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GL: Liz Keifer on Coop, Phillip &; The new Springfield
Topic Started: Feb 20 2009, 04:54 AM (393 Views)
Miss Rhi
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From: 1000 Worlds

Guiding Light has entertained me with a long list of memorable characters over the years, but if I had to narrow it down, the character of Christina Thorpe, better known as Blake, would definitely be in my top five.

Blake was destined from the start to be the center of attention with parents like Roger and Holly. And Iíve loved Elizabeth Keiferís fearless portrayal of Blake.

Lizís portrayal of Blake gave that character a depth and vulnerability she didnít have before, and was a huge part of why Blake and Ross - which could have been a fleeting fling - became a beloved couple until he was presumed dead a few years ago.

Keifer (and Blake) have been unfortunately on the back burner (or completely off the stove) over the last few years, but Iím grateful that the show keeps Blake in the mix, and in the memories of viewers. Thatís not to say that I wouldnít welcome a return to the front-burner for Blake.

With the tragic death of Coop (played so beautifully this week) and Phillipís return, Blakeís world is rocked, and weíll be seeing Blake in some upcoming scenes, including Coopís funeral (which starts Friday, February 20th and continues early next week), where she comes face to face with Phillip.

Liz was gracious enough to take time out of a busy day of multitasking (she was baking chocolate chip cookies as we spoke) to talk to me about those upcoming scenes and her thoughts on her alter ego.

1000WORLDS: I hear there are some amazing scenes coming up, particularly with Phillip.

LIZ KEIFER: Yeah! The dynamic is really strong when he shows up so unexpectedly, especially in those circumstances. Itís such a heartfelt funeral; Coop stands for so much hope. Itís such a hard funeral, and when Phillip shows up in the middle of it, itís a lot to face.

Itís pretty strong. Blake has a lot of strong feelings about him, thatís for sure.

1000WORLDS: She certainly has a lot to say to him.

LIZ: Well, Phillipís responsible for Rossí death. The first scenes you see where Blake is at. She doesnít even want him to speak. Itís pretty intense.

1000WORLDS: How has it been to have Grant Aleksander (Phillip) back on the set?

LIZ: Itís fantastic! I love Grant.

1000WORLDS: It really feels (on-screen) like his return has energized everyone. Weíre seeing that on the viewerís side; do you feel that way on the performance side?

LIZ: Oh, absolutely. Grant has a tremendous amount of energy that he brings to the table - that weíre feeling. Heís really strong and dynamic, and really smart. And it just feels really solid. Having him there feels like one of the pillars of our foundation is back! We have so much history together.

1000WORLDS: Does Blake find out that Beth (and not Blake) was the inspiration for Coopís book? Beth and Blake do have that rivalry. (Note: As longtime GL viewers may remember, Blake was married to Phillip and Alan, and kept Beth and Phillip apart when it was first discovered Beth was still alive.)

LIZ: Poor Blake! She thought it was her. And Blake has a rivalry with everybody! [Laughs] They havenít had specific scenes about that, but itís become evident to all those charactersÖ..I look forward to having those scenes the next time I see her, because there will be a lot of strain there.

1000WORLDS: Is there anything else on the horizon for Blake? After the whole book thing (where Coopís book went from draft to first edition in a matter of weeks!) I figured that Blake MUST have some good contacts in publishing!

LIZ: Blake seems to be the master of all trades!

1000WORLDS: Iím glad Blake is getting these dramatic scenes with Phillip; it seems like a lot of the scenes weíve seen Blake in over the last year or so have been comedic scenes or lighthearted scenes. Do you enjoy playing the comedy?

LIZ: Oh, I do enjoy it - except I donít think itís a good idea if thatís all thatís ever written for me, because thereís not an opportunity to ground it. Thatís something that Iíve been hoping gets addressed. Thatís whatís nice to have those scenes with Phillip, because we forget that Blake has this whole other side.

1000WORLDS: What was your take when they first told you Blake was going to have a relationship with Coop?

LIZ: I thought it was fantastic, actually. At first I was like, ďWow, really?Ē And then I thought, ďItís a really great idea!Ē Itís just something Blake would do. I didnít see it as this lascivious, robbing-the-cradle thing; I really thought that his energy was so hopeful and pure, and that he embodies those elements that Blake misses having.

He had the opportunity to be a success, and Blake feels she kind of missed the boat on that. She gave herself up to Ross for many years, and didnít pursue a lot of things that, had Ross not come into her life, she would have gone down different roads. So he [Coop] represented so many possibilities. That was perfect for Blake. And he was harmless! Blakeís not ready to devote herself to someone after Ross.

: I was happy to see those scenes, and I was happy to see the scenes with Robert Newman (Josh). Blake - and you - seem to have chemistry with everyone!

LIZ: Well, thank you! I think thatís whatís great about her - that she can be with an older man, or a younger man. Blake just enjoys men, period. Sheís also not in a position to be judging anyone. She can take any character under her wing and just go with it. Sheís got massive amounts of energy, which has mostly been stored up. She used to put that into Ross, but it has nowhere to go now. I think anyone benefits from coming into her orbit.

1000WORLDS: I always enjoyed Blakeís interactions with Edmund. It didnít happen very often, but she seemed to always have a crush on him. It was a very cute, clever play on it. I always thought that was a good relationship!

LIZ: Iím glad you brought that up; I always though that was something that could go somewhere too! (Note: Especially now that David Andrew McDonald is back!) And who knows, it just might? Just put it out there! [Laughs]

1000WORLDS: Iíll make sure I put it out on the blog - put it out there to the universe!

LIZ: Anythingís possible for Blake. Thatís why itís such a great character.

1000WORLDS: So I have to ask - whatís your take on the new production model and all of the Peapack stuff?

LIZ: I enjoy it. I love the outdoor stuff, and think it looks fantastic. Itís invigorating. Youíre no longer confined to a set; you have more sensory stuff to deal with. You have the weather, you haveÖ.everything thatís happening. Thereís a lot of unexpected things happening, and I love that. Itís sort of like, ďLetís just put you outside, give you some words, and see what happensÖ.go!Ē Itís always been a little hurried and crazed, no rehearsal, but this is even more like diving off the deep end. Itís always been ďReady, set, go!Ē And now itís, ďReady, set, goÖ.and itís gonna rain!Ē [Laughs]

1000WORLDS: Speaking of weatherÖI just read on another blog a post about General Hospital, and fans were complaining because the snow was so obviously fakeÖit was paper snow. And I guess it was really obvious as you watched that it was paper.

And I thought, ďYou know, I just saw a scene with Edmund and Josh where it was reality in the truest sense of the word - snow falling on them at the cemetary.Ē

LIZ: I also just enjoy it because itís a different way of working. Youíre in the moment. Thereís no proscenium to play to. Itís just ďgo.Ē Thereís less of a self-consciousness. Thereís no particular camera to focus on.

Itís interesting technically. And the cameramen are unbelievable, how they do this and stay out of each otherís way. We have such an amazing team. They had to work completely differently. Yes, the actors had to work differently. But the crew had to turn themselves inside out to develop a whole new way of shooting. Ellen (Wheeler, executive producer) had to develop a whole new way of directing.

1000WORLDS: The consensus among the actors seemed to be that it was easier to get to the emotional truth (of a scene) because in some ways it frees you from worrying about some of the technical things, and youíre just there.

LIZ: Absolutely, I agree - very well put! Technically itís easier on the actors. And itís fun to be outside. Youíre not sitting in the studio all day long. Itís liberating.

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