Family Affair

Jeremy must choose between his son and the woman they both love on AMC

Jeremy's (Jean LeClerc) plan -- to make Ceara (Genie Francis) fall in love with him, and break up with his son, David (Trent Bushey) -- has backfired. Yes, she's about to call off their wedding plan on All My Children, but there's a new problem: Jeremy has fallen in love with Ceara.

On New Year's Eve, David becomes ill and Jeremy escorts Ceara to New York for a New Year's Eve celebration at the nightclub, Nexus. Hidden away in a cozy corner, they share a passionate kiss. Although Jeremy may be under the illusion that he's still pursuing Ceara for the sake of his son, we're beginning to suspect he's more emotionally involved with her than he knows.

"I'm very excited to be in a storyline, seeing my character being confused," says LeClerc. "That's interesting because he's always had the last answer to everything. He's that kind of character. He's the kind of man who doesn't lie, a man who means well, but he didn't realize how devastating the end of all this could be. Suddenly, he's torn between a love for a woman -- who's definitely making a difference in his life -- and his son. At the same time, if he decides to pursue that happiness, it will cost him the love of his son. Today, he has no way of finding out how his son will react, but we can predict he will not react well."

Where does Jeremy stand? "He is a man of honor, and he loves his son," says LeClerc. "He is caught in a situation where he wanted to keep a woman away from his son's life, so that his son would be happy. As he's trying to do that, he realizes something else [about Ceara] even she doesn't know she has -- a great potential for being a woman for his caliber of love. Therefore, the character is confused, and I love to see that.

"But where do we go from here? What if Jeremy brings her to a point of thinking this is her real love, and he decides to abandon her to keep the love of his son, and he breaks her heart?"

The fact that Jeremy has fallen for Ceara is evident when he talks to Trevor (James Kiberd), who has been in on the plan from the beginning. "He liest to his friend, Trevor," says LeClerc. "He says, 'I don't love her. I'll dump her.' He's been caught in something that he has created, which is larger than he thought it would be."

If Jeremy does dump Ceara, Francis believes it would be devastating for her character's fragile ego. "She is an extremely damaged human being," she explains. "She's been through a very rough life and she desperately wants to have a better lifestyle. She has a very low opinion of herself and she's the kind of person who thinks if she can make it look all right on the outside then maybe it will be okay on the inside.

"If she can have the right clothes to wear, the right man standing beside her, and live in the right kind of house," continues Francis, "she thinks maybe that will fix her. And it's very common... trying to fix the problem from the outside in. And it can't be done that way.

"But that's pretty much what Ceara's m.o. is," says Francis. "She is desperately trying to get herself to the other side of the tracks, to wipe away what happened to her as a child. But the damage has been done to her. She's never going to be able to wipe it away. She's going to have to go through a major metamorphosis as a human being to make peace with her problem. She has a lot of problems to address.

"When they told me about this [storyline] at lunch when they were convincing me to take the job, that's the thing I loved most about the character," says Francis. "[These characters' problems] have so many different levels. It can produce real nasty, bitchy behavior, which is fun and different for me, and it can also set her up to get herself into major problems. But, it can also mean that she has a good heart and a lot of empathy for others who are like herself."

The word at ABC is that this will be a long-term story.

Phyllis S. Williams