Vanessa had been considering several tv-movies, but notes that To Love "was the only project where I got to play 'a woman.' People are always trying to cast me as the college girl, but I've been wanting to move into the woman roles. I thought it would be really cool to try to play a mother and wife."
The character "starts out very Mary Poppins-like. There are a lot of scenes in the kitchen; she bakes - things that are totally foreign to me," Vanessa says with a laugh. "I'm not the real motherly type. I'm a tomboy. I am not the kind of girl who wants to bake or sit with little kids and read them a story."
Though Susan initially comes off as somewhat weak, "she really is a strong girl. She just tried to conform to have the things she wanted," says Vanessa. "In doing that she lost a little bit of her personal power. Thankfully, she ends up finding that power again."
Vanessa says she knew that the movie be more fun when Susan got to be tough, but she enjoyed playing the compliant wife and mother as well, "although that was so hard for me to do personally, as Vanessa," she confesses, "because I'm so strong and stubborn. And Thomas Gibson, who plays my husband, Matthew, was so wonderful to work with."
Much of the movie was filmed on location in North Carolina, and "was very active. There's one scene where an intruder breaks into the house and chases Susan. I had to run, hide, freak out, cry - it really gave me a sense of what an action movie would be like. I got shinsplints. There were two days I could hardly walk. I was a mess."
Seeing her battered self in the final product was a bit of a shock for Vanessa. "I thought: 'My god! I look awful.' It's cool, though, because its what I had been asking for," the actress says.
Look for To Love, Honor and Deceive, Vanessa Marcil's first starring role in a tv-movie, to air Dec 15 on ABC. Just like on GH, Vanessa is playing a character who finds herself disillusioned by the man she marries. "She marries what seems to be the perfect man, and he turns out to be someone else completely," she explains. Vanessa spent over a month filming in North Carolina, and says she had time for little more than work and sleep - but she's not complaining. "I worked with Michael Watkins, who's the best director I've ever worked with," she reports. "He has an amazing eye. I learned how to take direction better and how to watch actors who are a lot more experienced than I am - and what hard work it is to have the lead in a movie. I never worked so hard in my life."
Entertainment Weekly - Dec 1996
Vanessa Marcil plays a kind-hearted cosmetics model so well on General Hospital that she's decided to broaden her television acting career. But judging from her first tv movie, To Love, Honor and Deceive, the actress needs to pick her projects with greater care. Vanessa, a young woman with bedroom eyes and an aura of Victoria's Secret glamour, is blatantly miscast as Sydnee Carpenter, a pie-baking stay-at-home mom. When her husband (Chicago Hope's Thomas Gibson) mysteriously disappears with her son and is presumed dead, a quavering Sydnee soon finds out her husband was not, of course, who he said he was. Enter Jim Sanders (former Melrose Place resident James Wilder, also terribly miscast), a hair-flipping detective who speaks with a surfer-dude cadence and seems more qualified to star in a styling-gel ad than to crack a complicated mystery. While Sydnee slowly pieces together her husband's secret life (as an undercover FBI operative) Jim proceeds to make inappropriate verbal passes in a dumb- guy effort to woo her. Tack on a head-spinningly implausible ending and you have a third-rate movie with a star who deserves better.
Twist of Fate - Brenda Saves Sonny's Life
Quick action by Brenda saves Sonny's life on GH's prime-time episode, "Twist of Fate," after a thug shoots him up with heroin and leaves him to die.
On Friday's episode, someone concocts a phony story about Brenda to lure Sonny to the hospital, where he is knocked out, drugged and then taken to his penthouse, where he is dumped on a couch and surrounded by drug paraphernalia.
Although Brenda has been ticked off at Sonny since he hunted down Miranda and brought her to Port Charles to interrupt her wedding to Jax, she is concerned when he doesnt turn up at Laura's funeral. Despite Mike's efforts to placate her, Brenda cant shake the feeling that something is wrong. After the service, she races around town trying to find him. She finally does: in his penthouse, unconscious.
"Sonny does not give even a moment's thought to not going to help Brenda when he gets the call that she is at the hospital," says executive producer Wendy Riche. "Regardless of his frustration or anger at her for blindness to Jax - what he perceives as blindness to Jax - his instinct makes him bolt like lightning to help her. And regardless of her anger at him, she will instinctively help him. It's obvious he's taken some kind of drug, and she tries desperately to keep him awake by getting him angry, by reminding him of stories from his childhood. She does anything she can to keep him awake until the paramedics get there."
"She definitely saves his life," says Vanessa Marcil (Brenda). "He is the love of her life. He always will be. You never forget your first love. It's pretty obvious that they've always still loved each other; in a way, he was and always will be one of her best friends, no matter what they go through. She loves Jax, but it definitely isnt the kind of love she had with Sonny, that kind of 'I'd do anything for you, I'd die for you,' dramatic kind of passionate love."
Riche says Brenda getting Sonny through this brush with death "is true to the essence of their relationship. They have always been saving each other's life. Somehow, in this urgent adventure, their love comes to the forefront."
As "Twist of Fate" ends, Brenda puts herself on the line to protect Sonny, and he makes a stunnig confession that could change their lives.
Good Girls Do - SOD Dec 96
For GH's Brenda, there have been plenty of hard knocks in the romance department. She moved out on true love Sonny when the lies about his mob ties got to be too much. Then, he wed Mafia princess Lily to stay out of prison. Lily's pregnancy (and Sonny's decision to stick by her, even though he loved Brenda) propelled her into Jax's arms. "When Brenda finally realized that Sonny loved her, that helped her to move on," says Vanessa. "She felt the reasons he couldnt be with her were beautiful. One was that he was trying to protect her, because Lily's father wanted to kill her. The second was the baby." Vanessa feels that her character's six months as Mrs. Jacks has matured her. "There is that part of Brenda that wants to have kids and be a good mom," she theorizes. "When you try and grow up a little bit, it seems like an amazing idea at first. Brenda really wanted this to be her life. She wanted to move on and be better." Unfortunately, her plans are up in the air, thanks to the return of Jax's first wife, Miranda - but that, too, will only make Brenda stronger.
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