Jessica Tuck Is Checking Back Into 'General Hospital' as Cassandra Pierce
Villainess Cassandra (Jessica Tuck) was last seen nearly a year ago on General Hospital as she was being driven away in a car, the “guest” of a mystery man who was wearing a ring belonging to the Cassadine clan. (Hmmm…)
Viewers will see what’s been going with the calculating Cassandra when Tuck returns to GH starting Thursday, August 1.
TV Insider spoke to the actress about reprising her GH role, her guest spots on Freeform’s Good Trouble, and about her Emmy-nominated run as beloved Megan Gordon on One Life to Live. Among Megan’s stories was a memorable turn as a soap opera actress on fictional Fraternity Row, which was honored at the also fictional (and spectacular) Daisy Awards, a tribute of sorts to The Daytime Emmys.
Read on for the scoop!
GH left your return open and it’s great that’s happening. Cassandra is so evil!
Jessica Tuck: Really evil! She didn’t have many redeeming qualities, but there’s something sort of fun about that, too, playing someone who’s really, really despicable. Having been a vampire on True Blood, ruthlessness is in my wheelhouse. Perhaps, we’ll get a tiny peek at some other parts of her character? I’m not hinting at anything. I’m just throwing it out there. Who knows?
Does being at GH reunite you with any former OLTL pals?
I think Roger [Howarth, Franco; ex-Todd, OLTL] and I crossed paths at some point. I haven’t worked with James DePaiva [ex-Dr. Bensch; ex-Max, OLTL] at GH, but we have passed one another in the hall there. If he [comes back] perhaps our paths will cross again!
Last year, when Cassandra was lying in the hospital, it brought to mind Megan dying on OLTL.
[Laughs] In a very different way! People want to eat me alive as Cassandra. As Megan, it was sending me on my way.
When you were on OLTL, the show wasn’t always being recognized at the Daytime Emmys in key categories including Outstanding Drama Series. The Daisy Awards storyline was then-executive producer Paul Rauch’s response to that.
The Daisy Awards was a huge production. That was Paul’s brainchild and he went for it. The writers did an amazing job. We had a great time and all worked really hard on it. They choreographed and wrote songs for it. They tried to make it very much the same [as the Daytime Emmys], but also different. They were a little campy with it, but it was incredibly fun.
Sharon Sharth, who played [Megan’s rival] Spring Skye, is fantastic. I love her as a human being. She’s also an amazing actress, singer, and dancer. She was fun to work with and incredibly generous. She’s a musical theater person. I am not and had to fake my way through it.
Respectfully, I beg to differ! You were fantastic. In fact, you could end up performing at next year’s Nurses Ball.
[Laughs] Well, I don’t know about that, but I certainly had a lot of fun. Back then, soaps didn’t shoot as quickly as they do now. What we do now in the time and money constraints that we have would make it so that we could never do a Daisy Awards today.
OLTL had a soap within the soap – Fraternity Row – and it was unique in that the genre was treated with respect. It wasn’t a spoof like Soapdish. The Daisy Awards took the genre seriously.
I think you’re right about that. We had fun, but we weren’t necessarily making fun of ourselves. We wanted to be respectful of and underline that soaps are an art form. And they have something to contribute to daytime television. It wasn’t making fun of soaps even though there were fun and funny aspects to it — if that makes sense.
Perfect sense. Also, OLTL cast Robin Leach of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous as himself to host the Daisy Awards. What was it like working with him?
That was so much fun. Robin helped bring some authenticity to the story. He was really great. Robin had fun with it. He also found that line to walk of having fun, but not making fun of it.
Megan having been on Fraternity Row laid the foundation for a great speech — written by Scott Sickles from a breakdown by Chris Van Etten (both now at GH) — that Viki gave in the penultimate episode about why people watch soaps. Why was it important for you to come back for that last episode?
I was happy to. Soaps were where I began my career. It was such a great group of people. They were like family to me, truly. It was such a great privilege to go back. Also, the fans are incredibly supportive.
You recently recurred on Good Trouble, too.
Yes. My character, Libby, is the wife to Judge Wilson, played by Roger Bart. He’s great. I feel so lucky that I get paired with all these great people. To be honest, I haven’t done a ton on that show but from what they’ve shown, Libby helps show a different side to him. She’s not afraid of him the way a lot of other people are. They have a playful relationship and it adds a little balance to his character. They’re a great group of people on that show.
Who from OLTL are you in touch with?
I’m in regular contact with Grace Phillips, who played the second Sarah. Also, Frank has been a great friend since day one of One Life and we’re in contact. I’m in touch with Chris Cousins (ex-Cain), too. I love him! We see each other a lot at auditions. We got to play husband and wife on a show, but our characters were at each other’s throats! I’m always hoping I get paired with him on something. He is so much fun to work with and he’s so talented.
General Hospital, Weekdays, ABC