Interview with Lauralee Bell of movies “Ruby” and “Pearl in the Mist” on Lifetime by Suzanne 3/17/21
It was so nice to speak with Lauralee. As I told her in the interview, I’ve been watching “The Young and The Restless” since 1986. She played young model “Cricket” and was in a lot of great stories. Later, she became a lawyer and went by “Christine.” She still recurs on the show. She plays a small-but-memorable part in these two Lifetime movies. It’s a very different role from Christine. Make sure you watch these two movies on Lifetime this weekend: “Ruby” and “Pearl in the Mist.”
Here is the audio version of it.
Suzanne: I’m actually a big fan. I started watching “Young in the Restless” in 1986.
Lauralee: Oh, my gosh. Oh, in the good years, I must say.
Suzanne: Yeah, back when you were “Cricket.”
Lauralee: The 80s and 90s were so, so exciting with Danny (Michael Damian) and Cricket.
Suzanne: Yeah, and Nina (Tricia Cast) and Phillip. That was great.
Lauralee: Did you know that Nina’s back for a little bit?
Suzanne: I haven’t been watching regularly lately, but, yeah… I did see that she’s coming back.
Lauralee: Oh, it’s over. She stayed with us, and it was just it was so fun. It was like old times, and I hope they keep her going.
Lauralee: Then, good. You know how opposite my part in these movies are. It could not be more opposite than Cricket.
Suzanne: I was wondering if you were channeling maybe a little Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) or a little Jill (Jess Walton) in there, maybe?
Lauralee: I mean, Jill, for sure. I mean, I definitely haven’t really been as evil to anyone other than Phyllis on our show to pull off these scenes. But yeah, no, definitely. Watching the great women of Y&R doing – I feel like Daphne is just so self centered. Jill was very much that way. So, I think, yes, I always do something from somewhere.
But, for me, just the hair and the red lipstick and the clothes kind of brought me into her. I mean, it was fun to be in Canada and in this mansion. Just once you’re in there wearing all this stuff, it sort of comes to play, but the performance was bigger than I’m normally used to. I usually try and be as natural as possible. So, I was definitely questioning myself as I was going through it, but it was super fun, and I love her.
Suzanne: It did look like you were having a little fun.
Lauralee: Yeah, I definitely did. I mean, if I’m at Y&R, I pretty much know what the program is, and at home, I’m very much a hands on mom. So, to kind of get this offer and escape and just kind of dive into that world for two movies, it was a great experience. I’ve worked with Lifetime a bunch, and I’m such a huge fan of their whole company, and then to be able to accomplish those two movies right before the lockdown was very satisfying in terms of getting something done in the work department. So, it was all around just a happy experience.
Suzanne: How long did it take to film it?
Lauralee: So, I went for a little over a week and a half for Ruby. Then, they were super great. My mom lived a wonderful life, but she passed away between the two movies. So, they were very kind when I came back. We had her memorial on a Wednesday, and I was on a plane at 4am on a Thursday the next morning, and they were very wonderful about mushing all my scenes together. So, I went back for about four or five days.
Then, I mean, it was truly on my last filming day where I would be seeing everyone around the set kind of whispering, and I was just hearing that all the shows in Vancouver were getting shut down. So, I was like, “Oh, my goodness, will I make this last scene?” and “Will the will the movie keep going?” I think because we were on Victoria Island, there were no cases there I believe, and they got to work maybe two or three days longer than Vancouver, but we were close behind them. But I was fortunate enough to get wrapped and then come home. Yeah, it wasn’t a long period of time, but it was still, for me, to be away from my husband and kids, that’s a long time.
Suzanne: Sure, and I can’t imagine it was fun to have to fly back after that and be all worried.
Lauralee: Yeah, it was a really fun night. My husband was very nervous to [unintelligible] “What if you don’t get home?” I was like, “I will get home. Somehow I’ll get home.” And at that point, we [didn’t] really understand like, if the United States was your home, you could get home, but it was just all so new to us, of course, and just trying to figure out what that meant.
Suzanne: Did you meet other members of the cast that you’re not on screen with, like Naomi Judd and Marilu Henner?
Lauralee: No, I’m so bummed. I have friends who are friends with them…I can’t remember. So I missed Naomi Judd by a day, and I was contemplating changing my flight, but … you know, when you come in for your first day, you don’t need to be bothered with anyone else that you have to say hello to. So, when I got back, I had so many questions. I was like, “How was she?” And everyone was like, “She was everything you could imagine and more.”
And Marilu Henner I’ve been a fan of forever, just her whole – also, her– not only her acting talent, but her ability with her memory is so fascinating to me. So, that was exciting.
And then, I didn’t find out that Kristian Alfonso (who played Hope on “Days of Our Lives“) was on until way later, and so we have become Instagram buddies and supporters and, you know, making jokes that we should do a spin off with our two characters, just all these fun things.
It’s hard, because I got really close with Raechelle (Banno) and Karina (Banno), and it was great working with Gil (Bellows), because I was a huge Ally McBeal fan. So, it’s hard not to all be together promoting this, but we’re basically adding everybody’s everything to our stories and DMing each other constantly. So, we’re probably talking more apart than we would if we were together, because it is constant. I think everyone is so excited, and we’ve all had to hold all these pictures for a year, so it’s finally fun to release a few of them, behind the scenes.
Suzanne: And I like your character’s hair and makeup; it looks so perfect. How long did it take them to put you together like that?
Lauralee: I mean, they were an amazing team. They did it rather quickly, but coming home, back to the hotel, and then trying to get all that teasing out of my hair – I mean, first of all, there was a little restaurant in the hotel and we would wrap late, so’d I always pop in there with bright red lipstick and this bouffant hair, and I thought, “You know what? I’m in jeans and a sweater, so nothing about it makes sense.” And I thought, “You know, I don’t care, but they must think I am just some strange woman who was staying in their hotel.” Yeah, I mean, in the car ride to the hotel, I would be putting my fingers through the teasing of my hair and just trying to relax it, but it was a process for sure. They were hairdos that I had not worn, and for 20 years on The Young and The Restless, Patti Denney, my makeup artist had always said like, “Well, you’re wearing a red dress. Would you like to wear red lipstick?” And I was like, “No, no, no, no, it just doesn’t work on me.” And, you know, it has to work for Daphne, and what’s great about it, for me, is it completely changes my look. So, it was fun. It was definitely fun to sort of look in the mirror and be like, “Wow. This is not how I came in,” and, you know, kudos to Daphne.
Suzanne: So, did it take a lot longer to do all that than it normally would have been for you to, say, get made up as Christine on The Young the Restless?
Lauralee: The difference was I had like no eye makeup. So, the eye makeup that Christine would have worn, Daphne didn’t wear. She had a couple of lashes, but it was really about those red lips. So, hair, yes. I would say hair took longer. Wardrobe was so fantastic, but it was a lot of, you know, pinning in and dipping tight and undergarments, because it was very, very cold there, so we would have like heating pads under our clothes. It was pantyhose and things like that we haven’t worn in a bit, which was so fun. So, [it was] just different, but yeah, even minimal makeup tends to take some time, and those red lips had to be really painted on carefully.
Suzanne: So, how did you mentally prepare for this role, which is so different?
Lauralee: I mean, I just felt that, again, she’s so self-centered, and she just really doesn’t care about anybody else but herself. So, I just thought, the kids are a nuisance, and it’s really the opposite of how I think, but once I got in there, I just sort of could kind of key into her as like, you know, Ruby coming into this world is just throwing off her universe, and one child is more than enough. This child that I have living in the house knows all the rules, and she knows to pretend that everything’s great, even when it isn’t. She knows how to fit the mold, but this Ruby girl is going to be a troublemaker.
I think you’re probably right; watching some amazing actresses on our show growing up, I’m sure that sort of helped a bit. I mean, the lines are there [like] when I say something like, “If you don’t have anything bad to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s like, who would say that to a young person? So, that helped.
Suzanne: Do you have any fun behind the scenes stories you can tell us about?
Lauralee: I mean, we were kind of up in this mansion away from where our trailers were, so we really had a lot of kind of hanging out time. I posted this on my Instagram yesterday, where, you know, Gil, has a son – he spoke about his son; he may might have children, but I think he just has one, but I was showing him all the silly apps you can do on your phone.
And the girls are knitters, so in between scenes, we would be just so fascinated, because, first of all, it’s fun to watch twins, but I just was kind of enamored with them, because they were both doing intermittent fasting, and they were both knitting, and they both finished each other’s sentences.
So, it wasn’t crazy stuff behind the scenes, but the downtime was really fun, because they’re really talented, bright, funny girls that when you’re doing something – kind of like, my part was really condensed, so I knew I had a limited amount of time with them, but to have really talked about everything, I mean, we talked about everything. They’re from Australia, and Y&R’s popular in Australia. So, I mean, just, there’s so much to discuss, but no real crazy things, but definitely a great time. I feel like we bonded twice as fast as I would have in past projects, just because, I don’t know, I think maybe we felt the pressure of…
Suzanne: The time crunch.
Lauralee: …and what’s going on in the world, and we knew that Lifetime was so excited about another VC Andrews project. We were excited about making these books come to life. So, there was just so much positive energy.
Suzanne: Yeah, those twins did a fantastic job.
Lauralee: Oh, my gosh, they’re so great. I mean, I can’t say enough about it. They were like, “We just watched the movies, and you did such a great job, and we’re so excited.” I’m like, “Okay, that’s so nice, but I am so excited for everyone to see you guys, because they’re your movies, and you guys are amazing.” I am so happy for them.
Suzanne: Yeah, it’s funny, because when you watch a movie like that, your mind sort of tries to predict what’s going to happen next, and I half expected we’d find out that Daphne and her husband’s partner had killed her husband.
Lauralee: Aha, I like that.
Suzanne: I watch too many soaps, I guess.
Lauralee: Right, there has to be more to it; there has to be some conniving behind the scenes. I love that idea. It’s so funny, when I’m telling the girls, like I’m taking over their world, basically, and then he puts his hand on my shoulder, and I grab his hand. It’s just like, ick. You know, it’s just like, these poor girls have to deal with this person. And it was so funny; every time we did the scene, the director would just laugh when I would grab his hand, and it was such a great move to have us do. It’s just repulsive to do in front of your children. “Well, your father’s gone…”
Suzanne: Not the most repulsive thing in the movie, though.
Lauralee: That is correct.
Suzanne: Every time she kissed her brother, I was like, “Eww, no.”
Lauralee: I know. I know. I mean, my daughter, luckily, is 18, so I feel as though she’s seen all these crazy shows that are on now, and I said to her, I was like, “This has a lot of good stuff in it. I think you’re gonna like it.” But, who knows. It’s always hard for them to watch Mom.
Suzanne: So, you’re not in the other two movies that come out next week?
Lauralee: Nope, I’m just in the first two. As they say, “Always leave them wanting more.”
Suzanne: That’s right. Now, you were on The Young and the Restless not too long ago. Have you been filming anymore there lately?
Lauralee: Yeah, I just I worked last week and the week before, so, yeah. I mean, really, if I didn’t switch to [recurring], I couldn’t do these opportunities that I really love doing, which is, you know, I’ve done, I guess, four Lifetime movies in the past three years. Maybe now with the pandemic, it’s four in four years, but, yeah, I love Y&R so much, but I also love doing a little side project.
Then, I have a writing partner, Martha Byrne, who was on “As the World Turns“; she played Lily. She and I are on the phone together every day, and we’re pitching some primetime shows to all different kinds of outlets. So, I stay very busy when I’m not on camera. So, it’s kind of fun right now.
Suzanne: Is that what you were doing a lot of during the pandemic, working on [those] kinds of things?
Lauralee: So, once we kind of got halfway through it, because for a while, everyone was just so focused on just keeping healthy and making sure their loved ones were healthy, as soon as people started realizing, like, you know, Zoom works well, and there will be positive life again in the future, then we started doing some pitch meetings. We’ve had to rework some pitch decks and resend them and now meet with this production company. So, it’s a slow process, but I see that we’re really making efforts to come back into all kinds of production. So, we’re hoping for some good news. We just keep on pushing.
Suzanne: Now, speaking of partners, I have a question, and you can feel free to say, “No comment,” because I don’t know, but I heard that Doug Davidson was leaving the show. Do you have a thing to say about that?
Lauralee: I mean, my only comment is we talk every single day. We’re very good friends. So, I can’t speak for him, but my advice to him was, “Never say never.” So, I’m still hopeful, but I support him in whatever he decides. We will still stay in touch daily, or weekly, regardless, but I think I could say that I can’t imagine not working with him again. So, I have to hold on to that hope that we will be reunited someday.
Suzanne: That’s good. You know, what’s nice about your characters is that there aren’t very many soap opera characters that you still see on a show, and they’re still a happy couple.
Lauralee: I know, and I agree. I love that. People are like, “How many husbands have you had?” or something. I’m like, “No, my character, I love it that it’s really been, like, you know, she loved Phillip, and then she loved Danny, and she loves Paul (Davidson).” And this relationship is so true to real life. Like people saw us really grow together as a couple, so I love that. And I love the fact that Nina’s back. To me, there aren’t enough female friendships on television. It’s very catty, and I understand that can be fun to watch, but I also think, to balance it out, we need a positive woman to support another kind of [woman], to have those kinds of conversations as well. So, I feel like Nina and Cricket have that history.
Suzanne: Yes, definitely. It’s funny, it seems like they bring in [Brittany]; maybe they bring her in when you can’t be a lawyer.
Lauralee: Right, exactly. It is funny. She’s so sweet, Lauren Woodland, who plays Brittany. [unintelligible] that legal stuff is not easy, and even after working for so long and staying with it for so long, it still throws me on days where I have a long legal either trial or statement or whatever. Then, for her to just be asked in occasionally, and then, “Oh, by the way, here’s your monologue or your very wordy couple of scenes,” good for her. She always does great.
Suzanne: Yeah. It helps that – she’s a lawyer in real life, right?
Lauralee: Yeah, which is so exciting. I was gonna say it’s relatively recent, but it’s not that recent, but yeah, I think that’s such a fun little tidbit.
Suzanne: Yeah, that’s cool.
Lauralee: She understands that lingo. I just pretend I [do].
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
LIFETIME, THE EXCLUSIVE HOME OF V.C. ANDREWS’ MOVIES, PREMIERES THE NEXT MOVIE SERIES EVENT, BASED ON THE BEST-SELLING LANDRY BOOK SERIES THIS MARCH WITH FOUR NEW MOVIES RUBY, PEARL IN THE MIST, ALL THAT GLITTERS AND HIDDEN JEWEL DEBUTING OVER CONSECUTIVE WEEKENDS BEGINNING MARCH 20
Kristian Alfonso, Marilu Henner, Richard Harmon, Jennifer Laporte and Evan Roderick Join Previously Announced Cast Including Identical Twins Raechelle Banno & Karina Banno, Naomi Judd, Crystal Fox, Gil Bellows, Deborah Cox, Lauralee Bell, Sam Duke and Ty Wood
Lifetime, the exclusive home of movies inspired by books from best-selling author V.C. Andrews, adds additional star-studded names to their next movie series event, centered on the Landry Family, with Daytime Emmy award winner, Kristian Alfonso (Days of our Lives); Golden Globe nominee, Marilu Henner (Taxi); Leo Award winner Richard Harmon (The 100, Bates Motel); Leo Award winner Jennifer Laporte (V.C. Andrews’ Web of Dreams) and Evan Roderick (Arrow, BH90210) joining the cast. The four-movie V.C. event airs consecutively over two weekends starting at 8pm ET/PT on Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21 and then again at 8pm ET/PT on Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28. The movie series follows Ruby Landry, who after being raised by her loving spiritual healer grandmother in the Louisiana bayou, is ensnared in a world of dark family secrets and betrayal, upon discovering that she has another family living in New Orleans.
The V.C Andrews’ Landry Family book series – Ruby, Pearl in the Mist, All That Glitters and Hidden Jewel – is the second highest-selling series from the author and becomes Lifetime’s latest adaptation of the prolific writer’s work. Lifetime’s new movie series comes on the heels of last summer’s premiere of V.C. Andrews’ Casteel Family movie series, which ranked as cable’s #2 new drama series among W25-54 for 20191.
Stars Naomi Judd, Crystal Fox, Gil Bellows, Deborah Cox, twins Raechelle Banno & Karina Banno, Lauralee Bell, Sam Duke and Ty Wood Saturday March 20th at 8pm ET/PT
Ruby centers on Ruby Landry (Raechelle Banno), born in the Louisiana bayou and watched over by her loving Grandmère Catherine (Judd). Ruby is filled with hope as love blooms with her high school sweetheart Paul Tate (Duke), but lingering thoughts of her mysterious father and her mother’s death often creep into Ruby’s mind. As dark family secrets begin to reveal themselves when Paul’s parents forbid him from seeing Ruby, Ruby is further devastated when her beloved Grandmère passes away. Forced to flee to New Orleans from the bayou, Ruby searches for her estranged father (Bellows), one of the richest men in the city, as she clings to her memories of Paul and their forbidden love.
Stars Marilu Henner with Gil Bellows, Raechelle Banno, Karina Banno, Lauralee Bell, Richard Harmon, Sam Duke and Ty Wood Sunday March 21st at 8pm ET/PT
Based on the second book, Pearl in the Mist finds Ruby still struggling to find true happiness, after a year of living at her father’s lavish mansion. When Ruby and her twin Giselle (Karina Banno) are sent away to an exclusive all girls boarding school, Ruby is hopeful for a new start with her sister. But when Ruby is once again shamed for her backwater upbringing, and her cruel Headmistress, Mrs. Ironwood (Henner), along with her stepmother Daphne (Bell) and Giselle continue to plot against her, Ruby must endure torturous punishments and public humiliation. Ruby holds out hope and continues to dream of a better future until tragedy leaves her alone in a world of deceits.
Stars Kristian Alfonso with Raechelle Banno, Karina Banno, Sam Duke and Ty Wood Saturday March 27th at 8pm ET/PT
All That Glitters picks up as Ruby is driven from the Dumas mansion and returns to her beloved childhood home in the bayou where she’s intent on creating a new life for her baby girl, Pearl. Ruby’s high school sweetheart, Paul, once again is there to support her, and when he moves her into his impressive home, she has new hope for the future. However, Ruby can’t escape the judging eyes of Paul’s mother Gladys (Alfonso) who knows Ruby and Paul’s dark secret and Giselle continues to torment Ruby when she reveals news about Beau (Wood), Pearl’s real father and Ruby’s true love. Ruby longs for another life. The web of deceit continues when Giselle falls into a coma and Ruby finds herself lured into a twisted plan to be with Beau.
Stars Jennifer Laporte and Evan Roderick with Kristian Alfonso, Raechelle Banno, Karina Banno, Crystal Fox, Sam Duke and Ty Wood Sunday March 28th at 8pm ET/PT
Hidden Jewel finds Ruby trying to find a new life for her children and desperate to protect her beloved daughter from the dark secrets she harbors. Raised amidst the privileges in New Orleans, Pearl (Laporte) aspires to become a doctor, but when an unfortunate accident occurs to one of her twin brothers, Pearl’s dreams are threatened and Ruby runs, once again back to the bayou. And when one of Pearl’s younger brothers becomes deathly ill, she must journey to the backwaters to find her mother and uncover the mysterious secrets of her past.
Additional stars across all four movies include Tess Atkins, Todd Thompson Serge Houde, Liza Huget, Mason Temple, Ducan Ollerenshaw, Paula Giroday, Giordana Venturi, Marc-Anthony Massiah, Veena Sood, Bob Frazer, Eric Vincent, Sage Linder, Glynis Davies, Bronwen Smith, Darien Martin, Meaghan Claire Hewitt McDonald, Beverly Gay Breuer, Chad Willett, Christian Michael Cooper, Dean Petriw, Ellen MacNevin, Indie Bajic, Mila Jones, Peter Anderson, and Caroline Yonge.
V.C. Andrews’ Landry Family Series is produced by Champlain Media and distributed by Reel One Entertainment. Executive producers are Tom Berry, Dan Angel, Jane Startz, Breanne Hartley, Jane Charles, and Ric Nish and Matthew Chipera serve as producers. Screenwriters include Richard Blaney, Gregory Small, Scarlett Lacey, Andy Cochran and Brian C. Rost who co-wrote the outline for Hidden Jewel. Gail Harvey directs Ruby, David Bercovici-Artieda directs Pearl in the Mist and Michael Robison directs All That Glitters and Hidden Jewel.
*For the 2019 TV Season, Lifetime’s VC Andrews Casteel Family film series would rank as cables #2 new drama among W25-54. Source: Nielsen, Live+SD, W25-54 (000s), 10/1/18-9/29/19, VC Andrews film series average vs. new drama season averages on cable.
Celebrating over 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies, high-quality scripted series and breakout non-fiction series. Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long-running Stop Breast Cancer for Life, Stop Violence Against Women, and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda