In part one of TVSource Magazine’s exclusive three part interview, “General Hospital’s” Lindsey Morgan (Kristina) gives insight into the mind of her character, working with co-stars Maurice Benard and Nancy Lee Grahn and the day-to-day grind of working on a soap opera.
Daytime newcomer Lindsey Morgan is a Texas beauty who followed her dreams to Hollywood, California. After guest starring on How I Met Your Mother and Happy Endings, she booked the role of mob princess Kristina Corinthos-Davis on ABC’s General Hospital.
It’s been a rough couple of months for Kristina Corinthos-Davis. The beautiful and spoiled mob princess returned to Port Charles with a big chip on her shoulder, a beau in her back pocket and a reality show to inflict on her on suspecting family. After clashing with her family over her readiness for a relationship (and marriage), it turns out they may have been right after all! Now, the daughter of Sonny Corinthos and Alexis Davis has to re-evaluate her life and how she plans to move forward.
TVSource Magazine spoke with Lindsey last month to chat about Kristina’s tumultuous life, working at the show, her upcoming film and more.
In part one of our exclusive three part interview, “General Hospital’s” Lindsey Morgan (Kristina) gives insight into the mind of her character, working with co-stars Maurice Benard and Nancy Lee Grahn and the day-to-day grind of working on a soap opera.
TVSource Magazine: How would you describe the last 6 months of your career/life?
Lindsey Morgan: The last six months…I would say that’s basically when I started on General Hospital. Maybe the end of April and wow my life kind of completely changed. [Laughs] This year was my first ever pilot season, so it was my first experience going out for big pilots with the networks and whatnot, testing for this and that. General Hospital was in the midst of all that. It was kind of interesting – the audition process for GH. It was like a 3 month process. I auditioned at the end of February/beginning of March. Then towards April is when I got it. Then immediately after I got it I started at the end of April. Since I’ve been under contract I’ve just been doing that. It’s been a whirlwind.
TVSource Magazine: Was it challenging to do a project that required you to learn so much dialogue daily?
Morgan: Oh yeah. I basically relate it to doing a small play every day. [Laughs]Like a different one every day. I mean when I first got my scripts they were about 30 pages long and I was like ‘I’ve done TV before. This is the episode.’ Then when I read it was like ‘Oh, these are just my lines.’ [Laughs] I was like floored! How? These are my lines for one day?! It was insanity. You have to memorize a crazy amount of dialogue in the morning. Whenever you’re called, you get your blocking for all your scenes at once. You go get ready and when they’re ready for you, you’re called to shoot. It’s like a small play in front of the cameras [but] for TV. Then it repeats the next day.
TVSource Magazine: With all that goes into playing Kristina, do you ever take a part of her home with you or do you leave work at the studio?
Morgan: There are some times when it can go home. Sometimes that’s difficult because it is a soap opera and things are very dramatic and traumatic. Kristina’s been through a lot. One of the things that are really difficult and also you know, very relatable. I didn’t play this, but I did have to refer to it – I had some scenes where I had to tell my new boyfriend [Trey] about it. Kristina was abused by her last boyfriend, who ended up dying. I just remember those scenes being very difficult and very personal. I had a boyfriend in the past who wasn’t you know…the nicest guy; let’s just put it at that. So after shooting that and being very kind of emotionally drained and emotionally just shaken by the experience of it, I’d come home and have nightmares. After that I really realized like ok, no matter what I can’t bring anything home. So especially after it’s like really intense stuff, even if I’m really tired I’ll like force myself to go running or something. That’s kind of like my way to kind of relieve stress and meditate you know.
TVSource Magazine: When I interviewed Kelly [Sullivan] a few months ago, she said something similar.
Morgan: Oh, for sure. My boyfriend said the same thing. He saw me and was just kinda like ‘Babe, one day I wish you’ll work on a sitcom so when you come home, you’ll be happy.’ [Laughs] It was so simple and so sweet. [Laughs]The situations that our characters are thrust into are just so intense. Like you really can’t or you’re gonna go nuts.
TVSource Magazine: Were you a fan of GH prior to your hiring?
Morgan: No! I never even watched soap operas before. It’s kind of funny, when I was growing up, my mom kind of boycotted TV. We had strange boycotts for personal things. So she liked boycotted TV. A lot of my childhood I missed watching TV – those summer afternoons I missed all of that. It forced me to enjoy reading ’cause I didn’t have anything else to do. I grew up in Texas where it was so hot outside after some point you [have] to go inside. So I’m bummed I missed out on them. My grandma loved them. She lived in El Paso and I lived in Houston, so when I saw her, she’d have it on.
TVSource Magazine: How did you prepare for the role? Did you look at old tapes? Did they give you a breakdown of her history?
Morgan: I wish. [Laughs]I’m very much like…I didn’t want to get someone else’s performance stuck in my head, so I was really hesitant to ever watch Lexi Ainsworth’s portrayal of the character. I really wanted mine to be my own, and I didn’t want to get it in my head like, ‘Oh that’s not how she did it.’ So what I basically did was, before I started (which is really nice about soaps), I probably started watching like a week before I started filming so I knew what was going on. Then I just kind of played it from there. But I would look up her history. Fans have these great pages where they write up the full highlighted history of stuff. The only time I watched her scenes was when I had to discuss Keifer’s abuse. I specifically wanted to have those memories and have a visual picture in my head of what was seen. Other than that, I just Google and Wikipedia. There’s like a soap General Hospital Wikipedia page, which is awesome. And then it’s funny as I’m going on, there’s new stuff in the scripts and I’m like ‘oh, that’s so funny.’
TVSource Magazine: What was it that made Kristina so appealing to you?
Morgan: I’d say that I really enjoy her because I feel like she’s a really good combination of her parents. Sonny and Alexis are like two of my favorite characters. Sonny’s the mobster, kind of a villain, hotheaded and strong and scary. Kristina definitely has that feistiness and power, which is very much from him. Then Alexis is also [an] equally strong and independent single mom, who has her education and is a really great role model. She really respects her mom. It was a big reason why Kristina wanted to go to Yale, but she kind of always feels inadequate towards her. I feel like a lot of times female characters can be written very weak. Vulnerability is great, but sometimes it’s like they can’t take care of themselves. I like that Kristina can take care of herself, even though she can be vulnerable too.
TVSource Magazine: It must be awesome having two of daytime’s best actors playing your parents.
Morgan: It’s so great. I always enjoy working with them. I love it when they work together too. They’re so funny. They’re two people that never really were but they’re kind of stuck together because of me, all of Sonny’s legal issues. You can just tell that they respect each other in this strange way. They have this chemistry, but I feel like Kristina is always hoping they’ll get back together in some way. It’d be pretty crazy.
TVSource Magazine: That would be nice. It would certainly make their fans happy.
Morgan: I think they’re both equals. It would just suck if it didn’t work out. I love working with Nancy and Maurice. Nancy just cracks me up. We can be doing a dramatic scene and the moment they yell ‘clear,’ she’s like making farting noises with her mouth. [Laughs] She is a hilarious, she’s a hoot. Then the minute we have to start working, she gets back to work.
Maurice is great because he’s a really great actor and so dedicated to the craft. I love working with him because lots of times before we shoot, we’ll go over scenes and he gives me some really great advice. He’s been like a really great mentor like that. I love learning from him. When I have scenes with him I’m like ‘oh great, cool. I can just relax.’ I know they’re going to be great because working with him is so easy. He makes my job extremely easy – he makes me look good, let’s just put it like that. [Laughs]
TVSource Magazine: What’s the best advice he’s ever given you?
Morgan: He’s always told me, which I think it’s always essential in any acting scene with your partner, he’s always told me to look right in his eyes and trust him, and he’ll take me home. I think trust between your scene partners is the first ultimate rule you need because you have to trust them. It’s like that game when you fall back into someone’s arms when you’re acting with them, especially if it’s high emotion, high vulnerability and high intensity. If you feel even feel an inkling of apprehension before you fall back, the scene isn’t going to be as great. So when I work with Maurice and he tells me that, he points to his eyes and he’s like ‘stay right here and I’ll take you home.’ It’s very comforting. It erases all anxiety or insecurity I feel. It just lets me relax and be in the scene.
TVSource Magazine: Why was Kristina so furious with Alexis and Sonny for pulling strings to get her into Yale? Does she still harbor any lingering resentment for what they did?
Morgan: I would say she’s pretty stubborn and definitely someone to hold grudges. As far as that goes, what really hurt her is what their actions said about her. It’s saying they didn’t believe in her; she couldn’t be admitted on her own and that hurt her. The people that she needs the most to believe in her doubted she could and that’s why they did it. When she didn’t get in on her own, even though they’re trying to do what’s best for her, I think she feels like she needs to assert her independence and be an adult. I also feel like they also thought she couldn’t handle disappointment. That’s what hurts her. They don’t think she can handle it.
I think she forgives them because she realizes it was definitely out of love, they wanted her to be happy and to go to her dream school, but deep down, she cares about what they think about her. As the middle child, especially with them never being together and Sonny and his huge family and other children; Alexis is busy with everything in her life. I think Kristina feels like she never got enough attention and was never truly seen by them. So when she’s becoming an adult she wants to say them ‘I am an adult and I can do this’ and they don’t think so and that hurts her.
TVSource Magazine: It sounds like Kristina and her parents need therapy.
Morgan: I think everyone in Port Charles needs therapy. [Laughs] Would you live there? It should be a requirement if you live there.
Coming up in part two, Lindsey discusses why Kristina fell for Trey and life after their breakup, Kristina’s relationship with her sisters, and working with General Hospital executives Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati.
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