Finola Hughes is diving right in to Anna’s new mystery.
While GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Anna was off meeting her new grandson in California, por trayer Finola Hughes was enjoying her own vacation on a very different coast — the Italian coast! “I had a wonderful time with my family and got to lay on my back in the ocean,” grins the gorgeous mother of Dylan, 16; Cash, 13; and Sadie, 9. “Nobody recognized me. We like to go to really quiet places and escape.”
When Hughes came out of hiding and returned Anna to Port Charles in mid-August, she was ready. “I felt refreshed and happy to start working,” she says. “Plus, I’m working with Michael Easton (Finn), and I love it. He’s part of the new mystery… and there are other people in it, too — lots of people!”
Diamonds Are Forever
That new mystery started the moment Hughes reported for duty. “We got right into it — literally!” laughs the Emmy winner, who admits she was a bit stunned when executive producer Frank Valentini told her all about Emma’s stolen diamond on her first day back. “I was in makeup and hair, and Frank came in and laid out the whole story. I was standing there like a deer in the headlights, and he goes, ‘Got it?’ I said, ‘Okay… ’ and then he walks away! I was like, ‘Oh, I can’t even process this information!’”
Immediately, she was excited to jump in. “Of course, I want action,” she cheers. “So here we go!”
The Spy Who Loved… Andre?
Having tracked the diamond to Cassandra, Anna’s now pressuring Finn to help her bring down this woman from Valentin’s past. While it’s hard to imagine this tense chemistry leading to anything romantic… you never know! In the meantime, Hughes doesn’t imagine Anna’s flirtatious dance with Andre is over. “We’ve been playing a kind of push/pull since he came to the show,” she explains. “And I was there with Vinessa Antoine (Jordan) back when they auditioned the role of Andre, so clearly, they wanted to play something out.”
Whatever comes down the pike, there’s always Anna’s polycythemia vera (PV) to consider. “I try to keep it in mind, even when they don’t write it,” Hughes says of her character’s rare, treatable cancer. “It’s a great privilege to play a character who’s dealing with an ongoing challenge — or ongoing accomplishment! — through the rest of her life.”
You Only Live Twice
Hughes actually did forget about the cancer for a spell this spring… but only because Anna’s twin, ALL MY CHILDREN’s Alex, took her place! “That was crazy,” the actress says. “I got very nervous doing that storyline. I was worried I couldn’t pull it off. You just want to do it right, and it can be tricky.”
As an added level of difficulty, “Frank told me not to tell anyone,” Hughes recounts. “He said, ‘Don’t even tell the directors!’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m dressed differently. They’re going to think I’m weird.’”
While directors learned Hughes was playing her AMC twin within a few days, co-stars James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Anthony Montgomery (Andre), Matt Cohen (Griffin) and Antoine never
knew. “How terrible is that?” she chuckles. “Even Genie [Francis, Laura] didn’t know!”
Of course, many longtime viewers did zero in on differences like the shift in the character’s energy — unlike Anna, Alex seemed quick with a smile! “Anna’s so serious,” her portrayer acknowledges with a sigh. “I’ve got to figure that out. But I’m glad people watching could see something.”
Die Another Day
A few months back, Valentin reminded reformed double agent Anna that she
“The last time I thought I’d ‘played it all’ was probably 25 years ago,” the GH vet laughs, “and they put an alien in my garage!”
Thanks to this little diamond, “Anna is back to fighting crime,” cheers Hughes.
The actress calls Staying Alive co-star John Travolta “the kindest, nicest person you’ll ever meet. [That movie] was my first time in America, and he took me under his wing. I loved it.”