Actress Crystal Chappell has portrayed a handful of Daytime Television’s most beloved leading ladies, from Carly Manning on Days of our Lives (1990 to 2012), to Maggie Carpenter on One Life to Live (1995 to 1997), Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light (1999 to 2009), and Danielle Spencer on The Bold and the Beautiful (2012-2013). Chappell’s groundbreaking role in Venice The Series garnered the real-life mother of two some genuine fan attention in the LGBT community. Now, she is back on the small screen in the upcoming web series Beacon Hill The Series.
Joining Chappell in this relatively unchartered territory is actress Alicia Minshew. Soap Opera fans will remember Minshew from her memorable take on All My Children’s classic character Kendall Hart Slater (2002-2013). Minshew plays a lesbian in Beacon Hill alongside another one of Soap Opera’s favorite daring women – Sarah Brown (As the World Turns, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Days of Our Lives).
In this interview with The Seattle Lesbian, Chappell and Minshew dish on their new roles on Beacon Hill.
How is your new character different than others you have played in daytime?
Crystal Chappell: The role of Claire is so different than anything I’ve played. It’s much more of a character role as opposed to a leading lady role. I’ve been interested in doing character work for a while, but needed to grow into it. Claire is a pill! And that’s just fun…
Alicia Minshew: Well for starters, she is a gay woman and that is a totally different element for me to play. I loved it! Working with Sarah Brown was a dream. I also have never played a reporter who is so conflicted about her relationship – yet she still needs to get the story. So she has two motives, which was interesting to play.
What is the difference in mediums between television soap operas and web series, such as Beacon Hill?
CC: There really isn’t too much difference in TV Soaps and Web Series. In broadcast, we shot with three cameras. Quick pace. With Beacon, we shot it more primetime style. Single camera. But still a quick pace.
AM: The difference is the budget for one. The TV studios have more money. However, I am proud of how high end and beautiful Beacon Hill looks! Another difference is that we are on location, which gives it more of a film feel instead of being in a studio like on TV. The pace is the same…QUICK!
What are some of the things you most miss about daytime TV?
CC: What I miss most about daytime soaps? It’s a steady gig. I love soaps! Love the camaraderie. But playing one character for years can become limiting.
AM: I miss my friends that I worked with on a daily basis…the cast and the crew. You become a family. The fun clothes, too! Playing dress up every day was a dream job!
What are some of the things you look forward to with this web series?
CC: Playing a character that comes back seasonally keeps things fresh. I love the seasonal web series because you have time to build story. Build characters. The actors have time to work extensively on their parts. I see a show like Beacon Hill being recut and made into a pilot for TV. It could have a life on multiple platforms.
AM: I love being a part of Beacon Hill and feel we just barely scratched the surface with our characters in Season One. There is a lot more fun to be had! I can’t wait for Season Two! I feel blessed to be a part of this show and that I get to tell such a great story and work with such a stellar cast! I am so grateful for all the fans who have been supporting us!
How is the interaction between cast members on Beacon Hill? Do you film on the same days? Do you have time to interact in between shoots?
CC: The cast does get to hang out largely because I have them holed up together with the crew at a hotel. We all know of each other through the daytime community, so even if we haven’t worked together, we know each other’s work. We shoot by set so not everyone got to see each other.
AM: The Beacon Hill cast and crew felt like instant family. There was a great vibe from day one. We all seem to have such respect and love for one another and that made the filming go smoothly! Some of us filmed on the same days and others I did not see very much. However, we always got to spend time together at meals or in-between scenes. We even had a little fun at the hotel the last night! It was such a great group!
What will your LGBT fans love most about your new role and series? How might they relate?
CC: Beacon Hill is about two ex-lovers, Sara and Kate, who come back into each other’s world after six years. Politics. Romance. Deception. It’s just classic Soap! Season Two is being written and is slated to shoot in September 2013.
AM: I hope they will love that I am finally playing a totally different character for a change. I also hope they like that I am portraying a woman who is deeply in love with another woman and feel that the relationship between “Sara” and “Katherine” is believable and genuine. They might relate to my character’s struggle to deal with family members judging her sexuality and overcoming those struggles. And how fun it is to kiss pretty girls like Sarah and Jessica?!
Personally, what’s new in your world (other than this series)? Are there any big announcements you can share with us?
CC: Open Book will produce its first feature film in October. The screenwriter and financier fell upon Otalia [in Venice} and wrote the screenplay for Jessica Leccia and me to star in. We’re very excited!
AM: Other than this fun web series, I have two fun indie films which are both doing the festival circuit as we speak (Le Femme film festival in L.A., Macon film festival, Sedona film festival, Gasparilla film festival). The first film is Desires of the Heart, in which I play a sweet, southern artist and most recently, Lies I Told My Little Sister, in which I play a woman dying of cancer. Very different roles. Just wrapped filming in Michigan this winter on a film called The Funeral Guest. I play a biotch! These have all been fun. But I think my favorite thing lately has been being mommy to my four-year-old daughter Willow. She is hilarious and keeps me busy when I am in between jobs!
The other web series which I filmed last summer called Tainted Dreams is nominated for an Indie Series award. The awards are in two weeks in LA. I am also very proud of this series and wish the whole cast luck!
I would say life is good!