Wednesday, May 30, 2012

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Lindsey Morgan On Her GENERAL HOSPITAL Debut (Part 1 of 2)

Actress Lindsey Morgan debuted at the end of Friday's episode of GENERAL HOSPITAL in the role of Kristina Corinthos Davis, daughter to Port Charles crime boss Sonny Corinthos and lawyer Alexis Davis. In her first full episode on Tuesday, Kristina returned home with vengeance, having learned that there was much more to her admission to Yale than she originally thought.

Prior to her role on GENERAL HOSPITAL, Morgan has been earning big laughs with appearances on ABC’s comedy HAPPY ENDINGS, and on the wildly popular CBS sitcom, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.

This half-Latina, half-Irish, southern girl from Houston, Texas, began her career in college but quickly opted out to head West and chase her acting dream. It didn’t take long for Hollywood to take notice, landing the leading role in MTV’s original film, disCONNECTED; and a supporting role in indie film DETENTION, starring Josh Hutcherson and Dane Cook.

We Love Soaps spoke to Morgan on Tuesday afternoon following her GH debut.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV Hello Lindsey! It's exciting to speak with you right after watching today's GH--with your first big scene as Kristina. As a beautiful, new addition to the daytime TV world, I was hoping I could ask you to go begin by just going ahead and introducing yourself to our audience?
Lindsey Morgan: I'm Lindsey Morgan--I'm an actor! [Laughter]

I grew up in Houston, Texas. I was actually born in Georgia and then I moved to Houston. I went to a little bit of school in Austin, and then I dropped out of college to move to LA and pursue acting. My two-year anniversary in LA is coming up, so I'm excited about that.

I always wanted to be an actor, but it took me a while to have the guts; to go for it. When I finally did, and I made that decision, I just never let myself quit. I honestly think half of it is pure stubbornness. [Laughter]

I literally do not know what I would do if I were not an actress.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV:  In landing the role of Kristina, you're set up to have lots of scenes with icons like Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn and Kelly Monaco. What has the chemistry been like? How are you hitting it off with Maurice, that big teddy bear?
Lindsey Morgan: He actually did a screen test, which apparently hadn't been done in like, 20 years, so that was interesting. They actually brought in Maurice and Nancy Lee Grahn to do the test with us, to be in the scene. They filmed on the set, everyone was in the control room, it was up on all the monitors--so it was very interesting.

That was the first time I met Maurice. I had a wardrobe malfunction, so I didn't have a chance to meet him prior. And of course, I went last, and I didn't know what to expect. I had seen his work before and I was kind of shaking in my boots! [Laughter]

But then, I was also exhilarated. And when we were doing the scene, he improvised--he went off of the script and yelled at me. Like, I felt I almost peed my pants or something. [Laughter] It was so intense.

But then, the moment it was done, and they said, "Cut!" he came over and gave me a giant hug, and told me I had cojones!

WE LOVE SOAPS TV:  Did you come away thinking you got it?
Lindsey Morgan: I didn't know. We were all on set together, so we could all see each other go. I could see my competition on the monitors. There are monitors everywhere. We were all so different, it depended on what way they wanted her to go.

We all had different takes and different looks and some were older, some were younger,; different shades of darkness and lightness... Who did they want us to look like, more? So I didn't know. It all depends on what they want.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV:  In your very first scene, you strut on in and create all this drama, with confrontations between you and Sonny, you and Alexis, Alexis and Sonny--even Sam isn't completely safe. You really command the scene.
Lindsey Morgan: It felt like they wanted to write her as an actual, worthy adversary to her father. Sonny is, you know, The King of Port Charles. He has his enemies, of course, but no one really gets to him. He's in control. He's so strong. I feel like the only way for somebody to really get to him, and harm him, is to be his own flesh and blood.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So, maybe, Kristina could be a balance for Sonny?
Lindsey Morgan: Yeah, and I feel like she's a perfect blend of Sonny and Alexis. Even though she is basically, really, extorting them right now, she's doing it almost for an ethical reason. In the end it's to expose her father--and her mother--and say, "Hello, this is wrong!"

WE LOVE SOAPS TV:  What, in your view, are Kristina's motivations? What is she looking for?
Lindsey Morgan: I think a lot of it is just truth. You know, honesty. I can only imagine--it's so crazy to imagine--having parents like that, a dad who's in the mob. There's a lot of lies, there are going to be a lot of cover-ups. Not much is going to be out in the open: number one for her protection, and number two just to keep some innocence. As a child, I think, people are aware of that; children are aware of when they're not being told the truth.

Now, she's coming into her own. College has shown her her own strength, her own power. And she's very much her father's daughter--and very much her mother's daughter. And very much tired of it all. Tired of them going behind her back, and tired of them being controlling. She needs to have her own say in her life.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV:  Sounds like a lot to keep in your head all at once?
Lindsey Morgan: It's a lot to keep in your head because it all moves so fast. And sometimes, there are parts, where I'm thinking, "Wait, I was just mad at them... why am I now..."

Well, like when I got mad at Sam, and then I was congratulating her. But then, when you're with family, it's so up and down. With my own family, they can say something that makes me think, "What? That's so rude!" but then it's like, "That's my mom!" or "That's my brother!" so, "I love you!" Even if they're being mean. [Laughter]

WE LOVE SOAPS TV:  How familiar were you with GH before being cast as Kristina? How fresh is this canvas for you?
Lindsey Morgan: It's very fresh. I had never watched it before. When I was auditioning for it: that's when I started looking it up and researching. The thing is, when they put out a call for these kind of soap characters, they keep it very hush-hush. I didn't know I was auditioning for Kristina. I thought I was auditioning to be someone completely new. The breakdown (the character description when they announce the audition) was so vague: "soulful, but fiery." [Laughter]

I didn't know I was playing Kristina until they announced it online. Even during the screen test, I didn't know I was playing Kristina. I didn't know that Maurice and Nancy were going to be my parents. Very hush-hush.

But then, once I knew, I definitely researched. I wanted to know her back story, I wanted to know what Kristina had gone through, which is, you know, a lot. [Laughter.}

I read a lot, and I watched Lexi [Ainsworth]'s work, which was great. She was awesome, so I watched a lot of her stuff. And then I started watching the show now, DVR-ing it every day. Because, honestly, now I'm kind of addicted to it. And so is my mom. so we get on the phone and we talk about it.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV:  That's what happens!
Lindsey Morgan: Yeah! I even get mad at the characters... and I want to know what's going on, too, because a lot of the time, what happens to the other characters will affect me, too. When we're working, we're working so quickly, and they're so efficient, they'll usually just call whoever is working that day. So, if I'm not in a scene with you, I may see you in the hallway--but that's about it.

In Part Two of our exclusive interview with Lindsey Morgan, we talk about Kristina's quest for truth, GH whipping Lindsey into shape, and some revealing behind-the-scenes moments with Executive Producer Frank Valentini.

- GENERAL HOSPITAL FLASHBACK: A Complete Guide to Who's Who (And What Their Up To) in Port Charles

Kevin Mulcahy Jr. is a Harvard alum who is currently working as a staff contributor at writing theater and web series reviews as well as other in-depth features. Read all his Web Series reviews here. To contact Kevin, email [email protected].

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