(ex-hay­den, GH, 2015-17; ex-green­lee, ALL MY CHIL­DREN, 1999-2005, 2008-11; ex-michelle, GUID­ING LIGHT, 1995-98)

Soap Opera Digest - - PLAYING CATCH UP -

You’ve been work­ing on a new show. Tell us about it! “Well, it’s called L.A.’S FINEST, and it’s sort of a take on the movie Bad Boys. Its two fe­male leads are Jes­sica Alba and Gabrielle Union. I play Car­lene Hart, a cri­sis man­age­ment lawyer who has con­nec­tions in the crim­i­nal world and the le­gal world. She’s a re­ally in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter be­cause she plays both sides of the spec­trum. It’s been re­ally, re­ally fun. I’ve done five episodes so far.”

What has your ex­pe­ri­ence shooting it been like? “I’ve never worked in a more di­verse, in­clu­sive, creative, warm en­vi­ron­ment. It’s hon­estly been the best ex­pe­ri­ence I’ve had pro­fes­sion­ally. The first episode I did was their sec­ond episode, and ev­ery­one was su­per-kind. You see a lot of women in re­ally high po­si­tions there. It’s just re­ally amaz­ing.”

What has Gabrielle Union been like to work with? “I’ve only had one scene with her, but she was re­ally giv­ing and gra­cious. She re­ally couldn’t have been kinder or cooler, not to men­tion stun­ningly beau­ti­ful.”

Who else have you worked with? “I’ve had a lot of scenes with Ryan Mc­partlin [ex-hank, PAS­SIONS], who is won­der­ful. We have friends in com­mon. He’s friends with Thad Luck­in­bill [ex-j.t., Y&R], who I know, and Brian Pres­ley [ex-jack, PORT CHARLES]. I’ve also been work­ing with Jake Busey, who is Gary Busey’s son. He is a very in­ter­est­ing, col­or­ful guy! Very nice, like, su­per-cool. David Fumero’s [ex-cris­tian, ONE LIFE TO LIVE] on the show, too, but we haven’t crossed paths.”

How did the gig come about? “It was ac­tu­ally one of these things where the au­di­tion came in the morn­ing of, and I don’t think I had my nanny that day, so it was just nuts; it was all last-minute and I had to learn [the au­di­tion scene] right away. I went in on a Fri­day and I didn’t hear any­thing and then on Sun­day they said, ‘Will you go in and meet with the di­rec­tor?’ I did that on Mon­day, and then I found out at like 3 or 4 o’clock that I was start­ing work the next day. I was ex­cited, but it was also daunt­ing be­cause it was so fast. I was like, ‘Who is this char­ac­ter?!’ That’s the beauty of a soap; you have all this time to re­ally get en­meshed with the char­ac­ter and re­ally fig­ure out who she is.”

How is your 4-year-old daugh­ter, Char­lotte? “Char­lotte is re­ally amaz­ing. I just had the best morn­ing with her. She brushed her teeth; she said she washed her face. I did not see this be­cause she wanted to be alone. She dresses her­self.

She looks like Punky Brew­ster! I have a friend that calls her Punky be­cause she lit­er­ally dresses her­self in ev­ery pat­tern and color known to man, and I love it. She’s keep­ing me on my toes, I’ll tell you that.”

Are you still stuck liv­ing next to Greg Rikaart (Leo, DAYS)? “Ha! Yes, but I haven’t seen that jerk in a while [laughs]. But I just saw Jane [El­liot, ex-tracy, GH], who’s do­ing great, ex­cept that she’s very sad about Donna [Messina, the head of GH’S hair and makeup depart­ment, who passed away in De­cem­ber], as we all are. And I still talk to Michael [Eas­ton, Finn, GH]. I had so much fun work­ing with the two of them.”

Who do you still talk to from AMC? “Cameron [Mathi­son, ex-ryan] is still in my life, Ali­cia [Min­shew, ex-kendall] is still in my life. I talk to Ali­cia a lot. Cameron and I text and we try to see each other at least once a month. And I talk to Erin [Tor­pey, ex-jes­sica, OLTL] ev­ery day. She’s my soul sis­ter. I couldn’t love her more. I keep in touch with Chrishell [Hart­ley, exa­manda] and Missy [Claire Egan, ex-an­nie], too. Oddly enough, I also stay in touch with Michael O’leary [ex-rick], my brother from GUID­ING LIGHT. I’m so glad we re­con­nected be­cause I just love him. He wrote a bril­liant play, Breath­ing Un­der Dirt, and asked me to be a part of it, but I got back in touch with him too late. I re­ally hope I can be part of it in the fu­ture be­cause it’s re­ally good.”

GH fans haven’t given up hope that Hay­den may come back to town some day. “I think that’s re­ally sweet. I’m re­ally flat­tered by that. What can I say? I love the fans. I’ve al­ways loved the fans of day­time. They’re loyal and kind. I mean, some of them can be a lit­tle sassy, but I think at the end of the day it’s be­cause they’re pas­sion­ate about our shows. I ap­pre­ci­ate that so much. And ac­tu­ally, I am go­ing to be in Philadel­phia in May for this ovar­ian can­cer re­search char­ity event with Michael Eas­ton and Lynn Her­ring [Lucy] and Josh Swickard [Chase] and Wes Ram­sey [Peter]. So if there are any fans in that area, come out and see me! I’d love to con­nect with the fans there.” [Visit coastal­en­ter­tain­ment. com for more in­for­ma­tion.]

What if an­other soap ex­pressed in­ter­est? “I love the soaps and I al­ways will. And I re­ally loved work­ing on soaps. I would never say never.”

Thick As Thieves: Budig, pic­tured in 2016 as GH’S Hay­den, re­mains close with for­mer co-stars Michael Eas­ton (Finn) and Jane El­liot (ex-tracy).

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