Melissa Claire Egan on Chelsea's Predicament on 'Y&R' & Joining Hallmark

Michael Maloney
Q&A Joanna Degeneres.

Soap fans know that coffee emporiums can be a front for illegal activities, but in Holiday for Heroes, set to air on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea, Young and the Restless) plays Audrey, a woman whose coffee-making business lays legitimate ground(s)work for true romance with a soldier named Matt (Marc Blucas).

After completing her first Hallmark movie earlier this year, Egan returned to Y&R and her con artist role as Chelsea. Currently, Simon Black (Jeffrey Vincent Parise; ex-Carlos/ex-Joe, General Hospital), an “associate” of Chelsea’s late husband, Calvin (John Burke), is not-so subtly threatening Chelsea’s son Connor (Judah Mackey) if he doesn’t get some money that he feels he’s owed.

TV Insider chatted Egan about her Hallmark venture, a recent trip to Home & Family where she reunited with her former All My Children husband Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan), and how Chelsea’s going to get out of her current jam. Read on to get the scoop!

Your first Hallmark movie! What’s it all about?

Melissa Claire Egan: It’s called Holiday for Heroes and my character Audrey Brown runs her own coffee shop. It’s a beautiful story not just about romance, but the military. It starts off with Audrey sending her brother (Devin, played by Rocky Myers) some coffee as a care package and he shares it with his fellow soldiers, including a guy named Matt. They develop a friendship over letters and later, he shows up at her coffee shop. A friendship, possibly a romance, blooms. Conflicts come up like where will he be stationed? Also, Audrey’s brother can’t make it home for the holidays, which is something that really happens. There are a lot of elements to this.

Holiday for Heroes (©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Robert Clark)

Some holiday movies are shot in the dead of summer. When did you film Holiday for Heroes?

We actually shot in January and February in Connecticut. Christmas was over, but, for me, it was extended. It was really a beautiful time. Clare Niederpruem was our director. Maclain Nelson was our producer. It’s so different from working on a soap. In daytime, you have so much to memorize and you shoot so quickly. On this film, we get more takes and there’s less to memorize. Learning lines was so much easier, but maintaining stamina was my challenge because the days could be so long. It was a blast, truly one of the best experiences of my life.

You can’t do a Hallmark movie without dropping by Home & Family to promote it.

Yes, I did Home & Family this week and I got to see Cameron [Mathison]. He’s the best, genuinely, the kindest soul. I was 24 when I joined All My Children. He was like my therapist. I’d come in to work [with my latest "woe"] and say to him, "You’ll never believe what happened to me!" Ironically, before I got the role of Annie on AMC, I had screen-tested for the part of Colleen [when it was recast and Adrienne Leon was hired] six months before I booked Annie. If I had gotten that part, I never would have gotten to play Chelsea.

Cameron Mathison, Melissa Claire Egan, and Debbie Matenopoulos on Home & Family (© 2019 Crown Media United States, LLC | Photo: Kim Nunneley / Alexx Henry Studios, LLC.)

I joked to Cameron and [host] Debbie [Matenopoulos] that I’m about to move in because I felt like I was just there since I did Home & Family last summer. Cameron’s doing so well. He looks healthy and strong and he’s just doing wonderfully. He has the best energy. I’m actually getting to see him this weekend. We’re doing the first ChristmasCon in Edison, New Jersey. It’s for holiday movie actors and Hallmark is sponsoring it. I’m excited to see some of my fellow holiday movie actors. It’ll be a fun, sweet time, and there will be some panels and activities.

How is Audrey different from Chelsea?

Chelsea, of course, does some really bad and even illegal things. Audrey’s less racy of a character. But they both have a lot of heart. There’s no con artist side to Audrey. She’s a good girl.

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Let’s talk about Chelsea’s current challenge – threats from Simon Black! Had you ever met Jeffrey before?

No. I had not, but I recognized him from his reels when I’d do Emmy voting. I knew he was a fantastic actor and we’ve been having a great time working together.

Who can Chelsea turn to at this time?

Chelsea’s making the mistake of thinking she can handle this on her own. She doesn’t want to go to Nick (Joshua Morrow) or Adam (Mark Grossman). She knows she’s in a tricky position. What she’s done is illegal. She doesn’t want Nick to judge her or know that she was doing something illegal. She has this custody battle going on [over Connor].

CBS

Had she been hoping to regain people’s trust since her return to Genoa City?

Yes. Since she’s been back, she’s wanted that and that’s why she’s trying to handle this herself. She’s not the same con artist she was when she left town [last year]. She’s made some bad choices [but] that money was left to her by her [late] husband. She made a mistake and now, it’s getting worse and worse every day.

Between the money Chelsea stole from Chelsea 2.0 and other assets, it’s a surprise she doesn’t have money to pay Simon!  

Chelsea had invested a lot of her money into the Grand Phoenix hotel and she had some in a storage unit. Kevin (Greg Rikaart) explained that the bank had seized it before he could "wash" it. All her liquid money is gone – hence her predicament!

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Adam or Nick. Who’s the guy for Chelsea?

Right now, she’s committed to Nick. They’re in love and living together. He’s been really supportive. But, of course, there’s always going to be a connection with Adam. They share a son. We’ve got a lot of stuff happening that I can’t give away, but I will say there’s some [Chelsea/Adam] bonding coming up. There’s a situation that comes up with Simon that both Adam and Connor are involved in, and [Chelsea and Adam] deal with something in a way that could either bring them together – or drive them further apart!

Chelsea and Nick have these two boys, Connor and Christian (Alex Wilson). Connor is Adam and Chelsea’s son. Christian is Adam and the late Sage’s (Kelly Sullivan) son, but we don’t see Johnny (Holden and Ryan Hare) and Katie (Sienna Mercuri) that much.

[Dryly] Who?

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Ha! Very funny. Seriously, though, Chelsea’s firstborn, Johnny, is being raised by his father Billy (Jason Thompson) and Victoria (Amelia Heinle). It feels like there’s a dynamic there that could be explored. We’ve seen how fierce and protective Chelsea can be. What did she say about Simon after he threatened Connor?

“Now, he burns!”

Yes! Soap fans love seeing a protective mama bear.

I love those twins who play Johnny. They’re delicious! I think it’s been almost eight years since Chelsea gave birth and gave Johnny up right away. It’d be messed up if she tried to take him back now. But I think when [the boys] are older, that could definitely come into play. Connor having [another] half-brother would be interesting. And, yes, I do think Chelsea would be protective of any of her children.

Holiday for Heroes, Friday, November 8, 9/8c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS