The Young and the Restless is known for excellent casting, and they've scored again with the recent hire of Vanessa Marano (ex-April, Gilmore Girls) as the new Eden! I had the opportunity to speak with the straight-talking new addition to the cast, and let me tell you, I had no trouble imagining her in her new role. Besides her proven acting abilities, Vanessa seems to have 'bonded' with the character she's playing, and it sounds like she's fitting in nicely with her Y&R castmates!
Soaps.com: How did the opportunity arise to join The Young and the Restless?
Vanessa: I actually went in for another role, another role they aged-up [Abby]. When I was at the audition, they told me they wanted to consider me for the role of Eden - so that's how I got it.
Soaps.com: How long have you been taping?
Vanessa: [laughs] I've actually just finished my first week, but I've shot, like, 10 episodes! They go fast! [Vanessa's first airdate as Eden is December 3].
Soaps.com: How is it different from taping, say, Gilmore Girls, or a movie?
Vanessa: Well, it's extremely different! It's so quick paced. With Primetime there's so much waiting around - so much waiting around - and this is so much faster paced! Like, we're doing one take, two if you're lucky! We do our rehearsal, we shoot it, and then we're on to the next scene, so it's a lot of just go, go, go, go!
Soaps.com: Did you jump into the role without seeing the prior actress's work?
Vanessa: No. Actually they were great about that, the producers and everybody, they familiarized me with scripts and with storylines that were going on, so I was really prepared as far as knowing what the character was like.
Soaps.com: What is your take on, or perception, of Eden?
Vanessa: Well, obviously, she's kind of tough, she has to be tough, with the life that she's been living on the Ashram with her dad, it can't be easy, but also, I think there's such a softness to her inside, because she grew up not really knowing her mom and the connection that she feels to her dad gives her a softness because he's the only one - yet she feels kind of abandoned by him. So, in the situation she's been thrown in with Michael and Lauren, she's very difficult at first with them, but she really, really, wants this situation to stick. She wants to find some way to connect and not feel abandoned by anybody.
Soaps.com: Who have you been working with the most?
Vanessa: I've been working with Christian [LeBlanc, Michael] and Tracey [Bregman, Lauren], Kevin Schmidt [Noah] a lot, and, actually, I've been working with Michael Gross [Lowell] a lot - and they're all great! Everybody has been phenomenal. All the actors are great to work with!
Soaps.com: I assume you've been doing romantic scenes with Kevin Schmidt - how has that been? Is this your first time doing scenes like that?
Vanessa: It's been very good. [laughs] It's funny, it was literally the first day, I was thrown in, like, "Hi! I'm Vanessa so we're going to do this now, aren't we?" I have done scenes like that before - my first really romantic kissing scene, I was 10! It was a cute little 'peck' with a boy in a movie, but it got cut out of the movie! The director called me and apologized for putting me through it - but that wasn't even the worst part of the scene - I had to put on a blonde wig and dance around like Madonna to "Like a Virgin"! We had to watch that video [Madonna's 'Like a Virgin'] over and over again, and I was so confused - I was 10 - and I was like, "Why is there a lion? I don't understand why she's marrying a lion!" [laughs]
Soaps.com: What hints can you share about what Eden has coming up?
Vanessa: We're going to see a lot of her 'testing' her dad, and his loyalty to her. Eden and Noah, right now, there kind of on a 'happy trail', but no one around them is very happy that they're together! So they're going to try and stay together as long as they can - secret or not!
Soaps.com extends a warm welcome to Vanessa - we look forward to seeing her portrayal of Y&R's Eden beginning in December! To read the second portion of the interview, and get to know this personable and accomplished young actress, please visit our sister site, Soap Opera Fan Blog!
Soaps.com readers might also leave a message of warm welcome for Vanessa in the comments section, as I know she'll be taking a peek!
- Candace Young