Interviews Soaps

General Hospital’s Carolyn Hennesy on Animal Rights, The Cost Of Theatre and the Uniqueness of Diane Miller

I want to talk about the movie that’s currently airing on the ION channel called A Snow White Christmas.You’re playing Victoria Snow and within her first two minutes on screen, you can tell that she has an agenda where Blanca is concerned. Is this just the classic evil stepmother or will viewers find that there is a heart behind her icy exterior?

They may not necessarily see a heart but they will see a lot of humor and that is the deviation from the stereotypical evil. She’s just funny! And of course, Victoria doesn’t think she’s evil. Victoria’s just misunderstood. Anyone who thinks that Victoria’s evil simply doesn’t understand what she’s about. She wants to bring taste and elegance and style into her life and the lives of those around her. And Blanca, with her simple joys and simple pleasures, is standing in the way.

She’s kind of a relic. She’s sort of a throwback to a much simpler kinder gentler time. And Victoria is all about progress and forward motion. And why not? She’s very Machiavellian in the way she gets it. But to her, absolutely the ends justify the means.

My favorite thing about Victoria is that while she may be a “villain,” she also offers the movies main comedic relief. I have found that to be true with Diane Miller as well as. Is that style of sarcastic comedy something thats apart of your actual personality or have you just perfected in with your roles over the years?

Oh golly! You know, for that – I mean, I know the answer to that – but I will say, you’re going to have to ask the people who know me best. It’s just, it’s easy. It’s funny. It’s so delicious and so much fun to play. To find every single comedic moment any time I can. To me, laughter is like oxygen. Making people laugh is my reason for being. So when I can, and it is appropriate, I do it. Because that’s my nature. That’s my intrinsic nature.

It’s interesting because I have a film coming out in February called St. Agatha where I am also the big bad and there’s not an ounce of humor in Mother Superior. Not a bit. I have been told that she’s one of the next great villains to come along. And the fact that she’s a female doesn’t hurt anything either. Jjigsaw was not funny. Vincent Price, when he was the villain in every camera horror movie that he did, there was very little humor that Vincent Price was aware of. He himself was just sort of an interesting kind of over-the-top character which made some of his characterizations a little amusing. And that’s kind of the way that Mother Superior is. There’s very little that’s funny. There’s nothing funny about what she’s doing. There’s nothing humorous. Her humor genes have been removed. If there are things that amuse people, that is directorial in its nature. It’s not in the performance.

That leads into my next questions about St. Agatha. The trailer just dropped this week. They are referring to this using the term that I’ve never heard of when describing this film. Where you familiar with the term Nunsploitation prior to taking on this role?

Yeah, I have heard of it. I don’t know if this falls under the category of Nunsploitation. I really don’t. Because there’s nothing graphic or gratuitous. No, I’m sorry. That’s not true. There is nothing gratuitous. There’s a lot that’s graphic. But we’re not exploiting true Religion for our own selfish purposes. And the audience really has to see the movie to understand exactly what that means. So I don’t know. If it is Nunsploitation, it walks a very fine line. It’s played in all seriousness with a tremendous amount of gravity and weight. It’s a psychological thriller but it’s also exceptionally cringeworthy.

You’re no stranger to the horror genre. One of my favorite roles of yours was as Rosalyn on True Blood. Have you always has an appreciation for the genre and is it something you would like to continue doing?

I would love to continue doing it. It’s a tremendous amount of fun because you get to explore sort of dark areas and then wash your hands and walk away. We all have these sort of dark elements within us. And to deny that, that’s where trouble starts. But if you embrace them or if you’re given an opportunity as an actor to embrace them, that’s so much fun! Because you get to do things that you’d be incarcerated or institutionalized for in polite society. And you get to paid for it!

In addition to TV and film, you have also taken on theatre and was recently nominated for an LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Award for your role as Maria Callas in Master Class. Is theatre something you’ve always wanted to do and do you intend to continue?

I was schooled in theater. That’s how I came up. I’m a theater baby which means that I also had my close up at the end of the day. (laughs) So yes, I see myself doing as much theater as possible. It’s just a shame that it is not a living wage at this point. So I can do it, but if want to make a career in theater, I would have to supplement it with television and film. But right now, I am in television and film and I’m supplementing my creative drive with theater.

On the other end of that, a lot of people have said that theater – especially Broadway – isn’t as accessible to the general public as it once was because of ticket prices. So not only are the actors not getting paid a lot to do it but then when they do, we can’t afford to go and see it. It kind of goes hand-in-hand I suppose.

I can’t afford it! I mean, I was given a ticket to Hamilton. Otherwise I couldn’t go. There was just no way. And that is inexcusable to me. These big lavish productions require big ticket prices. And your average human is going to be shut out and in the cold unless they stay for a year and then you’re not seeing the original cast because by that time they’ve moved on et cetera et cetera et cetera. And I appreciate the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda has this lottery for every show, but his ticket prices are still in the stratosphere.

I don’t believe it’s necessary. And in opposition to that, there is theater everywhere you look. In Los Angeles, in New York, off off Broadway, off off off Broadway, equity waiver, community theater. You will find, if you have that drive to go and hunt for it and you read the reviews, you can find gems that are twenty five dollars as opposed to twenty five hundred dollars. You can find really priceless little treasures for forty bucks as opposed to four thousand dollars. You just have to hunt and get lucky because you’re going to see a lot of theater that’s not so good. But you will at least be sort of feeding yourself and can become the discerning theater goer. Read the reviews, decide for yourself. Go and see something in your neighborhood. Start a theater company, audition for something, read a play, start a group in your own backyard. There are free – or certainly less – expensive avenues that you take.

Shifting gears, what can you tell fans about your upcoming role as Leia Organa on Lego Star Wars: All Stars and Star Wars Resistance?

Well you know, everybody pretty much knows everything about Leia Organa. I’m not mining new territory with the character. She was created by the one and only Carrie Fisher and I am holding fast and true to to her legacy, her iconic genius. And I’m hoping that the fans will understand that and will embrace my voice as her. I will say this, the first time I was privileged enough to say “may the force be with you,” I had to literally stop for about two minutes and just pause and realize that I was about to say one of the most famous lines in history. Not simply as a character in the Star Wars universe, but as her. And that just brought a tear to my eye. So I hope that everybody enjoys my Leia Organa because I am standing on the shoulders of a giant.

About the author

Ashley Dionne

Ashley Dionne joined the TVSource Magazine team in December 2014.