From the theater to the general hospital to prime time, Vanessa Marcil reports to TV Source about her long career and tells some great stories about her time in front of and behind the cameras. As we looked at her various processes across the many different roles she played, we were also able to gain a little more insight into the person Vanessa Marcil.
With a career spanning nearly three decades, there is still a novelty and passion for acting that resonates strongly with the actress. I indicated that I was nervous about going on exciting projects, and with a chuckle, Marcil offered her own experience with nerves going on a set. “I never know when it’s going to happen. I could be on set with a legendary actor and hear stories about classic movies, and then a random three-line guest star could show up and make me nervous. I feel like it’s one, too simple reason to be nervous – it means that it is something you really care about. ”
Taking care of her craft was instilled in her at a young age, partly because she fought hard to make her dreams come true. The age-old question that every actor is asked is why he should start acting for Marcil, which can be traced back to her mother Patricia. “My mother was an actress on stage when she was younger, but she got pregnant when she was fourteen and had to give up her dreams,” says Marcil, telling of her past. “She didn’t have the support system to keep doing what she loved and tried to pass on her love of acting to me and my siblings, but I was the only one who had an answer. She wrote me for theater when she was five joined the Children’s Circle Theater Acting Company and also took me to guitar lessons and dancing. I started writing my own songs and won first place in a nationwide talent competition where I played guitar and sang a song that I wrote when I was ten and it was called “Growing up God.” We still have the trophy and the tape recording of the performance. I was wearing clogs and jeans and we had to hide everything from my father. ”
Although Marcil’s mother never had a car when she was young, that never stopped Patricia from getting her daughter where she needed to go. Patricia put her in a red car and took her everywhere. Her mother was also very protective of her, especially throughout her career. “When I was fourteen, Frank Sinatra’s vocal coach heard me sing in a play and offered to give singing lessons and my mom said no because we couldn’t afford it, but then he offered to do it for free and me even give rides to the lessons. My mother is from the old school and didn’t want him to pick me up, but she let me do the lessons, but she had to be there all the time, “says Marcil. “At some point his agent wanted to take me to New York on Broadway to audition, but my mother said no. She wouldn’t have had the choice to move my entire family to New York City. My father would never have agreed to that. She was unwilling to send me to New York City with strangers as I see so many parents of child actors do. Some send the children away with “friends” or a “guardian”. ”
She used the protective instincts that Marcil’s mother showed with her in relation to her son Kassius. “He was offered movies, blog shows and a very popular modeling campaign. Kass and I agreed the answer was no. He saw the dark side of fame and grew up with us and his stepmother.”
Her mother’s reluctance to publicize her at a young age led Marcil to almost embark on a different career path. “She didn’t want me to be famous my age, but I kept acting, mostly stage plays. I was in college and wanted to go to law school and still do theater when I was discovered. I played Maggie, Elizabeth Taylor’s role, in Cat on A Hot Tin Roof and was discovered by accident because there was no better term. I became a professional actor by accident. ”Within three weeks of signing with her manager, Marcil was given the role of Brenda Barrett at the General Hospital.
It would be easy to assume that becoming a professional actor would be received with great support from her family, but it wasn’t. While Vanessa’s relationship with her mother was loving and supportive, the same couldn’t be said about her late father, Pete Ortiz. “I didn’t speak to my father in twenty years after moving away from home when I was seventeen. I moved and legally took my mother’s last name – Marcil – in place of his. He always left me messages that said, ‘You will never make it there. “You have to come home and just work as a secretary in the office of my construction business.”
“Where I grew up, I never thought that acting professionally was an option. I mean, I think people would think about it now, but it wasn’t even a thought back then, ”says Marcil. Especially as a little Mexican girl from Indio, nobody said anything to me about acting. Little did I know that this was a possibility. ”
Vanessa has played many roles over the years and her selection process was something we wanted to tackle in order to get into the interview. There are always rumors of her return to the General Hospital, but sadly, nothing has moved there since her brief two-day return in 2013 for the show’s 50th anniversary. So there are always questions about how she chooses the projects she wants to participate in. For Marcil, her decision to take on projects is based on what works best for her personal life. “I could be a lot richer and more famous if I did things the way others wanted me to, but there were certain things that just weren’t right for me,” says the actress. “I was offered two roles that really blew up, but I didn’t want to be topless in one, and the place wasn’t accessible to me in the other. I also had to always consider what was best for my son Being a single mother was the most important thing in my life and I had to put that first. And I wasn’t willing to do something I was uncomfortable with just to make more money. I don’t think that I knew then that I set my own limits. There were only things that I knew in my stomach that weren’t right and that made me physically sick. ”
When asked to respond to a specific situation that stood out, she told about her time in Beverly Hills, 90210. It’s no secret that working on the primetime Fox soap for the actress who talked about her style That wasn’t a fun experience was covered in previous interviews. “In the end, I gave up so much money to leave early. I was supposed to stay two years and it wasn’t everyone’s fault, but I knew in my gut that the job wasn’t right for me.” It was torture every day. But if you are scared of something just push it through and you will most likely feel great in the end, but that was different. If there’s something in my stomach that isn’t right every day, it just keeps getting worse for me. It was devastating. When I left GH in 1997, I was offered a contract role with Ally McBeal, ”says Marcil. “The story is that Michelle Phifer brought her husband David Kelly into her room and I was portraying Brenda on her TV and he called my agent right there and offered me a trial contract on one of the biggest I think shows ever made. Of course, he’s one of our greatest writers of all time, but just before that, Aaron Spelling called and offered my agents a two-year contract for more money than I’d ever made in my life. Day actors make about ten percent of the salary per episode that prime-time actors make. Basically, my agents took the money for the quality, and then I got rid of them. But I got Kassius out of this whole situation too, so it should be. ”
In a lighter tone, when speaking of her fans and their various stories about how they react to them, she was asked to share her own experiences of meeting people she admired. “I’ve been friends with Prince for over 30 years and never really talked about them. I naturally knew that this would mean more to him than just saying I knew him just to let people know. I was really young, but I just got it. “She stated that she has fans and friends who are the same about her, and she finds it extremely rare.
Nowadays it is necessary for stars to cultivate relationships with their fans through social media. Marcil says she had both good and bad experiences with the platforms. “There was a time when I had a group of people from my social media who won a trip to a movie premiere with me, and I took them with me. I met one of my friends and she was relaxed and extremely cool. She didn’t press me or ask for my phone number or anything, we just clicked. And then there was another person in the same group who was a little more aggressive. She found my fiancé and started texting him and he ended up having to make his account private. I understand people look forward to connecting and sometimes forget that it’s invasive. ”
We laughed a few times and joked about how to deal with negative feedback and trolls. “I have someone who runs my accounts and sometimes she has to block a lot of people for the hateful things they say. I like to think that I’m a fairly developed person, but sometimes I’m not very thick-skinned when it’s something that is extremely hurtful or personal. I don’t understand people who try to get things started just because of different opinions. I like constructive criticism; I don’t mind. I feel like most people who claim to hate something and go on and on about it really love it. The opposite of love is indifference. Not hate. You’re not just insisting on something you don’t care about. It still hurts, but intellectually I get it. ”
Marcil went a little deeper into the question of how to draw the line between healthy interaction and knowing when to admit that something is uncomfortable. “I know that the artists who guide you through these times can comfort you in difficult times and make you feel super connected. You want to appreciate all of your fans and sometimes it is difficult to find your way around as an artist because there is only one of you and there is never enough time in a day to acknowledge all of them. Sometimes even your family feels neglected when you are at work or on set. ”
Marcil spoke of her family and talked about her son and the special moments she was able to share with him when she was growing up because she was so selective about her roles. “Even though my son was on set with me the whole time, he realized that he wasn’t the most important thing and he felt that. I was overwhelmed that he noticed this at his young age and it hurt a little,” she remarked Actress. “The special moments I had with him happened between us when we least expected it. For example, when I would drive him to school or even work on the farm and he would come to me to talk or whatever. I realized that if I hadn’t been with him, I wouldn’t have had all these moments. In the past, other people would drive him around and do our gardening for us and I would have all of these Missing moments because I wasn’t there. ”
We’ve all heard the term opposites attract, but what kind of people make a healthy circle? Vanessa interfered quickly, which makes her feel good. “I have a chapter in my book called ‘Take Care of Mr. Nice Guy’ because the people who did the most terrible things to me were always so kind to my face. And then there were people who were just being honest and saying it as it was and who were usually fine. “With a short laugh, she added,” The people who have it all could be the ones who are planning your death. Just express yourself. ”
For years I’ve always been curious about her creative process and how she directs her energy into the roles she plays. When she was specifically asked what this process looks like for her, she was blunt. “My creative process is messy,” she teased. “I have breakdowns, I freak out and hesitate, and that’s all before I take on the role.”
What if the role is accepted once? “I immerse myself in every role. I do research and follow the backstory. I study like a madman and direct my lines for twelve hours at a time. I don’t always feel talented, ”she says. “I think art is a gift from the universe. I have a feeling that this magical spark just pops up and something clicks in my appearances. I’m working my ass off because I feel like one day the magic won’t show up and I’m just stuck. ”
Of course, I raved about her performances and how great she herself is at the non-verbal actions her characters show off. She continued to talk about the important things that she tries to incorporate into her performances. “I stop looking at my projects when they’re done, and I definitely don’t watch them with people because they don’t get everything I tried to get into the role.” Every little thing is important to me, including the little breaks. As if I could see something with someone and they say, “Do you want a sandwich?” And I want you to miss it! And they just repeat the lines without the feelings and I’m like you don’t understand. ”
Given the litany of projects she’s worked on over the years, we were surprised when Vanessa Marcil admitted that she actually doesn’t have a favorite. However, she has a moment that stands out that she will always remember and, surprisingly, she is one of the most successful women in Hollywood. “While I was in the General Hospital, someone said to me, ‘Everyone likes your character so much, no one will ever see you as anything other than Brenda Barrett’ – and I said, no, I don’t really like the way people were Treated during the day. It wasn’t always a good feeling, maybe I’ll keep doing stage acting, I was still doing stage plays on the weekends while I was working at GH. And they said to me, “No, no, no one will be able to see you as anything but Brenda.” My producer was obsessed with my hair so I cut it all off. I gave it to the curls of love foundation for a child with cancer. Still, I was backstage at Emmys and they threatened to fire me. My lawyer said, “Go ahead and fire her, but you still have to pay her for the rest of her contract.” I was crying backstage and the producer said, “Well, it’s your career that you’re ruining.” I just couldn’t stop crying. Oprah was there in hair and makeup and she asked what was going on and told me I was the most beautiful girl she had ever seen and I said, “What? Oh, thanks.” I told her she was would make me put in those awful hairpieces. ”
While Marcil was telling the story, I literally stopped and giggled. Add – Yes, they were cruel. She agreed and continued. “In the land of good hairpieces, I had these. But Oprah looked at me and said, “You don’t have to wear these. Here you are Vanessa, not your character. You don’t have to wear these.” Marcil remembers how shocked she was when she found out they were telling them no could. She told the producers that Oprah told her not to wear them and she went out without the hairpieces. She gained a lot of confidence that day and had her agent send her to various roles that she eventually booked.
This boosted confidence and assertiveness and led Marcil to book the film The Rock and a series called High Incident for a season. She played a woman who was addicted to meth and she revealed that this was one of the roles she enjoyed the most. “It was the closest thing to my real life. I’ve always played these rich girls, and this street girl was poor and rough. It was more like my childhood. The reason High Incident was my favorite time was because I didn’t wear makeup and my hair was short. She was a street girl / meth addict who literally had to take a baseball bat to a police car and break out all the windows. I always did most of my own stunts when they hit me, so I actually have to do that. It was a Steven Spielberg production with Blair Underwood and was canceled after the first season because it aired across from Friends. After that, I read for friends with David Schwimmer, but did Spin City with Charlie Sheen instead. I got a two-year contract with NYPD Blue and played a badass cop with that short hair, but had to stop and rest when I found out I was pregnant with Kassius. ”
By the time the interview ended, Marcil was sure to end on the best possible grade. “I really want to do things that challenge me. I want to play some controversial roles. I am not afraid of failure. You learn the most from your mistakes, I learned that from my son. He’s never afraid to try things that he knows could fail. I never want my son to be in pain, but I had to learn that failure is part of success. ”
I took the time to let her know that she would always have our support and she was humbly grateful. “It was great fun. I really enjoyed it. It’s always fun when you can enjoy the person you’re talking to. I was honored that you wanted to speak to me. ”
Look forward to updates on Vanessa Marcil’s upcoming projects in the coming months. In the meantime, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.