Eden McCoy on Playing Young Carly in a Special 'General Hospital' Episode

Eden McCoy Laura Wright General Hospital
Q&A
ABC/Craig Sjodin

It’s been said that there are no truly bad characters on soaps — just folks with tragic backstories that cause them to act terribly. General Hospital is airing a special episode Wednesday, April 8, set in the 1990s and will give insight into not only why Carly (Laura Wright) is the way she is, but also into Nelle (Chloe Lanier). (Yep, the two rivals knew each other long ago, briefly.)

Emmy-nominee Eden McCoy, who plays Carly’s daughter Josslyn in modern day GH, will portray a young Carly, while actress Willow Rose takes on young Nelle. And the show didn’t have to look far to cast Carly’s adoptive parents: Cynthia Watros (Nina) and James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) take on the roles of Virginia and Frank for this special episode.

TV Insider spoke to McCoy playing a young Carly and how she also got bring some of her favorite Friends to the episode, too!

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What did you think when you found out you were doing this special episode?

Eden McCoy: I was just so excited. I’ve spent countless of hours with Laura and have grown up beside her, learning from her. She’s such an amazing person to learn from… I was so blown away when I learned about this show. When I found out that Cynthia was playing [Virginia] and "JPS" (James Patrick Stuart] was playing [Frank], I was super, super stoked! They inspire me. They are fantastic people to work alongside. I haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with them in terms of acting as much as I was able to in this episode. I got to know them as people more and also, as actors.

What did you learn from James and Cynthia in terms of acting?

They’re both amazing; Cynthia is such a present actor. She’s super in touch with the moment. She gives great "soap face"!

Cynthia Watros, Eden McCoy, and James Patrick Stuart (XJJohnson/jpistudios.com)

She does!

Not over the top or anything like that, but she’ll just give that perfect look in a scene. She has a look for every moment. She plays this character that’s heartbreaking. I learned more to take in every moment. JPS goes all-in 150 percent to where he knows what he’s going to look like, where he’s going to stand, what will be in his hands… he takes it all in. He knows what his goal is and what his character is trying to accomplish. It’s all about being present and finding new ways to make the character your own and to come alive. He is so much fun to work with in a scene, as is Cynthia.

What are the challenges in playing Carly, given what you know? And how was it easier?

It was definitely easier and there was less pressure than if they had hired someone to come in [who didn’t know the show]. I grew up alongside Laura and watched her work. As a young kid, you inherit traits from people around you. That’s how we all emulate our own parents. It’s the same concept for me [as an actress]. I emulate Laura as Eden, and Carly as Eden. It’s not necessarily on purpose. It was more like a fun, experimental experience.

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I didn’t feel like I had any pressure. I’m grateful for the trust they showed in me. So many people were involved in this and the design of the episode set in the 1990s. All the departments — hair, makeup, wardrobe, everyone — did a phenomenal job. I had three looks in this episode and they were named "Monica," "Rachel," and "Phoebe." I’m such a Friends fan! I was in my element. The writing was super-good, amazing. Everybody delivered!

Does this episode give you additional insights into what Carly endured as a child?

Yes. One of my favorite parts of this experience was seeing what Carly went through and where she came from and seeing her character now. The audience already knows Carly pretty much came from nothing. She didn’t have parental support. She was very alone, but that’s what made her the fighter that she is today.

I dove into the script. I’d known a little bit about Carly, but I didn’t know all the specifics. Now, everybody will have a new perspective. I know I did. As Josslyn, I can play with that now that I know a little more. I think as her daughter, Josslyn would know more about her mother’s life than other people would.

James Patrick Stuart and Eden McCoy (XJJohnson/jpistudios.com)

Do you get also insights into Nelle from doing this episode?

Yes. A little. There’s this once scene that’s so heart-wrenching. Carly goes to Frank and asks for money so she can go to New York and start over. They’re arguing and then little girl Nelle comes in. There’s this broken, shattered moment that takes place. At the end of the day, Carly was a young kid, seeking help. It’s a really personal, sad, tragic moment that subconsciously influences Carly’s views on Nelle today. It’ll give insight into this whole enemy relationship that Carly and Nelle have established.

As Eden, you now have more insight into the characters, but Josslyn won’t — certainly not as much. Boy, we’re so doing Inside the Actors Studio right now.

[Laughs] I know, but I love talking about it. You’re right. I’ve got this knowledge in my back pocket, but I can’t really use it. Carly and Josslyn are very different people. Both of them are fighters, but the fact that they’ve grown up so differently makes it all so much more interesting. I think the less Josslyn knows the more fun it will be. The audience will see it, but Joss won’t. The goal is to get people riled up. When Nelle was the most hated — and she still is — but when she was at her peak of being hated, well, that’s the dream. You want people to either love you or hate you. The place in between is the scary zone.

General Hospital, Weekdays, ABC