Interview with Carolyn Hennesy of “General Hospital” on ABC and “Vanished: Searching for My Sister” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/19/22
This was such a fun call! Carolyn is very sweet and friendly. I really enjoyed chatting with her. You can probably tell that by reading or listening to us gab.
Don’t miss her movie this Saturday, January 22 on Lifetime. She does play a small part, but it’s worth watching. It’s a good suspense drama.
Suzanne: It’s nice to meet you.
Carolyn: Nice to meet you, too.
Suzanne: I want to let you know that my site TVMEG.com has been around for twenty-five years, and I’ve been interviewing TV actors, directors, producers, for about fifteen years. So, I just wanted to let you know… I’m not some rank amateur, even though, today I feel like one.
Carolyn: Jacqueline would never set me up with a rank amateur. I knew that from the start.
Suzanne: Oh, good, good. Just to let you know. I’m also a General Hospital fan, and I’ve been watching since 1984.
Suzanne: So, I’m very excited to speak with you. I watched the Lifetime movie, it was very interesting. Tell us how this part came about for you.
Carolyn: It’s very simple. I told the director, Timothy Woodward Jr., who directed and is one of the producers of Studio City with Sean Canaan, I said to him one day on the set of Studio City, I said, “What’s our next project? What are we doing together?” And he said, “Well, interestingly enough, I’ve got this feature that’s going in Atlanta,” and I said, “Terrific, when do I show up?” And he laughed, and then he said, “You show up at this time.” So, yeah, I just basically told the director. I said, “We’re going to do something together. What is it?” This was it.
Suzanne: Well, that’s good that it worked.
Carolyn: Right. I mean, it’s so rare that you kind of bypass the audition process. It’s actually becoming a little more frequent for me, but this is one of those wonderful times where he just said, “Yeah, this is your role. Show up on set at this time.”
Suzanne: Well, that’s great. Well, he knew you already. So, why bother having an audition? He knows what you can do.
Carolyn: Yeah, and he knew what I was like to work with. He knew my set behavior and set protocol until it’s over. So yeah, all worked out. I was a proven commodity.
Suzanne: Right. And where was it filmed, and how long did it take?
Carolyn: It was filmed in Atlanta, and I was there for about – I was in Atlanta for I think it was a week all told. Actually, probably more like ten days. I think I was in Atlanta for about ten days. Now, that was my portion. The filming, I think it was a three week shoot. I believe it was a three week shoot.
Suzanne: And all done in Atlanta?
Carolyn: Yeah, well, on the outskirts of Atlanta, in various locales.
Suzanne: All right, great. And how was it playing a police detective, and have you played one before?
Carolyn: Have I ever played a police detective before? That’s a very good question. [laughs] You would think I would remember that. I might have. I just can’t remember at the moment.
Suzanne: No, I understand. I understand completely. Once you’ve done things many, many times. I’ll be like, sometimes I’ll get an interview request. “Oh, I would love to interview that person.” Then, “wait, wait. I interviewed them already, like 2012. Oops. I completely forgot.”
Carolyn: Yeah, people will say, “Carolyn, have you ever played a lawyer?” It’s like, “Have I?” Yes, in fact, I play one now.
Suzanne: Right, and was it very different from playing a lawyer, playing a police detective?
Carolyn: Well, this particular police detective is very stoic, very calm, very skeptical, a little jaded, a little hardened. So, there wasn’t the usual [unintelligible] that I have with Diane Miller or basically any of my other characters, almost any of them. She was a little more grounded, a little more stern, and just hard. You know, she’s seen it all; nothing surprises her. Nothing shocks her; that kind of character. And basically, Jasmine had the bulk of the dialogue in our scene. Kind of, not quite a “yes man,” but she’s the kind of person that doesn’t speak except when she really has something to say. She doesn’t talk for the sake of talking.
Suzanne: Well, that’s good, less dialogue to have to memorize
Carolyn: Oh, this seems really easy. Jasmine does most of the talking. I just say, you know, “Hold up there, Missy,” or something like that. Yeah, it was a little easy.
Suzanne: You just had to sit there and look pretty; that was your role.
Carolyn: I had to sit there and look as pretty as I possibly could, you know, three in the morning in the cold and rainy Atlanta.
Suzanne: Yeah, it can get cold rainy there. We used to live about three hours from there, so, yeah.
Carolyn: It can get cold and rainy, and you think, “Well, listen, this is Georgia.” You just don’t accept cold and rainy out of out of the Deep South, you just don’t. Then, when it happens, you think “Well, my goodness.” You know, it’s like Wisconsin, but the hair and the makeup people were top of their game, as was wardrobe, basically everybody, but the hair and makeup people were really first class. So, I never really had to worry about looking good, looking my best, actually.
Suzanne: Good. Yeah. Funny thing about the Deep South, it’s a large area, and the weather is crazy. I’m in Arkansas, and today it’s in the 60s, and last week we had snow. So, you never know. You just never know.
Carolyn: That’s what they say about the weather. “Just wait ten minutes. It’ll change.”
Suzanne: Yeah, I mean, it’s not like I grew up in Southern California, so it’s nothing like that at all.
Carolyn: And it’s interesting, because it was bitter cold this morning, and when I say “bitter cold,” you know.
Suzanne: No, I know. So, you and Jasmine, you play partners. Did you do to do anything to get to know each other better or to make you work more like partners beforehand?
Carolyn: Beforehand, no. It sort of came afterwards. She’s just a lovely individual. She’s so wonderful, so professional. And again, she’s one of these people that she’s been in the business so long. She’s seen it all. She’s done it all, but she makes cheesecake, and she brought in a couple of cheesecakes for the hair and makeup department, or, actually, that’s what that’s where they landed. Everybody was coming in to get some of Jasmine’s cheesecake. But then we started talking about some of the restaurants and some of the things to do in Atlanta proper, and my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. Maybe it’s the top three in in the United States, for me. It’s called Mary Mac’s Tea Room.
Suzanne: I know where that is. Yeah, I stayed at the hotel right across the street from there.
Carolyn: Well, Jasmine lives catty corner. So, I was there once on my own, as I am want to do, because [they] basically do anything. But after filming, I think I was to leave the next day, and I think it was a Monday, or we had one more day of filming, I can’t remember what it was, but Jasmine met me there. I’ve got pictures of more food on that table. They just kept bringing us stuff. We were ordering it but they just kept loading [up our plates]. Jasmine and I basically ate our weight in fried chicken and tomato pie and broccoli souffle. We just had the best time. And of course she was recognized. She’s recognized all over America. And she’s so gracious, so lovely. Then, every once in a while, somebody would look at me and go, “Oh, I know you, my kids watch Jessie.” I am like, “Thank you. Thank you very much.” Jasmine was like, “She’s on General Hospital.” [laughs] Thank you, Jasmine, my publicist.
Suzanne: You’ve done so much. So, you’re bound to be noticed for something.
Carolyn: But everyone loved A Different World. So, she still gets recognized. And she’s, again, so lovely, and that voice is so unique. [unintelligible] It’s Jasmine’s curse to bear, and she does it with great aplomb.
Suzanne: And this movie has two actors from early 90s hits sitcoms and three soap actors. So, was there any joking around about either of those things?…[Jasmine and] Tatyana Ali, from Fresh Prince.
Carolyn: …Again, one of the more lovely professional, gracious, funny individuals that I’ve ever worked with. She’s just lovely. She and Jasmine were basically the only ones I really worked with.
Suzanne: Tatyana was also on The Young & the Restless and of course, Justin (Bruening) was on All My Children.
Carolyn: That’s right. Again, I didn’t work with a lot of them, or didn’t closely with a lot of them. I worked certainly with Jasmine and Tatyana, but you’re absolutely right.
Suzanne: And I was wondering if you had any joking around about that or about the sitcom thing?
Carolyn: No, no, not really, because, again, I didn’t really work with them.
Suzanne: That’s fine. Did you see Tatyana when she was dressed up as both Jade and Kayla, and did you know it was the same actress?
Carolyn: I did not see her dressed up as Kayla, but I saw photos, I should say that. I saw photos, and yeah, a different person. And from what I understand, she navigated those waters just expertly.
Suzanne: Yes, she did.
Carolyn: She really did. I actually can’t wait to see the film. I’ve not seen it. [laughs] I’ve seen little bits and pieces, but nothing of her as Kayla.
Suzanne: The reason I asked is because I’d read an article where Justin was saying when he saw her dressed up as Kayla [he] didn’t recognize her and didn’t know who that person was and thought it was some other actress and had not been talking to her. Then, once once she spoke, he’s like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I wasn’t talking to you.”
Carolyn: Right, right. It was a complete and utter transformation. There again, that’s due in large part to the hair and makeup people. They work magic.
Suzanne: Now, I have a question about GH, and you can feel free to say “no comment” or “move along” or whatever. I’m wondering about the mood of the cast and crew right now, because I know you had some actors leave, and there was some public fighting. Has this affected anyone?
Carolyn: You know what’s interesting? I.. actually, I go back to work a week from tomorrow. I have not been there…I was there one day before Christmas, and things were fine. I’ll just say “fine.” The mood was not elevated. The mood wasn’t depressed. Was it a different dynamic onset? Yes, it was, because everyone knew what happened. So, we all have a job to do. Everyone was professional enough not to discuss it, at least the actors that I worked with that day, and I actually only worked with Laura Wright, who is a consummate professional.
Suzanne: I was going to say, it’s probably the scene that was on this week, where Diane and Carly talk around stuff.
Carolyn: Yes. We have become gal pals. Who would have thunk it? Who would have thought that Carly and Diane could become close friends? And yes, we are.
Suzanne: Well, I guess after it’s been long enough.
Carolyn: Exactly, exactly, after long enough. Diane gets to know somebody long enough, and you know, we’re bosom buddies.
Suzanne: Well, I mean, even Sam and Carly were friends, and they did some terrible things to each other a long time ago.
Carolyn: Right! It just goes to show. Then, give it a few years, they’ll change back, and then their twin will come on the scene, and everyone will be confused, and then they’ll be possessed, or they’ll be in a coma.
Suzanne: And touching on that note, I had asked some GH fans on various Facebook groups if they had any questions for you. Many, many fans said to say that they love Diane, and that you’re a great actress. They didn’t say great. They said wonderful and a lot of other compliments I didn’t write down. They just love you, and they wish you had a bigger role in the show. I told them that wasn’t up to you.
Carolyn: No, it’s not up to me, but I wholeheartedly agree. Yes. And tell them, bless them for all of those wonderful comments, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Suzanne: And a few wanted to know if Diane might get another love interest soon. If you can tell us that or if you know anything about that?
Carolyn: Not that I know, but there again, I’m not on the fifth floor, in on those decisions. So, I will say that I did an event with Chris Rogers over the weekend, and Tristan looked at me and said, “We should really get together on the show.” And I said, “You can make that happen. You can go to Frank Valentini and say, ‘Guess what I’d like?’”
Suzanne: That would be an awesome couple. That would be great.
Carolyn: Wouldn’t that be so hilarious?
Suzanne: It would be so funny.
Carolyn: It would be so much fun.
Suzanne: Yes, definitely. I’ll have the fans start a petition.
Carolyn: Start a petition, exactly. Diane and Robert. Yeah. What should happen should be that we should butt heads in court and realize exactly how smart each other is and how fun each other is and how capable, and it should it should progress from there.
Suzanne: Right, or with Martin; that would also be good.
Carolyn: I would love that. I mean, my gosh. Michael Knight, come on. Michael Knight whose skin is better than a twenty-five year old, for God’s sake. I don’t know what he does. He must have a painting going to hell in an attic somewhere. I’m just saying.
Suzanne: Yes, I was so glad to see him join. I know there’re lots of All My Children fans who are so glad to see him join the show.
Carolyn: Yeah. So am I.
Suzanne: This was what I was going to touch on from what we were talking before about Diane and her friends. Sylvia wants to know if Diane will be having any scenes soon with Alexis, and whether they’re still besties.
Carolyn: Well, I do not know if I’m having scenes soon. As I say, I know I’m working a week from tomorrow, but I don’t know what those things are yet, as far as I’m concerned, and I think as far as Diane’s concerned, we’re still besties. Absolutely. You know, you don’t find someone like an Alexis on the show and then kind of let them go. I do wish that the powers that be had let Diane in a little bit more on Alexis’s stay in prison, be a little bit more involved in her recovery. So, I do wish that, but there again, I just stand on my mark and say my lines. [laughs]
Suzanne: You do your job, keep your head down, and hope for the best.
Carolyn: Keep my head down, show up on time, make sure I’m wearing the right shoes, and [unintelligible].
Suzanne: So, here’s a question, again, this wasn’t on the list, but it just occurred to me, because I thought about this before. Why do they have women on TV wear high heels? We can’t see your feet.
Carolyn: Well, honestly, for me, I can only speak for me, it actually helps. It elongates the leg. It makes you stand a little straighter, at least it does for me, and it completes the look. Certainly with Diane wearing a suit, or if you’re wearing a gown, sometimes you will see the feet, that’s number one, but number two is it completes the look, and for this actress, it helps fully flesh out the character.
Suzanne: Well, that makes sense…
Carolyn: And believe me, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t put on slippers or sneakers or low flats if I was in court and you couldn’t see my feet. I would never do it, because you want to hear the “click click click” as Diane walks back to her seat. You want to hear the “click click” as she’s rising and walking into the center of the courtroom. It’s very deliberate, and you know something profound is going to come out because of the way she walks in those heels, and that’s all part of the dynamic of that character in that moment, because you want to be able to use every tool that you’ve got.
Suzanne: Right, it’s part of the TV magic in a way, because fans wouldn’t necessarily notice it, but if it was gone, we’d probably say something is off. We might not notice the “click,” but if it was gone, we’d be, “Huh, what is wrong?”
Carolyn: Exactly. “What’s she got on her feet?”
Suzanne: Another fan, and I think her name is Hueann, loves your red hair and wants to know what your secret is for looking so young.
Carolyn: $200 a month.
Suzanne: Getting your hair done?
Carolyn: [laughs] Yes. My secret for looking so young? Well, that is all attitude. That’s just attitude. If you have the correct attitude for your own brain, then you could walk down the street wearing a gunny sack, and the next day, people would be wearing gunny sacks. It’s all attitude and the way you approach life and the way you approach your age, and etc, etc, etc. So, I’m very lucky that I do have what I think is just a great attitude towards living, and that keeps me young. Also, I work out on a track. So, that keeps me young too.
Suzanne: Right. Yeah, actually, I think you’re almost exactly – your birthday is in February, right?
Carolyn: No, June.
Suzanne: Oh, June, okay. So, you’re about six months younger than I am. I saw that. I was like, “Oh, okay.” That was just funny.
Carolyn: When is your birth date?
Oh, December 3rd, ‘61.
Suzanne: So, I know what you mean when you talk about forgetting stuff. It seems to get worse as I get older. I’m lucky if I know what I had for lunch yesterday.
Suzanne: One last question. Maggie wants to know, which client of Diane’s would you say is the one that causes the most trouble, and which client causes the least trouble? Or what would Diane say?
Carolyn: The most trouble is a toss up between Jason Morgan and Sonny Corinthos, and the least trouble – Does she have a client that causes her the least trouble? There is no such thing as the least trouble in Port Charles, certainly not with Diane’s clients. They’re all wonderful, fabulous train wrecks.
Suzanne: You mentioned the possession thing earlier, that would be great. I know they don’t want to do something like that on GH anymore. I love the stuff in the 80s when they did things like that. I wish they would bring that kind of thing back like when they had the alien. I don’t know if you saw that.
Carolyn: I remember a little bit, and there was an island and someone was a Mayan princess.
Suzanne: Yes. Felicia was a Mayan princess. No, not Mayan; she’s an Aztec princess.
Carolyn: Aztec princess. So sorry. So sorry.
Suzanne: Yes, in fact, I started watching in ‘84, like I said, and it was before Felicia came on, and [there] was something to do with a necklace. There’s always a necklace, right?
Carolyn: There’s always the necklace.
Suzanne: Aztec necklace and she was dressed as a boy and hiding under Frisco’s bed.
Carolyn: As one does.
Suzanne: Exactly, but that wasn’t nearly as odd as when Robin got involved with the Ancient One in the Asian quarter and they discovered Casey the Alien, and he had some magical crystals from his planet, and the bad guys in the Asian quarter had them, something to do with that. I don’t remember the exact story, but it was very – I love that.
Carolyn: …The fans will remember.
Suzanne: Yes, the fans will. Well, I’m a fan but like I said, I have to look everything up.
Carolyn: Oh, of course, yeah, me too. That’s so funny.
Suzanne: That would be great if they did something like that nowadays. I don’t know if the fans would like it. They seem to be more into realism.
Carolyn: They do seem to be, don’t they? But it would be a little fun.
Suzanne: It would be.
Carolyn: It would be a boat load of fun. A boat load of fun, I’ll tell you that. Especially If Diane saw an alien, and no one believed her.
Suzanne: Well, you would think of all people you might believe Diane, because she’s so no-nonsense and down to earth.
Carolyn: That’s absolutely true. That’s absolutely true. It’s like if Diane walked in and said, “I just saw a spaceship.”
Suzanne: Or they’d wonder what she drank — if she drank too much at her lunch.
Carolyn: Exactly, and, you know, Diane’s been known to do that. It’s that simple.
Suzanne: Yeah, I guess the closest they’ve come in modern times was when they sort of touched on the vampire thing, but they were sort of cagey about it. It’s like, did it happen? Didn’t it happen. And it was Lucy, so nobody believed her.
Carolyn: Well, no, I mean, would you? I mean, let’s face it, she’s an alien herself.
Suzanne: Yeah, exactly. Well, she was a vampire hunter. Well, I appreciate your talking at me.
Carolyn: I loved it. Let’s do it again.
Suzanne: All right, and I am telling everybody about the movie, and I hope you get lots of people watching, and we look forward to the next one.
Carolyn: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. We’ll talk at you again, okay?
Suzanne: Thank you. Bye bye.
Carolyn: Thank you so much. Bye bye.
Here is the audio version of it.
Here’s our panel interview with Tatyana Ali, Justin Bruening, Carolyn Hennesy and Treach!
VANISHED: SEARCHING FOR MY SISTER
Premieres Saturday, January 22ndat 8p/7c
Twins Jada and Kayla (both played by Tatyana Ali) could not be more opposite: Jada being the mild- mannered sister with an office job, and Kayla the wild child. Recently divorced from her husband Warren (Justin Bruening), Kayla asks Jada to watch her daughter while she sets up her new apartment. But after a few days with no word from Kayla, Jada begins to worry and reports her sister missing. With no leads and the police investigation at a standstill, Jada takes matters into her own hands. She disguises herself as her sister and gets pulled into a world of drugs and deceit in order to learn the shocking truth about what really happened to Kayla.
Vanished: Searching for My Sister also stars Jasmine Guy, Carolyn Hennesy and Anthony “Treach” Criss. The film is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Leslie Greif serves as executive producer. Tim Woodward Jr. directs from a script written by Christina Welsh.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda