Filming on the new soap-within-a-soap Tainted Dreams just finished at the former As The World Turns studio in Brooklyn (among other locations). TD was created by AMC, ATWT and OLTL producer/director Sonia Blangiardo, who gave the lead character many of her own crazy backstage experiences – and who better to play her than AMC star Alicia Minshew?
Carolyn: So, how was filming?
Alicia: Fantastic. It’s amazing how close everybody got so quickly. There was a real feeling of family. It’s surprising to get that connection so quickly, especially among actors who had never met each other. There was an instant comfort level with everybody. There wasn’t one person you didn’t want to be around.
Carolyn: You have a nice office on the show.
Alicia: I sure do! Sonia told me it used to be her real office when she worked at As The World Turns.
Carolyn: That makes sense since you play a senior producer.
Alicia: Yes, Angelica is the hands-on producer of Tainted Dreams. To compare it to [the old] All My Children, I’m the Ginger Smith, Grant Aleksander is Julie Carruthers, and Bobbie Eakes is Brian Frons [and Nathan Purdee is Anne Sweeney]. I can’t say that I modeled Angelica after any one person. I took bits and pieces of everybody like Sonia and Ginger, people that are caretakers – myself included. There were times when I felt like I was playing a different version of myself. She’s not as edgy as Kendall.
Carolyn: Speaking of that, how was playing Kendall again on AMC?
Alicia: Good. It was one tiny scene. By the time they [Prospect Park] came back to me, I had already signed on to do Tainted Dreams and I was supposed to be doing this film. The timing was not right for me. I had a conversation with Ginger and she was great. She said, “I get it.” I did that one scene and she said maybe there’d be a chance for me to come back later on.
Carolyn: Did you?
Alicia: No. I was approached by Ginger to tape a few episodes at the end, a fun little thing that would be part of the season finale. I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” But that taped a long time ago, so I guess I’m not a part of the finale [laughs]. I get it, things happen.
Carolyn: Did you watch AMC?
Alicia: Not as much as I should have. I watched much more Dora with my daughter!
Carolyn: When is the last time you saw Thorsten Kaye [Zach, AMC]?
Alicia: About two weeks ago. He came to our house and then we met at the playground with the kids. He and [my husband] Richie speak every day. When I see Thorsten it really is like seeing family. We laugh and hug, and I know it is always going to be like that. He is an uncle to Willow.
Carolyn: What have you heard about AMC resuming taping?
Alicia: Last I heard it was on hold till October. I really hope it works out for everybody.
Carolyn: What were the highlights for you on Tainted Dreams?
Alicia: There were so many! Grant is hilarious. He plays my boss. He made his character funnier than he is in the script. He added a comedic twist to it which made me laugh on camera – at times it is Alicia laughing at Grant AND Angelica laughing at Adam. We both said, “God, I hope we get to do more stuff together.” Working with Terri Ivens [ex-Simone, AMC] was another. We would sit and have lunch just like we did years ago, only this time instead of talking about boys we talked about our kids. And it was so great seeing my old cast members Bobbie Eakes [ex-Krystal, AMC] and Walt Willey [ex-Jack, AMC] again. They are like an extended part of my family.
Carolyn: How about your love interests?
Alicia: I loved working with Michael Lowry [ex-Jake, AMC]. He is so delicious. There are some fun scenes between us.
Carolyn: Love scenes?
Alicia: Perhaps one or two… I had never met him before, but we had a nice instant chemistry. And Austin Peck! He’s another one who surprised me at how funny he is. I’m used to seeing these people be so dramatic. There is definitely a lot of drama in this, heavy social situations, but there’s also a lightness and comedy to it. Austin brought so much humor to his character. I found him refreshing.
Carolyn: Do you have love scenes with him too?
Alicia: You’d think I would because he plays my boyfriend, but no. Michael plays a person who Angelica has strong conflicted feelings for. I got to make my rounds with a FEW of the boys. It’s soapy goodness.
Carolyn: Anyone else?
Alicia: One of my top scene partners was Anthony Wilkinson who plays Angelica’s best friend and assistant, Anthony. He hasn’t had a lot of experience on camera, but he knew his stuff. He just brought it. We never felt like we were acting. A lot of girls have a gay best friend – I sure do – so this was the easiest relationship onscreen.
Carolyn: Anything else you want to say?
Alicia: One thing I want to say is that Sonia set the tone for the entire project by handpicking the cast, and by her attitude and energy. She was fully present for every scene. She gave feedback for every scene. Everyone wants to work with her again. I don’t think she knows how good she is – the whole cast gathered around and talked about it. This show is so good because it looks at the real behind the scenes and it’s all based on real stuff. Even if you’re not a soap fan, you can appreciate the inside look. It’s sexy and funny and sad and deals with social situations like bullying and autism. We all loved the writing and the group, and we all said, “Something good will come from this.” I loved the experience so much. Whether we end up online or on a cable channel, I am ALL about season two of Tainted Dreams. I want to start tomorrow!