Whether you’ve followed her on screen career for some time, know her for her social media interaction (@CarolynHennesy on Twitter and Instagram!) or are new to discovering Carolyn Hennesy, this infectious personality is surely one you’ll never forget! We got the chance to chat to the iconic actress all about her projects both old and new, the world of acting and more.
What was it that initially drew you to the world of acting?
My father was a motion picture production designer who won an Academy Award for Fantastic Voyage in 1966. As a wonderful result, I grew up somewhat of a studio brat. I walked onto my first soundstage at the age of four and simply knew that, whatever happened in this big, black box, I was going to be a part of it. It felt very much like home.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom for people who may be hoping to break into the industry?
A) Play night with others; B) Make everybody else’s job easier; C) Understand that any member of any crew is usually smarter, better, more well-read and more discerning than any 10 actors put together and; D) Acting is not your life, your life is your life… Don’t be the actor that only talks about acting, be the person that talks about any and everything else. Actors can be astoundingly boring.
You’ve been playing Diane Miller on General Hospital for over 10 years. What’s your favourite part of playing her?
Her humour… Her rapier wit. Also, her take-no-prisoners attitude and her innate sense of style.
You recently won an Emmy for your role on The Bay. What was your first reaction when you won?
Everything went into slow motion as I watched the presenter sound out the syllables. I kept thinking, ‘Huh? That sounds like the first syllable of my name. And… Hey! That sounds like the next one…’ From there, it was simply shock.
What can you tell us about your recent action-thriller flick, Better Criminal?
It’s a groovy film with one hell of an ending. Jordan Belfi is a lovely actor and Bai Ling is outrageously good. It reminds one not to judge a book by its cover… Or a cop.
You’ve also got female-driven horror movie St. Agatha set for release, what can you tell us about that?
A first for me, and a character that fans have never seen me play: a completely humourless individual and one who’s also exceptionally horrible. It begins very innocuously; a girl finds herself in the family way with nowhere to turn, goes to the one place she thinks is absolutely safe to wait out her term and have her baby, and it turns out to be anything but.
Has horror always been a favourite genre of yours?
Of course. It goes to very primal, universal things. Things that remind us we’re all part of a larger collective.
How does St. Agatha differ to other horror films? They get a bad rap a lot of the time…
That’s an odd question; a bad rap for what? St. Agatha differs from most in that it’s entirely female-driven with men playing purely ancillary characters. Rarely do you see a woman playing the ‘Big Bad’. It’s refreshing. Moreso for me because… It’s me.
You of course also work in TV, how do the two mediums – TV and film – compare?
They’re the same. You bring your honest, present performance to each. You don’t need to hold back certain skills for one or the other. It needs to be all there, all the time for any screen size.
Do you have a favourite show that you like being a part of?
That’s incredibly difficult to say at this point because every show that I’ve done thus far has been a joy, character-wise. Too many choices. If forced to pick one on pain of death I’d say General Hospital. There’s nothing like Diane Miller anywhere else, the writers know her to a tee and they let me play a bit. She’s so well-rounded and so completely who she is. And it’s just a great set, great crew and I adore the EP.
Are there any good TV shows you’re watching at the moment?
I binge constantly and the shows that are not brilliant are the ones that can be counted on one hand. Everything is pretty much sublime. Taboo, House of Cards, The Blacklist, Harlots, Legion... These shows represent meat and potatoes days for an actor, character-wise. The Crown… My God. Also, Louis C.K. had a show recently which nearly put me away; Horace and Pete. Riveting.
Is there any TV show you’d love to be a part of in the future?
See above. And add The Strain, Ripper Street, American Horror Story. Anything. The list goes on.
Finally, what’s next for you?
In addition to my continuing role on General Hospital and pitching/producing a few projects of my own, I’ve started this crazy new and extremely fun adventure called Carolyn’s Carpetbag which is an online vlog – just like the Millennials have! – about my favourite products… For just about anything; why they work, where one can find them etc. It’s really an ‘unboxing’ show for, as I say, ‘gals, guys, gays and grays’ of a certain age. There’s nothing like it out there, as far as I know. I just think that folks who aren’t Millennials are being counted out when it comes to buying power and this is a perfect place for advertisers with great products for my generation to come and be seen. And hey, MY generation is the boomer generation… So there are HUGE numbers of us out there!
I’ve also launched a new app where fans can come and keep in touch, ‘imjustsayin’ for both iPhones and Androids.
I also have an online store in conjunction with Carolyn’s Carpetbag – carolynscarpetbag.com - where I sell the handmade jewellery and these nifty things called ‘Dangledrops’, which are reminders for women of the three things that, in my humble opinion, every woman should do while driving, sitting in traffic, at stop signs, etc. You’ll have to log on to see what I mean but every woman should have one!
I’ve also just signed to endorse a truly revolutionary procedure called Nutrient Body Sculpt which utilises micronutrients to improve health and tone the body; check out my Twitter feed for more details, but believe me… You’ll thank me!