Inheriting a Role

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New actor, old role

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Dear Suds Buds, 

Let me start off by saying that I am actually getting to write this column before 9 PM!  LOL  That’s a half hour sooner than I began writing it last week.  Plus, today was interrupted by some administrative business.  A conference call.  A visit from a contractor.  All things that took considerable time out of the day.  But, but, but…

The good news is I did get a faster DSL connection!  And, and, and…

It is making a noticeable difference in the download and upload time.  So, I am very happy about that.  It will definitely make publishing our content more efficient.

Now, on to the topic of this week’s TOW! 

On several soaps right now, actors have moved on to other pastures.  On Days of our Lives, for example, Kirsten Storms who played the character of Belle, has left to pursue a primetime career.  Going into primetime is always a risk, as primetime shows get cancelled for the slightest provocation.  Word is, however, that the door is open at Days for her to return, should the prime time gig not work out.  Meantime, the role of Belle has been recast with Charity Rahmer, who began airing as Belle on July 19, 2004.

On General Hospital, the character of Lois, once played by Rena Sofer, is now played by Lesli Kay, formerly Molly of As the World Turns.  The role of Molly, once vacated by Kay, was taken over by Christine Chambers.  Soon on Passions, the role of Simone will be played by Janeen Doe.   The list goes on and on.

Here’s the thing.  You are used to seeing a certain actor in a certain role.  Their face in that role is familiar to you. Their actions are familiar.  The way they behave is familiar.  When a new actor is suddenly in the role, it is jarring at best.  It will take some getting used to – a lot of getting used to.  And just as you are acclimating to the new actor in the role, the actor is working to become the character. 

Only after one day of Charity Rayhmer’s portrayal of Belle, I am seeing posts on the Soapdom DOOL boards that are less than flattering to the actor’s portrayal and performance.  Gees, guys!  She’s only been in the role one day.  Give her some time to “get it.” 

Not every actor is perfect for every role, but make no mistake about it, if they were cast, than that means they had some spark, some something, that caught the casting director’s and producers’ eye.  There is talent there.  We just need to give it a little time.  Time to get used to seeing the new person in the role. Time for the new actor to understand and feel the character. 

Remember Sarah Brown? She played Carly on General Hospital. She was such a fan favorite. I remember being at a Super Soap Weekend in florida, and fans screaming at the top of their lungs whenever she’d make an appearance.  But she left GH to pursue other endeavors. 

Suddenly GH was left without a Carly.  So, they cast Tamara Braun to attempt to fill some pretty big shoes.  At first, there were many skeptics.  How could anyone have the same chemistry with Sonny as Sarah Brown?  How could this interloper fill Sarah’s Emmy winning shoes?  Well, guess what?  For many GH fans now, it’s almost like -- Sarah who?  Tamara Braun not only wowed the producers and casting director of GH, she wowed Maurice Benard (Sonny) who went to bat for her and encouraged the writers to keep the character in his story. Did you know that they were about to write Carly off the canvas back then?  They only hired Braun to tie up some loose ends in the wake of Sarah Brown’s departure.  Years later, Braun is Carly, and many a GH fan would be hard-pressed to see anyone else in the role.  And in the very imminent future, Sarah Brown returns to daytime, but on a whole other soap. She will originate a brand new character on As the World Turns.

Point being.  It takes time.  It’s a daunting prospect having to take over a front-burner role from another popular actor.  Do give the newbie r some time to ease into the shoes of the character.  Give yourselves some time to get used to the new face and the sensibilities that the new actor brings to the character.  You just may find that down the line, you’ll love the new actor in the role.

Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

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