|Denise Alexander stars as Lola on THE INN|
We Love Soaps recently caught up with Ms. Alexander to discuss her portrayal of THE INN's coffee shop owner as well as her return to GENERAL HOSPITAL as Lesley Webber in 2013. Check out Part 2 of our exclusive INNterview below:
EDITOR'S NOTE: Read Part 1 of our interview here.
WE LOVE SOAPS: It's great to hear your return to GENERAL HOSPITAL was such a positive experience.
DENISE ALEXANDER: I think I had a terrible problem with a pinched nerve when I was working. But when I look back on it, I don't remember being in pain. I don't remember anything except what a wonderful experience that was. I so much enjoyed what we did. We all did.
WE LOVE SOAPS: If Lesley Webber walked into Lola's diner, what would they think of each other?
DENISE ALEXANDER: What a good question! They would look very different to each other. Lesley would think of herself as a professional woman, a physician, sophisticated, big city, big hospital, raised children, had a marriage, and see herself as very different from Lola, who seems be on her own and is basically doing what used to be called "slinging hash."
Lola could look at Lesley and think, "Hmm, high heels, hose, you're all dressed up, aren't you, sweetie pie? I guess you're big stuff."
It would start that way if they just looked at other. If they had a chance to talk they might not understand each other's life as a choice because neither one of them would choose the other way of life. But in their senses of humor, one might say something and the other would look over and think, "I get that. She might be an interesting person."
The one thing that factors into this is we know a lot about Lesley--who she is, what her life has been and what her relationships are. What do we know about Lola? Did she grow up in this small town in the middle of nowhere? Did she have another profession at one time? What was her education? Who is her family? What are those familial relationships? We don't know any of that about her whereas we know every single one of those things about Lesley.
So it's a little hard to say. I may know a tiny bit more about Lola than you do but, believe me, I would hear from Steve if I ever told you any of it. [Laughs]
WE LOVE SOAPS: I'm so excited to watch Season 3 because all these characters could go in multiple directions. I have my perceptions of Lola based on what we've seen so far but she could be an ax murderer for all I know.
DENISE ALEXANDER: Who do you think Lola is? What do you think you know about her?
WE LOVE SOAPS: She comes across as the warmest person out of all the characters, maybe even mothering. She seems to know everything that's going on. And how does she know Teddy (Ray Proscia)? Is she his mother or aunt? Another Norma Bates? She instantly tried to take care of Jane (Crystal Chappell) but she's also very authoritative.
Maybe the warmth is Denise Alexander's warmth coming across. The episodes are very short, but Steve has made the most of the time, and set the mystery up really well.
DENISE ALEXANDER: Steve's a very weird person. [Laughs] He's amazing and odd and stunning.
The man never stops creating. I know so much about many other projects he has in his thinking, or has written and dropped along the way. I would even say to him, "That was so good. Why don't you go back to that?" But he has just moved on. I think he's got about seven things going right now.
With his dedication to this genre, and the Hitchcockian look and feel being so complete, there are times he's so in the moment, and sees something so clearly in his thinking. He will talk to me sometimes about an iconic moment that came to him from a Hitchcock film, or other noir film, and he'll build something around that.
One of my favorite scripts that Steve ever wrote, and I hope to get it produced one day, is this whole multi-dimensional, multi-layered, funny and touching story that all came out of a scene that came to him about two characters sitting in a bar and having a drink together. It's just the relationship of two people who have met after a long period of time. With PRETTY or any of his theater pieces I've been in, I could look at them and say, "Okay, I've got it." But with THE INN half the time I don't know what the hell we're doing.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Do you have a favorite Lola moment so far?
DENISE ALEXANDER: It was one where a guy shows up at the diner looking for his wife, and he has a picture of Jane. We are to assume he is Jane's husband. Lola is across the counter and told him she could tell what he needed: chili. Steve told me as I was leaning on the counter, "Right there, do that, don't move." And I thought, "Okay, fine. He wants this so I'll do it. He knows what he's doing." I say that to myself a lot. I'm not sure it's always true but it's comforting in the moment. [Laughs]
So we did that, our little piece of the script, and I remember thinking it was odd and wondering why he wrote it that way. Then you had Jane and Riggs (Chuck Sloan) up in her room at The Inn where Riggs was really questioning her. Steve cut those two scenes together. and I am so crazy in love with how that turned out. I didn't have a clue when we were doing it. I watched it when it aired and thought, "Oh! That's what's going on there."
WE LOVE SOAPS: We can't question Steve Silverman's genius. [Laughs]
DENISE ALEXANDER: He really does know what he's doing. When we first started he took out groups of people who would be working together. For me it was Lola, Teddy and Riggs. Steve started talking to us about our characters and what he knew about the relationships or the characters that we didn't know. And we were able to say to him what we had gotten out of reading the script. It was very collaborative. We had lunch and talked and sat and it was really interesting. We've had fun watching this show grow.
WE LOVE SOAPS: I'm excited for the new season but sad it's the last one. I want it continue and to find out more about the town, the characters, and the customers at the diner, including the ones that randomly pop up like the cast of DEVANITY.
DENISE ALEXANDER: I didn't know DEVANITY before we shot their scenes so I was looking at them thinking, "What are they doing? Who are those people?" There are more surprises like that coming up. And it is a town. Or is it? Or could this all be in someone's imagination?
WE LOVE SOAPS: True. Jane's taken all those drugs so she could be imagining the whole thing.
DENISE ALEXANDER: [Laughs] Recently a small group of us went back on location to shoot some pick-up shots. There's something so fun about doing THE INN. I'm having the best time.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch the Season 3 premiere of THE INN below.
Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals. He appeared in FRANCOPRHENIA in 2012 and the documentary SOAP LIFE, out on DVD in 2013.