‘General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn and William deVry Take Fan Questions From the Julexis Army

General Hospital
Jim Warren
William DeVry, Nancy Lee Grahn

Sex, lies, jealousy. No, it’s not the latest installment of ABC’s General Hospital. It’s lunch with Nancy Lee Grahn and William deVry! In Part 1 of our interview, the two stars previewed the February 19 wedding of their characters, Alexis Davis and Julian Jerome, Now, in Part 2, they answer Twitter questions from their fans, the mighty Julexis Army. No topic was off limits, including Will’s underwear.

Your Army is one delightfully nosy bunch! Here’s a question from @hatrickgoalscor: “What was your first impression of each other when you met?”
[Laughs] My first thought was, “Aw, Christ.”
Grahn: And I’m thinking, “Poor man. Many have come and gone before him. He has no idea that he’s just one in a long line of poor, unfortunate saps who have been with Alexis. May God have mercy on his soul!”
deVry: My second thought was, “Relax. This won’t last.”

@LSterbuck asks: “If you could change one thing about the other, what would it be?”
Oh, God.
deVry: Just one? That’s such an unfair question.
Grahn: [Laughs] The list is so long. Oh, I know! I would have Will not question me when I know I’m right. And I am right all the time.
deVry: This may sound like a small thing but, trust me, it’s not. Nancy is always losing her eyeglasses. Twenty times a day I hear: “Will, where are my glasses?” So I would permanently attach them to her body—with a bungee cord.

A lot of your followers asked this: “What is your favorite Julexis scene?”
The very first sex scene we did, which I personally choreographed. I’m taking full credit for that.
deVry: I like the sex scene Penny Pengra directed on the chair. It was very sensual and aggressive. One fan did accuse me of physically abusing Nancy when I grabbed her neck.
Grahn: I’ll be the judge of that!
deVry: Sometimes we do get too aggressive. One time [executive producer] Frank Valentini had to step in and direct the scene because we were being too rough with each other. He wanted to make it more romantic.
Grahn: We both like scenes that have no dialogue [They both laugh]
deVry: No clothes. No dialogue. Works for me!

@JIs_ca says “It seems being the hot, sexy couple has been good and bad for you. Do you resent it at all?”
There’s nothing to resent. Nancy, you’re smarter than I am. Is there a bad part?
Grahn: The only bad part about this whole thing is my back fat.
DeVry: All conversations eventually lead back to Nancy’s back fat.

General Hospital

Grahn and DeVry

@JulexisFan has a juicy question. “I know LW once said Will and Nancy had a fight that lasted a couple of days. What was the fight about?” I’m assuming LW is Laura Wright?
Whaat? No, it never happened.
Grahn: That is completely untrue. Two days? No way.
deVry: Oh, I think I know what Laura was talking about, but it wasn’t serious.
Grahn: Sometimes I like to play with the script but Will won’t play. He buries his feet in the sand. We’re both very stubborn. We’re both Taurus. Bullheaded bulls.

OK, if not two days then what’s the longest backstage brawl you two have had?
There have been no fights that last more than five minutes. In fact, we have “F—k you” fights. We’ll be out in the hallway by the dressing rooms having it out about something and I’ll go, “F—k you, Will!” And he’ll go, “No, f—k you, Nancy!” And it’ll be over as quickly as it started. That’s how we prepare for our scenes. It’s our idea of foreplay. We can be spitting mad at each other and then the director goes 5-4-3-2…and it’s, “Julian, I love you!”
deVry: Nancy’s never had this much fun with anyone in her entire career.
Grahn: It’s true. I haven’t. And Maurice Benard is very jealous of us. He always walks by going, “Julexis! Julexis! All I hear is Julexis!” He spits it out like he’s in fifth grade.
deVry: Dom Zamprogna does the same thing to me. He’s like, “We can’t all be a supercouple.”
Grahn: They’re green with envy. All of ‘em! They tease us horribly. Well, at least we’re being teased by the Marlon Brando of daytime. If Maurice is our Brando, then I claim Shelley Winters.
deVry: Then who am I? I wish I could say Steve McQueen. [Laughs] But I don’t actually buy that.

@quit5000 wants to start another fight with this question: “Whose hockey team is better?”
There’s no fight there, unfortunately. I have to admit that, right now, it’s Nancy’s team.
Grahn: Blackhawks!
deVry: Though Nancy’s not really a hockey fan.
Grahn: What the hell? Have you seen my Twitter thumbnail? Have you seen my front page of the Chicago Sun Times?
deVry: What she’s not telling you is that she’s new to all this. She didn’t even know who Bobby Hull is, okay? She called him Bobby Hall.
Grahn: Well, now I know who he is.
deVry: You probably can’t name me even one other Hall of Fame Blackhawk player in the entire history of the team.
[Long, deafening silence]
Grahn: Uh…I’ve been paying attention to the current group.
deVry: Yeah, exactly. I’m the real hockey fan. Montreal Canadiens!

@quit5000 also wants to know: “If Dancing With the Stars asked, would you participate?”
No. I don’t want to be humiliated on television. [Groans] I’ve had enough public humiliation for one year, thank you.

But DWTS can really move a career.
In which direction? I don’t have an interest in being a celebrity. I have an interest in being an actor. But that doesn’t mean I can’t dance. I love to dance. I’m very competitive, actually.
Grahn: Maybe Alexis and Julian should take a ballroom dance class together. [Laughs] Wow, there’s some drama for ya! I don’t think I have the courage for DWTS, quite frankly. I just know something bad would happen. Although, the episodes where they take someone away in an ambulance are always the best!
deVry: If you talk to Kelly Monaco, she’ll tell you that it takes an enormous amount of physical courage. No question.
Grahn: Besides, I’m not into wearing those flashy costumes. At a certain point in life, one should stop with the sequins…and I’ve passed that point.

One more from @quit5000: “When is Alexis going to let out Natasha? We’re due for some badassness.”
Who’s Natasha?
Grahn: That’s Alexis’ birth name. It’s so wrong that they never let her go after Helena Cassadine. And now it’s too late. It’s such a missed opportunity. Helena slashed the throat of Alexis’ mother! If I’d had a scene where Alexis was dancing on Helena’s grave—and I do literally mean dancing—I might have had something to submit for the Emmys. That’s the kind of dancing I would do. That would have been awesome.

Why didn’t any of the writing regimes at GH see gold in that connection between the characters?
I think maybe they forgot about it. There’s been nothing between Alexis and Helena but some verbal banter. They would just shoot the occasional bitchy barb at each other, which I never understood. Alexis would have found some way to take Helena out—legally or otherwise.

This is not a question but a comment. @JulexisisLoVe says: “I love the way Julian looks at Alexis like she’s the only goddess on Earth.”
That’s so nice. I’ve been on the show 20 years and nobody likes me very much. But Will does. The reason Julexis is successful is that Will commits to this relationship, which has not been my experience on soaps. Or in life. He doesn’t resent the idea of a man being head-over-heels in love with a woman, and that’s a frequent problem with actors. When I was on Santa Barbara, Mason and Julia were a really great, complicated couple, but it’s no secret that Lane Davies was difficult. He didn’t like to play how much Mason loved Julia, as if it made him less complex or less manly or less interesting. That happens a lot on soaps and it’s foolish. Julian being devoted to Alexis makes Will more interesting and even hotter. The women at home pick up on that.

@nataliejenn has an enquiring mind. She asks: “Do the two of you rehearse love scenes in your dressing rooms?”
All the time!
Grahn: We need practice. That’s the only thing we do rehearse.

And how exactly does that work?
We actually have sex. Isn’t that what dressing rooms are for? And I have the blessing of Will’s girlfriend. Rebecca Staab is a wonderful woman and very understanding. We’re one big happy family.

@FreespiritMt wants to know: “How has being a working actor in daytime changed in recent years?”
We used to do one episode a day. Now we’re doing eight and sometimes nine of them in five days. Sometimes you’re just hanging on for dear life.
Grahn: The speed of it all kills me. I used to say, “Rehearsals are for wimps.”
deVry: That’s what the people who come late always say.
Grahn: We’re really good at flying by the seat of our pants, but I do recognize that my acting has suffered.
deVry: You’re being too hard on yourself.
Grahn: Finding an interesting twist for a scene takes time, and usually we don’t have it. I’m not as good as I could be, not as good as I have been.

So what are you going to do about it?
I’m going to start paying more attention. I need to focus.
deVry: I’m gonna remember that.
Grahn: I mean it. I want to go back to being the actor I was trained to be. I’ve gotten complacent.

Several fans asked about the guest list at the wedding. Who’s not invited?
No murderers or thieves, which eliminates 95 percent of Port Charles.
deVry: Or hypocrites. Like Molly.
Grahn: Hey, don’t talk about my daughter that way!
deVry: I’m kidding! But she is a damn hypocrite. Her father is a no good criminal mobster and she’s constantly harping on Julian for being the same. She thinks Sonny is so great. She’s like, “Yes, he kills people but he’s still a nice guy.”
Grahn: Nina should not be there.
deVry: But she works for Julian!
Grahn: But she’s cuckoo! And Anna should not be there.
deVry: Franco’s a no. Nina can be there but the problem is Franco would tag along.
Grahn: Basically, Julian and Alexis have no friends. So this is going to be a very cheap wedding.

@topaz8100 asks, “Where will Julexis go on the honeymoon?”
Hopefully not the burn unit at the hospital.
deVry: We can’t say, but if I were writing the script Julian would give Alexis a choice: Skiing in the Alps…
Grahn: Yuck. No.
deVry: …or a week in Paris.
Grahn: No! An African safari. Branson style.
deVry: Branson, Missouri?
Grahn: No. Richard Branson! Five star. Or skydiving.

This is interesting. @GabeRodney wants to know: “Where do you think your characters would be if there was no Julexis?”
It would all depend on who’s writing the show. If men were writing GH, I’d be a utility player and Alexis would be representing mobsters in court for crimes she knows they committed. And that’s the truth. She’d have no love life or any interesting purpose. She’d all the time be asking her daughters, “Are you OK?” instead of having a life of her own. And at night she’d be sitting home watching Wheel of Fortune. And staring at her orange carpet that’s been there for 40 years. [Laughs] And drinking.
deVry: I honestly don’t think I’d still be on the show. Julexis is a big reason—maybe the reason—Julian remains on GH.
Grahn: If it wasn’t for Alexis keeping her man out of the mob, Julian would be on a meat hook, just like anyone else who dares to cross Sonny.
deVry: Or at the bottom of Lake…uh…what lake would it be? Lake Erie? Where the hell is Port Charles anyway?

This comes from @marilyn_in_nj. “How are you two most like your characters? And how are you most different?”
I’m most like Alexis in how much we love our daughters. And the biggest difference is that I have no relationships with mobsters in my real life. Well, that I know of.
deVry: Like Julian, I have a pretty good ability to listen, learn and make changes, the three keys things that have kept him from being at the bottom of that lake. And there’s a lot that Julian and I don’t have in common. For example, I know who my mother is.

@rsherman626 asks “What storyline would you like for Julexis?”
I would love some sort of professional competition between them, one based on their ideology. A smart conflict.
deVry: Yeah, like Alexis is a Democrat and Julian wants to vote Republican. [Laughs] Alexis would die.
Grahn: So would Nancy.
deVry: That could end Julexis.
Grahn: Permanently!

Devry and Grahn

DeVry and Grahn

Many of your Army recruits want to know about upcoming Julexis appearances. Are any scheduled?
Grahn: I’m not traveling anywhere until my daughter, Kate, leaves me for college. And secondly, Will has gutted the market. His abs and his black underpants are overexposed, as are his personal appearances. He’s everywhere. He’s even doing an appearance in Paris and we’re not even on the air there. We can’t do a Julexis event because everyone in the Unites States has already seen him!

Not even for GH Fan Club Weekend?
Well, maybe.
deVry: Nancy always goes rogue that weekend. I’ll have to discuss it with her. She’s very secretive and protective.

The one and only @PamPetrakos has a several questions and will not be ignored. Here’s the first: “What were your reactions when you found out Julexis was getting married?”
They never tell me anything in advance. They know better. But suddenly there was that proposal scene and I was, like, “Are we actually getting married? Is someone gonna die? Is it me?” I was told it’s a real wedding with all the trimmings and that felt right to me, and a good next step for the characters. But Will? Not so much.
deVry: I was very hesitant. They were very tightlipped at the show. I did get a little indication that a wedding was coming up, but I didn’t share it with anybody, not even Rebecca. She always makes fun of me because I never ask her to rehearse scenes with me at home. I don’t want her to know what happens. I want her to watch the show and be as shocked as anybody. I like having that objective viewer in our house. She’s my hot-and-cold gage meter. She either likes what I do, or she doesn’t. There’s no lukewarm. Eventually I did talk it over with Nancy who said, “Hey, listen, this is a great payoff for the fans, for all their hard work and dedication. They deserve it.” That made me feel OK about it, but then my next question was: “Are they gonna be happy for more than five minutes?” But that was then. Now, I’m really happy about it. I’m embracing it. I’ve been through all the emotions.

Pam also wants to know what song Julexis will dance to at the wedding.
[Laughs] Alexis is saving the first dance for Sonny. It’s only right. No, actually, there is no dancing and you will find out the shocking reason why. I can’t say anything more than that right now. But if there was going to be a first dance? Alexis would do the Hora.

In a Christian church?
She likes to shake things up.
deVry: I think it should be Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life—or whatever was playing on the radio when Alexis and Julian got it on in that Camaro back in the ‘80s on the night they made Sam.

Time for the last word. What do you want to say to the Julexis Army?
Thank you for being unstoppable and unflappable. We have very kind fans.
deVry: Yes! Very respectful. They come from a very good place. There’s never any meanness. Even when they take issue with something, they’re very diplomatic in their arguments. Very positive. My message is: Congratulations, your passionate and unflinching support for us has prevailed. The writers do listen! You do matter!
Grahn: And here’s my message to the Army: No matter how much pressure you get to abandon ship, don’t do it! Should, for any reason, the Ju be taken away from the Lexis, don’t leave me. I’ll go find me someone else! Sorry about that, Will. I’m loyal. [Laughs] But not that loyal.