Maura West

A baby? Maybe. Last week on ABC's General Hospital, furious mob don Sonny Corinthos had a gun pointed at she-devil Ava Jerome and was ready to shoot her dead when the ever-enterprising beauty pulled out the ultimate trump card. She's pregnant! Ava explained that she'd just taken a home-pregnancy test and it was positive — the proof was right there in her waste basket! — but then admitted she didn't know if the father is Sonny, thanks to their one-time tryst in the Quartermaine crypt, or his son Morgan, whom she's been bedding for months. Was Ava's news pure luck or pure b.s.? Either way, it saved her life. For now, anyway. TV Guide Magazine had a chat with Maura West, the sensational two-time Emmy winner who plays Ava, and got her take on this terrific baby twist. And, of course, we talked about that even bigger shocker — her lack of an Emmy nomination!

TV Guide Magazine: The reveals are coming fast and furious on GH these days. Were you surprised Sonny found out so soon that Ava killed Connie? They could have milked that forever.
West: I think it's so exciting that they didn't! This writing team is extraordinary — the twists and turns are so smart — and Ava couldn't walk around with that secret forever. Sure, the relationship between her and Sonny could have built up a lot more so that the revelation would be even more of a betrayal. They also could have kept it quiet for a long time that Ava and Sonny had sex but they didn't. [Laughs] Two minutes later, Morgan walked into the crypt and could smell it! I think this is brilliant strategy. When I was growing up and a big fan of As the World Turns, you could watch in February and not tune in again until May and pick right back up again. Nothing would really change, and that's why people didn't feel the need to watch every day. [GH executive producer] Frank Valentini and [head writer] Ron Carlivati move our show so quickly now that you must catch it five days a week.

TV Guide Magazine: What did you think when you heard about this pregnancy?
West: That it's a classic soap story that has worked since television began. Frank usually tells me what's coming up next and I always say, "I'm game." I am not the sort of actor who says, "Oh, no, not this! I don't like that story!" What the writers write is none of my business. My business is to perform what they write as best I can. It was the same when they told me Ava would be having an affair with Morgan. I don't know if they anticipated that I might shrink from it and not want to do it, but I was fine with it. Nothing bothers me. I'm here to play.

TV Guide Magazine: You mean you didn't even blanch over the crypt sex?
West: [Laughs] You know what? A lot of people seemed shocked by it and I was very surprised by that reaction. I was never even thinking about the locale! I was thinking about Ava's pain. She told Sonny that she "walks the earth with an unfathomable burden" — a line I really loved that referred to Connie's murder. She was so heartsick she almost told Sonny about it right then. But for a lot of the audience that scene was all about crypt sex.

TV Guide Magazine: So you don't think a mausoleum is an unusual place to do it?
West: Not for a second was I thinking, "Oh, my God, we're having sex among the corpses." To me, it could just as well have happened in the back seat of a Chevy. That wasn't what the scene was about. I didn't see it as disgusting or some big sin. That's too simplistic. It was much more profound than that. Ava was going through unspeakable pain over Connie. That sex was born out of grief and need and the fact that she was with someone who understood her. That's not something foul. It's something human. I'm fairly new to Game of Thrones but I just got to the episode where they also do crypt sex, so we're not the only ones! [Laughs]

TV Guide Magazine: Ava's timing with the pregnancy test was impeccable — almost suspiciously so.
West: That was a lucky moment for sure! Because Sonny was ready to off her right then and there — no question about it — and then throw her body in the sea.

TV Guide Magazine: We might not have bought his threat a few months back, but Sonny has already whacked A.J. for killing Connie, so it's not hard to believe he'd do it twice. Well, except for that fact that Ava is a fantastic asset to GH and they'd never fire you in a million years.
West: But people do die on this show! That man wants retribution and it's a very real threat. If you have a bunch of people in the mob who never really follow through on their threats, then it's just a farce. Connie's death was a mob hit. Ava didn't dislike Connie — as I recall she said several times, "I had no problem with her" — but Ava was protecting her brother, Julian, and her business, so Connie had to go. In the violent world of the mob, that s--t happens. But I also think Sonny understands the concept of mob hits and that Connie was at the wrong place at the wrong time and heard the wrong thing.

TV Guide Magazine: Meaning what? That he might let Ava off the hook because it was business?
West: I honestly don't know. Maybe. Look, I love playing this part. I don't want Ava to die. [Laughs] I'm an actress thinking desperately here!

TV Guide Magazine: Well, we know you can't spoil anything, so let's discuss all the possibilities. What if Ava is really pregnant with a Corinthos baby? What if it's someone else's baby? What if she's faking it altogether?
West: If she's pregnant it certainly buys her time and she can figure out a way to change Sonny's mind. Nine months is a long time for Ava. She moves quickly, so this is a big grace period. It's her hope that she can get out of this mess and that amends will be made and there will be forgiveness in place before any possible labor and delivery of the baby.

TV Guide Magazine: As Sonny noted, it's possible Ava could be pregnant by just about anyone. Who knows, maybe the postman.
West: I know! And I resent that! Ava doesn't put out for just anybody. This woman has taste. Usually, I will watch my scenes on GH and see Ava Jerome — I don't see Maura — but I sure did see me in that moment when Sonny called Ava a whore. Because she's not! Who else has she been with? Morgan. That's it. So when you saw that scene there was a little bit of Maura in there thinking, "F--k you, Sonny, Ava is not a whore!"

TV Guide Magazine: And what if this is just another one of Ava's con jobs and she has to fake a pregnancy or create one? Let's face it, in Port Chuck no one seems to be able to hold onto their own embryos and characters change paternity tests as often as they change underwear.
West: Well, you could only fake something like that for so long. I guess there could be ways around it but, frankly, I don't yet know how they're going to handle it. What we've already shot is really cool, though. It's injected with the gravity of Sonny's death threat, but it's also been infused with great humor and fireworks. It's a lot of fun. The idea that this could be Sonny's son or grandson really plays into history because, for him, family and children are all-important. If Ava were pregnant with someone else's child, he'd kill her for sure.

TV Guide Magazine: You seriously think that?
West: Yeah!

TV Guide Magazine: I just can't see it. Sonny is way too Catholic. He couldn't whack a madonna and child. He'd wait till after the birth.
West: That's true, he did say that! "I'm gonna kill ya in nine months." Either way, the clock is ticking for poor Ava.

TV Guide Magazine: Aren't you also going to be a big player in the Nina-ain't-dead story? Won't Ava be at the top of Nina's revenge list?
West: I certainly hope so but that hasn't come up in scripts yet. Ava's in the thick of a major problem right now. [Laughs] She'll get to those minor problems later!

TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of major problems, your fans are still having one because you didn't get an Emmy nomination for what was widely considered the daytime performance of the year. What do you think went wrong?
West: I don't know. Maybe the reel I submitted wasn't the right choice. But that's okay. Really okay. It would have been great to be nominated and a real honor but I still show up every day on the set and work as hard as I always do. It doesn't change a thing. I was much more surprised that GH didn't get nominated for best show or writing or directing. That was the snub, if there is such a thing. I watch our show every day and it's pretty phenomenal.

TV Guide Magazine: Will you attend?
West: Of course! I am going to the Emmys to support our show and especially to support Jane Elliot [Tracy], who I am so thrilled was nominated. When I arrived at GH and met Jane it was like I knew her in a past life. I was immediately drawn to her kindness and her talent and I am more excited for her and for Dom Zamprogna [Dante] and everyone else from GH who got nominated than I could ever be disappointed about my own circumstance. It sounds hokey, but it's the absolute truth.

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