Interview: Y&R's Christian LeBlanc, Elizabeth Hendrickson and Jeff Branson
The Young and the Restless' Christian LeBlanc, Elizabeth Hendrickson and Jeff Branson. (Sony/CBS)
The Young and the Restless’ Christian LeBlanc (Michael), Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) and Jeff Branson (Ronan) were recently in Toronto to help support their co-star, Kate Linder (Esther) host a high tea for March of Dimes Canada, an organization that provides services to people with disabilities, their families and caregivers. Before the event began, the stars took some time to chat with MSN.ca about participating in the charity event and the latest Genoa City happenings.
MSN: Fans have seen Michael go from troublemaker to responsible father. What can you share about the current bullying storyline which Michael and Lauren’s son, Fenmore, is involved with?
LeBlanc: I have troubled youth to deal with! Max Ehrich [who plays Fen] is an amazing actor. He went to the High School of Performing Arts in New York. It’s the first time on Y&R that such a young storyline has pulled such focus. It’s going to be really fascinating. The whole family gets drawn in. The trouble with Fenmore affects Lauren (Tracey E. Bregman) and Michael. [There’s a] rippling effect, like every good.
MSN: Will the show bring up Lauren’s past with Traci (Beth Maitland)? Lauren was quite the mean girl in the ‘80s.
LeBlanc: Oh yeah! There’s a history with the both of us, so it’s very interesting to have these two parents deal with that specific problem. You haven’t seen a lot of the stuff yet because we’re a month ahead, but there’s some really fantastic stuff that Max is doing. This is a pretty big story.
MSN: Will Michael continue on as D.A.?
LeBlanc: I’m D.A. as far as I know. I remember that he was appointed, not elected, so if he were to continue, there would have to be an election, which would be interesting.
MSN: What has the transition been like with head writer Josh Griffith and executive producer Jill Farren Phelps taking over?
LeBlanc: I’ve had four or five [head writers and executive producers] since Bill [Bell, creator and former head writer/executive producer] and I’ve got to tell you, each one has given me something truly amazing to do. Anyone who throws their hat into that ring, it’s a huge job…and to recapture Bill Bell’s vibe, it was never going to be an easy succession. He was it. Genius is not common. We can all aspire to it, but they are very rare. Josh has worked on the show before. Jill, I had just met when she came on and I just love her to death, as I did Lynn [Marie Latham] and Maria. Again, it is the toughest job. You think we have pressure? Everyone breathing down their necks, ‘Be more like Bill. Make it as successful as Bill.’ That is not an easy job. I thank all of them, because they’ve given me personally a lot of wonderful things to do. I love Jill, I kind of like the chutzpah, and she’s got a very East Coast vibe. She’s on set. I walk out on the first show of the day and they are sitting there. Jill and Josh are both always on set. That is not a common thing, there are times that we have not seen our head writers for weeks and weeks. The proof is in the pudding. Let’s see what the ratings do. The fans will tell us. They’re the only ones that are ever important.
MSN: Yes, fans can be pretty vocal. Twitter definitely let’s fans connect with the actors. In fact, a lot of the Y&R cast members are quite entertaining to follow on Twitter.
LeBlanc: I enjoy Twitter! I think that one of the prerequisites is that you have to enjoy Twitter. I do it for very specific reasons. I have my art, the charities I do and it’s such an instantly gratifying way to contact fans. I really do love it and I find fans very funny. They keep me laughing! When you have other actors who get to tweet back and forth, that’s where the fun comes in. It’s a game that we’re all playing. Social media is the way of the future and it behooves us to get online.
MSN: Kate Linder has had wonderful things to say about working with her on-screen daughter, Elizabeth Hendrickson. She loved the “Chloe is Kate” twist and a lot of the fans did as well. Liz, how do you think this twist came about?
Hendrickson: Your guess is as best as mine! I think that what happened was that they created Chloe not really sure who she was going to be and what she was going to be doing. Then, I think they wanted to keep her around – thank you, writers! And the best way to keep someone around is to attach them to a family member, and I think that’s just what they came up with.
MSN: How did you involved with this event?
Hendrickson: Kate asked me and I had done one in Vancouver a few years ago and had a blast…It’s a great charity and I always love coming to Canada…it was kind of a no brainer.
MSN: Chloe’s storyline with Kevin (Greg Rikaart) is finally picking up.
Hendrickson: We’re having a blast with the new storyline. Money is usually a common issue between couples. They’re kind of battling through this struggle. He’s trying to do his best to take care of the family and morally, it just doesn’t sit well with her. Especially with what he’s been through in the past.
MSN: Chloe decision to work on a fashion line with Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) is also causing some friction for the couple. Will they continue working together on this?
Hendrickson: That’s the way it’s looking. I don’t know anything for the future, I know as much as you guys are seeing. I know they’re still heading in that direction, but they haven’t made any clothing as of yet. They’re still just trying to get the money. I’m having a really great time working with her as well.
MSN: Before Kevin & Chloe, before Chloe & Ronan or even Chloe & Chance, we had Chloe & Billy (or “Chilly”). A lot of fans saw that pairing end way too quickly to make way for the ill-fated Billy & Mac redux. Would you like to be paired with Billy Miller’s Billy Abbott once again, provided Miller sticks with the show?
Hendrickson: You know what, I really hope so. I’ve definitely asked for it, but I think that they really like Billy & Victoria (“Villy”) element of the Abbots vs. the Newmans. [That pairing] is doing really well and the fans like it. They also tend to listen to that, so I think they’ll probably remain together…but we can always hope!
MSN: “Chlonan” fans travelled far to attend the high tea, but they’ll be soon out of luck as Jeff Branson has recently excited the soap. The fans are sorry to see you go, Jeff.
Branson: I am too. I love the character, I love my co-stars…I’ve been lucky enough to work on a couple of shows and not all of them feel the way that The Young and the Restless feels. I love every one of my co-stars that I work directly with. Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) is incredible. Christian LeBlanc is just amazing to work with. They keep it real for me…they keep it rooted.
MSN: Did Josh or Jill reach out to you to stay?
Branson: It was a contract that was only supposed to last six months and it came to an end. They didn’t show any interest in wanting me to stay. We could have talked about that, but I can’t control that. I’m just currently doing both CSI and CSI: New York right now…I’m staying in the CBS family.
MSN: The biggest wasted storyline opportunity was between Ronan and his estranged mother, Nina (Tricia Cast). Was it Maria Arena Bell’s decision not to go ahead with that story?
Branson: I know. I feel like a big ball was dropped there and I don’t know who was responsible. Tricia Cast is a powerhouse of an actress. I deeply wish that she and I had more time. There’s so much story there that was never touched…so much. You could still bring the Chance character back [for it]. I’ve told Jill Farren Phelps that if she wants to call me, I’m right by the phone. If I come back, I would more than anything play out a story with Tricia Cast and really do the Phyllis/Ronan storyline properly, which I think was the way it was going…it was more loving and real. More than just hooking up and having beer and pizza. There was real potential there.
MSN: You are also leaving in the beginning of the bullying storyline with Jamie (Jamie Vernon), the kid that Ronan was mentoring.
Branson: I know. That was frustrating for me. But again, things were out of my control. They had decision to make and they had to go another way. I wish it wasn’t the case. That storyline is extremely important, either way. Whether I’m a part of it or not, I’m happy it’s being played. It’s extremely relevant and needs to be talked about. Kids can be very hurtful and social networking makes them 800 times more dangerous. I’ve left it in good hands, Christian LeBlanc is an extremely talented actor and I know it’s going to be done the right way. I was just happy to be part of it.
MSN: Hopefully you’ll be back.
Branson: We’ll see. I’m never closing the door on it.
The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS and Global. Canadian fans can also keep up to date with Y&R on GlobalTV.com and through On Demand and mobile devices. To read our interview with Kate Linder (Esther) about her charity and 30 years on Y&R, click here.