Category Archives: Movies and TV

A Fun Night at the 2014 Daytime Emmys

I was thrilled to be asked to attend the 2014 Daytime Emmys with my new colleagues of “The Young and the Restless.” Oh what a time it was! It has been so long since I felt that sense of genuine camaraderie and friendship among a group. Everyone was so excited for whomever won from the cast and crew, and then to have the chance to stand up on stage as we won for BEST DRAMA, even as the “new girl,” was truly a thrill.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 12.19.06 PMWhat made it even more special was attending with my now husband, Jon Lindstrom.  As you might now know, Jon and I got married in a very small ceremony at the Beverly Hills Courthouse in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day of this year. Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 12.21.26 PM

Jon and I have both worked on different soaps over the years so it’s especially fun to run into people we haven’t seen in ages. I got to say hi to Windsor Harmon, who played “Dixie’s” brother “Del” on “All My Children” and Jon caught up with “Y&R” producer Tony Morina, who directed Jon in the first scenes he directed on soaps!

I decided (since I am new on the show and not nominated) to dress in a more restrained style as to not take the attention away from those whose “Big Night” it truly was! I wore a black Tom Ford dress I bought a few years ago but splurged big time on a Prada bag and shoes! I felt pretty and my feet didn’t hurt all night!

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Thanks to GirlyGoGarter.com for the gift of a fun garter to put a flask in! I brought “St. Germaine,” an elderflower liquor that you can add to Champagne (my favorite) or even Vodka (my second favorite!)

I also wore some cool 3D lashes by Younique, also a gift from the Emmy suite!

Finally, I couldn’t have put it all together without the fabulous Genevieve Garner, who also did my makeup for my wedding and the Emmy’s last year! She’s the best!

You can follow her on Instagram at this tag: eveivenegg or check her out on FB here.

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Paste Magazine Interview

Television Academy Hosts Daytime Emmy Nominee ReceptionCady McClain’s memoir arrives at a hugely significant time for women. Just a few weeks ago the social media movement #YesAllWomen launched as a response to the massacre in Isla Vista, California. While it’s difficult to say for sure what drives a person commit mass murder, it was clear to many people that Elliot Rodger was partly motivated by a set of misogynistic principles. Murdering My Youth is, on the one hand, about McClain’s complicated and often traumatic life as a child actress and soap star. But what makes it a more powerful text, is that—whether intentionally or not—it also reads as a critique of a dangerous society where men (including male relatives) feel entitled to a young woman’s body. Hollywood functions as an escape for McClain, but also as a predatory environment for the young actress. In sharing her story the author, no doubt, speaks for many others, but it has to be said that her journey is simultaneously, entirely unique. Pastecaught up with the Emmy Award winner to talk about this amazing story of survival and—in spite of it all—unconditional love.

Paste Magazine: I love that part of what you’re doing in your memoir is advocating for therapy. In your writing you mention that two of your therapists—Ron and Colette—talked you into writing more in general, and also writing about the trauma.
Cady McClain: I think it was really more Colette who encouraged me to write, but not as a form of therapy. She really believed that therapy is about the connection between two people, about talking and working through your relationship issues by being in a relationship with a therapist. She felt like the writing was very helpful for me just as a project. I’ve since done some research, and my new therapist has done a lot of work with veterans at UCLA. She actually pointed out to me as I was finishing the book that one of the techniques used with trauma victims is getting them to tell their story. The idea is to get them so comfortable with telling it—whether it’s recording it and listening to it over and over and over again, or if it’s writing it down and reading it—basically the idea is to help them own it. Owning your story is a way to release the trauma. I think it’s called immersion therapy.

Even more so. She told me a story about a woman who’d been raped in the military in a very violent fashion and she was asked to come and speak to other survivors. And the way she would calm herself down to prepare to go and speak would be to listen to herself tellthe story on tape in her car. In a funny way, it’s like when she’s reminding herself of what she was able to survive and to go through it reminded her of how strong she was. So she could move forward and help other people. Instead of feeling victimizedshe owns it in a creative fashion, and it ends up empowering you….

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

or copy and paste this link: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/06/catching-up-with-cady-mcclain-author-of-murdering.html

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A New Year Full of Things That Have Never Been

It has been an amazing year for me so far. I feel so blessed and grateful.  Here are five amazing pieces of news:

Me and Jon

Number one: I got married.  I feel like Jon is the most beautiful human being (inside and out) on the planet.  Warm and caring, sexy and funny, a great friend to all, and a true artist.  I could not have imagined a better person to be my husband.  I feel so lucky.

Cover of BookNumber two: I finally finished my book and am ready to share it with the world.  It’s a memoir about the first twenty-five years of my life.  It was very painful years to write because it’s intensely personal but it is full of things I felt needed to be said.  More news on the exact date.

New "Kelly"

Number three: I got offered a job on The Young and The Restless.  I am SO grateful for this incredible opportunity.  I have always loved the show.  Quality writing, great characters, beautiful production values…what’s not to like?  I am replacing Cynthia Watros who has to leave because she was in a pilot for MTV that got picked up to be a full series.  I feel bad that she will be losing out on the fun of Y&R, but so grateful and lucky that TPTB thought of me.  

KeynoteNumber Four: I got to be the keynote speaker at an AMAZING writer’s conference called Write The Dream, as well as teach my “Dreaming Into Art” class.  I LOVE teaching and helping people develop their creativity.  It is truly one of the great joys of my life.  I was so blessed by the people that joined us in Kansas City.  Their courage and art will always be with me.  A special thanks to Leanna Brunner, who invited me to come to Kansas, and who, through her company Studio Z Publishing, is helping me make my dream of putting my book out into the world come true.

Chris and JulieNumber Five: My short film, “Flip Fantasia,” was accepted into the Macon Film Festival.  It screened in the main theater to a full house that filled the place with laughter.  I am so happy that its two leads, Christopher Gabriel Nunez and Julie Lucas, were able to represent the film at the fest and keep me updated with all the news.  Although not an award winner, it was still a success to me because of the joy it brought to the audience.

You can watch “Flip” on Vimeo for free!  I took it down while it was at the Macon FF so people would come see it in the theater but now it’s back up.  (Warning: very strong language!)

I am so incredibly grateful for these moments in my life this year and for your continued interest and support of my work.  Thank you so much.

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The World of Film

Poster art by Dylan PierpontAs you may or may not know, I have finally completed post-production on “Flip Fantasia,” my short film that I wrote, produced, and directed.  I am so lucky that the MORE show has done some great promotion of the film, sharing some behind the scenes moments with all of you.  Now I want to share with you where I am at with releasing it into the world.

I was strongly encouraged to submit this film to film festivals, even though I refused to even consider this option while I was making the film.  I didn’t want to allow my creative process to be influenced in the slightest by the idea of what others might want or expect from a short film.  I feel like if you listen to all the “should’s” and “must’s” you can totally end up freezing your creative impulse.

However once the bloody thing was finished, I felt it was time to perhaps test the waters, so to speak, and put it out there to festivals.  I know that the festival audiences are really wonderful, true supporters of independent works of art, and that part of it I feel is really worthy.  I also know there is a business side to it, where you can meet like minded people, form relationships, and even perhaps find future funding for the next project.  So I am letting a little bit of time pass while I await hearing back from these festivals.

Therefore, I have only shared the finished film with some trusted friends and colleagues, and of course with the cast and crew.  What is AWESOME has been the response.  Here are some of them:

“Like Kafka mixed with Weekend at Bernie’s

“It’s darkly twisted and hilarious… My kind of movie!”

“Its beyond all my expectations and hopes and down inside, it matters.”

“It’s so beautifully, professionally, very creatively produced!”

“Great music, great visualizations…”

“I totally dig the way all the music fits the film and the actors did a wonderful job.”

“You’re even more twisted than I thought…..I LOVE IT!!!!”

I am so happy that these folk are “getting” the film and I hope that you will too!  Thanks for staying in touch and interested in the process.  As soon as I have more news about the next step, you KNOW I am going to be sharing it with you!

MEANWHILE, check out a little Suzy Fcking Homemaker on TOLN, where she interviews Thorsten Kaye from All My Children.  Yes, I am completely f-ing nuts.

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Flip Fantasia and Why I Can Make a Movie

photo by Alex di Suervo

photo by Alex di Suervo

Well that was just about the most exciting week of my life.  I just finished producing and directing my first short film, called “Flip Fantasia.”  It’s about four guys and a dead girl, about love and death and what happens when your heart breaks and grows three sizes that day.  It’s a love letter to NYC and an homage to all my favorite films (or as many as I could fit in there) and a peek into what I understand about suffering.

So what in the hell qualifies me to direct a film?  Basically nothing, really, except that I spent my entire young life going to every weird arty, what-I-thought worthy, edge cutting piece of gorgeousness that I could find in NY.  I sought out art in every form: whether it was going to hear Ravi Shankar at Lincoln Center, or going to see the Whirling Dervishes at Town Hall, or going to see Pina Bauch and Robert Wilson at BAM, E.L. Kirchner at the Neue Gallery,  Barbara Kruger at MOMA, some punk band at CBGB’s, Shawn Colvin at Carnegie Hall, Selected Shorts at Symphony Space, movies at Film Forum, Marlene Dumas at The New Museum, or the hundreds of other shows I saw.  NYC was my education, in a way.

In film, I was blown away by the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray when I was 25.  Watching that I was hit hard by how film could create an connective and yet transcending human experience.  I also became a huge Francois Truffaut fan, gobbling up the Alain Delain series like an animal.  In a case of “From the sublime to the ridiculous,” I also loved the timing of Blake Edwards’ SOB and Victor Victoria, the incredible comic performances in Tootsie and the hilarious surrealism of Living in Oblivion.

My favorite artist is Laurie Anderson.  Most people have never heard of her but she’s awesome. Her kind of off beat storytelling is right up my alley.  I am pretty sure I have seen every performance she brought to the states post 1997, when I discovered her.  She is hard to pin down, too.  Performance artist doesn’t really cover everything she is.  She’s a musician, a poet, a writer, a storyteller, a performer, and an artist.  Why not?

So what is “Flip Fantasia”? Well it’s kind of a combination of these influences.  It’s funny, and heart breaking, surreal, and spiritual.  It’s full of color and pain.  It’s everything I love.

It’s not like I just pulled it out of my ass.  I studied directing with the late Curt Dempster, the artistic director of Ensemble Studio Theater.  After that I wrote and directed Mona7, a performance art piece that I did in NYC which was totally my vision.  Here is a picture from when Mona becomes one with the universe.  Sadly, my co-director took my vision and got herself a grant from Dance Theater Workshop without giving me any credit.  Not cool, but water under the bridge.  It was a long time ago.  I know it was my vision and I loved making it with her.  Too bad she didn’t know how to be a friend, that’s all.

Mona7

 

 

 

 

 

I also studied painting in the late 90′s early 2000′s with Nancy Chunn at the School of Visual Arts, then International Literature at NYU, then creative art therapy and fairy tales at The New School.  As you might know I just wrote a whole book called Murdering My Youth which will come out eventually.  Who knows, I may just turn it into a movie.  So doing something like a short film isn’t really a total shock.  I guess you could say my whole life has led up to this.  I’m an artist.  I make things.

That said, I believe all the art I have done (except my postcards) is totally collaborative.  I’ve worked with the great videographer Tal Yardan for Mona7, and the amazing producer and musician George Walker Petit for my album…  frankly, every movie, play, or TV show I have ever done is a collaboration with the director, writer and other actors, whether it’s with the writer David Ives “The Red Address,” the director Richard Benjamin on “My Favorite Year,” or Michael Knight on “All My Children.”  Making a piece of art that requires more than one person requires collaboration.  I have a great love and respect for it.  All that matters is that everyone brings their passion to the table.

Eden Marryshow at Smeg

For “Flip” I had the great luck to find Alex di Suvero to be my Director of Photography.  He’s got an amazing ability to find the beauty in the awful, which was the task I set before him.  I am thrilled with what we have created together.

Here is a photo of the character “Smeg” played by Eden Marryshow, who, as you might guess, is a seeker.

That’s my arm on the left.

One thing I learned about film making is that it requires an understanding and a feel for ALL the arts.  You HAVE to know painting, and music, and literature AND film.  If you don’t, you are really missing out on what film can be.  Well, let’s not put the cart before the horse.  I still have to edit the damn thing.  Oh yeah, and let’s not forget I LIVE with a filmmaker, and associate produced HIS first feature, so I’ve had a little crash course, you might say.

But I wanted you to know all this about me, so that you can see this film as something that is a part of who I am, because it is.  It is perhaps the most intimate piece of work I have ever made.  I hope you will like it.

Here I am with DP Alex di Suvero, and AC Nikita Carpenter in SOHO, NYC.

Here I am with DP Alex di Suvero, and AC Nikita Carpenter in SOHO, NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo by Leslie Hassler

Let’s Talk About Sex

Okay. You’ve all heard the news, All My Children is going to be a bit more risqué than usual. Yep. I am not the first to mention it, but I thought I might be one of the first to put it on the table for discussion. Let’s talk about sex, and about sex in our dramatic entertainment. Too much? Not enough? Well you can bet I have an opinion.

My opinion is this: sex is a good thing, wait, scratch that, sex is a GREAT thing! It’s a healthy impulse and a wonderful way to enjoy being, well, about as close as you can get to someone. Frankly, I think we have WAY too MUCH violence and way too LITTLE love making in our entertainment. This is probably because we are a country based on a puritan ethos that doesn’t really want to admit, we ALL LIKE SEX.

Do I recommend using birth control? YOU BET. Do I recommend only having sex when you are ready with someone that you truly CARE about? ABSO-F-ING-LUTELY. Is the young generation having a sexual revolution that no one is really TALKING ABOUT? ONE MILLION TIMES YES.

On another note: do you remember when the soaps were mostly LOVE stories, all leading up to the big moment when the characters would make love? Weren’t those FUN stories to watch? It wasn’t disgusting it was beautiful. I don’t know where those moments went but I am sure happy they are coming back. Passion is important!

I think it’s just as important to remember that as everyone has a different taste in clothes, so we all have a different taste in our fantasies and our lovemaking style. You can learn a lot about a person when you learn these details. When you look at a story from a sexual point of view, these choices are as much a part of a character as their fears, hopes and dreams.

Nudity-smooditty.  So WHAT.  The human body is beautiful and I will admit that I like to look at it, whether it’s a beautiful man or a beautiful woman.  And it doesn’t matter what age they are as long as they are an appropriate age and a consenting adult.

Sexiness is beautiful.  It is something we can and should ALL enjoy, no matter what age we are. Why not let ourselves relax a little?  It might just make for a happier world!

(I swear I am hearing Barry White applauding right now!)

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My Very Strange Newtown Experience

In 2007, I shot a film called “Home Movie” in a small town in northwestern Connecticut. The film was starring Adrian Pasdar and was to be Christopher Denham’s directorial debut. It was a big break for me. Although I knew one of the producers, Andrew can den Houten (we had worked together on a beautiful film that was never released called Alma Mater), I still had to audition and go through the agonizing process of meeting the producers and the star. When I was told I booked the part I was thrilled. It was a big and important role, with an enormous amount of dialogue which would challenge even the most facile actor.

I had two weeks to prepare the part (of course). The character was a mother of twins, both of whom had an undiagnosed mental disorder that made them seem blank and remorseless. She was also a psychiatrist. She and her husband (a pastor) made the decision to move to Connecticut from New York City to take their troubled children away from the over-stimulation of the city and into a more pastoral environment, where they believed they could also keep better eyes on them.

In the course of the film, both parents try to maintain some sense of “normal” while they diagnose and treat the children. They dress up for Halloween, they dress the kids for school plays and shop for Christmas trees, the usual. Meanwhile, the kids exhibit increasingly bizarre behaviors, such as putting goldfish in their sandwich and crucifying the family cat. It gets worse from there.

My time shooting in Newtown was very pleasant. I stayed by myself at the Dana-Holcombe House, a charming B and B on the main drag, where coffee and breakfast was served every morning by a charming couple in their late 50′s. The drive to the house was short, through a pretty wooded area to a wide piece of property that was secluded away from the road. I was told that the house had a spooky past and some of the crew who were camping out there (it was an Indie movie after all) felt ghosts. I didn’t feel any ghosts, personally. I felt plenty of mold, but no ghosts.

The kids were played by Austin and Amber Joy Williams, and I liked carrying Amber around on my back. Sometimes I thought about making a deal with her mom so I could borrow her from time to time. They were such great kids. We played board games between set ups, and joked between shots. Despite these pleasantries, it was a serious shoot. The kids were playing psychopaths who are slowly plotting to murder their parents. I had to scream at them and run through the woods fighting hysteria at night. By the end of the shoot my legs were covered in bruises. It took me a week on the sofa to emotionally recover.

In order to prepare for the film, the director suggested I read a book by Jeffery Dahmer’s father, called “A Father’s Story.” In the book, the father accounts for any and all reasons that his son might have turned out to be a mass murderer, including his own abandonment when the boy was about 15 (if I recall correctly.) The one reason that stood out the most to me, however, was that Dahmer’s mother took an inordinate amount of pills while she was pregnant, including depression, anxiety, and weight control medication. My common sense told me this was a bad concoction to be giving a fetus, and could only result in some kind of defect in the child. However it was hard to really point at any one cause that made this child kill his first grown man when he was only sixteen years old, burying him in the woods behind his house.

Before we began shooting the director told me he wanted to make this film because he knew a kid growing up who was remorseless, and in his opinion it was a condition that was not really investigated enough in our storytelling and in our culture. Again, if I recall correctly, this kid killed one of his family members and was put in jail for life. This was a kid he grew up with, and knew well. It made a deep impression on him, deep enough to want to make a film about it.

These days there is a lot of talk about evil, and what is evil. “Evil has visited Newtown” seems to be the statement on many lips. Despite all the reasons to believe this is possible, this word worries me. Once you decide that a person has absolutely no chance at redemption, that they are pure evil, there is little recourse but to want to purge that evil from your life or community. This doesn’t lead to much good, if we recall history. It tends to lead to torture, burnings, hysteria, and witch trials.

So I say, let’s not blame evil. Let’s figure out what is wrong with these kids and what we can do about it.

In the film, no good comes to the parents who try to help, I can tell you that. In life, no good came to the mother of Adam Lanza, but why was she dealing with him alone?

I don’t have any answers here. I do know there needs to be more help for parents with severely mentally ill children, especially those that exhibit violent tendencies. I don’t think Newtown is a place that draws bad people or bad situations to it. I do not think it is cursed or “evil.” It’s a sweet little Connecticut town, like most Connecticut towns. I had a house in Connecticut for over 20 years so I know there is nothing about Connecticut that radiates “let the worst mass murder in American history happen here.” Quite the opposite, unless you think cows and woods create a methane gas that makes people nuts. If you think that, then.. well I am sure there is a forum somewhere where you can enjoy your philosophy.

There are so many people with a profound personal connection to this tragedy that can help us get insight. Some people have sick kids, like the woman who wrote the article, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”

(My links are all screwed up so while I try to fix here is the full link)  http://thebluereview.org/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

Some have Asperger’s themselves, like my friend Matt, who wrote this article about how it feels to have Asperger’s and why he thinks it should not be blamed for one troubled young man’s actions.

(Again, you can copy and paste this.)  http://www.policymic.com/articles/20930/my-lifelong-struggle-with-asperger-s-syndrome

I shot a movie in Newtown about a mother and father living with two remorseless children who are obsessed with killing their parents. I know it may sound silly that I comment as an actor feeling my way through a fictional mother’s horror, but I can tell you that, even just in my imagination, it was heartbreaking to experience “my kids” as cold hearted killers. No mother wants to believe their darling child is capable of terrible acts of violence.

It’s a tragedy that hits close to home for us all in our own specific ways. We pray for healing for those closest to the tragedy, we send money, we talk about gun control, mental illness, single mothers, social responsibility, how to help, why it happened and what we can do to make sure nothing ever happens like this again, but at the end of the day we cannot bring those twenty 6 and 7 year olds and those six adults back to life.

At the end of the day, those very real, very innocent people are dead. And that is what we all have to live with.

 

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