Lots of fascinating stuff in this multi-part intereview with Claire Labine over at We Love Soaps, from her relationship with the network to the reasoning behind some of most memorable stories from her time as headwriter from 1993-1996.
I really appreciate Claire’s perspective on balancing humor with social issues, and on trying to maintain the emotional and psychological integrity of the characters. Some choice quotes after the jump…
On the HIV story:
At the very end, just before Robin’s diagnosis, Pat called and asked, “Does she really really have to be HIV positive?” And I said, “Well, if she isn’t the whole story is pointless.” She said, “Alright, but this is breaking my heart.” I said, “Good! That what it’s intended to do!” So if it depressed people, I’m sorry. Was it what we intended to do? You bet!
On the role of Sonny Corinthos:
I didn’t create it actually. He had been on the show for about four weeks when we took over. I found the thrust for the character really detestable. I hated the stripper story. He was supposed to be feeding Karen drugs in order to get her to do it. By the end of the first week we had her throw the drugs in his face and then turn around and walk out.
On Sonny and Brenda:
I can’t stand what I call Dickinsonian heroines who are dominated by someone else or fate, and fall down on the floor and swoon when things aren’t going well. I can’t stand it! We got that going and the Brenda thing was magical. After we saw them on the Valentine’s Day show, each buying a car, we knew that was pay dirt. We had a number of writers who really invested as well. It went well.
On Tony Geary:
He deplored what I did with Luke. But I thought there was great value in seeing the action hero try to be domesticated and try to live a normal life with wife and dog and child. And it just wouldn’t work because he’s Luke. But we couldn’t go off in wild fantasy again, because I don’t know how to do that. He loved the action adventure stuff.
On the Wards (which seems particularly relevant now):
There was a lot set up for Mary Mae Ward’s family as well, but they chose not to take that path. That story with Mary Mae was one of my favorites. Rosalind Cash was one of my favorite performers. We had so much fun with that.
On the balance of the show:
WLS: Since your leaving the show, Sonny has become the focal point of all the stories going on on the show. Was it ever your intention to make him such a leading man?
Claire Labine: No. He was the lead in his own story, but for better or for worse we tried to keep Luke and Laura at the center of all of it. We kept them connected to the Quartermaines, which as I understand have been dismantled.