Ask the Writers!

More Interviews

Ask the Writers!

You posted your questions on the community boards and Co-Executive Producer/ Head Writer Jack Smith sat down with us to answer them!

1. Why did they make Malcolm, Lily's biological father?

Well, if you think about it as a storyteller the potential for interesting drama is much more interesting if Malcolm is the biological father and not Neil. If Neil was the biological father, the whole sub textual romantic potential between Drucilla and Malcolm fades away. The relationship between Lily and Malcolm becomes your normal, traditional uncle/niece relationship. The relationship between Neil and Lily becomes your typical father/daughter relationship. But if Malcolm is the biological father then, wow! You've got the potential for years to come for fireworks... with Malcolm and Lily; with Malcolm who has to hide this from her; Malcolm who doesn't want to hide it from her; the relationship between Neil and Malcolm of course is potentially extremely explosive as is the relationship between Dru and Malcolm. So, all of the dynamics are so much stronger.

So, you had to go that way!

You had to go that way. In fact, for months I kept wondering which should we do, but then when I really sat down and thought about it, it was a slam dunk � a no-brainer.

2. Can you bring back Camryn Grimes as a twin or something -- it's truly soap opera-like to do something like that!

Sure, anything is possible. You could bring Camryn Grimes back as not even a twin. You bring her back as a young person who happens to come into Genoa City for some reason and crosses paths with Sharon and Nick and they are suddenly so aware that this young girl from across town is so much like their daughter. They become close to her and they take her in as a surrogate daughter and she's really a bad girl. I'm not doing that by the way [laughs]� The potential is there to do that. I never look at these things as a dead issue... if you'll excuse the pun.

3. Do certain writers only write certain characters, or do all writers pen dialogue for all characters?

All writers write all characters. The writers write complete scripts no matter who's in them. We have a schedule and if you're going to be a writer on this show you have to be able to write everybody.

4. Which storylines have been your favorites? Which in hindsight would you have done differently?

An unexpected romance: J.T. and Colleen.

[Pauses.] That's a question I wish I had more time to think about. I have so many favorites; I can't even begin to name them all. One of my all time favorites, even though it's contemporary -- I've been writing this show for 26 years -- was the Colleen/J.T. relationship. It was so unexpected. I like storylines that really are unexpected and out of the blue. J.T. at that time was one bad boy who was interested in nailing as many girls as he could. Colleen was a troubled but pretty perfect early high school girl -- exactly the antithesis of the kind of person that the character of J.T. would ever give a second look to � or even a first look. So, it was so unlikely that he would ever fall in love with her. That was the story! That's what I kept saying. The story is taking this guy on the journey from wild college kid to being in love with this little high school sophomore.

Another surprise story that I liked very much was Michael and Kevin and being brothers. The audience wasn't prepared for that when it happened that day.

Earlier stories � Nikki at the Bayou falling in love with Victor, the early part of that. That was a wonderful story � I loved that story.

Going back to Colleen, is there anyway that character will be brought back on?


No immediate plans?

No immediate plans, although I have to say recently it was discussed. It came up in a meeting with my writers. Somebody mentioned it and we gave 15- 20 minutes talking about it, but I don't want to do that right now. One day it might happen, but not right now.

5. At what point do you know if a story line is working or not or if two characters are clicking? Do you wait for viewer feedback or do you trust your own instincts and experience?

A little of both. A good example of that is J.T. and the recast Mackenzie. When they first came on, [Rachel Kimsey] was new on the show, a very fine actress, [Thad Luckinbill's] a wonderful actor, but they had never played scenes together. So, it was really about finding those levels and finding that zone of chemistry and sometimes that takes a little bit of time. If you look at their scenes now, they are so on target � the two of them � it's been maybe six months since we recast that part and Rachel is very much Mackenzie and the two of them are very good together. You've got to give it time. This is not nighttime television where if something doesn't work in one or two or three episodes you're talking about pulling the plug on everything. We have a wonderful casting director in Marnie [Saitta] and she brings us wonderful people for each of our casting sessions and we go through a grueling process of reading these people and calling some of them back and then doing second callbacks and we put them on screen. By the time we get to the finalist, we're pretty certain we've got what we want, but it's a whole different story once they get in front of the camera and start shooting day to day. You have to give them a little bit of time to find their way and inevitably they do. There have been instances where we went the distance for several months and it just didn't work. I don't want to name names.

Kimberlin Brown also played the manipulative villainess Sheila on The Bold and the Beautiful.

Going along those lines, back to the second part of question 4, in hindsight are there any stories you regret not doing differently?

There probably are� it's more of an example that something you did with the character ten years ago might be inconsistent with the way you want to play the story now. You don't regret having played that story the way you did back then, but you wished that you would have tweaked it so it could be more consistent with what you want to do now. Whenever you bring back a character like Sheila, for example, you are dealing with not just one show, but two shows, The Bold and the Beautiful as well and the way the character was handled historically on both of those shows. You have to keep in mind [laughs]� one of the challenges with Sheila is that she has broken the law so many times, escaped from confinement, not once, not twice, three times. You think to yourself, 'How are you going to keep her from being re-arrested and thrown in jail again?' You might tend to say to yourself 'Gee, I wish she didn't have this baggage coming in' and yet the baggage is what makes her so dangerous and threatening. The baggage was prominent and powerful story at the time. I can't really think back to stories that I wish I hadn't done.

[Y&R; Creator] Bill Bell once said that he wished he hadn't done the story where Ashley was not John's daughter. I personally didn't have a problem with that story. One day in the future it may provide us with something. There aren't any stories I can think back on and actually regret having done.

Do you have any summer hints you want to give?

We have so much exciting stuff coming up! The trial of Daniel is going to be so potent, so wonderfully surprising. The story of Michael and Lauren and their march toward marital bliss is going to be very powerful and exciting. That's going to be a blockbuster story -- it involves so many people. Tom Fisher is going to be involved in a powerful story. Brad is going to be coming into a potent story of his own involving Jack and Victor and Victoria and Sharon and Nick. It's all going to be kicked off in 4-6 weeks.

By Chelsea P. Gladden (aka cocop8) ;-)