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Interview: Finola Hughes, Pt. 1

‘It really is a great gig.’

– Finola Hughes

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles

By CINDY ELAVSKY

Published: 5/27/2012 2:02 AM

Last Modified: 5/27/2012 9:24 AM

Finola Hughes has portrayed Anna Devane on “General Hospital” off and on since 1985. She was a big reason for the show’s Golden Age in the ‘80s, she carried “GH” through to the ‘90s, and she maintained a globetrotting, exciting existence in the 2000s.

When she returned in February of this year – in what was supposed to be a shorter-term role that got extended to contract – viewers were again reminded of why they love this show in the first place: romance, family, glamour, intrigue and excitement – all of which Finola Hughes possesses in spades.

I spoke with the lovely and charming actress recently about her return to “GH,” and tried my best to find out what the writers have planned for Anna and company.

Daytime Dial: First of all, I need to congratulate you and the “GH” cast on the news that the show has been renewed for another year.

Finola Hughes: We are really happy. It’s great to have the opportunity to prove that we can be relevant with this new regime that we have. We get the chance to show what we’re made of; otherwise, we would have had to go down without a fight, and that would’ve been sad.

DD: When you returned, it was supposed to be kind of short-term, but you were recently signed to contract.

FH: When I first came back, I just came in to do my job. Then (executive producer) Frank (Valentini) called me up one day and said they wanted to put me on contract. I really like working with Frank a lot, so I was very happy to hear that. The fact that it was Frank asking, and they’ve been giving me great stuff to do, I agreed to do it.

DD: Each time you come back to play Anna, is it like reconnecting with an old friend?

FH: It really is. It’s that, and then you take it a bit further; you take it to where she would be in that point of her life. If somebody’s been all around the world and has done all of this stuff, where would she be at this point? What would she be like? Is she hardened? Had she learned more? Is she regretful? Obviously you see that in Anna a fair amount, which I always find interesting to play.

DD: For you, being able to come in and play Anna for a while, then you can leave and do other projects like movies and TV shows, and then you get to return to the show and kind of pick up where you left off – it must be great for you as an actress, artistically and creatively.

FH: It really is a great gig. At this point in my life and career, I’m so many different things. Also, your work changes as you go off to do other stuff, and you come back, and you’re informed by other mediums. You grow, hopefully, as an actor, and you bring whatever it is you’ve learned to the party.

DD: On April 1, 2013, “General Hospital” will celebrate 50 years on the air ...

FH: Isn’t that such a huge accomplishment? We are all so proud.

DD: Will Anna be around to help usher in what will hopefully be the next 50 years?

FH: Oh yes, I am on for the duration. I can’t wait to see what they have planned.

Interview: Finola Hughes, Pt. 2

‘You need to please your audience as it is.’ – Finola Hughes Photo Credit: Courtesy

By CINDY ELAVSKY

Published: 6/3/2012 1:42 AM

Last Modified: 6/3/2012 1:42 AM

Like most “General Hospital” viewers, I was thrilled when Finola Hughes returned as Anna Devane earlier this year. And, like most “GH” viewers, I’ve just gotta know what the writers have in store for Anna, Robin, Patrick, Luke and the rest of the gang. When I spoke with Finola recently, I tried to get some hint.

Daytime Dial: What can you tell me about what’s coming up on the show? Any sneak peeks that won’t get you into trouble?

Finola Hughes: We’re on total lockdown; they’re locked tight right now. Frank Valentini has sealed up all the leaks. He wants this for the audience.

DD: That’s great to hear because before the advent of all these soap blogs and magazines – and with the Internet and immediate gratification being so prevalent and easily accessible – soaps had a much easier time of keeping story lines secret.

FH: In the ’80s, that’s what made the show so exciting. You didn’t know what was going to happen next. He wants to make it like that again. All of the actors are so excited about what we’re doing. I honestly don’t know what’s coming up – Frank doesn’t tell us too much in advance.

DD: Eventually, Anna and everyone else will find out Robin is alive.

Are you excited to get the chance to play those scenes?

FH: Oh my gosh – I would be so excited. It will be amazing to try to play that out. Everything Anna dreams about would come true when she finds out her daughter is alive.

DD: Anna and Luke are getting closer. What can you tell me about that?

FH: Well, we are sharing an abode, so ... the writers will do what is organic. There are a lot of things Anna would have to overcome to be with Luke, like she had to with Duke. Tony (Geary) and I are really excited to work together.

We have a lot of fun on the set. It’s a fantastic environment to work in.

DD: I also love seeing scenes with Anna and Felicia. It’s great to see them there for each other.

FH: Oh yes, they have a longterm friendship. And I adore working with Kristina (Wagner). That’s one thing about soaps: the girlfriends you make. You get to meet these incredible women. Soaps are a real women’s medium; I hope we get to tell women’s stories for years to come.

DD: Have you given any thought as to what could help save soaps from extinction?

FH: I have given it thought. I have a lot of friends who are writers, and I like to talk to them and find out what they think. Soaps need to make themselves more relevant with the stories they tell and the way they tell them.

... It has been a mistake to concentrate on the younger audience.

You need to please your audience as it is. It’s a mistake to concentrate on only one demographic. Just make a good show, and the rest will follow.

Now we have someone at the helm – Frank Valentini – who is very forward- thinking and he understands television.

When you think about the cancellations of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” you have to look at who wants to cut the budget and why. They did do that, but they lost an entire audience.

It’s like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

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