All My Children's Julia Barr on Pine Valley Revisited and the 'Really Good' Stuff Ahead
Life was going pretty great for All My Children‘s Brooke, before the big bang.
She’d rescued her main squeeze’s beloved home. She’d been proposed to in grand style, with most of the town looking on. Finally, after decades of playing runner-up to the glamorous Erica Kane, Ms. English was having her moment.
But then JR stuck his gun out of a secret-in-name-only passageway, and everything went dark – for almost a year-and-a-half.
But now Brooke – and portrayer Julia Barr – are back in an online revival of the beloved daytime drama scheduled to launch this spring. TVLine caught up with the soap vet during her first week back at work; here, she gives you the scoop on bringing Pine Valley back to life.
TVLINE | Last we saw Brooke, everything seemed to be going pretty well for her… and then a shot rang out.
That’s right. And it knocked a big old vase off the mantelpiece. [Laughs] I’m kidding. I’m sorry, I’m not at liberty to discuss what happened but it’s actually a great opening script that lets you know a certain amount of things that happened and who they happened to. It’s really good. It’s approximately five years in the future as far as [the show] wanting to age some of the kids. Of course, the adults did not age, and I’m so glad. [Laughs]
TVLINE | How have your first days gone?
Actually, not bad… But I have to tell you, [former AMC producer] Ginger Smith, who’s our executive producer… has pulled together a fantastic group of people… There’ll be some surprises. I was even surprised yesterday to hear about somebody that I’ll be working with on Thursday. She’s pulled together this group of not only directors we all know but camera people, production people… It’s really great. To step into something that is familiar and yet completely unfamiliar in a way, it’s great to have this going forward as a group… Adam and Brooke are engaged and still very much in love, so we’ll see what happens. And there’s a lot of intrigue about what actually happened at Adam and Brooke’s engagement party five years ago!
TVLINE | With whom have you worked so far?
I’ve worked with a lot of the new cast – the new Pete Courtland [Robert Scott Wilson], and the new Miranda [Denyse Tontz] and a new character Celia [Jordan Lane Price]. They’re all terrific and so sweet. It’s very nice to have a mix of vets and newbies – great energy.
TVLINE | Whose dressing room is near yours in the new Stamford, Conn., studio?
They’re in blocks. You go down one hallway and you enter a room that’s like a big area that’s central, and off those are like 10 dressing rooms. I’m in the room [with] Jill [Larson], Thorsten [Kaye], Jordi [Vilasuso], Lindsay [Hartley]… oh, and Vincent [Irizarry]… It’s a very nice set-up. The actual studio itself, the stage is huge. They have some sets up, and they’ve done a great job of bringing so much of what the sets looked like prior to the show going off the air to now. It’s very impressive.
TVLINE | What did you think as you looked around and saw these familiar places you hadn’t visited in a while, like the Chandler Parlor?
It’s familiar and bizarre at the same time. [Laughs] You know, it’s like the old expression “It’s like riding a bike.” You haven’t been on one maybe in however many years, but you just get back on and it’s just like it was. That’s part of the comfort of all of this, too. With all of these people, I mean I was thinking about how I’ve known Cady McClain – she and I had a couple of scenes yesterday – since she was 17 years old… David Canary and Jill, we have this sort of unspoken bond from working and knowing each other for so many years. And it’s really lovely because it envelops you in this comfort level, because so much is new – and anxiety-producing, might I add… [Laughs] There’s a great deal of excitement about what this actually could be. And if it isn’t, whatever happens, we’re all just happy to be there for a while.
TVLINE | There is that sense of, “It’s actually happening?”
I think the last time, people just assumed it was an effort that wasn’t thought through… But [Prospect Park, the company behind the AMC and One Life to Live relaunches] had a plan all along. I think it’s exactly what media is going to do from now on. It will be multi-platform. It will reach viewers of all demographics, all ages, because you can view it whenever you want on whatever portable device because they’ve partnered with iTunes and Hulu and Hulu Plus.
TVLINE | What’s your schedule like?
[AMC] started first, but we’re only doing two weeks. After that, it’ll be five weeks on, five weeks off, and it’ll be the same for One Life… I tell you, it’s amazing. I’m so glad that Agnes [Nixon, creator of AMC and OLTL] is involved with it. I’m so glad that Prospect Park has her [as] a part of it.
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