Thursday, April 11, 2013

INTERVIEW: Erika Slezak On The Return Of ONE LIFE TO LIVE

ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Erika Slezak - Photo: Sue
Coflin/Max Photos
Erika Slezak resumes the role of Vicoria Lord Buchanan in ONE LIFE TO LIVE when the show returns (April 29 on The Online Network, available on Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes). A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Ms. Slezak took over the role of Viki on OLTL in 1971 and won six Daytime Emmy Awards while playing the part over the past four decades. We Love Soaps spoke with the legendary actress about the comeback of ONE LIFE TO LIVE in a brand new interview from the set in Stamford, Connecticut. Read it below.

WE LOVE SOAPS: How are you doing?
ERIKA SLEZAK: I'm doing great!

WE LOVE SOAPS: Three more weeks! I'm dying to see this all come together.
ERIKA SLEZAK: Me too! We haven't seen a single show yet. We've had to shoot segments and scenes and they're going to put it all together in the editing room. Because ALL MY CHILDREN went first, our sets had to be put up over the weekend, lit and gotten ready, and that was a very difficult chore. There was no prep time for them. So we had to shoot a lot of stuff in the Lord library, and a lot of stuff in the hospital and various sets, simply because they were available. We were waiting on the other sets to be built and finished. It's happening!

WE LOVE SOAPS: Soaps are never going away, and now everything in primetime is serialized. But with ONE LIFE TO LIVE, did you think it was really over?
ERIKA SLEZAK: When they said it's dead, it was dead. And then they called me and said, "It's not dead." And I thought, of course it's not dead, it's daytime. You can die on daytime and come back 17 times.

WE LOVE SOAPS: This was the perfect show to come back from the dead.
ERIKA SLEZAK: And how! When they canceled ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE at the same time, there was such an outcry. The fans were really upset and horrified. If they had replaced us with entertainment shows, it might have been easier and a better transition for ABC. But they didn't. They replaced us with cooking, weight loss talk shows and that's not what our audience had been looking forward to seeing all those years.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Plus, you can watch those types of shows any time you want on other channels.
ERIKA SLEZAK: Anytime you want.

WE LOVE SOAPS: I'm excited about the team that has been assembled here, including behind the scenes.
ERIKA SLEZAK: Going into something this new, on the internet, and Prospect Park putting this much faith into the show, they needed very experienced veterans to run it. Susie [Bedsow Horgan, recently departed co-head writer] certainly is, Thom [Racina, co-head writer] is, Jen [Pepperman, executive producer] is, and the same with ALL MY CHILDREN. These are people who know what they are doing. Our directors are a lot of the same ones, and we have a lot of the same cameramen. When you see that, you feel like you don't have to worry about it. I really never have worried about camera angles and stuff like that because it's not my job, it's their job. But they take care of me because they know what they're doing. We have a team this experienced, and we couldn't do it without them.

WE LOVE SOAPS: A lot of things are the same, but what do you think is the biggest difference?
ERIKA SLEZAK: The location. Which is a lot closer to my house. [Laughs] There is no difference really. Everything we do on the set is the exact same as we did before. We have cameras, we have sets, we have props, costumes, a stage manager, and a lighting director. The biggest difference is how it's being shown to the audience, and we're not affected by that when we're doing the work. As far as I'm concerned that's just a camera and whatever's inside it doesn't bother me.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Are there any differences in the scripts now that the show is being written for the web?
ERIKA SLEZAK: Yes. It's a lot sharper. They have a lot more leeway in terms of language and subject matter. But they're not going crazy with that either. They're writing as people talk and they can do that without having a censor looking over their shoulder. The scripts are an easier conversation, and they can move more quickly. They're not worrying about the network or sponsors or censors. But basically it's just the same. Everything is a little faster, that's all.

- INTERVIEW: Catching Up With ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Kelley Missal
- INTERVIEW: On the Set of ONE LIFE TO LIVE with Rob Gorrie
- ONE LIFE TO LIVE First Week Day-by-Day Preview [SPOILER ALERT]
- ONE LIFE TO LIVE New Episodes Preview (Video)
- Bethany Watson To Guest Star On ONE LIFE TO LIVE
- Rapper RiFF RaFF Makes ONE LIFE TO LIVE Cameo
- Prospect Park/TOLN News Hub

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 and the documentary SOAP LIFE in 2012.


  1. Thanks For The Erika Interview, Roger. I'm Loving This!

    Brian :-)

  2. I have to say that this girl is on top of the world now! My soaps are coming back, and I could be happier. I have watched my shows since the 70's. I've missed my extended family. I can't wait until 4/29. I'll be sitting on the edge of my seat that's for sure. Thank you, thank you, PP for saving our soaps!!!!