Crystal Chappell (CBS)

Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy Nominee Crystal Chappell (Olivia) from Guiding Light. Read all about what she had to say concerning her character, her family life and the Find Your Light campaign.

Shannon: First of all, congratulations on this year’s Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress!

Crystal: Thanks! I am pretty excited about it. It is my first nomination in the lead category, so it is a big deal for me. I am really enjoying it.

Shannon: I am so excited for you. I am a huge fan of Guiding Light and a huge fan of yours as well!

Crystal: Thanks a lot!

Shannon: What’s the energy like on the set of GL right now, because you guys as a team received a total of 17 nominations?

Crystal: Yes. It is really good. I am just so proud of the show. We all work so hard when we’re there and want to do well. It is a really nice group of people there and everyone is so down to earth. There are no crazy egos, it’s just so nice, particularly the crew because they work so very hard. The actors do as well, but I think that we have the easiest part in all of this. It takes a big effort to produce and write. The extras are on the floor all day. We come out and we do a set here and there, have time to study and all that. They are on there all day long. I am always so impressed with that. Whenever I start to feel tired at the end of the day and I’ve had a split shift, or sitting in my dressing room, or hanging out with friends talking, then I go on the set and realize that these people have been here all day�on their feet! You know, it’s a different kind of work, but I am just so impressed with the whole thing. Guiding Light has a lot of great, great, great parts to it and it is a great show. I am glad that it is getting recognized.

Shannon: You and the team at GL do an amazing job every day of delivering a wonderful show. In fact, GL celebrated its 70th anniversary recently. Now, I’ve gotta tell you that I loved the anniversary show! You guys did an outstanding job with that!

Crystal: Thank you!

Shannon: What was it like traveling back in time like that and exposing the fans to the rich history of Guiding Light?

Crystal: You know, that was one of the most fun days. First of all it is always fun to do period work (putting on costumes etc), even though they weren’t comfortable! We were in the corsets, and the girdles, and all that stuff. The clothes were terrific and everyone just worked seamlessly. The hair and makeup I thought were just really great. There’s a style to the work and I think that people just kind of jumped in and had fun with that. Everyone got a little part in it and it was really cool. It went by so fast! Usually on days like that you’re way past your out time, but it was almost too easy how it all came together. With all of the costume changes and all the special effects, it really was an easy show to make. I believe that we all felt really proud of it at the end of the day when we all walked away.

Shannon: You all should be very proud of that show! I remember one scene during the episode where you and Kim Zimmer were in between spots on the radio show and she made a comment to you about your ability to pretty much cry at the drop of a hat.

Crystal: Yes!

Shannon: I’m not sure if it was written to reflect on your ability as an actress to pour on the tears, but I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself when I heard that. Anyone that has seen your portrayal of Olivia knows that you can make her cry in heart wrenching ways. I’m sure a lot of viewers want to know how you are able to do that so well?

Crystal: It was definitely written that way. It’s like anything else. The more you do something, the easier it gets for you. It’s like a muscle and it’s trained to do certain things. You know, my seven-year-old son can do it. He’s a very good little actor! Laughter�..

Shannon: Laughter�.

Crystal: What they basically teach you in acting class is to think about something really sad. You think of something that puts you in that emotional state. If the circumstances around the certain script don’t do it for you, then you think of something different. It’s a technique called “substitution”.

Shannon: There’s the inside secret to how you do it folks! Laughter�.

Crystal: Laughter�. That’s really what it is. You know, certain songs make you cry. I can watch the same parts in movies that make me cry. Even certain commercials make you cry. You keep that all in your bag of tricks and if you need it, hopefully you will have it.

Shannon: How would you describe your character (Olivia)?

Crystal: Oh�I just think that she is a wonderfully, complicated mess of a person! It’s what makes her an interesting character for me. As much as I love heroic parts, it’s hard to play the good girl all the time. It’s hard to find things to make a character interesting when they are so good. But when they are messed up, anything is possible! She’s made some strides and grown a bit. She takes two steps forward and one step back. That’s what it’s like for most people and that’s what I really like about Olivia. Of course, it’s a soap opera and things happen all of the time. Laughter�..