It’s been 10 long years since Susan Haskell lived in Llanview (though she did visit back in 2005). The character she created and won an Emmy playing, Marty Saybrooke, actually returned to the canvas a couple years ago, but she was played by Sunset Beach’s Christina Chambers up until she seemingly died in a van explosion six months ago. Today, Haskell returns to One Life to Live as Marty, who is found alive by Todd (Trevor St. John), the man who raped her years ago. She is stricken with amnesia, however, and Todd (in true Todd-like fashion) is less than truthful in filling in her memory gaps. (Things like the fact that her son, Cole, and his daughter, Starr, are about to have a baby slip his mind, for example).
As enticing as all that drama sounded to Haskell, as a mother of two young girls, McKenna, 5, and Marlowe, 16 months, and wife to Thorsten Kaye (who plays Zach on All My Children), it was only thanks to some flexible scheduling that she was able to make the return work. We caught up with Haskell (just as Marlowe was waking up from a nap) and she filled us in on how it all came together and told us what she thinks of the story line she is inheriting.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You played Marty from 1992 to 1997. What was it like to start playing her again when you started taping in mid-May?
SUSAN HASKELL: It?s great. I was a little nervous. It?s been a long time and I?d never done that with children. But I?ve gotta say that everyone?s made it so easy there. They?ve been very accommodating. It?s like going home…. And now the role is even more complex. What a gift. It?s a great character. She?s not your run-of-the-mill character. Her life has been up and down. Now it?s even more complicated.
Was there a particular schedule that made you more amenable to returning?
Yeah, and Frank [Valentini, OLTL’s executive producer] knew that from the beginning. When he contacted me I was like, ”This is the deal.” He knew this wasn?t a full-time thing for me this time. And the way they shoot the shows now, it?s easier. It wasn?t like when I was there before and you had all day for one show. So far, so good. It?s hard, of course…. I?ve got good help here. Got a fantastic nanny who?s been with me since the baby was born. And Thorsten?s mom is also nearby, so when I?m gone for the day, both of them are here.
In addition to the schedule working out, what enticed you go back?
I trusted Frank and I knew that Ron [Carlivati, head writer] was back in charge, and I quite like him. And I knew that he was aware of the character. That was one of the concerns about the previous head writer [Dena Higley]. She really didn?t seem to. But you know, I feel safe there and it?s not my first time around, so if I?ve got questions or ideas, we?ll all just figure them out together. But the amnesia part sounded good to me. They said I?d be working with Trevor [St. John] and Michael [Easton, John McBain] and that also sounded good to me.
Is this an open ended return?
I have a certain time that we?ve agreed to, but it?s still a little flexible in the end. As far as story line, though, I really don?t know. I just know what it was coming back for and that was kind of interesting to me. The whole amnesia thing is kind of fun. I asked Frank when he was going to send me information on what Marty had been up to and he said, ”Oh, you don?t have to worry about that. She doesn?t remember.?’ Okay! Great! You don?t even know how much help that was for me.
Did you do a lot of prep for your return?
I did put a lot of thought into it, about her and where she was. But it comes back to you, it really does. The most prep I did was learning my stinking lines. That was where I was the most out of practice. Gotta get that muscle going again.
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