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TV Guide: B&B hires the homeless (Brad Bell interview)
Topic Started: Oct 25 2010, 12:34 PM (1,164 Views)
Ellie


http://www.tvguide.com/News/Bold-Beautiful-Hires-1024682.aspx

The Bold and the Beautiful Hires the Homeless


Oct 25, 2010 12:57 PM ET
by Michael Logan

In these days of crippling budget cuts, it's pretty damn remarkable that The Bold and the Beautiful went down to L.A.'s Skid Row and hired some 25 real-life homeless people to tell their life stories on camera. The sequences, airing October 28-29, are part of a plot that has Beverly Hills matron Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery) battling stage 4 lung cancer and using what time she has left to help those who have nothing. The soap's exec producer-head writer Brad Bell, who has hired an additional 30 homeless to appear as extras, swears he won't be dropping this storyline anytime soon. In fact, it'll be an integral part of the show's holiday season. TV Guide Magazine spoke with the B&B boss man about his groundbreaking plot and where it goes from here.

TV Guide Magazine: Kudos on this story. Your dad [the late B&B creator] Bill Bell would have been proud.

Bell: This has been a huge awakening for me - I now have a real appreciation for the pillow under my head and the roof that's over me. So many people are just a paycheck away from homelessness or living in a shelter. Our entire production company has been changed by this experience. Hopefully, so has the audience. To be a great country we need to take care of these people. As they say, we're only as strong as our weakest link.

TV Guide Magazine: What inspired you to do this story?
Bell: Three or four years ago, I wrote down a sentence on a piece of paper: Why are you homeless? And I've kept it in my desk ever since. I've long wondered about the stories behind all those people I drive past on Beverly Boulevard while going to work in the morning and going home at night. It's taken years for me to do this story and there have been several tries before I found a way to make it fit. We now have Stephanie taking a camera to downtown L.A. and asking people, "Why are you homeless?" and letting them speak.

TV Guide Magazine: How was that for Flannery?
Bell: Susan said, "I don't have much of a script here." And I said, "That's because there isn't much of a script. You and I are going to take a skeleton crew and go downtown - I'll be right there with you - and we're going to ask questions and put the camera on the homeless to find out who they are. We are going to give them a voice." And Susan was a natural. She was Oprah in a minute! And that turned out to be the day the temperature in downtown L.A. hit 113 degrees! These episodes are half B&B, half reality. For the October 28 show, we went to Gladys Park, in the heart of Skid Row, and talked with many of the people there. Most of them have been in prison, addicted to drugs, but are on the road to recovery at least we hope. Then on October 29 we go inside the Union Rescue Mission and meet some of the homeless families. The mission has taken them in, feeding them, giving them a room. This is unlike anything we've ever seen on our show and that's hard to do after 23 years on the air.

TV Guide Magazine: Let's talk about the logistics of this story. How did you go about finding and selecting the homeless people you interview?

Bell: An incredible man named Kevin Key knows them and got them all together for us. Many of these men and women hadn't worked in years. Just to have a purpose, a day's job, meant so much to them. Kevin is an attorney and community organizer for a group called LAPD, the L.A. Poverty Department, who actually lives downtown where we were shooting. A lot of people see it as a terrible place, but Kevin says he couldn't live anywhere else. He told me, "I choose to live here with these incredible people. And anyone who doesn't understand that needs to get a new set of glasses, and see the place for what it really is." Well, I've put on that new set of glasses and used it as inspiration.

TV Guide Magazine: Your original script cut back and forth from these Skid Row sequences to scenes of Stephanie's husband Eric [John McCook] kicking back with a martini at the mansion. But the viewers at home won't be seeing that.

Bell: We shot those scenes with Eric but I decided not to air them. I was going for a contrast there. I was thinking of a lot of people who may be retired, who are leading a nice, sheltered, comfortable life where they play their round of golf, have a nice lunch, and are just kind of waiting...merely existing. I wanted people like that to question themselves. Could I maybe reach out with the time that is remaining and do more with my life than chase golf balls? However, those scenes didn't turn out that well. Eric came off too pompous and for a variety of reasons, mostly the concept on the page, it didn't work.

TV Guide Magazine: So where does Stephanie's saga go after this?
Bell: Her relationship with Dayzee [Kristolyn Lloyd] is going to continue, as will her outreach to the mission and the people of Skid Row. This is a story that won't stay front burner, but we are not going to play it and move on. It's going to remain a part of B&B and part of Stephanie a better Stephanie. The story with Dayzee will be very much a part of our holiday season.

TV Guide Magazine: Even though Stephanie decided to seek care for her cancer and had surgery, there was no soap-opera miracle cure. You're still playing her condition as dire. What's her prognosis in your mind?
Bell: She's going to be in a precarious spot for quite some time. At least until we renegotiate Susan's contract. Stephanie's attitude is, if she dies, she dies. But while she's living she's going to try to make the world a better place. She does not want those sad looks, she does not want to hear that tone in people's voices, she doesn't want people reaching out and helping her she doesn't want any of that. Because, even with cancer, she'll flatten anyone who tries! There will also be some interesting stuff with Taylor [Hunter Tylo]. Stephanie is now bonded with Brooke [Katherine Kelly Lang], having shared something so intimate and incredible with this journey of the cancer, and Stephanie has said that she loves Brooke. Taylor has always perceived herself as Stephanie's best friend. Will that last? Could Taylor be left behind as Brooke becomes even closer to Stephanie? There are some interesting possibilities there. But some things will never change, like that recent scene where Brooke said, "I love you, Stephanie." And Stephanie said, "You're still a slut from the Valley." What a supercouple I have with those two!
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lysie
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I'm not sure how I feel about this...
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lysie
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Remember when Tyra used real homeless people on ANTM?
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Matt
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Classic Soap Fan

It's like they're stamping the B&B box with a label that says "Now With 100% Real Homeless People!"
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Bremol
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He's so full of crap. This is nothing more than him going for the Emmy next year. So far I've felt nothing with the homeless scenes and I'm not a callous person, but these scenes have been well, crap. The stuff on the 28th & 29th might make me feel some emotion, but the way it's been going so far, I highly doubt it.

And you're right, Matt, it does feel exactly like that.

I'm glad those people got paid, but at the same time...it's hard not to ask, "Are they being exploited for a trophy?" Because if Brainless Bell been passing these people day in and day out for years, why the hell has he waited this long to do something? Why hasn't he done something outside his show, on his own? Because from the way this reads, it doesn't seem like he's done anything until now...now that he wants another Emmy.
Edited by Bremol, Oct 25 2010, 01:39 PM.
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Drew
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#bbuk

This seems so exploitive.
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Manny
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So is this the thing that no soap has ever done?
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Drew
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#bbuk

Gotta be
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WTGH
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Bitch!

Eh...I don't mind it.
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Mitchapalooza
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Killing myself slowly

All I thought of when I read this title is the movie "SoapDish" and the fictious soap "The Sun Also Sets" when they had all those homeless people on their show and the matriarch was running a soup kitchen......
Edited by Mitchapalooza, Oct 26 2010, 11:44 AM.
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Grandpa Hughes
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WANDERING Minstrel!

Y&R has been doing "Homeless" stories for decades! I don't know if they hired any actual homeless folk when they did it! I just can't picture most of the homeless I've known taking stage direction! They'd be throwing things and screaming at themselves!
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darraholic
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Pennsatucky

This has nothing to do with the homeless but Bell trying to get his 3rd straight emmy.
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alstonboy4315
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"Even iron bends"..Victoria Rowell

Brad Bell will not REST until he gets that 2012 Emmy for Best Show and/or Best Writing on his mantle, will he???!!!

LOL!! Gotta admire his persistence. But I agree, this probably has VERY little to do with sending forth a positive message and more to do with impressing the people who will cast their votes come pre-nomination time!!!

He's trying to prove himself and break Y&R's record for Emmy wins. Good luck with that, Brad.

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alstonboy4315
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"Even iron bends"..Victoria Rowell

lysie
Oct 25 2010, 12:53 PM
Remember when Tyra used real homeless people on ANTM?
EVERYTHING that Tyra Banks does is to provoke scandal and improve the ratings for her show, which I SHAMELESSLY admit that I watch EVERY week religiously.

I have a hard time believing ANYTHING that comes out of that woman's mouth, but I am hooked on "America's Next Top Model".....


Exploitation is the name of the game, it seems!
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Drew
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#bbuk

I watched the thursday ep, I thought it was awful. And to interview these people in the character of Stephanie was as exploitive as I imagined it would be.
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darraholic
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Pennsatucky

Who will Bell exploit next year? The mentally challenged?, The obese?, Transexuals?
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Bremol
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darraholic
Nov 3 2010, 10:37 AM
Who will Bell exploit next year? The mentally challenged?, The obese?, Transexuals?
Knowing Brainless Bell, at least two of the three.
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Matt
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Bremol
Nov 3 2010, 05:32 PM
darraholic
Nov 3 2010, 10:37 AM
Who will Bell exploit next year? The mentally challenged?, The obese?, Transexuals?
Knowing Brainless Bell, at least two of the three.
I know! I know!

The horrificly deformed thanks to needless plastic surgery. :drunk:
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Mason


Matt
Nov 4 2010, 12:48 PM
Bremol
Nov 3 2010, 05:32 PM
darraholic
Nov 3 2010, 10:37 AM
Who will Bell exploit next year? The mentally challenged?, The obese?, Transexuals?
Knowing Brainless Bell, at least two of the three.
I know! I know!

The horrificly deformed thanks to needless plastic surgery. :drunk:
I thought that was what he was doing when he brought Hunter Tylo back?
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Bremol
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Mason
Nov 4 2010, 12:49 PM
Matt
Nov 4 2010, 12:48 PM
Bremol
Nov 3 2010, 05:32 PM

Quoting limited to 3 levels deep
I know! I know!

The horrificly deformed thanks to needless plastic surgery. :drunk:
I thought that was what he was doing when he brought Hunter Tylo back?
That's just all kinds of wrong, but so freaking hilarious...and true. She did mess herself up with the surgery. I'd have been suing the doctor if it was me.
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