All My Children's families are well known throughout Daytime. From the Martins to the Chandlers, the Wallingfords to the Cortlands, its families and their inner workings are the core of the show. One family that is getting a lot of attention these days is the Laverys, and they expanded by one this past August, when the talented Connie Fletcher took on the role of Erin Lavery, sister to brothers Braden (deceased), Ryan, and Jonathan. Fletcher took the time for this interview to discuss everything from Erin, to her co-stars, to her charity work.
One of the brightest young stars to hit daytime, Connie Fletcher debuted August 8th as the youngest member of All My Children's dysfunctional Lavery family. The fresh-faced actress graduated from the college ranks to a contract role on AMC with an ease that indicates the best is yet to come professionally. From her first scene north of the border and onward, she has impressed this fan.
How did Fletcher land the coveted role? It was March 2005 and she was performing in what was to be her last theater production. The Boston University student (graduating with a BFA from the Arts program and a minor in Art History) was acting in Sea More Glass - an adaption of J.D. Sallinger's work - along with her college sweetheart who co-wrote and acted in it ("he is an amazing visual artist.") Attending the production was the brilliant Judy Blye Wilson, AMC's casting director and previous winner of three consecutive Daytime Emmy awards in that capacity, who walked away struck by the talent that is Fletcher. Although Fletcher was not aware who was in the audience that night, it would take only a day to find out. The next day the extremely talented and very nice actress was invited to try out for a female role AMC was casting. Fans would be interested to know it wasn't for Erin that she initially came in and read for, it was for the role of Amanda. The all-important screen test followed, with Jacob Young, and she was offered the role of the more wholesome Erin shortly thereafter. The screen test was a first for her, and she found the experience a good one. "One of my favorite directors from the show, Steven Williford, coached me through it and was wonderfully helpful...everyone was very kind and patient with me," Fletcher shared.
The native Floridian was working out at the gym of BU, while awaiting the call from her agent letting her know one way or the other if she had won the coveted role. When the news came, she called her parents and Fletcher says, “I think the two of them sent up some kind of beacon into the sky alerting all of northeast Florida because I got calls from all sorts of people with congratulations." She continues, "I didn't have a big reaction until I got home and told my boyfriend, Chris. Then I jumped around and screamed!"
With a mixture of anticipation and nervousness, she compared her first day on the set to the first day of school. "I was just hoping I didn't royally screw everything up! Luckily, I had about three lines so there wasn't too much pressure in that regard." She says costar Cameron Mathison (Ryan) was the first to introduce himself and in turn, Fletcher, to the cast. "He walked me up to the set and introduced me to everyone." Amongst those was David Canary (Adam), who she says is "such a gentleman. The first time I met him he kissed my hand! You just don't encounter that kind of chivalry very often!" And of another Daytime legend, "Susan (Lucci) is a real lady in every sense of the word. She is gracious and warm and kind."
While meeting some of AMC's veterans left an indelible impression, as the younger sister to Ryan and Jonathan, the majority of her scenes to date have been acting opposite Cameron Mathison and Jeff Branson, two of AMC's hottest male actors. When talk turns to them, she has nothing but praise. "God, they're both wonderful actors! Cam is always doing his best to make each scene the finest scene it can be - he really likes rehearsing and discussing it before hand, which is wonderful - he really takes the time to sit down with me and make sure that I understand the history behind these people." She continues, "Jeff is a very magnetic actor, and really engages his scene partners. They are both so easy to act off of! I really do feel a family connection with them, which makes all of the acting we do together feel natural. I have so many wonderful things to say about these guys! We have a great time just hanging out and talking...ya know, we bust each other's chops from time to time, but there's a lot of love and respect there, like with my own brothers," revealed Fletcher.
Of course fans want to know if Mathison is anything like his alter ego, Ryan, who ran away from his wife Greenlee, faking his own death when she told him she was pregnant. Off screen, Mathison is married and has a toddler. As opposed to Ryan, Fletcher finds Cameron "...so very, very different. I mean, the second you step in his dressing room, you can see that. It's completely covered with these beautiful photos of his wife and son. That's a huge part of who Cam is. He's so devoted to his family."
Having talked about her coworkers, Fletcher is likewise eager to talk about the character she plays on AMC. Erin grew up in a dysfunctional home. While her father, Patrick, regularly beat Erin's brothers Ryan, Braden (deceased), and Jonathan, her mother (Gail) drank herself into a state of oblivion. To escape the cycle of abuse, Ryan and Braden left home at an early age leaving behind Jonathan and Erin to fend for themselves. Due to this "Erin had to grow up very quickly and assume the role of parent from a very young age. Although she was not directly in the line of fire, she was very much a victim of abuse as she never really got to be a child, (having been) a witness to almost daily physical and emotional violence, and I think (she) is afraid to get close to anyone as a result." Fletcher says it is no wonder that Erin has confused feelings regarding love and affection with the parents she had being used as a guideline or standard of love ("which is how I feel about my parents").
In a nutshell, Erin has "a very good heart, but she's a stubborn gal as well. She's intensely loyal to those she cares about, very strong-willed, but also very vulnerable. I think in her life right now the rug's been pulled out from under her a bit and she needs all the help she can get but, because she wants to be strong, she is sometimes scared to ask for it."
Fletcher is most often asked whom she would like to see paired with her on-screen alter ego. To this she replies, "I have no idea, I would just really, truly like her to find some romance and love! All the men on the show are talented (and easy on the eyes!), so whomever she ends up with, I will be very happy!"
Speculation abounds, however, that Aidan is a likely suitor. Erin is very protective of her brother Jonathan, all the more now that he has undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor which was said, in classic soap logic, to be the partial cause for his past erratic behavior - including drugging Greenlee, possibly having murdered Braden and Edmund, and blowing up a cave with Kendall, Lilly, Greenlee, and Ryan inside. When both Erin and Jonathan arrived in Pine Valley this past November, many were none to pleased to see Jonathan resurrected. Among those was Aidan and although at first, he and Erin did not see eye to eye where Jonathan is concerned, Aidan is now softening, and romantic sparks are flying.
AMC fans stay tuned and for more on Fletcher, be sure to read part two of this interview!
Inside the Bubble ~ AMC's Connie Fletcher Part 2
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