After many years, it looks as if former teenage lovebirds (although for a short time) from Bensonhurst, Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) and Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) may be moving closer and closer to finally having a tangible romantic relationship on General Hospital. That, in the process, could also make them a family, since they also share a son, Dante Falconeri, (Dominic Zamprogna) even though Olivia covered that up for many years to Sonny! But with all of that water under the bridge, and the upcoming exit of Olivia’s cousin and Sonny’s once beloved Connie (Kelly Sullivan), is the path clear for these two to have a real shot at happiness?
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Lisa LoCicero, who at times has played the very hallucinogenic Olivia to get her thoughts on if she thinks Olivia and Sonny are truly going to be the end game for one another? And, the talented actress weighs-in on, if the decision by GH to let go of Kelly Sullivan was made in order to allow this on-screen romance to blossom? Plus, Lisa emotionally shares with us how she handled Kelly’s final day on set. Then, she discusses if the fact that she recently signed a new contract with the series means big story ahead for Liv, after sort of languishing on the back burner for the last few years. Here is our candid conversation with Lisa below!
What did you think about the fact that they seem to be pairing Olivia and Sonny after all these years? And, you got the new contract with GH, too!
LISA: Of course, as I have said from day one, working with Maurice is a rare treat for any actor. As long as I have been watching him, or working with him, he never ceases to surprise me with what he does. That is a really fun place to work from as an actor. I could not be more thrilled. I think there is a lot of interesting stuff that they could explore with Olivia and Sonny. Certainly, she knows him longer, and understands him probably better in a certain sense, and she forgave him for the most unforgivable thing that you could ever do. I think he trusts her, and I think she has shown that he can trust her. God knows, he needs to have someone comfort him at this point.
Were you afraid, since you had been on the show for several years, that when it came back around to Olivia/Sonny it wouldn’t play OK? Was there any trepidation?
LISA: I don’t know that we know that it will work out yet. I have no idea what they are going to write at this point. Fans asked me at my fan event recently, “So do you think this is going to be a stop gap measure? Or, are Sonny and Olivia going to be together for ever?” I think the record has shown that no one stays with Sonny forever, and that’s not a spoiler. There is no version of Sonny that is going to settle down with a lady and be happy for the rest of his life. That ain’t going to happen. So it just winds up being: In what manner of horrible suffering is this particular pairing going to endure?
What about Olivia’s hallucinations? Will that stop? Do you want them to stop?
LISA: I don’t know. For awhile that was the crux of my existence on GH, and it is a really great storytelling device! Some of them I like more than others. Some are more difficult to play, and I go back and forth on this. Sometimes on my Twitter feed it’s mixed reviews on the hallucinations, but whatever they write for me, I have a good time playing. With things like that, that veer from the normal every day experience, I really feel strongly that you just go for it. You really look like a fool if you don’t go for it. You really have to play the “Oh, my God! She is stabbing her” … or, you just really look like a goof!
We are losing Kelly Sullivan shortly on-air on General Hospital. Do you think there were missed opportunities to really have more of the Kate/Connie and Olivia dynamic? Remember when the characters were first on-screen together? There seemed to be this love/hate thing going on between the women.
LISA: It’s been a weird thing. We always tried to make it a sort of realistic family relationship, like a sister relationship, where you love each other so much, but you do fight, and you will say anything in the fight. And that was to me the saddest part of Kelly’s last day. It was the hardest day I have ever had on General Hospital, and it was saying goodbye to her!
How is Kelly about it all?
LISA: She is OK. I know for her this is great. I have no doubt she is going to go off and do amazing things. Selfishly for me, I am devastated because it’s not every day you get a co-worker and a cast mate that brings out things in me so effortlessly. It’s not work for me with her.
Are you getting pushback from fans that Kelly Sullivan is a casualty of the show in order to make way for Sonny and Olivia to be paired together?
LISA: It was rather unfortunate that the day Kelly said she was leaving was the day that news of my signing a new contract with GH came out, and I had signed that contract months ago. But for some reason, it all came out at the same time. So it was like: “She’s staying! She’s going!” It wasn’t planned. I certainly did not plan it, and no one said anything directly to me. I am sure if I had gone and looked at the message boards that day, I am sure it would have said, “She should go f**k herself.” It was completely out of my control.
Why do you think GH decided to write the character of Connie off the canvas instead of keeping the super-talented Kelly Sullivan around?
LISA: I think it was a written-into-the-corner kind of feeling. The character of Connie had gotten so crazy that maybe, short of spending six months in an ashram, she could have come back as a cleaned up version of both Kate and Connie, but then you have to re-integrate that into the storyline. All I know is shooting her final scenes almost killed me. I remember I had to go in the morning and shoot Olivia’s visions and things, then go to my fan event, and then go back to GH to shoot her final scenes all afternoon. I was ready to jump off the cliff by the end of the day! It’s different when you are shooting a movie, or even a TV show where you have your one scene, and your close-up. Here, on General Hospital, you have eleven or twelve scenes where you have to play a sense of loss.
I was always hoping you would be given your due in a story. And that is the ebb and flow of daytime, and I understand that, but now it would seem GH has an opportunity to move you more front and center. It’s about now, if they will go that direction, and commit to that, or not.
LISA: There is no question, for a long period of time I was supporting for the last five years. Scott Reeves (Ex-Steven) and I were joking about being the maid and the butler and we would walk in and go, “Hey, did you hear what happened to that guy?” And then the curtain would go up and the play would start. (Laughs) We laughed about that a little bit. But you are right; it is the ebb and flow of daytime. I have been watching long enough to know that for most characters, you are not front burner all the time. For some characters, you will always be front and center. But for most people, it’s a rollercoaster ride, and you need that quite frankly. I couldn’t have done what Maurice Benard has done for the past two decades … that every six months you have to play the worst thing that ever happened to you? I couldn’t do it!
So, are you hoping that Olivia and Sonny find long term happiness with each other? Do you want GH to continue to push them together in story? How do you feel about the impending on-screen exit of Kelly Sullivan, and Lisa’s thoughts on the matter and why it went down? Share your thoughts in the comment section!