Vanessa Marcil and Elvis Martinez
General Hospital has devastated — okay, outraged — many of its viewers with the accidental hit-and-run death of four-year-old Jake Spencer, an unthinkable tragedy compounded by the revelation that Jake's killer was his own grandfather, Luke (Tony Geary). Now, thankfully, here's some good news on the Port Charles kiddie front: On April 5, heroine Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) will come face to face with the child she thought she'd lost years ago in a stillbirth. Now three, he's a happy and healthy boy named Lucian. TV Guide Magazine spoke with GH head writer Bob Guza about this new kid in town — played by the adorable Elvis Martinez — and how his arrival will rock Port Charles!
TV Guide Magazine: You've been telegraphing the return of Brenda's child for quite some time, so this is no surprise. Why play it that way?
Guza: Because this is so much more than a reunion of a mother and son. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Brenda has always wanted children and she bonds quickly and hugely with Lucian — and he with her — but there are great psychological ramifications for her and her new husband Sonny [Maurice Benard]. He's made it clear he doesn't want any more children. She's fiercely protective of Lucian, and wants to keep him away from Sonny's mob world.
TV Guide Magazine: So there's already trouble in paradise?
Guza: We are going to resurrect the Brenda and Jax [Ingo Rademacher] part of the Brenda-Sonny-Jax triangle, and it will all hover around the return of Brenda's child.
TV Guide Magazine: So Ingo's not going anywhere? He's been Tweeting a whole different story to his fans.
Guza: He has? I don't know anything about that. He has a major story coming up.
TV Guide Magazine: He seems to think he's being phased out.
Guza: Nope. Not true. Maybe down the line, but not in the foreseeable future. We're going to take care of all those fans who feel we've ignored or haven't done justice to the old Jax and Brenda relationship.
TV Guide Magazine: What about La Giovinazzo dropping hints that she's leaving soon? At the beginning of March she told Access Hollywood her time is 'almost done.'
Guza: News to me. [Laughs] If she's leaving, I'm in big s--t trouble because I have big plans! I can't stress this enough: This is a sprawling umbrella story. Jax and Carly [Laura Wright] are coming off of the hugely emotional near-loss of Josslyn, and that baby is a very precious part of their very existence. At this point there's not a whole lot else going on between them. The stories of Brenda and Sonny and Carly and Jax will be intimately intertwined.
TV Guide Magazine: Let's back up. How does Brenda reunite with her son?
Guza: As you know, she believes she miscarried but Suzanne [Adrienne Barbeau] comes forward with the child and tells Brenda what really happened. Suzanne was terrified that the Balkan [Daniel Benzali] would do something to Lucian, and rightly so, so she placed the boy with a family in the Midwest. Now with the Balkan dead and out of the way, Suzanne feels she can introduce Brenda to her child and it appears to be quite a magnanimous gesture on her part — appears being the operative word. This will unravel in a big way.
TV Guide Magazine: Meaning what? The kid might be an imposter?
Guza: Just remember this: Suzanne will do anything to protect her grandchild.
TV Guide Magazine: We'd like to think that most mothers instinctively know their own children, even under these wackadoo soap circumstances. If this child is a phony, why would Brenda connect with him so "quickly and hugely" as you say?
Guza: Let me pose a hypothetical: A woman has no idea she gave birth. Now, three and a half years later, she's at a playground and sees a child. What on earth — biological, physiologically, scientifically — would make her think this kid is hers?
TV Guide Magazine: Huh? You're giving me a headache.
Guza: Remember that even though Brenda had no idea this child existed, there's still this subconscious guilt.
TV Guide Magazine: Aurghhhh! Moving on. Why the name Lucian? It sounds like one of those antichrist kids in the Omen flicks.
Guza: He was deliberately named, as you suggest. I'm just planting a little seed here, desperately hoping that daytime will be around in 15 years and we can harvest it. Lucian is old way beyond his years.
TV Guide Magazine: Is the Balkan really dead?
Guza: You know I can't answer that question.
TV Guide Magazine: I'll take that as a no. So all is forgiven between Brenda and Suzanne?
Guza: Not at all! Brenda's whole take is, "I get that you were trying to protect my child, but shouldn't you have told me?" It's a big bone of contention.
TV Guide Magazine: Why so many kid stories right now? You have the return of Lucian, the death of Jake, Josslyn's kidney cancer and the Sam-Jason baby thing playing out at the same time.
Guza: It's this whole notion of the sins of the fathers in its many, many forms. Some of our characters have gotten away with an enormous amount for a long time. Our heroes are bad guys. They're criminals. They are certainly haunted by what they do but now we're showing them the consequences of their actions. We want to show the ramifications as their legacies are passed on.
TV Guide Magazine: Jake's death and the organ transplant that saved Josslyn struck many viewers as a replay — if not a downright rip-off — of Claire Labine's great death of B.J. story in the '90s. What's your comment?
Guza: We absolutely thought about that, and it was a very real concern for all of us. But that was a long, long time ago and, more importantly, we found a way to do a big variation on it. If the rollout couldn't be different there was no point, because Claire did the story magnificently.
TV Guide Magazine: Was Jake's death the original impetus for getting Rebecca Herbst [Liz] off the show after you fired her?
Guza: Yes, but we came up with a much better idea and we went to Becky and asked her to stick around.
TV Guide Magazine: Her immense popularity aside, it seems odd you were willing to let her go considering you have a whopper secret — the true parentage of Liz's baby Aiden — just waiting to explode.
Guza: I wouldn't have killed the character at all. I would have let that secret lie fallow and play it later. We just came up with a better wrinkle, which we like a lot. So that's why Liz Webber is going to remain a big part of this canvas.
TV Guide Magazine: One last thing. Let's address the anger that the Liz and Jason fans feel over Jake's death. I'm guessing their primary beef is that you've eradicated the one solid link that keeps these two characters in each other's lives, and therefore jeopardizes any chance of a romantic future. Well?
Guza: If that's the case, they're not thinking. The quickest way to bring a couple together when they're distanced is to give their child a tragedy. Think about it. You're going to see a lot more of Jason and Liz in the wake of what happened to Jake than you ever saw before. And what will this do to Lucky [Jonathan Jackson], who raised Jake and is the father in all ways but blood? The ripple effect is going to be wonderful!
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