Eden Riegel on the return of (a hopefully steamier) “All My Children”

AE: And now AMC and One Life to Live are entering web series format which is very exciting and will hopefully not only give loyal fans back the soaps they love, but attract new viewers.  What can fans expect from this new adventure?
ER: I think, number one, they can expect the shows that they knew and loved. Even though it is sort of a groundbreaking new platform for the shows, the shows are very much at heart what they always were. And I think even more so because we don’t have to compete. We aren’t on television, which is expensive, so we don’t have to compete so much for viewership. When we were on ABC, it became about the stunt of the week or about this murder mystery or whatever. We had to do exciting, flashy things that we hoped audiences would come to, and we had to compete with primetime and compete with cable.

Now, we have our own little nook, we have our own little niche carved out for ourselves here on the Internet. I think that [producers] Prospect Park figured out there was a very sort of rabid, vocal, excited fan base who would seek the show out on a new media platform. Even though maybe they’ve never watched shows on the internet. I mean, I’m sure some of our viewers have never watched a television show on their computer, but they’re going to seek it out because of their intense love and passion for our show. So I think because the fans are the ones that made this happen single handedly, by their sheer force of will —  I think that Prospect Park understands that’s the reason we’re doing this and that they want to cater to them and what they loved about the shows. The shows will be a bit shorter, although not that much shorter because on TV you have to contend with commercials.

AE: So they are about 30 minutes long now, right?
ER: Yeah, yeah, exactly. They will feature the core characters and deal with relationships and the normal family drama that soaps are famous for. A lot of the scenes reminded me kind of the heyday of All My Children, when you could have real conversations about interesting subjects.

AE: I watched the preview, and thought to myself, this feels familiar and brand new at the same time.
ER: Yeah! Oh, I’m so happy to hear you say that because that’s how it felt to me too.

 

AE: What was it like stepping onto that soundstage again, but having it be kind of different?
ER: [Laughs] Well, I mean stepping back on to that soundstage even though it’s all completely brand new and still smells of paint and everything’s bright and shiny, it is familiar because it was all of our people. It was not just the cast that returned, but also all the producers, and most of the writers and the camera guys and the stage manager. I mean, everybody. The lighting designer and the prop guy [Laughs]. It’s a few new faces, but primarily it’s our family back together again. It was really emotional for me to go on set again. It felt, you know —  it felt so right.

AE: You played Bianca for a long time but you stepped out of the role in 2010, and while your were gone Bianca got involved in a friendship/relationship with Marissa. Minx, I believe they are referred to as by the shippers.
ER: The greatest.

AE: (Bianca) always had the best shipper names!
ER: [Laughing] I know!

AE: You had BAM and now Minx.
ER: That one takes the cake.

AE: Fans really took to the couple and the cliffhanger at the AMC really left everything in the air.  The web series picks up 5 years later. Now I know you can’t divulge any spoilers, but what can you tell us? All we really want to know is, will Bianca finally get a chance to be happy?
ER: Um, well, given that it’s a soap opera, my guess is no. Or she will be for a day and a half.

I mean, she has a family. She has her two daughters. She’s a mom of a teenager now, and you know that brings a lot of headaches as you can imagine, but also a lot of joy. So she has moments of happiness [Laughs], but her life continues to be very dramatic. There is fallout from the big cliffhanger event that happened five years ago in soap-time. She’s still dealing with the consequences, and those consequences sort of ricochet throughout all of Pine Valley. Everybody’s sort of still recovering. We get to jump forward so the audience can kind of rediscover where their characters are and what’s happened, and that’s exciting because you’re watching trying to figure out “Oh my goodness, so that happened and that happened!” It’s not a lot of exposition because we get this fun jump forward, and Bianca is definitely still going through it. Prepare for drama, but there is always a glimmer of hope. I have feeling with the slightly relaxed standards and practices on the internet, we are allowed to show a little more skin and say some slightly more risqué words. I have a feeling they will not pass up the opportunity to see Bianca in romantic situations, because who doesn’t want to see that?

AE: Absolutely, well I can tell you, AfterEllen sure does!
ER: [Laughing] I’ll bet!

All My Children premieres today, April 29th  and will be available on Hulu and iTunes. Check back later this week for Dana’s “All My Children” recap.

Bostonians can currently check out Eden in The Theatre at Boston Court’s production of American Misfit, now through May 12.

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