For all of you General Hospital fans, have I got a treat for you! I recently had the chance to talk to Carolyn Hennesy about General Hospital, Cougar Town, a number of her past films, and her writing. I learned so much about her and her career, so I hope that you can take away as much as I did. Enjoy!
Describe an average day of filming General Hospital.
Well, I have had call times as early as 6:45am and you go straight into hair and makeup. Everyone, well at least the women are guaranteed a full hour and a half in hair and makeup. You put on your wardrobe for the day and you wait for your group to go up to the sound stage. We rehearse, block, and then shoot. We usually shoot one, maybe two takes per scene and then you are done. Once you are on stage, it moves pretty fast. I’ll usually arrive at the studio by 7am and leave by 10am. General Hospital does not participate in having the actors block the entire episode in the morning, have a lunch break, and then shoot it. That is really interesting because that forces every actor, even if they are in one scene filmed at the end of the day, to get up very early and stay the entire day. So it is much more schedule friendly for the actors. Although we just switched over to HD so there are some rough spots here and there where I have 3 or 4 takes because they are trying to get the right lighting and so on.
Where would you like to see your character go?
I have always said that I think that Diane should open her own law practice…probably with Alexis. Or Diane should become district attorney, or she should go into her own private investigation service. I have also said that I think Diane owns a jazz and blues club and that is where she can be found on her off hours at night – when she is not with Max.
Is there anything that Diane on has been through that you have also been through?
I have never had a fake marriage proposal. I have never pointed a gun at anyone. I have been in a biker bar and I have worn couture. We shop! We like great clothes and sexy men. (laughs)
(laughs) So where do you like to shop?
I am a sample sale girl! I bypass the retail and go straight to the sample sales. The most intriguing and unique clothes are very often found at sample sales.
Even though you are married, who are your celebrity crushes?
When I was younger, I had the weirdest celebrity crush on John Savage from The Deer Hunter. He was just dreamy. Now, I would say Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem.
Of all of your film credits, what has been your favorite film to work on?
Terminator 3 was a lot of fun. I had one day of filming and 5 wardrobe fittings. Kristanna Loken who played the female terminator, her character stole my car, hairstyle, and wardrobe. So it had to fit on me exactly as it fit on her.
You were also in Legally Blonde 2 but did you see the musical when it was on Broadway?
I did not see it on Broadway, no. That was a very interesting shoot. It was in the middle of Springfield, Illinois, a few days before Christmas. It was freezing and raining. I came home with a cold that I have yet to recover from. (laughs) We were filming there because where we were at closely resembled the chamber in Washington D.C. That was a fun shoot.
Moving on, you are also a talented writer.
You’re welcome. So do you have a title theme for your next Pandora book?
The title for book four is still unknown. In each of the books, Pandora goes after one of the seven great evils and in book four it is lust. I just turned book four into my publishers and now I am doing research for book five.
Hmm. Was that hard writing about lust for children?
No it wasn’t actually. I happened to choose one of the great tales out of mythology that involved a wedding, apple, and 3 goddesses fighting over the apple. So it all tied in perfectly. There is nothing raunchy. Lust kind of takes a back seat in a way to some of the lessons that she has to learn, the crazy people that she meets, and there is a little bit of time traveling. There is plenty of gain and loss in this book. Lust is what she is going after, but in a very interesting way. It appeals to me, 13 year olds, and moms.
Of all of the deadly sins, which do you think you have the most?
(laughs) If a craving for Vanilla Swiss Almond Hagan Daz ice cream was one, I would have it. I don’t know. I am a very passionate person but that is not quite the same as lust. Envy…no. Pride…you have to have a certain amount of ego to get on stage or in front of a camera to say “look at me.” Although I would like to think I keep that in proper proportions. Laziness…sometimes I sit at home on the computer when I should be writing. Anger, gluttony, and greed…no. Hmm, probably laziness when I am just too tired to do anything else.
Now aside from the Pandora book series have you started writing the gothic novel for adults you mentioned in a previous interview?
No. I am not going to tackle that right now. With everything else that is going on with General Hospital, other acting projects, and completing books 5-7, no. I say that I may have laziness but my schedule really does not allow me to be lazy. I would not be giving 100% to everything else if I tackled that right now.
When did you start teaching improve comedy?
That was about 5 or 6 years ago. My friend who teaches cold reading, scene study, and on camera techniques was going to be away for a few weeks. So he asked me to fill in for him. So I helped the students with their techniques and that blossomed into a nice teaching gig for awhile.
Any plans to return to theatre?
All the time! Absolutely. I told myself that I would not return to the stage until I finished the books although last Christmas I did a Peter Pan production with the Santa Barabara Theatre Company. I would love to return to the stage. There is some small talk of Peter Pan possibly going to NY. I would love to work in NY. That would be fantastic!
Aside from everything else you are involved in, you also have a recurring role on the new ABC half hour sitcom, Cougar Town.
I play Barbara who is a conservative real estate agent by day and queen cougar by night. It is a wonderful cast. Courteney Cox could not be any sweeter. Bill Lawrence is a wonderful director and writer. The pilot is being shot as we speak!
Pandora Gets Lazy released in stores March 31, 2009.