Standing outside of the Arclight theatre on Sunset Blvd watching some of daytime’s finest walk the red carpet wasn’t anything new. Listening to them talk about the new movie they are all in together definitely was. The movie is Carpool Guy and the mastermind behind this convergence of stars is director Corbin Bernsen (Durant, GH). (For a synopsis and review read Top of the Week for 10/13/05).
One by one the stars posed for photos, talked with the press and caught up with each other. Some of the celebrities were involved in the movie, while others were simply out to show their support. Soap legends such as Linda Dano (ex Felicia, AW; ex Rae, OLTL), Kathleen Noone (Edna, PAS) and Jeanne Cooper (Katherine, Y&R) graced our humble presence with their larger than life flair. Other future legends were there as well. Rick Hearst (Ric, GH), Lauralee Bell (Christine, Y&R) and Lesli Kay (ex Lois, GH; ex Molly, ATWT) were all gracious enough to stop by and visit with Soapdom.
Of course, there were also some lesser-known personalities mugging for the cameras. Since they weren’t from any of our ‘stories,’ we chose to give them a break from our blinding lights and inquiring questions. Little did we know they were in the movie too! Oh well, we pinned down who we knew you soap fans would want to hear from. And that’s all that really matters, right?
First up was Patrika Darbo (Nancy, DOOL) who filled us in on her character in the film. “I play Patty, the office gossip.” Soapdom wanted to know if Patty is anything like Nancy. “I’m sort of the ditsy person here, where as Nancy was in charge of everything. This was just sort of an office thing. It was a lot of fun.”
We later learned there was a specific reason Bernsen cast Patrika in this role. According to Corbin, “I wanted someone that reminded me of Roxanne [from L.A. Law].” He then told Ms. Darbo, “Patrika…you’re hysterically funny.”
Next up on the carpet was Lesli Kay (ex Lois, GH; ex Molly, ATWT). “I play Vanessa. I am Sean Kanan’s (ex Deacon, B&B) wife. It’s a small role, but a fun role because he was excellent to work with.” Soapdom wanted to know if there was any difference between working on a soap and doing a movie. Kay replied, “Craft service! They feed you on a film and you’re on location. You have a trailer.” Of course we had to ask if she was coming back to GH anytime soon. Kay remained hopeful, “I’m not pregnant anymore. Maybe they’d have me.” She looked absolutely ravishing in a shimmering turquoise satin dress, you’d never even know she had been pregnant!
Although not in the film, Kate Linder (Ester, Y&R) showed up to show her support. “I’m thrilled because so many of my friends are in this.” She went on to praise the entire daytime industry, “Daytime has the best actors. I’m not saying that because I’m in it, but really it’s true. There’s some incredible talent in daytime and they’re not utilized as much as they should be.”
Corbin Bernsen couldn’t agree more with this sentiment and in fact, it’s one of the reasons he cast all daytime actors. He told the audience before the screening, “I believe in daytime television. I believe in daytime stars. I believe in the talents of those people and I believe they deserve the opportunity to be seen by their fan base.”
Bernsen also told Soapdom that his very famous mother, Jeanne Cooper, had something to do with his intense support of daytime players. The inspiration for his company, Public Media Works “came from really just understanding the business model that there are certain fans that love to see people they adore in different venues. So we did this film with soap stars. I knew there was a huge soap fan base. I saw my mother years ago do a play and there were six soap stars [in it], and it went over very well, and so there you have it.”
Just how did Bernsen get all these stars lined up for his film? According to Rick Hearst, it was pretty simple. “He [Bernsen] came to me. He just started on General Hospital, and we were in the makeup room and he mentioned to me he wanted me to read the script to see if I was interested. He was anxious for me to be a part of it.” Upon reading the script, Hearst realized he could relate to his character. “They found the one actor that actually has the commute the lead character has to go through everyday. It’s sort of easy for me to draw on that.”
Another reason he was drawn to the movie was his long-term friendship with Carpool Guy co-star Sean Kanan. “The minute [Bernsen] slot myself and Sean Kanan, I was like you mean we’re playing buddies, slash, adversaries? I said that’s all you need to say. We worked on The Bold and the Beautiful previously and we’d always talked about having an opportunity to do something outside of soaps. It was just really awesome.”
The same can be said of the director’s feelings for his lead actor. While thanking his cast before showing the film, Bernsen addressed Hearst, “Man you’re my life partner. It started with you and I said let it be guided by you.” He added, “You’ll see a different side to Rick that you’ve never seen. I think he’s brilliant. “
Another actor that was easily won over was Lauralee Bell. According to Bell, “I got every actor’s dream call. I was in Chicago with my family and the phone rang, and Jeanne Cooper said ‘Corbin needs to talk to you right away.’ And Corbin just called and said, ‘Do you want to do this? I want you to do this.’ And I said ‘I’ll do it’ and it was that simple.”
Bell plays Hearst’s wife in the movie. “It’s a great role. I’m used to playing very even kind of relaxed people. This girl is either yelling or she’s like alluring her husband, so it’s up and down. She’s so fun to play because she’s all over the place.”
Playing a different type of role is something Tony Geary (Luke, GH) hopes he accomplished as well. Geary stars as the title role as “a homeless man who ends up not homeless anymore.” According to Geary the carpool guy and his daytime alter ego, Luke on GH, are “completely different. This guy’s a different kind of survivor and he’s a total drop out. I don’t think you’ll see any of Luke Spencer in the movie at all. I hope not.”
Speaking of Mr. Spencer, Soapdom wanted to know what the fans can expect in the future. Unfortunately, Geary couldn’t share much, “I don’t really know anything anymore. I really don’t. I’m so out of the loop. I know that my son Lucky is getting married. That, I know. And there’s a big train wreck coming, you know a lot of people are put in jeopardy. I’m so far out of the loop. I spent the summer away so I’m just staring to get back into it.”
One question that can be answered is where the concept for the movie came from. According to Corbin, the idea came while he was actually driving in the carpool lane with a friend. “The movie came about when he and I were driving from San Diego one day. [We were] flying in the carpool lane and looking at the other lanes at all these poor schmucks packed like sheep up against one another. We thought, that’s nuts, these people do this every day; there must be a way around this. By the time we reached Disneyland we had the entire story for Carpool Guy set out.”
Even though this movie is wrapped and ready for the public’s consumption, it doesn’t mean Bernsen’s vision of soap actor driven movies is over. He has two more movies in the works and fully intends to cast his daytime co-stars.
In the meantime, go out and pick up a copy of Carpool Guy, due out October 18th. A movie Corbin Bernsen wanted to dedicate to his mother but couldn’t . As he told Ms. Cooper prior to the viewing, “I really think I did the movie because of you. The many things you’ve taught me. I would dedicate the film to you, but you’re not dead yet. So I think it would be inappropriate.”
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