On Friday, double Emmy winning daytime soap opera actress (As The World Turns, General Hospital) and I did a little website called Funny Or Die. Good thing it didn’t “die” – and Soap Opera Network gave it the funny vote.
Besides her inner comic, today, Martha Byrne will be showing us another side of herself: in character as a kidnapped child’s mother. Tonight, she will be live Tweeting during the debut of her NBC show, Crisis, debuting at 10 pm Eastern in the USA.
You’ve said you didn’t appreciate winning an Emmy until you won a second one as an adult. What else do you appreciate more about your life and career as years go by?
That’s a great question. I think the thing I’m most thankful for is that I appreciated the great moments in my life and career in the moment as I got older. So many people worry about what’s next and don’t stop to enjoy the now. Having been in this business for over 30 years, I have memories of the down times when things weren’t so busy, so when opportunities came along in my life and career, I appreciated them more.
I saw you said you felt like prom was more important back then. Is it difficult being a teenage actress with some naïveté about professional goals? For sure, I look back and think I could have made different choices with where I did my journalism. I can only imagine acting at a young age.
I didn’t know anything else as a kid other than being a working actress. It was like being on a soccer team or being a cheerleader for me. Proms were so important to me back then because I loved the fantasy of the “date.” My first freshman prom was awesome, and I should have stopped there because the rest were nightmares.
What about your new show appeals to soap fans who like those classic, outrageous plots?
I think Crisis will appeal to the soap fan who enjoys watching a character’s emotional struggle. I’m very blessed to have a fantastic fan base who supports everything I do, which is a gift. I think for fans of mine, just seeing me on the screen again makes them happy. How lucky am I?
When you nail an audition like the Crisis role, do you know or is it a matter of everyone, including someone with your level of acting experience, waiting in suspense for a producer’s phone call?
You know when you nail it, but that does not mean you will get it. I have a daughter on Crisis who happens to have my coloring. If we didn’t look alike in some way, I wouldn’t have even been considered. That’s showbiz.
When you have to handle material like your child gone missing on a bus, how do you mentally prepare to do things like break down on camera? Because often, it’s like actresses are having fun together over a good lunch and need to five minutes from now, get into a traumatic scene.
All I do is put myself in the character’s shoes. I am much better at playing these types of roles now that I am a mother of three. My real daughter’s picture was on the set in the first scene in Crisis. I would look at her and have to put myself in the mind set of “what if?” It’s horribly terrifying, but if it feels real to me, then the audience will feel it too.
I last chatted with you about producing your own soap series. Do you have any new projects in pre-production?
I do. I’m working on developing two series right now. One is a drama involving a SWAT team out of Detroit, and the other is a single camera comedy that I just love. Details coming soon.