Soaps.com Exclusive with Emily O’Brien!
Picture courtesy of Emily O'Brien
Recently I had the pleasure of talking to
The Young and the Restless actress Emily O’Brien about her time on the show playing the fan favorite role of Jana Hawkes! Before we get started, let’s take a look back into the past and revisit one of Genoa City’s biggest jaw droppers as Jana’s past and secrets were revealed…
In Kevin’s car, Jana cries, “I was so afraid I’d never see you again!” She goes on to say she’s in a lot of trouble and begs to Kevin, “If you love me, you’ll come with me!” Kevin is shocked to see Colleen after Jana leads him into the storage room. “We need to get out of here,” Kevin says and tries to lead the girls out. However, Jana pulls out the taser gun and holds them back. “You’re not going anywhere.” She goes on to confess that she staged her own murder and that now she needs to kill Colleen and frame Kevin for Colleen’s murder! “Jana, honey, what are you talking about?” Kevin asks in disbelief. “All I wanted was the inscription,” Jana says. Jana admits to bugging Brad’s house, stealing Vikki’s jewelry, and that the man who helped her is her father. “The code will lead us to billions of dollars worth of treasures.” When Kevin says, “You’re not going to kill anyone, Jana replies, “You’re right, you are!”
Now that I've brought a bit of Jana's storyline back to the canvas, sit tight, fans, and read on as The Young and the Restless star Emily O'Brien gives us her take on the character she created!
Amy: Hi Emily, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
Emily: You're welcome! I'm glad to contribute to Soaps.com
Amy: Thanks! Not only do we appreciate it, your fans do too! Now, for the questions we've all been dying to know… What was it like playing the role of Jana? Did you know how drastically your character was going to change with the kidnapping of Kevin & Colleen? If you didn't know from the start, when did you find out? What was your reaction?
Emily: Playing Jana was always an adventure. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth! From talking about sky diving lessons to her fascination with serial killers, there was always something edgy and intriguing about her. Definitely opposite to who I really am... Nobody knew who the killer was and I found out very soon before, but was SO excited to play such meaty material. Jana has never been seen as a threat, so it was so fun to play her "dangerously."
Amy: How did you view Jana? Would you have liked the character to go in another direction, maybe not only Kevin's girl but also his partner in crime?
Emily: I view Jana as the perfect girl. She could sweep you off your feet with her charm, teach you to climb a water tower, and yet she is capable of bringing forth a sweet smile or a devilish laugh. You never know with her! I liked the direction that this character took exactly the way it was.
Amy: What was it like to go from the cool, mysterious girl who everyone loved to the villainess behind one of the biggest storylines on Y&R?
Emily: It was great! So different... and finally she was breaking out of her facade and showing everybody the real Jana. Playing the villain is always fun, but this was particularly different because she had to show her genuine love for Kevin through it all.
Amy: Do you realize you were an all-time favorite with the fans and the Editors and Editor-in-Chief of Soaps.com?
Emily: Really?? I'm flattered! I realize Jana is not the typical soap star beauty, but I can see how her fun and edgy personality can capture the hearts of the audience.
Amy: Not only did we adore your talent, but also everyone loved Jana's style, is that something that you incorporated into your character or was the image the show's doing?
Emily: No, Jana was all the show's doing. From purple streaks to skull and cross bone accessories, that was not my decision.
Amy: Have you ever totally forgot your lines while taping? If so, care to share the scene?
Emily: Actors aren't perfect! Of course there was a time or two where the scene required more than one take, but we always pulled it together after a good laugh.
Amy: How have you enjoyed your time on the set of Y&R? Who is the funniest co-worker on the set and why?
Emily: I have VERY much enjoyed my time on the set! A year just flew by! Everybody is like family there and so supportive of each other, which makes the experience so much better.
Not only were we put into a state of shock to find out that Jana was involved in the whole Grugeon Reliquary drama, fans were thrown over the edge to learn that she also killed Carmen Mesta! While it may have been exciting to watch this newcomer become inner-tangled in two of last year's biggest storylines, it broke the hearts of many to see the relationship between Jana and Kevin come to a devastating end…
Kevin asks if she ever loved him, and Jana cries, "I do love you." She goes further to say that she never meant to involve him and that she was going to frame Adrian by planting the hair extensions and Carmen's ID at his place. "You killed Carmen Mesta?" Kevin asks. "I had to kill her, Kevin," Jana thinks back and explains how Carmen caught her with Victoria's stolen portfolio, and how she knocked her over the head! When Jana claims that she and Kevin are so much alike, Colleen comes to Kevin's defense, "You used him!" Jana explains that hidden in the catacombs are treasures worth billions! Kevin tries to convince Jana that she doesn't want to do this. "Give me the gun," he says. However, when Jana doesn't budge, Kevin tries to rip the taser from her grasp, but Jana tasers him to the floor! Colleen drops to his side. "Are you all right?" Jana asks. When Kevin asks, "What do you care? You tried to kill me!" Jana says, "That's not exactly how it's going to happen." She tells Kevin that he's going to lock Colleen up - like he did once before. "How's Kevin going to die?" Colleen asks, and Jana informs her, "He's going to lock himself in too - by accident! Colleen tells her that no one will believe that Kevin killed her. "He's changed," Colleen admits. "I was just the last one to believe it." Jana says she's sorry, locks them in the room, then leaves…
While that was the last time we've seen Jana in Genoa City, we can't forgot her apologetic phone call to Kevin thereafter, which leads me to my next question for Emily…
Amy: Is there a possibility that we'll see Jana again in Genoa City?
Amy: Would you ever say yes to another daytime role? I'm certain that the fans would adore seeing you again as Jana!
Emily: I would return to soaps only as Jana, to be honest I think I would have the most fun playing her.
Amy: Any new roles in the works? You've received a lot of acclaim for roles in theatre, namely Shakespearean theatre. Are there any plans in the midst to return to theatre, or is your preference to be in television or film? Care to let us know about your future plans?
Emily: As a young girl in England, I was always involved in theater and that is where my passion for the arts grew. I will always remain involved in the theater, as that is where I received my training and experienced many wonderful breakthroughs. Now I am focused on film and television and have just finished a small project with Michael Madsen for Podcasts called "Coma." That should be out shortly...
While "Coma" is Emily's latest addition to her resume, you can view all of her accomplishments on her professional page at Emily O'Brien.
Amy: Will you be taking some time for vacation?
Emily: Yes, this summer.
Amy: Unfortunately we don't have a complete bio about you and wonder what it is that you did before becoming an actor. Could you share that with the fans, and let them know what you would be doing if you weren't an actor?
Emily: I have always been an actor and can't think of what else I'd be doing if I weren't one! I went to school in San Diego when I was 12 where I was trained in theater and am continuing to train.
Amy: Well, wherever your career takes you, we wish you the very best and appreciate the time you've taken to give us a peek into your world! We'll be checking out "Coma" the instant it comes out!
Emily: Thanks! -Emily O'Brien
Stay tuned, as I will be bringing you the second half of this interview where Emily takes some extra time out to answer a few questions from you, the Soaps.com fans!