Sarah Joy Brown, General Hospital
Last winter, Sarah Joy Brown was granted an opportunity presented to few actors (Leigh McCloskey excluded), to create a second, non-related character on a single daytime drama. Having first originated the role of General Hospital's Carly, for the past year Brown has been stirring a new, more dangerous kind of excitement as crime queen Claudia Zacchara. So much has the multiple Emmy winner enjoyed this new ride that she recently signed on for another year. TVGuide.com invited Brown to ponder what's ahead for Sonny's sometimes inconvenient wife of convenience.
TVGuide.com: Sarah Brown is never one to take her career moves lightly. What was important to you in deciding on another year with General Hospital?
Sarah Brown: Re-signing for me this time around was dependent on several major things — What's happening in the economy? Who would be writing the show this year and what kind of story did they have in mind for me? I like having a steady job. It's nice for a change, and that was a big part of the reason I decided to stick around. I love the people I'm working with and it is, after all, a great job for a single mom. I work hard, but I work locally and usually have much of my day free.
TVGuide.com: Now that you've had some time to live in Claudia's skin, do you ever think she's too hard? Too soft? Too inconsistent?
Brown: Inconsistent? Yes. Too hard? Yes. Because of the pace of daytime, you don't necessarily have time to work every detail of your character, so you have to bring a lot of it yourself. I got a break in that this was a new character to create, but I came in during a strike, so half the things the writers had set up for me [ultimately] were changed. Everybody knows that and everybody who watched it was like, "What?" So it was different. As an actor, it leaves you out there to dry, because you've made choices that don't work anymore and you're suddenly saying things that contradict what you did earlier. But since [head writer] Bob [Guza] has been back, I feel a great improvement in the way Claudia has been written.
TVGuide.com: Claudia's now in a marriage of convenience with Sonny. Fans think he brings out an interesting side of her.
Brown: They can say things like, "It brings out such-and-such side in me," but they can't really say that, because Maurice [Benard] and I are very organic entities when we work together. I don't know from one day to the next what's going to happen because so much of it is not what's on the page. It's really what's going on that day at work that brings in subtleties. Working with Maurice is always fresh because I don't know where he's at, ever. [Laughs] And I try to do the same thing to him. There's a competitiveness between he and I that works really well for our characters, a friendly, brother-and-sister-like, "How are you going to pick on me today?"
TVGuide.com: How is playing Sonny-Claudia different from when you two played Sonny-Carly?
Brown: Carly was a more outwardly insecure character who was always professing feelings of love and devotion to perfect strangers and people she identified with right away. She was more open, so she had much more drama on the table on a regular basis. Working with Maurice now, we want to keep things hidden under the surface, to make a bit more work for the audience to figure out what's going on. That's what they do in nighttime [television]. It's more interesting when you're not spoon-fed.
TVGuide.com: Claudia's involvement in Michael's shooting is a bombshell waiting to go off. Do you think they'll sit on that reveal a while longer?
Brown: I don't think they're ever going to divulge that to [Sonny], until I decide to not be [on GH] anymore or they decide to not have me. Mark my words, the moment I say this, that's the next thing they do, but that would be a very hard for me to swallow, that they even went there in the first place with her. Am I excited about that [reveal]? No. That doesn't excite me, not even a little bit. I don't need more, "I want to kill you" between Sonny and Claudia. The audience has had their fill of that. What's the point? I don't think it'd send a positive message on any level, and I hope that's not where they go with the story.
TVGuide.com: Does Sarah Brown have any opinions on who should play Sonny's son [via Olivia], Dante?
Brown: I do — Tommy Pelphrey (ex-Jonathan, Guiding Light). That was my pitch, for them and for him. I've done all I can do. Somebody else will do the role. Clearly it's not going to be Tom.
TVGuide.com: Soap Opera Weekly had a "crazy rumor" that Michael Saucedo (ex-Juan, GH) would play the role, and get paired with real-life wife Rebecca Herbst (Liz).
Brown: That'd make perfect sense. I hadn't heard that. That's smart, what you just said. (A GH rep says the role will not be cast until the new year.)
TVGuide.com: Who else have you enjoyed working with as Claudia?
Brown: I really enjoy playing with Rick Hearst a lot, and Brandon [Barash, Johnny].... Kristen [Storms, Maxie] is probably my favorite thing ever, she's like my toy![Laughs] I love her personally, and I think she's the cutest thing and the greatest little actress. She's so full of piss and vinegar. And Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), it's like he's doing King Lear every day. I take my hat off to that kid and hope he wins an Emmy. The amount he has to study and the things he does with that dialogue, which is so twisted and Shakespearean and cool, is not easy. I could not imagine doing it.
TVGuide.com: Before we go, I have to wonder: As part of your new deal, did ABC try to get you on the cast of Dancing with the Stars?
Brown: They have not offered, no. [Laughs] They know I'm very clumsy. But I am an excellent dancer, and I wouldn't rule it out! I fall down walking on flat surfaces, so ... I'd sure be entertaining!