All My Children Look Back & To The Future!
Lucci/Nixon (Deanna Barnert/Soaps.com)
All My Children and Susan Lucci Look Back and toward the Future!
The TCA press tour is in full effect in Los Angeles, with the TV networks previewing their new and returning shows. ABC took an hour of their time on stage to honor All My Children’s big anniversary with a panel featuring show creator Agnes Nixon, Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Bobbie Eakes, Rebecca Budig and executive producer Julie Carruthers.
Things got off to an interesting start when Agnes Nixon and Susan Lucci reenacted the very scene that landed Lucci the role of Erica Kane forty years ago. Nixon read the part of momma Mona, who was chiding Erica for having her eye on her new tutor Phil Brent – who just happened to be dating Tara Martin!
MONA: I know you like a book. When someone else has something, you want it. And when you get it, you don’t want it anymore.
ERICA: Is there something wrong with that?
MONA: Yes, there is. I mean, you don’t capture a man just to throw him overboard as soon as you decide you want another man and you set out to capture him. I mean, Erica, it is not a checker game.
ERICA: Well, whatever kind of game it is, I have to win. I have to win.
So classic and fantastic to watch!
“It was a scene from the first couple of weeks I was on the show and in two short pages, Agnes wrote and expressed that character of Erica, the Mona character and the relationship between them,” Lucci told us after the panel was over. “I’m going to frame it, but in the meantime, Agnes asked me if I would perform it, with her playing Mona. You can’t imagine what a thrill that is for me. And it was scary!”
Erica’s done a lot of growing up since her teen years in Pine Valley, and so has La Lucci, so one of the reporters asked if either Lucci or Erica have reached “that age” where they don’t care what people think about them anymore.
“I think people are built a certain way,” Lucci responded. “You want to do what you want to do and have a clearer judgment as you go along, but I care what people think, still. You can’t be a mind reader, so you have to do your own thing, but I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t think Erica does… unless they hurt her. Then watch out!”
As for how Lucci knows when her performances measure up on a day to day basis, the pro admitted she doesn't find time to keep up with the shows, so she relies on her gut and the team at AMC.
"I know when I hit it, but I also value the opinion of the very talented people I work with," she related. "When our directors are happy, when our crew applauds after they've seen it a few times or laughs at the jokes [I know it works]. Those people are watching carefully and if they're happy, then I feel good."
Now that the show is out in LA, the crew is composed of a whole new team, but Lucci feels no less confident.
"First of all, we're working with a lot of experienced and wonderful professionals who have a really good attitude," she raved. "A lot of smiles and good work being done. Everyone wants to be there. [It's] a group that hasn't necessarily worked together before and quickly, I see a meshing."
Lif on the L.A. Stage:
The panel didn't reveal any shocking revelations about storyline or even life in Los Angeles, but we did hear raves about the new, hi-def stage in LA, which is two and a half times the size of the NYC stage. That means sets will be grown and that we'll be seeing some new ones.
As for news on naming a new writing team, Julie Hanan Carruthers raved about the transition team and hedged that an announcement on the new team would come "within a few weeks."
She also revealed the show will be reaching back to its history and focusing on character, humor and real life experience – which is what many fans have asked for! Luckily, they have still Nixon on hand for that feat!
"I still have a very good memory, so I'm sort of the historian," Nixon said. "And I think my forté is the complexities of people and the stories they cause by their own good and bad traits, and so I'm a consultant."
"We actually rely on Agnes a great deal," Curruthers chimed in. "She's very much a part of what we do, and she's involved in our story meetings on a weekly basis."
Ah, speaking of character, there was actually ONE story tidbit worth sharing. Carruthers spoke at length about Jamie Luner taking on the role of Liza (because Marcy Walker is no longer acting) and how the show will correct the character's bumpy return to the canvas!
"Jamie's a great actress and I think she's a great Liza," she started. "When I look back on the way we brought Liza in, I'm not sure that we put our best foot forward on what Liza represents for the audience.
"We certainly relooked at that and are taking the opportunity, as we are redefining ourselves and regrounding the show, to kind of redefine the jealous, trouble-making Liza, who is going to wreak some havoc for Krystal in the future, and define her in a way that the audience expects Liza to be.
"That's where the mismatch was," she continued. "It had been maybe six years since we'd seen Marcy. And I love Marcy, but, when you can't have Marcy but you really want Liza, you make decisions. We went with a really great actress, who's sexy and gorgeous and vibrant and funny. And yeah, she doesn't look like Marcy Walker, but she can be the character that we need her to be."
- Deanna Barnert