Read with caution. Contains scoopage!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 is a big day for Passions fans. It’s the day Disaster strikes the sleepy little town of Harmony. NBC Daytime went all out to promote the summer storyline, including a major Hollywood-style premiere at Universal City Walk. According to Sr. VP of Daytime Programming for NBC, Sheraton Kalouria, “ We totally believe in what we're about to unleash on the viewing public on July 26 with the whole disaster story line. We wanted to get people talking. We wanted to get people to say, ‘Hey, it's summer. It's time to watch the soaps, and this is the one to watch.’ We can always use new viewers. We really believe in that old recruitment poster. You know, 'I Want You.' That's what it's about. We want people to start watching and enjoy Passions as much as we know they will.”
And when you do, you’ll be treated to what I think must be the longest lasting earthquake in recorded history. Luckily, it’s happened in Harmony and not in real life. The episode is completely over the top in its disaster portrayal and in the way the characters deal with the crisis. Even through the seriousness of the situation, you’ll find yourself laughing at the antics of most characters. Tons of great fun is in store for the viewer, even though the real message Passions is hoping to get across is that we should all be prepared in case disaster strikes. Which is why they partnered with the Red Cross.
Soapdom was there on the Red Carpet as the stars entered the theatre for big screen premiere of Passions Disaster.
“Let’s all hear it for E V I L!” bellowed John Reilly (Alistair) to the crowd of eager Passions fans waiting at Universal City Walk to see the Hollywood Premiere of Passions Disaster on Tuesday, July 12, 2005. When asked what was going to happen between Alistair and Theresa, Reilly said: “I can’t talk about Theresa right now. She made a deal with ----. No, let’s not talk about Theresa. We’ll have to see what happens with Theresa.” When the comments “that so means you’re getting together,” and “they’re gonna hook up, aren’t they?” were thrown out to Reilly, he turned it back to the fans and asked, “Should I get together with Theresa?” The fans screamed. “I think there is one ‘no’ back there,” noted one reporter. She then asked “What advice would you have for somebody to break into acting to get on a soap?” “Just keep at it,” Reilly replied. “Don't give up. Rejection…don't let it bother you. It's like selling insurance. You get 47,000 no's until you get the first yes. And then you're off and running.”
Ben Masters (Julian) was happy that Passions is still on the air. “I just can't believe we're still here after all this time. Thank you all,” he said to the fans.
Cathy Jeneén Doe (Simone) was really delighted to be out on the Red Carpet, and she was even more excited to see all the Passions fans that had turned out. “I really love it. I love that everyone came out, and they're all happy and excited. I love it! It's fun!” When asked if she gets to live through the disaster she replied: “Well, I definitely do survive, and somehow get to avoid most of the disaster.”
Soapdom put the ultimate question to Richard Steinmetz (Martin). Katherine or Pilar. Katherine or Pilar. Which one will he really end up with? “Katherine AND Pilar,” he said with a smile. Getting more serious, he continued, “I don't know ultimately because I don't make those decisions, but it's kind of tough to go back, don't you think? It's hard. But I don't know. I have no preference!” If you had your wish, Soapdom prodded, what would you like to see happen for the character? “I'd have love triangles with all the other girls on the show, every one! Fancy -- not Theresa -- Kay, on and on and on. That would be my fantasy.” Hum. Wonder why he opted out of having a love triangle with Theresa?
Passions newcomer, Dylan Fergus (Noah), was next up to chat with Soapdom. We love this guy. He is so adorable. We wanted to know how he liked working in daytime as opposed to features. “You know the difference is it's a lot of work,” he admitted. “But it's wonderful because every day you show up and every day it’s something's new.” He couldn’t be more please with his front burner storyline. “Yeah, I love it. It's been wonderful.” He next shared how he landed the role. “I was lucky enough to go in and audition for (Passions casting director) Jackie Briskey, and they brought me in to read with Emily (Harper, Fancy), which you know -- she's wonderful. So, it was perfect.”
Liza Huber (Gwen) gave Soapdom a big hello. When we asked what she’d like to really see happen for her character, she did not hold back. “I would love to see her get a new man! Someone just wild who sweeps her off her feet and brings out a whole other side for her,” Huber enthused. “But I also have been taking Gwen, as the writers have been, in a different direction. Not going to be walked over anymore by Theresa. Gwen's bad girl is definitely coming out. No more of this ‘Oh, I don't know!’ So, it's gonna be fun. Gwen's gonna get some comeuppance and a new man! But I don't know. I'm only hoping.” We’ll have to stay tuned to see if Huber’s wishes come true!
We next caught up with McKenzie Westmore. We learned that luckily for Sheridan, her son is safe from the pending Harmony Disaster. “Marty is not involved in the disaster,” she revealed. “It's Sheridan and a new little boy that comes into the story line along with his mother.” Westmore could not be more pleased with the direction her character is going in right now. “I love that Luis has gone off to find Beth and Marty, giving Sheridan a chance to kind of spread her wings a little bit…and experience new experiences, meet new people And then eventually, bring Galen back because I miss him.” Westmore was not sure how many episodes the disaster story would encompass but she did hint that it will be for a while.
Kathleen Noone (Edna) and Justin Hartley (Fox) pulled no punches with the fans. “Thank you all for coming out. It was so nice for you to show up for Passions,” said Noone. “Welcome, I hope you're going to enjoy the tsunami and have fun with us tonight.” “Are you guys ready to watch the disaster?” Hartley asked the crowd as the fans screamed. “Because it's pretty awesome. Have fun tonight. Enjoy yourselves, always enjoy yourselves. And thanks so much for watching the show. We really appreciate it.”
Turns out that Charles Divins’ (Chad) got stood up by his date. It was an arranged date that a local LA radio station sponsored. But Divins lucked out because he now had a new date, Kathy Tisdale of the American Red Cross. Tisdale shared a few quick tips in case Californians experience another earthquake. “OK, three things that everybody should have – First of all, have an emergency communication plan so you know how to stay in touch. Second, have a disaster kit so that if you have to evacuate you have all your basic necessities. And finally, have a safe place in your house or wherever you are because you don't want anything to come crashing down on you.”
The always gorgeous and charming Amelia Marshall (Liz) is very excited about her character. “Oh my gosh, Liz has so much up her sleeve already; and I am Amelia spinning just to keep up with Liz,” Marshall shared. “I have been having so much fun in these last few weeks, just navigating these scripts and going with Liz, because she's on a roll. Liz kind of snaps a bit with the earthquake and the tsunami. And she kind of operates even crazier than she normally does. That's why I've been having fun. She's out there!”
Passions newcomer Emily Harper (Fancy) hails from the world of dance. A Laker Girl cheerleader from 2000 to 2003, she is so happy to now be a part of Passions. “Oh my gosh, I feel so blessed,” Harper said. “Dancing provided a transition into acting, and fortunately I was able to get the callbacks and land the position on Passions.” When asked what was going to happen to Fancy, Harper kept cool. “You know it's a love/hate relationship, so I'm sure it's gonna take a while to grow. But there's underlying passion involved in that, so we'll see.” And with that, as if on cue, Harper’s scene partner, Dylan Fergus (Noah) jumped on stage and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Isn't he a doll?” Harper shouted out to the fans who screamed agreement.
As for Silvana Arias (Paloma), she also wouldn’t come too clean with what’s up with her character. “Well, I can't tell you exactly what happens with Paloma but I think she needs a boyfriend,” Arias said with a smile. Her favorite thing about being on Passions? “That I get to yell at my mom in English and in Spanish!”
Then, it was congrats all around as Heidi Mueller (Kay) got on stage and introduced her fiancée, Matt Lawrence. “He proposed at my house in Ohio in my room, in the middle of a snowstorm,” she beamed as she revealed the romantic details and showed off her engagement ring. The wedding is next summer. “We haven't set an actual date, but we know it's next summer.” We next got the scoop on her dad, America’s favorite single father in search of a woman to marry from the hit NBC reality show. We learned that dad as no longer dating the woman the family picked for him during the show. “He's just dating, so he's still single.” Far as Passions is concerned, although Mueller is engaged in real life, she’d still like to hook up with someone on the soap. But she’d like it to be “somebody who I don't think anybody's really going to expect. It's really fun though – we're having a really good time.” And poor Matt Lawrence. He does not have an easy time of it watching her do love scenes with someone else. “Yeah, it's tough,” he said. “I can't watch him when he's making out with somebody else,” Mueller confessed. “Well, actually last time I rewound it and watched it in slow motion. And I'm like, ‘does he touch my face like that?’”
Danica Stewart was short and sweet in her response regarding her character Jessica’s current hooker storyline. “Jessica still has a soft side to her,” she said. “She's a really sweet girl inside. She's just being sabotaged by this really evil, evil man!”
I’ll end with how I began -- a quote from NBC Sr. VP of Daytime Programming, Sheraton Kalouria, who shares some big secrets for what’s ahead in Harmony.
“There is actually going to be a wedding on Passions, " he said. "A true wedding. It actually happens. That never happens, right?” he continued, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “We're actually going to get a couple married.” But that’s where he cut this scoop off. “I'm not gonna tell you who.” As far as the Passions Disaster storyline goes, we wanted to know if there would be any real deaths or tragedies. “Well, you know. Disasters are dangerous things,” he said. “Yes, there will be people that we don't see and are presumed dead.” Can we assume that “presumed” is the operative word in his statement or not? Time will tell. And of course, Kalouria credits all to Passions head writer, James E. Reilly. “This is the man who created the show six years ago. He's diligent, he's dedicated, and he's a little (crazy).”
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