Soap star Carolyn Hennesy is well-known for her work in GENERAL HOSPITAL and memorable appearances in COUGAR TOWN and TRUE BLOOD. In addition to the variety of film and television roles that Carolyn has appeared, she is also a renown author, penning the popular young adult book series “Pandora.” With such a rich life and career, Carolyn is literally living her dream and inspires not only aspiring younger actors, but women from all walks of life as they strive for their dreams. Thus, it is with pleasure and no surprise that Carolyn was invited to appear in Netflix’s revival of the GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE. In an exclusive interview, Carolyn talks about her juicy new role in the GILMORE GIRLS and what is next in her busy career.
What drew you to the role on Netflix’s revival of GILMORE GIRLS?
CAROLYN: Who wouldn’t want to be part of a reboot of a historical, ground-breaking and dearly loved series?! Especially when I wasn’t involved the first time around. It’s like having your cake and eating it!
Which character do you portray and how would you describe your character? What do you most admire and/or like about her?
CAROLYN: “Toni” is the leading member of the local DAR chapter and, as such, holds a tremendous amount of sway over the other ladies including Emily…or so she thinks. Emily, so proper at all times decides to “think a little differently” in this series, much to Toni’s dismay. In addition to her impeccable sense of style, she’s loyal to her friends and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
What journey does your character undertake or participate in for the revival?
CAROLYN: Again…in her staunch adherence to outmoded thinking, Toni gets a bit of a smackdown from Emily. Does she change because of that? We’ll see.
What was it like working with Kelly Bishop, Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel?
CAROLYN: I had the distinct privilege of working closely with Kelly Bishop…um, that would be TONY WINNER Kelly Bishop. She’s everything that one would expect from a theatrically trained actress: exceptionally giving, very dry humor and spot on for every take with subtle shifts which made it so interesting to watch her work…and all around great broad, in the best sense of the word.
What was your favorite part about working on this project?
CAROLYN: Working with Kelly, the great clothes…and they had great catering. (I’m just saying. Those things are important to us actors!)
What was the one thing you took away from working on the GILMORE GIRLS revival?
CAROLYN: A re-upped respect for the original series, the issues it tackled and the difference it made to so many people.
What do you hope viewers take away from watching the new GILMORE GIRLS revival?
CAROLYN: A sense of nostalgia with a knowledge that the future will be what it will, and we just have to roll with it.
At this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the amazing variety of roles and projects you have worked on?
CAROLYN: Acting is not a serious business. If I’m not having fun, there’s no point. There’s room for everyone at the top at all times. Play nice with others. But the most important thing that I have learned is that my only job is to make everyone else’s job easier. Period.
Then what are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
CAROLYN: Great friends made in the line of duty. Impeccable working relationships. And swag (cuz anyone who says they don’t like free stuff is LYING!)
Has there been any great advice you have gotten? What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
CAROLYN: The great advice I’ve gotten has been basically myself getting very truthful with the realities of the business; so, I’ve given myself my own advice. There’s one piece of advice that I was given as a very young actress by a very jaded, mean-spirited actress: ‘You only have one chance in ‘the room’…if you screw it up, they’ll never see you again.” Very damaging to the psyche…and very untrue. Casting directors, for the most part, are extremely gracious and understanding.
Do you have any current or upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
CAROLYN: “Business Doing Pleasure” for TBS. “Second Skin” (part of the Two Sentence Horror Story Series) for Time/Warner. And I’m producing a series entitled “Bleeding Hearts.” And, of course, “General Hospital”…the gift that keeps on giving.
You are also an accomplished children’s book author with the “Pandora” series. What is so special about this world that you felt compelled to bring it to life on the page?
CAROLYN: There’s just a great message that I felt the series could impart to tweens, and it’s one that I think…I know…is being overlooked by parents and society: take responsibility for your personal actions. The pill may be hard to swallow, but you’ll be the better person for it in the long run. And the tale is spun in a funny, wild and wonderful way…so the message isn’t a sledgehammer.
What are the joys of writing for the “Pandora” audience?
CAROLYN: All of letters, emails, website messages I get from tweens (boys and girls,) moms, aunts, librarians, teachers…loving the books and telling me that Pandora’s journey has helped them either with current situations or to heal from past emotional “tween” trauma. It’s just thrilling.
What do you aspire to do next?
CAROLYN: Go into space…Seriously!
To see just how big a smack down goes down between Toni and Emily and which prevails, be sure to tune in for the premiere of the GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE on Friday, November 25th on Netflix. And be sure to keep a sharp eye out for Carolyn’s upcoming appearances in all of her other projects and series!