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Evans Invades Harmony

Andrea Evans has played almost every type of diva that daytime has to offer -- vixen Tina Roberts on One Life to Live; the well-intentioned, albeit misguided Patty Williams Abbott on The Young and the Restless; and, most recently, wrong-side-of-the-tracks schemer Tawny Moore on The Bold and the Beautiful. Now, Evans is back on the daytime canvas to shake up Passions' Harmony as lean, mean, manipulative machine Rebecca Hotchkiss. To be sure, Rebecca will continue to be unhappy with Theresa and Ethan's burgeoning love affair -- and to be sure, she'll waste no time pulling out all the stops to protect daughter Gwen. "There are similar threads running through all [of the characters I've played]," Evans says. "Tina, Tawny, Rebecca -- they're all bitches! I think [Rebecca] is first trying to protect Gwen, and then I think you'll see her being a little vixeny." Still, there are also important distinctions between the characters that Evans has made her own since her OLTL debut in 1978. Below, the actress talks to Digest Online about Rebecca's thirst for power, her own take on Passions' over-the-top storylines, and why daytime is and always will be home.

Digest Online: How did this role come about for you?
Evans: They just called and asked me if I'd like to do it. They told me a little bit about the role, and I was intrigued by the idea of Passions because I like that it has a different feel to it. I was intrigued by the fact that it's on NBC, and that way I could have done shows on all the three networks -- which if not unique is certainly very rare, so I was quite pleased to be doing that. And I had worked with [Executive Producer] Lisa Hesser before on One Life to Live and we kept in touch, so that appealed to me. I felt safe in her hands, and it just seemed like great fun.

Digest Online: And you've played such a wide range of characters: Tina and then Tawny, who was at the other end of the spectrum. And now Rebecca is, again, completely different. Is it rewarding for you to have this variety in all the characters you've played?
Evans: Yeah. And as different as they all are, there are similar threads through all of them. To me, the one that was the biggest departure was Patty on The Young and the Restless, which nobody ever brings up, I think for the very fact that she was such a departure. It was such a different role, 'cause she was kind of a nice, sweet person. [Laughs]

Digest Online: You don't get many of those!
Evans: No, that's about it. [Laughs] You know, 'cause Tina, Tawny, Rebecca -- they're all bitches. [Laughs] They're all glamorous in their own way, they're all beautiful in their own way, they're all bitchy in their own way, they're all loving and protective in their own way. They have very different economic threads running through them, obviously, Tawny being the big exception there. So you know, there are similarities and there are differences. I think what appealed to me most about Passions was the difference of the show.

Digest Online: How familiar were you with the show before they asked you if you were interested in the role?
Evans: I can't say that I'm a huge daytime viewer. I'd love to lie and tell you that I watched it every day, but that's not the truth. I'm not a big daytime viewer because I'm usually working. I had seen it and had seen enough of it to know that it seemed really promising. And I also kind of liked the idea of coming into a show at pretty much the beginning, you know. That's a new experience for me, too: coming into it when it's solidifying its place, which it seems to be doing. It's the first "new" soap to come along in a long time that I think really has a chance of succeeding.

Digest Online: How is it similar and/or different than the other soaps that you've worked on?
Evans: Well, all shows have a little different environment. I think what drew me to it as well is that it reminds me a little bit of One Life to Live during the '80s, where it had the Eterna storyline and some out-there kind of stuff that was a little bit on the campy side. Tina was always a little bit on the campy side, too. I don't know; I think I gravitate toward that. I'm a John Waters fan, what can I tell you? [Laughs] I love it!

Digest Online: That freaky stuff is kind of intriguing. So what was your first day on set like?
Evans: Hectic, because a first day is always hectic. If anything, you're always just learning where you are: the new environments of the sets, where everything is, who everybody is. I had a little bit of an advantage because I was familiar with the lot [that it's taped on]. That took care of a lot of that, because I felt somewhat at ease. And in this business that's just part of everyday, because you walk in and do a new interview show, a new game show, meet new people... That doesn't bother me at all.

Digest Online: And how is your rapport with Liza Huber (Gwen) so far?
Evans: Oh, she's very sweet. She really is a fun, sweet girl, and I'm really enjoying working with her.

Digest Online: Who do you think we're going to see Rebecca primarily interacting with?
Evans: Well, I know there's a whole lot of stuff with Ben Masters (Julian) coming up.

Digest Online: If you had to pick a love interest for Rebecca that you think might be interesting, who might that be?
Evans: I think Ben Masters! That would be very interesting -- I think they'd be a deadly duo!

Digest Online: You've done so much in daytime. Why, at this point, did you decided to accept a recurring role?
Evans: Well, that's one of the reasons I did accept it!

Digest Online: Because you wanted more time with your husband and your family?
Evans: Yeah. It certainly wasn't a negative, it was a positive. I mean, I've been under contract so much of my life that I like the fact that this gives me a little freedom.

Digest Online: And how did it feel to know that you were taking over for Maureen McCormick? Were you familiar with her work, and had the two of you ever met?
Evans: I hadn't spoken to her. I had familiarity with her the same way most people in America had. I, like every little girl in America, wanted to be Marcia Brady! [Laughs] You know, that's a given. In fact, it's funny. Two friends of mine were in the Growing Up Brady TV movie that was on, so I connived them into taking me to the taping so I could meet Greg Brady. When I was a little girl I had such a crush on him!

Digest Online: If you could describe what Rebecca's goal is in a few words, what does she really want?
Evans: Power. I just needed one word -- power! [Laughs]

Digest Online: Do you also see her as a mother lion type character, that she'll do anything to protect Gwen?
Evans: I think so, but I think that looking at her purely as a mother lion is not correct. I think she'd do it to protect herself, too. She wants power: for her, for her daughter.

Digest Online: Is it just about money for her?
Evans: Money certainly has a lot to do with it. I mean, there are other aspects to it, but it's very hard to be very poor and powerful unless you're Gandhi! [Laughs]

Digest Online: Do you keep in touch with anyone from your past soap stints?
Evans: Oh, sure. One of my dearest friends on the planet is Renata Long, who's the makeup woman on One Life to Live. And a lot of the crew from there -- a lot of crew in general. I tend to get very close to crews. There's always a natural competitiveness amongst actors, no matter how friendly you are. But with crew there is none of that. You know, I have a lot of respect for them; they're just normal people working hard. They're coming in and doing their job and having their families. I just tend to gravitate that way; I find them nice people to talk to.

Digest Online: After doing so much in daytime and playing such varied roles, what is it about the genre that you think still appeals to you and excites you?
Evans: The opportunity to play such great female characters. You so rarely get that in other mediums. In other mediums, you're either the wife or the daughter or the girlfriend -- you're something related to a man. And in daytime, you get to play a really interesting, fleshed out character as a woman, no matter what your age or situation. You know, whether you're 16 or you're 60, the characters are well-defined and interesting and full-bodied. I think it's the best medium.

Digest Online: And outside of the industry, there's a stigma attached to daytime. Have you had a wanderlust to really do other things?
Evans: Well, I have done other things, and that's one thing I feel very fortunate for: I've been able to do both and I love that. You know, I love to work. I'm an actor; where the work is I go! [Laughs] And I feel very blessed that people pay me a lot of money to do what I love to do, so if they want to do that in daytime or they want to do that in primetime or they want to do that in theater, I'm there! But I truly enjoy daytime. And I grew up in it, so it has a special place in my heart and it always will.

Digest Online: How do you think you've seen the genre change since you started?
Evans: You know, people always ask if it's changed with the Internet or the Information Age, but the biggest change to me is when VCRs came about. It's funny, because I never hear anybody talk about that, but when they just started coming out, I'd be sitting around having a grape soda with my Aunt Viki on One Life to Live and she'd be having coffee. And we'd be talking about everything that was going on; there wasn't as much action. There wasn't as much stuff; it was a lot more talking about things. Once the VCR came about, I think they had to appeal to a far more masculine audience. All of a sudden we had stunt coordinators [Laughs] -- things changed. To me, that was the biggest change. It's funny, too, because people always ask me about all of the younger characters on soaps, but I was one of the original young characters that they brought on. Before that they were having, like, 30-year-olds play teenagers or something. But there were a few of us: there was Genie Francis (Laura, GH), myself, Lisa Peluso (ex-Billie, OLTL). And we were like the start of what you see so prevalent right now.

Digest Online: Right. That's a huge market right now. And most people who talk about the soaps of yore talk about how they were so multigenerational and how older and younger characters were woven in.
Evans: Yeah. And that's another thing that I liked about Passions, too. They seem to have two basic age groups: the really young, and then where nobody really discusses their age [Laughs], but let's say the 35-50 group. Both groups are very strong and the storylines in both groups are very strong. I like that. They all intertwine and everybody interacts, and it's very good.

Digest Online: What are we going to see Rebecca doing in her first couple of weeks back in Harmony?
Evans: I think she's first trying to protect Gwen, and then I think you'll see her being a little vixeny.

Digest Online: Are you drawn to those vixeny characters?
Evans: I don't know whether I'm drawn to them or they just give 'em to me! [Laughs]

Digest Online: If Rebecca were on Survivor, which skill of hers do you think would come in most handy?
Evans: Being manipulative. It worked for Richard! She's a survivor, no doubt about it. The roughing it part would be a little hard. [Laughs], but I'm sure she'd find a way to make her bathing suit, T-shirt and sarong look attractive.

Digest Online: Will we see Rebecca clash with Pilar over the budding romance between Theresa and Ethan?
Evans: Oh, you'll see some clashing there, yeah. I think Rebecca is a very interesting character, and she's going to take some twists and turns. And from what I understand, she's got a few more interesting ones coming up.

By: Jenifer Barend

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