Interview with Nancy Gould
Nancy Gould: "I was glued to my set. Were you glued to yours? Did you see her? Nice pair of gray shoes, huh? You might say that she's been dead, but they have got us dying in anticipation. There are a few new twists to the plot that might require our star-crossed lovers to seek marriage counseling. If it were possible, I asked Genie Francis to gives us some clues about how she returns, and she did."
NG: "How do think audiences are going to feel about your reunion? Do you think that you might be able to sizzle them, to woo them, to get them back in the same frame of mind they were, as they were at your wedding date which supposedly was the highest ratings of all time? I mean, do you think you can accomplish that again? Or do you think that it's subsided somewhat?
Genie Francis: "I don't think, to tell you the truth, that we will ever again reach the peak that we were at before because things like that only happen once in a lifetime. But I do think that there will be a tremendous interest, because everyone has been wanting for Luke and Laura to be reunited. So, uh, I'm expecting quite a bit of action."
NG: "What do you think Luke is going to feel when he discovers Laura is back?"
GF: "Well, he'll be shocked. Because she's virtually coming back from the dead. In his mind..."
NG: "I was just going to ask you how do you enter -- we supposedly lost you in a storm." [GF nods.] "And now all of a sudden you've been revived two years later. How are audiences feasibly and realistically going to accept that?"
GF: "Well, you see, uh, when she walked off the pier into the fog... [Laughs.]... that one awful day, um, they never really recovered her body. They recovered her boot and her coat and jewelry and things like that. Uh... the only clue I'm going to give you is that during the time when Luke and Laura were married and Liz Taylor did a guest spot on our show. Liz was playing Helena Cassadine who put a curse on Luke and Laura. And I think Laura's mysterious disappearance has something to do with..."
NG: "The curse."
GF: "Liz Taylor's curse." [She and NG laugh.]
NG: "A lot of people have said, critics mainly, that the chemistry on the show is pretty much due to you. And that without you, he just doesn't seem to have the same pizzazz. You've been away for two years, I'm sure in your spare time you've viewed segments or perhaps moments of the show. What do you feel? Do you think he does?"
GF: "I think Tony is a brilliantly talented actor. Um, and I think he's wonderful by himself. But thin that we were so... the audience was so in love with the two of us as a couple that they just would not accept him with anyone else."
NG: "There she was, all dressed in black, sitting inches away from him, eavesdropping, taking it all in but saying nothing. And so it goes. Can Laura admit that she really loves Luke despite the obstacles, and take him back? But will Luke's irrepressible drive to once again possess Laura threaten to destroy their happiness? That's what I love about daytime shoes. At their best, they're the worst and at their worst, they're the best. Especially General Hospital."
GF: "Laura has changed a great deal. She's been through a lot in these two years." [Laughs.] "I think that you'll see, probably, a more mature Laura. Um, a more fashionable Laura. Stronger. Much stronger, I would say."
NG: "Yeah, that's going to be interesting because how are the other cast going to react to that? And in particular Luke, but I mean how will they react to your changes?"
GF: "Uh, well, I don't know if they really go into that. I don't think everybody's going to say, 'Laura, you've changed!'" [Laughs.] "I just don't think -- that's not going to happen, really."
NG: "They'll just accept -- it'll be natural, matter-of-fact type thing." [GF nods.] "Now you are going to depart again and we can't give our audiences any indication of how this is going to happen or when, really." [GF grins and shakes her head.] "We know that you're here for a limited engagement. How do you feel about your second exit?"
GF: "I'm really excited about it." [NG laughs.] "You see, I know the whole story and I think it's going to be fabulous. So I'm really excited about what they have planned. It's very, it's very up..."
NG: "On a personal note, what happens to Genie Francis when she goes to the supermarket or just walks down the street? What, what are you usually confronted with?"
GF: "A lot of people recognize me. But people, I think, are very good to me. I get a lot of support from my fans. Uh, I get, they ask what are you doing next and what are we going to see you on next. It's very loving and very supportive, so I don't mind it. It's only on a very rare occasion that I find someone who is rude."
NG: "You can take the suds out of the soap, but you can't take the ratings away from this soap. General Hospital can boast it's still the #1 rated daytime soap opera in the country. Two million more viewers have become outpatients since Genie Francis made her return, giving this show a 37% share of the audience. And now, let's talk soap. It was fascination for sure. What do you think? I think she's more than married. I think the only thing that can come between Luke and Laura this time is a baby. So far she sailed off to the Greek Islands with Stavros and then he gave her a necklace that dazzles with jewels. But I don't think that's all he gave her. What will Luke do when he finds out that there's more between him and Laura than a set of non-iron sheets?"
NG: "Luke and Stavros are not the only two men who have influenced Laura. Genie Francis claims that her father has had an effect, as well."
GF: "I came home and I just couldn't understand why I was so depressed all the time. My parents would say to me, 'Genie, what's wrong with you? You're just not yourself anymore." [NG laughs.] "And, uh, I was definitely taking the work home at that time. And my father at that point sat me down and said, you know, 'You've learned how to turn it on, now I want you to learn how to turn it off.' You do somewhere from let's say 30-40 pages a day, sometimes 50, sometimes 60 on a really bad day. And you're here about 10-12 hours a day. So when you get done with the show - and believe me, it's very hectic while you're here, getting that all done. Uh, you go home and you have a little bit of dinner and you pick up your script for the next day and you study and then you fall into bed and you start the whole thing over and over again. Your life revolves around the show. There's no social life, there's no partying time or any of that."
NG: "Are you really like Laura, personally?"
GF: [Laughs.] "Um... well, let's see. We look alike." [NG laughs.] "We look very much alike. Um, we're the same age." [Laughs.] "I don't know..."
NG: "What about her motivations?"
GF: "I'd say basically we're pretty much alike. More so now than before because Laura has grown up a bit. Um... basically everything that she experiences comes right out of me, so yes, of course, we're almost interchangeable."
NG: "What are your sights for the future in terms of the kind of acting you'd like to do apart from soap opera?"
GF: "Well, the one thing that I'm really dying to do is some comedy. I mean, I spent five years making people cry... [She and NG laugh.]... I'd would just love to make them laugh."