GH's Vanessa Marcil is taking a six-week leave of absence to do yet another outside project, fueling speculation that she'll soon be leaving Port Charles.
Vanessa, who appeared in the summer blockbuster "The Rock" with Nicolas Cage, and hosts ABC's In Concert series, heads to North Carolina in September to shoot an ABC movie tentatively called "The Protected Wife." The actress will star as a woman whose life falls apart when her husband and son mysteriously disappear. The film may premiere as early as November sweeps.
Despite Vanessa's lengthy absence from the soap, Head Writer Richard Culliton assures concerned GH fans that the oh-so-popular Brenda/Jax/Sonny triangle wont come to a grinding halt. "The story will continue," he promises, adding, "We have Vanessa for a couple of days here and there, so we can pre-tape a couple of scenes. That way, while Vanessa is making her movie, Brenda will still be in Port Charles." And Writer Meg Bennett points out, "Brenda is also doing major promotions for Jacks Cosmetics, which allows her to come in and out."
Regarding Vanessa's future with GH, an insider reports, "She is contractually bound to the show until August, 1997." As the saying goes, time will tell.
Brenda and Jax
Lord and Lady John Jacks
request the honour of your
presence as their son
renews his marriage vows with
Brenda Barrett Jacks
on Tuesday, 5 November,
Port Charles, New York
In lieu of gifts, donations can be made
to the Stone Cates Memorial Wing of General Hospital
The Port Charles Herald
Brenda and Jax's eagerly awaited renewal ceremony came to an abrupt end last night with the surprise reappearance of the groom's presumed-dead first wife, Miranda. Insiders speculate that the young woman, who accompanied local crime lord Sonny Corinthos to the nuptials, is also linked to Port Charles Police Commissioner Mac Scorpio. "I always knew that Jax was too good to be true," sniffs GH nurse Amy Vining. The newlyweds could not be reached for comment.
Here Comes the Bride: Behind the Scenes
The Quartermaine mansion waas a bridal fantasy, complete with candles, white roses and banners for GH's wedding of the year: Brenda and Jax's nuptials. Cast and crew gathered for day four of taping this long, luxurious affair bright and early Saturday, Oct 19.
Leslie Horan, who makes a dramatic appearance as Jax's long-lost wife, Miranda, admitted, "I feel like I'm getting thrown to the wolves. But why not just start out with the biggest and the best my first day?" Leslie had 16 scenes, "so I'm a little nervous, but excited."
Leslie and Ingo had no trouble warming up to each other. "We're going to be staring at each other a lot," Ingo warned. "Its a good thing you've got great eyes," Leslie retorted. "Stop," said a blushing Ingo. "I'm just trying to create something here," noted Leslie.
As the bride, Vanessa, was being primped by wardrobe, hair and makeup, Stuart Damon and Wally Kurth (Alan and Ned) raved about the babies in their lives: Stuart's grandson, Alexander, and Wally's newborn daughter, Rosabel. Kurth was looking bleary-eyed - "I only got five, six hours sleep last night." - and complained about a kink in his shoulder. "I think its from holding the baby."
Bridesmaid Amber Tamblyn (Emily) couldnt resist teasing her favorite GH men. "You're obsessed with that baby," she told Wally. "Its all you ever talk about." Later, as a pair of extras playing maids carried filled champagne flutes onto the set - "Its really ginger ale," confessed John Ingle (Edward) - Amber warned: "Ingo, I spit in one of those. Be careful."
When Vanessa arrived on-set, she and Ingo shared a long hug to get into bride-and-groom mode. Then they took their places at the top of the stairs. As the duo started to descend, Vanessa shrieked: "Ahhh! My dress." "It's caught on a nail," explained Ingo. A trio of crewmen rushed to the rescue with a hammer and masking tape to solve the problem.
Ingo took Vanessa's hand, and the two proceeded down the stairs, anticipating wedded bliss. Or, in this case, wedded miss!
Here Comes The Brides
Brenda Barrett and her husband, Australian billionaire Jasper "Jax" Jacks, are preparing to publicly renew their commitment to each other at the Quartermaine mansion. But, Sonny and Ned are feverishly trying to uncover a secret that Mac, Jax and Jax's father are desperate to keep hidden. Sonny brings the mysterious Miranda to the wedding, and all hell breaks loose when she unleashes a tempest of corporate greed, broken promises and family betrayal. How's that for a wedding present?
"Jax has kept a secret from Brenda," confirms executive producer Wendy Riche. "He really is in love with her, and he tries to tell her the truth. But he's interrupted by his parents' arrival, their outpouring of love for Brenda and his father's admonitions to remain quiet."
Unencumbered by such constraints, Sonny commits himself to uncovering that secret. This passionate Sonny is a far cry from the guilt-ridden, detached widower we've watched since Lily died - coincidentally on the same day Brenda and Jax wed. "Taking Lily's portrait down was cathartic for Sonny," notes Riche. "Although he still feels responsible for her death, he's moved beyond the breast-beating and is getting back into life."
First, Sonny wants to get in good with the Quartermaines. Next is keeping Brenda from being hurt. "Sonny doesnt trust people who smile too much," sniffs his portrayer, Maurice Benard. "Jax smiles too much. Besides, Jax married the woman Sonny still loves!" His investigation into Jax's past is not without reason. "Ned encourages Sonny to undo Jax for ELQ's benefit," says Riche. "This provides the catalyst for Sonny's pursuit of the truth. Underneath it all, he wants to prevent Brenda from getting hurt. He didnt marry Lily to keep Brenda alive just to see her get hurt in someone else's arms."
Good point. But Jax has no intention of hurting his bride. "Jax is totally, absolutely in love with Brenda," insists Ingo Rademacher, who plays the Aussie. He also says that Jax's relationship with Brenda was not part of his attempted takeover of ELQ. "They're totally seperate," the actor states. "ELQ is business. It's a challenge, a game. Monopoly with real money." Is Brenda in love with Jax? "He's hoping she will be one day," replies Ingo. "I think she will."
Brenda is about to tell Jax she loves him for the first time, but Vanessa Marcil cautions, "Brenda is not necessarily in love with Jax. She feels really close to Jax because they're friends. She's never had that with a man before." Vanessa also believes that this remarriage will somehow fill Brenda's need to win the posthumous approval of her father. "Brenda grew up in a rich family," Vanessa reminds us, "so Jax and Brenda together - a model, a billionaire, ELQ - satisfies Brenda's image of what is successful and good. If her dad were alive, he'd be proud of her and her marriage to Jax. He'd never approve of Sonny."
"Brenda is just beginning to recognize her love for Jax," adds Riche. "She's swept up in the fact that his parents adore her and she's part of a family - which is what she's always wanted. This is Brenda's dream come true, with no inkling that the shoe is about to drop..."
...Thanks to Sonny. The mob boss travels to Australia to uncover the secret the Jacks family is desperate to hide, and discovers Jax's "dead" first wife, Miranda. "Only Sonny is aware of the detonation that will occur with Miranda's arrival," hints Riche. "Even he has no idea how volatile a package she really is."
Her arrival reopens old wounds and paves the way for surprising new relationships. "When you bring these entities together, it's not going to be a sunny day in Port Charles," quips Riche. When the smoke clears, the legitimacy of the Jacks marriage will be questioned. Are there Sonny days in Brenda's future? "He has his fighting spirit back," affirms Maurice, "but the stakes are such that Brenda could hate him for doing this to her."
Not to worry, argues Vanessa. "Although Brenda blows up at Sonny for ruining her wedding, that's not what's really going on. She's made at him because while she was trying to do the smart thing by living this fantasy, this perfect life with Jax, Sonny is the one she wants to be with in her heart. It's almost like she's yelling at Sonny for loving her... because she still loves him too."
What about her husband? "Jax is totally thrown by the return of the love of his life," reveals Ingo. That and the revelation of his betrayal promises to throw him for a loop. "Jax is as sophisticated emotionally as his is financially, but this is going to come as a shock." No kidding. For the first time, Brenda was enjoying honesty with her mate. "It's going to be hard for her to trust a man again," predicts Vanessa. "She believes she knows everything about Jax, so it will definitely rock their marriage when she finds out she doesnt." Especially when she learns they're not legally wed. Does anyone know the bigamy laws in Australia?
Sonny Brings Back A Ghost To Tear Jax And Brenda Apart
Moments before Brenda and Jax repeat their wedding vows before their family and friends at the Quartermaine mansion this week on GH, Sonny interrupts the ceremony with a surprise guest. She's not just any guest: She's Mrs. Jasper Jacks.
"Jax is completely shocked," explains executive producer Wendy Riche. "He thinks Miranda died in an explosion. It's part of the history he and Mac share."
However, Jax does not recognize her right away. Miranda's face was drastically scarred from the explosion, and she has undergone extensive plastic surgery. But then Miranda speaks and Jax realizes who she is.
"When Miranda sees Jax with his bride," Riche explains, "she says to Sonny, 'You lied to me,' because Sonny didnt tell her about the wedding. She doesnt know Jax is already married to Brenda."
Overwhelmed, Miranda runs outside as Jax races after her. Brenda stays behind and blasts Sonny for trying to ruin her wedding. Vanessa admits that there is "the tiniest, teeniest, little part of Brenda that would have a fantasy that Sonny would come and sweep her off her feet. But what she's acquiring with Jax - security and becoming a family - is more important to you."
Sonny insists it's strictly business. "Part of it has to do with ELQ," says Riche. "Sonny will do anything to bring down Jax. But he also wants to protect Brenda. He knows what she wants most in life is truth. He didnt give her up to see her die in the arms of someone else's deception."
Maurice Bernard (Sonny) says, "Sonny's doing this for the sheer pleasure of letting Brenda know that Jax isnt any better than he is. He wants to put it in Brenda's face: 'Hey, you dont have such a great guy here, honey. Open your eyes. You think this guy is god's gift. You put him on a pedestal. Well, here's the real deal. He's a liar. He's got a wife."
When Brenda, Jax and Miranda all come together, Brenda realizes the truth, and her insecurities rush to the surface. "Brenda's worried that, once again, someone that she thought was going to be family to her could turn out not to be who she thought he was," says Vanessa. "This fear comes back in her that she's not good enough to have a family. She's not good enough to be loved."
Jax demands to know who hid Miranda. "He is shocked when he learns it was his father," says Ingo Rademacher (Jax). "Now to find out that he lied to him for such a long time... Jax is very confused, angry and emotional."
When Jax goes to confront his father, John Jacks sees Miranda, realizes what has happened and suffers a heart attack. John is rushed to General Hospital. The wedding is canceled, and Jax, Brenda, and Jax's mother, Jane, leave to keep vigil at John's bedside.
At the hospital, Brenda cant deal with Jax's explanations or Jane's apology. Later, she runs into Miranda, "who explains that she didnt know she was going to walk in on Brenda and Jax getting married. But at this point Brenda doesnt know who she is, and she doesnt trust her," says Vanessa.
By week's end, Sonny arrives at Brenda's door, while Jax confronts the people who let him believe Miranda was dead.
"Jax still has a lot of feelings for Miranda," says Ingo. "He's torn at this stage. Also, he didnt tell Brenda anything about Miranda, so he'll have to explain. Jax is always talking about truth and being honest. Now, all of a sudden, he's caught - well, not lying, but keeping the truth from Brenda. He never lied to her; she never asked about Miranda."
Vanessa anticipates that Jax's omission of the truth will affect Brenda in a major way. "Brenda was really starting to open up emotionally, having Jax in her life. She's going to get a little hard - to protect herself throughout this whole situation."
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