The Young and the Restless snagged quite the actress when they added soap vet Jensen Buchanan (ex-Melissa Bradford, General Hospital; ex-Marley McKinnon, Another World; ex-Vicky McKinnon, AW; ex-Sarah Buchanan, One Life to Live) to the canvas as Elise Moxley, a judge who seems to bring more trouble than law and order to Genoa City. Fan reaction to the actress' return to soaps has been wildly positive, but nothing can beat the wild factor of the jaw-dropping storyline the powers that be gave her to deliver right out of the gate. Today's show knocked viewers over with the reveal that Elise had an affair with Victor (Eric Braeden) -- and the actress shares with Soap Central that the story is only going to get crazier from here on out... with the possibility of a little calculated "mustache twirling" to boot!
soapcentral.com: Welcome to Y&R! When the news was announced, everyone was so excited to see you back on the screen. Has the experience been wonderful for you, as well?
Jensen Buchanan: Thank you. I am so thrilled. I just have had the best time, really. I'm really, thoroughly enjoying it. I was on General Hospital for a year, but most of my career was in New York, and it's a whole different world out here. The studios are so gorgeous. The square footage that's available is just so much different than New York, and it's just really a lovely, lovely place to go to work.
soapcentral.com: You really hit the ground running storyline wise. You come on the canvas and BAM! Today was a huge moment, with the reveal that Elise had an affair with Victor. When they first contacted you for the role, did they tell you immediately that this would be the story?
Buchanan: They did. They just wanted to make sure that I understood I wasn't just going to be sitting on the bench and ruling on a case. This character has some backstory, and God willing, some potential to do some more stuff in the future. They told me that it was a fleshed out character, and they didn't tell me who it was with, but they told me I'd be having some backstory with a major character.
soapcentral.com: And then you found out it was Eric Braeden of all people, so what did you think of that?
Buchanan: Oh, he is such a nice man. He is so good. Everyone I've worked with, I've been so impressed with the quality of their work. They're really, really good actors. But Eric Braeden is just is a classy guy. He was just charming and lovely to me when I came on the set. He's a really, really nice man. I think a lot of people know that about him, but I had never met him before. He's kind of a legend, you know what I mean? He is. And he's just really a pro, and I guess the word that comes to mind is he's just a really, really charming man. So I was happy to be involved with Melody [Thomas Scott, Nikki] and Eric. I felt like I was in really good company.
soapcentral.com: You really won the lottery in terms of who you're sharing scenes with, because they really are the top people in the business. And they have been for years and years, so to be thrown in with them is a really big deal.
Buchanan: It was. It was really an honor to work with them, and I've enjoyed it so much. Everyone that I've worked with, and then even some people I didn't work with, like Christian LeBlanc, [Michael Baldwin] turned out to be just so welcoming. Christian LeBlanc was so warm and went out of his way to make me feel really comfortable, and I'm really grateful for that.
soapcentral.com: Which I imagine really helped with the first day jitters, if you had any.
Buchanan: For sure. Everyone else knows each other so well, and you don't. So that, and I hadn't been in the saddle for a while, so to speak. And you know what, going into it, I thought, “I'm not going to be nervous. I know how to do this.” But indeed, I was a little nervous my first couple of scenes. It took me a little bit to settle into it and relax. When they started coming down, and I was like, “Oh lord, here we go!”
soapcentral.com: As you said, it's been a little while since you've been on a soap, so was the pace okay for you to get used to? Or was that a bit of a whirlwind, as well?
Buchanan: I love the pace. It's one of the reasons why I always enjoyed working in soap operas. I did do a couple of things after Another World was cancelled. I came out here and did a few primetime things, and I thought I was going to lose my mind! It was just so slow and it was days and days and days of work for not a big payoff. And so I love the pace of soaps, and I like the challenge under those circumstances of a pretty speedy pace trying to deliver good work. That really appeals to me, so I love it. And I have never been on a show that moves as fast as The Young and the Restless. I mean, it is just crazy. Those people have lives. They go into work, they do their stuff, and they go home. They get out at, I don't know, usually 5:30, 6:00? I mean, in my experience, that's just unheard of. And yet I never feel, when I watch the show -- whether I'm on it or not -- I never have a sense of, “Oh wow, they really rushed to get this.” I feel like it's a really highly produced show, and it shows in the writing and in the set design. It's such a gorgeous show, and I think truly, the prettiest show I've ever been on.
soapcentral.com: They are number one, after all!
Buchanan: Yes, and the story moves so quickly, too. That's another thing I've noticed since I started watching. Thing really move along rapidly, at least from my perspective. A lot of information gets doled out in a single episode.
soapcentral.com: Which is actually quite rare for soaps. But Y&R has a nice balance of long term storylines mixed with these nuggets, like your storyline for instance, where it's just “Boom!” Like today, which was a huge bombshell.
Buchanan: And I think it's cool, too. I mean, I never met my [on-screen] husband, but I think it's great that I have a husband on the show. I came with a little bit of a family. I have children, and I have a husband. So yeah, that was just kind of like, “Bang!”
soapcentral.com: What can you tease as far as what viewers might be able to expect from Elise? The role is short term at the moment, but like you said, it might have the potential to go longer. So if it does, what kind of character do you think she is?
Buchanan: Well she's very smart. I don't think she would have been able to achieve the things she has if she wasn't pretty smart and probably pretty savvy, too. That's why I think while, just in the beginning, it was a little shocking for her to be face to face with Nikki and Victor. But in the long term, she's an ethical person, but I think she knows how to play the game. And maybe she's a little more calculating than some of the characters I've played in the past, which has been very fun for me. Really fun. She definitely has a little bit of a dark side, I think. Some of her behavior I wouldn't call mainstream for a judge. So there is something going on there, and there's room to flush it out more, for sure.
soapcentral.com: Would you love to see some catty, fighting scenes with Melody Thomas Scott?
Buchanan: To tell you the truth, any time I share any screen time with her is heaven. But yeah, I like it when characters appear one way to a lot of people but then you kind of see this other side of them that is either exposed in private or just with certain people that they kind of let their guard down or show their fangs. I mean, I think she's too smart to, in a really blatant way, start taking on Nikki and Victor, but I think she's calculating enough to pull some strings behind the scenes.
soapcentral.com: And that's fun in it's own way.
Buchanan: Exactly, and I've never really had a chance to play a character like that. I mean, Vicky kind of had her naughty moments, but she was still a really true blue heart of gold kind of character. So yeah, it would be fun to have a little mustache twirling.
soapcentra.com: I read a quote of yours in which you said you were actually kind of retired and then this phone call from Y&R came. How did it feel, that the powers that be thought of you and reached out when you weren't the one banging on doors like actors typically have to do?
Buchanan: Yeah! I mean, it was perfect timing. That's the best way to put it. My kids are grown up now, and I just got divorced, and so I felt like I was really ready to start a new chapter and turn a page and begin again. And so honestly, I was so grateful to [executive producer] Jill [Farren Phelps] and to [head writer] Chuck Pratt for thinking of me. And they were really straightforward and upfront: They didn't know if it was going to turn into more. And I'm praying that it does, because I've never been happier working on a show. Honestly, never been happier than on this one. But they were very upfront about it, and I'm sort of in the yes phase of my life, you know, where I'm just trying to say yes to things that I previous thought I'd maybe shut the door on. So when I got that phone call, literally I just said yes, immediately. We didn't have to go through jumping through hoops and craziness about how it was going to happen and when it was going to happen. I'm available and I have a really open heart and an open spirit right now, so I just said, “Hey, let's do it.” And it turned out to be a really, really good decision. I'm so glad I did.
soapcentral.com: And your fans are glad, as well. Like I said before, the viewer response has been incredible. What does it feel like to have so much fan support after taking a bit of a break from the industry?
Buchanan: Oh my gosh, I'm so grateful. They've just been amazing and really helpful spreading the word and trying to get support for me. It's just been amazing. You know, all those years on Another World playing Victoria, I felt like I had a deep and long term relationship with a lot of the fans. You know, you knew each other. At least, that's what it felt like to me. And I felt a responsibility to them to really deliver with that character. She was beloved. And so the fact that people still remember me or even care that I'm doing something again, it's really actually humbling. I'm very, very appreciative and very grateful. Soap fans are the best. They're unique, loyal, long term fans. So while I am humbled, I'm also not surprised because they're just awesome.
soapcentral.com: Have you felt any difference with social media being such a big part of the business now?
Buchanan: Oh my god, this is a whole new world to me! I mean, I didn't even have a Twitter account until I was urged into joining the 21st century. [The publicity department at Y&R] had to teach me how to do it, and Christian [LeBlanc] helped me a lot. When I first went to the set, I'm like, “Why are people taking pictures with their iPhones?” I was completely oblivious to that aspect of the business now, but boy I'm learning fast, that's for sure. I do look at my tweets and I tweet back! By the way, [I really need to figure out how] to turn the notifications off on my emails. I can't manage it. It's getting a little too crazy in the inbox!
soapcentral.com: That's a good sign! Pretty soon, you'll have a million followers [*Editor's Note: Find her on Twitter at @JBuchananYR ]. And by the way, I hear from almost everybody that Christian LeBlanc teaches all the newcomers about social media. It's so cute!
Buchanan: He was just amazing. You know, on my first day there, we did a little promo and honestly, I was just kidding when I said to Christian, I said, “What, are we going to tape this on an iPhone?” And we did! So it's a whole new world, and I like it because you can be so much more interactive with the fans and really hear what they have to say, and if it's appropriate, answer them back. Somebody asked me on Twitter if it was true that I helicoptered in to Another World. That's an urban legend. Would have been nice, but not true!
soapcentral.com: What a great rumor about you, though!
Buchanan: Isn't that funny? It made me laugh when I thought about my five hour drive down from Vermont into the city. There was no helicopter involved!
What do you think about Elise’s shocking reveal that she and Victor had an affair? Where would you like to see the story go? And would you like to see Buchanan on the canvas long term? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.
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