Wednesday, November 16, 2011

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Genie Francis Is Sitting PRETTY 30 Years After Luke & Laura's Wedding (1 of 2)

Thirty years ago today over thirty million viewers tuned into ABC Daytime for part one of the nuptials between GENERAL HOSPITAL'S legendary Luke and Laura.  Considering ABC's number one primetime show DANCING WITH THE STARS only brought in 18.16 million viewers last week, it is easy to see the impact of GH had on television's landscape.  But none of the glamor or pageantry would have mesmerized had it not been for the simple elegance and beauty of one half of this supercouple, Genie Francis.  Thirty years later we reflect on her career, her classic soap roles, as well as the side of Genie Francis you have never seen before on the genre defining Indie Soap, PRETTY THE SERIES.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I am so excited to speak with you about your contributions to the continuing story format, starting with your hilarious appearance on PRETTY THE SERIES.
Genie Francis: I’m so glad you liked it.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How did you decide to participate in an Indie Soap?
Genie Francis: It was based on the relationship I have with Denise Alexander, who played my TV mom for many years and has been a good friend my whole life.  She asked me to do as a favor, and she has never asked me for anything. So this was the opportunity for me to do something for her.  My decision was made solely on that.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you have a good time?
Genie Francis: Oh yes! Very much so.  I wish I could have had more time with those people.  It was really quick.  I thought they were very talented funny people doing something different, and doing it well.  So yes, I ended up very pleased I was involved with this. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you feel like the preparation for comedic scenes was different from dramatic scenes?
Genie Francis: No, I don’t.  What was asked of me here was that I would be the voice of reason.  The voice of reason is not necessarily comedic, so I didn’t place that pressure on myself. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Given this experience, would you consider doing more episodes of PRETTY, or even a different Indie Soap?
Genie Francis: I would work with Steve Silverman again in a heartbeat because he is a very talented man.  Whether that’s on PRETTY or something else, he is really good.  As far as the Indie Soap world, I don’t know too much about it.  I would look upon as going to work with someone interesting and really talented, the same way you would look at going to work in a theater. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You have spoken over the years of the blessing and drawbacks of your illustrious career in daytime.  Before acting, had you ever considered any other career choice?
Genie Francis: Gosh, I started so young.  I was only fourteen. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Was it a conscious choice or an expectation?
Genie Francis: I don’t think it was expected.  I don’t remember having any previous aspirations to be anything other than being an actress.  Then I went after it when I was fourteen.  I can’t remember any other career choice that I wanted. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What attracted you to this career at the age of fourteen?
Genie Francis: My father was doing it.  I think I liked when he was recognized in public, I liked that sense of standing out in a crowd.  That was something I remember thinking consciously - that I wanted that.  It’s interesting, I think I wanted fame more than I wanted to act. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What did you think fame could offer?
Genie Francis: I wanted not to blend in and go away, I wanted to be noticed. 

Genie Francis: The fame thing came very quickly.  I was on for about six months and they pushed me to the front of the show.  Before the Luke and Laura thing they had already centered on me with the David Hamilton story, and then the Laura and Scotty thing.  I was already getting magazine covers at the age of sixteen. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Was the fame thing what you hoped it would be?
Genie Francis: I was having a wonderful time when I was that young.  I felt like I was achieving my goals and having a great time.  I really had fun in those early years. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You’ve shared in interviews some of the downfalls of the Luke and Laura phenomenon.  Any advice you would give to an actor who currently finds themselves at the center of a cultural milestone?
Genie Francis: I guess to rely on the love of good friends, if you have good friends.  

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Your record breaking success on GENERAL HOSPITAL ended up spinning you off into the BARE ESSENCE movie and prime time series.  Many soap fans have asked if we will ever be able to see BARE ESSENCE on DVD?
Genie Francis: I have no idea.  I doubt it, it was a very short run, and it was failed series, so I don’t think it will happen. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What was it like to step into a primetime role after doing daytime?
Genie Francis: It was very intimidating, but exciting at the same time. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What was intimidating?
Genie Francis: Being the lead in a big project.  It felt like “The Big Time,” and I didn’t see myself that way.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you see yourself as talented as an artist given your initial draw to acting was for the fame?
Genie Francis: Yes, I absolutely did. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What was it like for you when BARE ESSENCE was canceled?
Genie Francis: It was disappointing.  I remember being exhausted by that time in my life.  I was nineteen years old while we were doing that series.  I remember the hours being brutal and just being absolutely exhausted.  The weird part is that I work those same hours now and I’m much older.  But I am more able to do it for some reason at this age than I was at that age.  I think that young kids actually do need more sleep [laughs].  I remember that time being exhausted, as I didn’t have enough support around me in my life.  You need a team of people caring for you just to get your regular life stuff done.  I couldn’t keep up.   

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Today is the thirty year anniversary of Luke & Laura’s legendary wedding on GENERAL HOSPITAL. If you could go back thirty years ago today and give yourself a piece of advice knowing what you know now, what would that be?
Genie Francis: If I could visit myself in a time capsule and talk to young Genie, I would tell myself that I did matter, that I was important to the show no matter how I was being treated by certain people.  I would tell myself that it was my success too and that I was part of creating it, not just certain people.  I would say, "Go ahead, own it, and feel good about it.  It doesn’t matter what other people say to you, you do matter."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Press here for Part Two of our interview with Genie Francis during which the celebrated actress reflects on her roles on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, ALL MY CHILDREN, her return as Laura on GENERAL HOSPITAL, and beguiling Genevieve on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS.  Until then, don't miss her revealing role on PRETTY THE SERIES.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist in New York City who specializes in treating depression, stress management, anger management, ageism, and grief/loss issues. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve," currently available at He is currently helping thousands get through the holidays stress-free at  To learn about scheduling a session or speaking engagement, write him at [email protected]

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