General Hospital's Laura Wright Previews the Carly-Brenda Smack Down
It's the confrontation of the century! Okay, so I exaggerate but not by much. On October 22, General Hospital fireball Carly Jacks (Laura Wright) will come face to face with the woman who's been making her life a living hell. That would be Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo), the desperately needy international supermodel who recently returned to Port Charles and has all of Carly's men (Jax, Sonny, Jason) uncontrollably obsessed. But don't assume mantrap Brenda has the upper hand here. "Carly will eventually get the keys to the kingdom," GH head writer Bob Guza tells TV Guide Magazine. "She will wind up with the ammunition that can completely destroy Brenda in Port Charles." But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We spoke with the fantastic and woefully underappreciated Laura Wright — not one damn Emmy nomination ever! — to get her take on the long-awaited showdown. And guess which former As the World Turns hunk Wright wants to get her hooks into?
TV Guide Magazine: Brenda will have been in Port Charles three weeks before she and Carly actually collide, so expectations for the smackdown are huge! Will you exceed them?
Wright: I hope! Everybody came down to the set to watch us shoot it and they were all laughing. It's pretty crazy. The straws Carly grabs for will have jaws dropping. She really goes for it. It had to be that crazy or it would fall to s--t after all this buildup. Afterwards, I had to apologize to Vanessa and she gave me a huge hug.
TV Guide Magazine: Where does the encounter take place? We want scoopage!
Wright: It happens at Jason's apartment. Brenda is Carly's worst nightmare and she's going out of her flipping mind worrying that Jax might want Brenda back. The blowup happens when Carly is telling Jason that Brenda will go after Jax like a heat-seeking missile and Brenda overhears it. Carly tries to exit because she knows she can't win with Brenda but Brenda stops her and says, "Maybe you wouldn't be so insecure if you were loyal to your husband." [Laughs] Then it gets brutal.
TV Guide Magazine: Even Carly's son Michael has taken a shine to Brenda.
Wright: Every man in her life! [Laughs] Who's next, little Morgan? I just shot a scene with Coleman at the bar where Carly is basically going, "Coleman, are you f--king kidding me? If you're nice to Brenda I will kick your ass." At this point, I don't know if there's anyone who can talk her down — except maybe Jason.
TV Guide Magazine: Carly wears her heart, along with her bitterness, jealousy and outrage, on her sleeve and doesn't give a crap what anyone else thinks. No other character in soaps is so daringly transparent — or as hilariously annoying. Ever worry about taking it too far?
Wright: I have no problem playing the green-eyed monster. I love it! Because I believe women do feel that way and act that way. They all do. Turn on Jerry Springer. I think women are capable of absolutely anything given the situation. And, by the way, these aren't real people. They are soap-opera characters which means we have even more latitude and an even wider spectrum to play. Some actors say, "I don't want to do such-and-such because it will hurt my character." Well, give me the stuff others won't play! I want to go to work, enjoy my day and have a good time. I don't worry that there's damage being done to my character. Carly doesn't need protecting. She's way out there and that's what makes her fun.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you relate to Carly when she's at her worst?
Wright: Of course! I'm pulling from experiences from my own life here. I know what it feels like to be terrified that the guy you're in love with wants to be with another woman. I really, really know that feeling. [She suddenly stops herself.] I'm not referring to the guy I'm married to, by the way. [Laughs] Let's make sure we put that ought there! Whoopsie.
TV Guide Magazine: Feminists would likely view Carly's overt bitchery as demeaning and self-defeating — hardly the image of an empowered woman Discuss!
Wright: What you are saying is just bulls--t to me. I'm not here to sell Carly as the person we all should be. I'm here to tell stories. I'm thrilled that Carly is constantly miserable. When you're happy on a soap opera, you're boring. Carly owns her obnoxiousness. She's unapologetic. Why would I put my own ego into it? The story works.
TV Guide Magazine: And it puts Carly on very equal footing with the men on the show. In a cojones contest, she could beat Sonny and Jason.
Wright: It's funny you say that because when I work with Maurice Benard and Steve Burton it feels really good, and I don't feel I'm less than them or that Carly's being put down or put in her place. She's right there in Sonny's face. She doesn't let Jason get away with any s--t. It's a great dynamic. No matter how angry they may be with each other, at the end of the day they are each other's safety net. Carly only has that with Sonny and Jason, not Jax, even though she's married to him.
TV Guide Magazine: How'd you become such a go-for-broke actress?
Wright: I had eight years working next to Kim Zimmer on Guiding Light and what I learned most from her is to always go for it — most especially when you're afraid to go for it. I watched Kim attack storylines that anyone else would run from, and now I get to do that with Carly! I'm just so grateful for that Zimmer experience.
TV Guide Magazine: Only she's got a busload of Emmys and you have none — not even a single nomination after all these years. What's up with that? I'm starting to think it's a conspiracy.
Wright: You know what? Next June it'll be 20 years for me nonstop in soaps! [Prior to GH and GL, Wright played Ally on Loving and its spinoff The City]. So maybe that'll be my year. Look, every time I go to the Emmys I'm so excited for the woman who wins. Maura West... Michelle Stafford... these women are awesome. I would never look up on that stage and think I deserve to be there and someone else doesn't. We all work equally hard and I wouldn't take anything away from anybody. I've seen actors become devastated after they don't win. I don't get it. It is what it is. Sure, it'd be nice to be nominated and get an award. But whaddya gonna do? [Laughs] I think maybe God makes sure it doesn't happen because I might pawn it.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, there are a whole lot of Emmy winners out there who can't get arrested. Success is the best revenge.
Wright: I'll tell you the award I want! Michael Park [ATWT's Jack]! I love Ingo Rademacher, and I love the Jax and Carly relationship and I don't know where the writers are going with it, but dammit, I want Michael Park! He's so charming and so talented. I've already told Bob Guza and [GH writer] Elizabeth Korte about this. And I think I'm going to send [ABC Daytime chief] Brian Frons an email. I'm serious! I don't know if Michael wants to work with another Carly, but I have the whole storyline already worked out in my head. So, yeah, I want him to be my new man. [Laughs] And he does not get to be in love with Brenda!
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