The bride-(not)-to-be. (Soaps.com)
I must say, normally when I have a phone interview set up, the whole process goes like clockwork. I clear the decks with my family so that I can sequester myself in my office and chat away. So far, the worse-case scenario has been that my dogs have barked when the UPS guy drove by while I had a General Hospital actor on speaker phone. Oops. But no big deal, right? My first conversation with the lovely Megan Ward (who plays the equally lovely, but definitely more conflicted Kate Howard) didn't start off quite as planned. My daughter's gymnastics class ran late, the McDonald's line was long and as I scrambled up the stairs to start the sequestering process, my cell phone fell on the hardwood floor and smashed to bits. You guessed it, Megan was to call me on my cell and I only had about a minute to spare. Enter my dashing husband who somehow put my phone back together and, voila! my phone rang. Slightly breathless, I explained to Megan why I wasn't quite ready to chat and the first thing I could actually hear was her girl-like laugh. This wasn't Kate Howard at all, it was a fellow mother. She told me that our lives sounded very parallel and confessed to be hiding upstairs so that her children couldn't find her when they returned home with the nanny.
Megan and I talked for well over an hour and the one thing that stands out to me now is how very invested she is with her character. When she came to General Hospital over a year and a half ago, she was given all of the details about Kate and Sonny's background and what she didn't know, she filled in for herself so as to better bring the 'rigid and statue like' woman to life. Megan told me that Kate's choices early in her career weren't vain; they were ambitious and full of hope. She said that her shell to reach the top grew so very thick that Kate ultimately got lost inside of it until Sonny came back into her life and broke through. What Kate is left with at his point is mush and putty, Megan shared. At this point, Kate is in the rebuilding stage and will have to come up with a more appropriate amount of shell for herself to live within.
I find this kind of conversation very enlightening. I mean, fans watch the show five days a week and can probably tell you what kind of soup Olivia brought Kate in the hospital, but isn't it nice to get a sneak peek into her head from the person who brings her to life?
Megan said that Kate and Sonny are at every bit as much of a crossroads now as they were back in high school, only Sonny is a little bit more rigid with his decision making. "Kate hasn't given up hope in his transformation," Megan added, "She just realizes that she has exhausted her tool, she can no longer be a pile of jelly for him."
I asked her if she really thinks that Sonny and Kate can carve out some kind of future for themselves given his return to the mob. I mean, I had to ask, right? Her answer was reflective, but not at all wavering. She has no idea what the writers are planning to do, but said, "I don't think they're done at all. My and Maurice's (Benard) investment is that they have reached this breaking point because their love had become unhealthy. I believe in my whole heart that Kate would at the drop of a hat go back to Sonny. But he has to break his own pattern first." She added that Sonny wants to do it but just needs time to learn how, and that Kate has to be the one to close the door. "I have every belief that there will come several times when they have chances to be back together," Megan stated.
You have to know what (or should I say 'who'?) I brought up next, right? Mr. Jasper Jacks. Megan's publicist had already indicated to me that there were some interesting Kate/Jax dynamics coming in the next few weeks, so I asked Megan what she would think of such a pairing. "Kate is reeling, she's very unsure of what she's supposed to do. Jax is in the same situation in that he's put all of his eggs in one (love) basket." She pointed out that the two have an easy, nonjudgmental relationship and that's why they are so good together. "The caveat to the story is that someone is not willing to let changes happen," she teased.
Megan and I spoke of her feelings about working with the young and talented Kirsten Storms (Maxie). She even gave me a little wish list of a possible storyline that she'd like to see play out for Maxie and her mentor, Kate. She also shared some insight into Kate and Olivia's relationship. All of which I will divulge next week in Part II of my interview with Kate. I will say now, however, that Megan told me that as long as Kate has 'good story' she hopes her run on General Hospital never ends because the work is a good fit for her family at this stage in their lives. (Her son is seven and her daughter is two.) She acknowledged what a tumultuous business acting can be, but pointed out that companies all over the country are having layoffs and she isn't going to worry about it. I could almost see Kate's lower lip stiffen ever so slightly as Megan said, "It's much better for me to put my energy into making Kate as interesting as possible."
I'd say that Megan's energies are paying off, wouldn't you? Check back next week to see what came of the rest of my very engaging conversation with a fellow working mom.
- Julie Clark Robinson