts to stop being so hateful toward me personally, because honestly, after six months of it, I feel broken, and it's not helping the show. We have to stand united for the sake of General Hospital's livelihood and for soap fans everywhere. I think all of Kirsten's wonderful fans know that she'd want her fans to support GH and fight like hell for its renewal. With utmost sincerity: Jen Lilley."
Meantime, Storms has not tweeted anything since January 11th. We send her our love and support.
The bottom line comes in the form of official word from General Hospital: "This is my statement from late January and still rings true today," the GH spokesperson told Soapdom on Valentine's Day. "Kirsten Storms will not be able to return to General Hospital as soon as originally hoped and announced. Jen Lilley will continue to play Maxie Jones for the foreseeable future."
So, yes, Lilley is staying on, but as of now, Storms is set to return at some point, just not as soon as we'd all hoped.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Lilley a while back. She is gracious, charming, talented and very sweet. Not only is she making her mark on General Hospital, but she also has the rare distinction of having one of only eight speaking parts in the Oscar nominated, The Artist.
One of our first questions was in regard to Lilley's stint on General Hospital and how it's been going so far.
"I just love it. I love everyone who works on it," she gushed. "It's been wonderful."
She went on to share with us how she landed the role.
"At the time I didn't know I was going in as recast," she revealed. "I had met Mark Teschner (GH casting director) for a separate audition – for the Women in White. I went all out for it. It was a very vague role and I made really strong choices. I left the audition and called my manager and said I don't know if Mark liked it or if I totally freaked him out."
As it turned out, Teschner liked the audition, but didn't think Lilley was perfectly suited for that role.
"So he'd said he'd see me again," she shared. "Two months later a breakdown came out for 25, hip sexy, flirty and fun, preferably blond. I called my manager (who called Teschner) and Mark said he'd see me again. As I think I fit this description, we decided to submit to my comedy reel – a bit of risk, but out of 1400 submissions, he chose eight and I was one of them."
Along with Lilley's delight at being among the eight chosen to come in for an audition, came the knowledge that an offer had already gone out to someone else.
"What's funny is before I went for the audition, (my manager said) 'I don't want you to get too excited, it's for a recast, and they already have an offer out to a celebrity.' I just said I'd go in and have fun and show Mark the fun side of me, not the creepy one like for Woman in White. After that audition, Mark looked at me and said that was f__king fantastic – pardon my French. (Then GH producer) Jill (Farren Phelps) was sitting next to him and said 'I don't think any actor would mind telling her again that it was f__king fantastic!'"
Lilley got a call back with two other girls who were not celebs, and she figured the part was in reach. "I went, oh there is a chance I could book this! After my call back, I knew I booked it. Jill asked me to sit in the lobby a few minutes. They came back and said hi, you will be replacing Kristen Storms, and you start tomorrow!"
After hearing the great news, Lilley managed to put a hold on her excitement and take notes. They gave her a two-hour orientation. Talk about being thrown into the pool and learning how to swim – quick!
Lilley's first day on the set was a mixture of delight and apprehension.
"I had to get there early for a wardrobe fitting. I (started second guessing saying to myself) I don't know if I can do this. She (Kirsten Storms) has really big shoes, I don't know if I can do this, but by that time, it was announced all over the internet, so I had to do it."
Lilley took over for Kirsten Storms September 14, 2011with a September 28th airdate and the pressure was on. General Hospital then executive producer, Jill Farren Phelps laid down the law even before Lilley stepped foot on set.
"The day I booked it, Jill said, 'okay I think you're great. One more thing. This is the most critical time in history for our show, and the most critical time in this character's life and I want you to pull it off. And I want you to do Kirsten's stick for the first few weeks to ease the audience in, and then after that I want you to do what you need to do to make Maxie work for you.'"
With that mandate, Lilley now feels that she can go artistically where she thinks the character needs to go.
Fan reaction to Lilley's Maxie has been split. There are fans on her side. Some have posted on Soapdom's feeds that when Storms does return, GH must find a place for Lilley to stick around. They are enjoying her performance that much.
"I've been incredibly blessed that the fans have given me a shot, because I know it's incredibly difficult (to step in and assume a role like that)," Lilley shared.
But there have been some fans who are not that happy Storms was replaced, and have lashed out via twitter and other social networks against Lilley. We can only imagine how hard and hurtful that must be, especially to someone so sweet and caring and who is only doing her best to keep the role of Maxie alive.
"I love the cast so much. I can't get enough of them," Lilley shared with Soapdom. "I am very grateful to be here right now."
Lilley likewise has only the highest regard for General Hospital fans. "Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a fan and supporting me. I am truly grateful. I truly take each and every one of you to heart. I am incredibly grateful."
We'll have more on Jen Lilley including how she got involved with the Oscar nominated, The Artist, coming soon.
Follow Lilley on Twitter @jen_lilley
|< Prev||Next >|