Chats with Passions' Erin Cardillo image



Last week, Passions' wonderful Erin Cardillo (Esme Vanderheusen) took a break from her busy schedule and was gracious enough to grant us an interview. Earlier this year, we were excited to hear that Cardillo had received a contract with the show when its producers started setting it up for the move from NBC to DIRECTV this September. Her character, Esme first burst into the story a few years ago when viewers were just getting to know Fancy Crane. Since then, the flighty and often hilarious Esme has had repeat appearances, always displaying a knack for saying exactly what she shouldn't and for putting her own peculiar spin on the most tragic situation. We are sure that she will be a great addition to the regular cast as Passions moves forward, imbuing it with an incorrigible vivacity.

Matt: What went through your mind when they offered you a contract with the show?

Erin: I was very excited. It's nice to feel you've done good work and people have responded. Esme has some really great fans and I love playing her, so I am thrilled that she'll be taking up residence in Harmony.

Matt: You've done quite a bit of television work. What's unique about working on Passions?

Erin: It moves so quickly. Usually, you only shoot a few pages a day on prime time shows, and even less in film. When I first started working on the show, I was shocked that I'd have to shoot 20-30 pages a day. It's like doing a one act play every day with no rehearsal.

Matt: What's the key to playing Esme for you?

Erin: Embracing the genre. I try to have fun with her over the top antics and play to the comedy. The writers have done a really nice job with giving her a unique voice and I'm so thankful for that.

Matt: Are there any ideas that you have for Esme that you'd like to see the show put into play? Are there hidden depths to her character?

Erin: Hmmm... I loved when I first came on the show and Fancy tricked Esme into going to London on a wild goose chase. When Esme decided to take revenge on Fancy it was a blast to play. There is nothing like a woman scorned who knows how to use a shotgun. I think I'd enjoy a plot line where Esme was after something, or someone, and really went for it with everything in her crazy bag of tricks. As for hidden depths... I think you'll see a softer side to Esme come into play during the last few weeks of our NBC run and moving into DIRECTV. She's growing up a lot and having to face some pretty difficult challenges.

Matt: Passions is such a unique mixture of the macabre, the campy and the outlandish; this must give you a lot to play with in each scene. How do you
decide what to play up?

Erin: Esme has a lot of campy moments, but lately there is a nice mix of camp and serious drama - I'm finding a lot more levels to her so exploring that has been interesting.

Matt: You recently shot a film starring Paris Hilton (The Hottie and the Nottie), someone who has been rumored to be one of the inspirations for your character; did you pick up anything on set that you could use in your performance?

Erin: Paris has a very different energy than Esme. She's kinda laid back and cool. Esme is much more dramatic and a much bigger diva.

Matt: Who should Esme hook up with?

Erin: Well, the pickings are slim when we move to DIRECTV . Not that all our remaining guys aren't super hot, but everyone staying on the show is already in a love triangle with two women, so I think we'll need some new blood to satisfy Esme's needs.

Matt: If Esme gets a musical number, what will it be like?

Erin: Something out of The Fabulous Baker Boys. Esme slithering around on a piano, being very sexy -- but of course she'll be drunk and fall off.

Matt: You've also done writing and producing for smaller films. Are there any projects that you are currently working on that you'd like to tell us about?

Erin: I just saw the rough cut for a short film I produced and acted in called SuperGlue. My cousin Billy Duberstein wrote and directed and I'm so excited for it to be finished. It's looking great. It's a comedy in the vein of After Hours, about a guy (Adam Kulbersh, also in The Hottie and the Nottie with Ms. Hilton) who goes to his cousin's house for dinner (Dylan Fergus, Passions) and gets caught in the middle of a very over dramatic fight between him and his girlfriend (me). Dylan and I both play soap stars who can't shake the drama at home... it's quite funny. Everyone did a fantastic job and I'm hoping we can get it on the festival circuit this year. Fingers crossed.

Our thanks again to Erin for the great interview. We hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. Harmony is sure to be a lot of fun next season with Esme in town! wishes her and the cast every success on their move to DIRECTV and all of their future endeavors!

Matt Purvis