View Full Version : Stacy Haiduk TVGC Interview ó Crazy Like A Cat

6.26.09, 10:23 PM
http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/NR/rdonlyres/ACDBB566-F4E4-400D-AF66-65461BB471CD/203359/stacy_haiduk253.jpg Introducing daytime's wildest cat, Stacy Haiduk (MJ, ĎY&Rí) ... just don't call her a cougar! You may find yourself flying through a window

Crazy Like a Cat
By Nelson Branco


Donít mess with ĎThe Young and the Restless' latest breakout star Stacy Haiduk ó or you may end up cleaning out the litter box and screaming with the kitties!
Lock up your animals and children ó thereís a new psycho in Genoa City and sheís taking no prisoners.
Fans of daytimeís crown jewel The Young and The Restless are being treated to an old-school version of delicious insanity thanks to the arrival of the highly entertaining and dangerously unhinged Mary Jane Benson, a.k.a. Patty Williams.
But itís MJís portrayer, Stacy Haiduk (pronounced Hi-duke), who is driving viewers mad with her skilled interpretation of the breakout character.
Soap fans may remember Haiduk from her blink-and-youíll-miss-her role as Zach Slaterís wife, Hannah Nichols, on All My Children in 2007 and from various prime-time roles on Superboy, Prison Break, The X-Files, SeaQuest DSV, Melrose Place, Kindred and Heroes.
TVGuide.ca spoke with the 41-year-old Grand Rapids, Mich., native to find out just who the hell this acting treasure is, if sheís a pet lover, and who sheís taking to the Emmys as her date!
TVGuide.ca: How are you? [Purrs] Can I pet your kitty?
Stacy Haiduk: [Laughs] When youíre in Los Angeles next, you can come on set and have your way with my Kitty! Isnít giving Mary Jane a pet a sweet idea? At first, I was like, ďOmigod ó really?Ē And now Iím loving it!
TVG: Thereís a saying in show business that you should never work with animals or small children ó and youíre doing both!
SH: Iím loving it! I donít want to say sheís my favourite co-star, but Kitty is amazing to work with.
TVG: Except when she upstages you! Do you have any pets of your own?
SH: I do! I have three cats. Every night when Iím reading my scenes for the next day, I rehearse with my cats on my bed. [Laughs] Itís pretty fun. The whole Y&R cast jokes about Kitty. We love her.
TVG: Mary Jane threw a bird through Phyllisís window. Are you worried PETA may have a paint bucket with your name on it?
SH: I do have a heart! It was tough to kill that little bird. Unfortunately, people do kill [animals] in real life. moment that Mary Janeís rage was not in control.
TVG: Thatís an understatement. Surprisingly, fans seem to be on MJís side. Which says a lot about your killer performance. Did you realize how well-received your character has been?
SH: Not really. After your Nelson Ratings came out, I began to realize that this character has become [a hit]. As an actor, you appreciate any feedback you can get. And of course, I love hearing that the fans and critics are embracing the character ó no matter how delusional she is! Weíre stuck at the studio a lot, so as a performer all you can do is prepare and shoot the script. Yes, there are moments when I feel like I connected to the material but you never know how itís all being perceived. With all the positive feedback, Iím getting more and more excited about coming into work.
http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/NR/rdonlyres/ACDBB566-F4E4-400D-AF66-65461BB471CD/203337/stacyhaiduk152.jpgTVG: Y&R has a history of redeeming its psychos and making their portrayers superstars.
SH: Christian LeBlanc [Michael] keeps making crazy comments to me about how he wants my kitty! Iím thinking of lending Kitty to Christian.
TVG: That sounds like trouble. You know what? I canít believe Iím about to say this but Iím kind of on MJís side! In many ways, sheís not wrong despite her unorthodox methods.
SH: Thank you! And youíre right ó sheís not wrong. Sheís madly in love with Jack but sheís angry. Getting to know MJ more and more, I realize that. I donít feel like MJ thinks everyone around her are idiots, but sheís frustrated that they arenít acting the way she wants them to. [Laughs]
TVG: Sheís definitely right about that hot mess, Sharon!
SH: Actually, MJ does say something nice about Sharon soon Ö
TVG: So who the hell is Stacy Haiduk? Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?
SH: I hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan. On Sunday afternoons, I used to watch old movies starring Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, and Marilyn Monroe. I think I was six or seven years old at that point. I knew I wanted to be an actor even though I had no idea how to accomplish that goal and realize my dream. I started dancing in Grand Rapids and was lucky to study with some amazing teachers. I also modelled in a lot of fashion shows. Someone took me to New York, and [my journey] began there.
TVG: You could have easily starred in those 1950ís movies.
SH: Oh my God ó that would have been fabulous. Old movies are my passion. Iíll even search for old movies I havenít seen. The women were so cool back then! You have to see Three On A Match ó itís so good because all the women are sassy and fabulous. Youíll love it. It starred Bette Davis.
http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/NR/rdonlyres/ACDBB566-F4E4-400D-AF66-65461BB471CD/203354/superboy152.jpgTVG: I bet MJís favourite movie is [I]Whatever Happened To Baby Jane! Y&R has infused an element of classic melodrama into its scripts of late. Do you consider yourself a character actress?
SH: You know what ó I wasnít in the beginning. I always wanted to improve. When I played Lana Lang on Superboy, I received praise for that gig, but at the same time, I never saw myself as a character actor or thought that I could be at that point in my career. Itís only been in the last five years, after living life a lot more, that I learned I had a lot more to offer as an actress.
TVG: Most Y&R fans recognize you from your relatively intensive prime-time work from Heroes and Prison Break to The X-Files.
SH: Yeah, they do! Itís pretty amazing, I have to say.
TVG: Y&R didnít waste any time throwing you in with its heavy-hitters like Eric Braeden [Victor], Peter Bergman [Jack], and Michelle Stafford [Phyllis]. What is it like acting opposite these acting greats?
SH: I love it! You know what ó I dove into those scenes as I would have on any set and worked off whoever was in front of me. Of course, when your co-stars are heavy-hitters like Eric, Peter and Michelle, then itís a lot of fun. I feel blessed to have begun with these excellent actors, and continue to work with them.
TVG: Youíve stolen a few scenes from them as well. Do you think Mary Jane is in love with Jack or is it just an unhealthy obsession?
SH: Remember when we were younger and we fell in love for the first time and weíd do anything to get that person? TVG: [Joking] I have no idea what youíre talking about!
SH: [Laughs] MJ can only remember her first love; I certainly do. I think sheís in love with Jack and sheíll do anything to get him. And I mean anything! [Laughs]
TVG: Did you create a back story for MJ ó or have the writers informed you about what sheís been up to after all these years away from Genoa City?
SH: I havenít created a back story, per se. I do know a little bit about MJ, and that will reveal itself in time. As an actor, you always have to make choices regardless if you know what the exact back story is. If Iím not sure about something in the script, then I will absolutely create a reason to justify what the character is saying or doing at that moment. Iíll fill in the blanks if I donít know the specifics of the back story, so yes.
http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/NR/rdonlyres/ACDBB566-F4E4-400D-AF66-65461BB471CD/203355/stacy_peter152.jpgTVG: Your acting prowess is a sight to behold ó are you method or do you just act when they shout, ďAction!Ē
SH: I need to take you home so I can hear your voice 24/7! By the way, itís nice to hear such positive feedback because as actors weíre not always aware of how weíre doing or coming off. But back to your question ó Iím not method. I am able to just go in and act in the moment right away, but I do work hard on my scripts and rehearse at home. After 20 years in the business, your [arsenal] becomes more well-equipped. As long as youíre in the moment, youíre pretty much safe. As you grow as an actor, you learn to trust your choices and instincts. But if I know I have a lot of scenes and intense acting ahead of me, Iíll really prepare. Overall, I always know what my intentions are. When I canít think straight, my husband [actor Bradford Tatum] will help me run lines the night before. As you know, soap actors are given a lot of pages to turn out each day. Yes, some days are easier than others, but I always prepare before I get in front of the camera. At the end of the day, I have to watch myself on-screen and like what I delivered. If I donít do my best, Iím hard on myself.
TVG: If you were a method actress, youíd probably be arrested by now! Acting fascinates me because actors achieve truth by lying in artificial moments. Actors who just go in and act without any research astonish me.
SH: No actor can be fully prepared because you never know what will happen during a scene. Acting is reacting ó and you donít always know what your co-star has up his or her sleeve. I used to think I knew how my scenes would all turn out. I envisioned them in my head, but then if your co-star doesnít give you what you want Ö the only thing you can do is have an intention and learn your lines. Itís amazing what can happen in the little moments you donít prepare for. And thatís magic. You kind of get off on it. When you can connect in a moment and you forget youíre acting, thatís a great day.
TVG: Are you on contract or recurring? Are you here to stay?
SH: I think Iím on contract. At the moment, Iím just going with the flow.
TVG: Do you think MJ is redeemable?
SH: Yes, I do! Absolutely. I think the writers and myself are making MJ empathetic. Hopefully, viewers will understand that her actions are the result of a hurt place deep inside of her.
http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/NR/rdonlyres/ACDBB566-F4E4-400D-AF66-65461BB471CD/203356/thorsten152.jpgTVG: What was it like working on All My Children? I hated the storyline but everyone raved about your talent.
SH: It was my first soap. It was a learning curve for me. I have to tell you, I really respect anyone who acts on soap operas. I think every actor should work on a soap for at least a month. You know what? I had a good time there. All My Children was perfect in the sense that because it was the right situation for me at that time and place in my life. I had a good experience working with their actors and crew. It was a lot of fun for me to be on the set. Yes, I would have loved to have gone deeper with the character, but here I am on Y&R now.
TVG: Yes, that you are ó and thank the acting gods. Your AMC co-star Thorsten Kaye [Zach] was recently nominated for an Emmy ó what was it like working with the soap vet?
SH: I heard! Good for him! Last year, when I was on AMC, I remember he didnít receive an Emmy nomination and he quipped, ďI didnít work hard this year!Ē Heís cool. I really enjoyed working with him and heís a very kind human being.
TVG: Were you living in New York when you were working on AMC?
SH: Oh, God, no! ABC had me living in a hotel and I had to commute. Flying back and forth was exhausting. If I had a long weekend off, Iíd fly back home. There were times when Iíd fly out just for the day!
[B]TVG: Yikes. Y&R employs a slew of former AMC actors. Did you know anyone from your days in Pine Valley?
SH: I knew Billy Miller . We used to always hang out in our dressing rooms shooting the [crap]. Heís the only person I know from AMC but I know several of our actors hail from Pine Valley.
[B]TVG: Youíre in amazing shape. During a show the other day, I saw your washboard abs. Whatís your secret? You also look a little different from your AMC stint.
SH: I work out and do lots of yoga. Yes, I do look a little different these days. When I was on AMC, I ran a lot in Central Park all the time. Now Iím doing lots of yoga because my knees and legs were getting a pounding from all my running. Also, my hair colour is darker than it used to be when I was on AMC.
TVG: Everyone I know on Y&R wants to act with you. An actor, who will remain nameless, told me recently that he wanted his character to jump and pillage you in a carnal way! Itís too bad his character is married!
SH: [Laughs hysterically] See, itís nice to hear all that. You never hear that on the set. MJ is interacting more and more with other characters so itís nice to meet the Y&R cast in its entirety.
TVG: What does your family think of your new gig on Y&R?
SH: They love it! My daughter is on set today. Theyíre happy work is just a hop, skip and jump over the hill and Iím not flying out to New York. I have to say itís nice working in L.A.
TVG: Is there a crazy bone in your body? I always find that itís the nicest actors who tend to play insanity really well!
SH: Letís see ... [Laughs] Iím sure Iím not insane, but my husband has called me crazy a few times!
TVG: How would you sum up MJís psychology in a couple of sentences?
SH: I think there is something broken deep inside of her. The other day, someone on set told me MJ has an insatiable craving inside of her. And I like that description. I think she thinks Jack can fix whatís broken inside her. Sheís madly in love with him ó literally ó but, ironically, sheís not a victim. Isnít that funny?
TVG: I love when MJ tells people off in the most professional and diplomatic of ways, and yet at the same time, she reams them a new one! My favourite moment was when MJ insulted Jeffrey after he wanted to hire her to be his personal PR!
SH: [Laughs] I loved that scene! She wouldnít give him the time of day. Ted Shackelfordís [Jeffrey] great!
TVG: Whatís it like working with daytimeís dream team, head writer/producer Maria Arena Ball and co-executive producer Paul Rauch?
SH: Iím having a wonderful time with them. Overall, itís been a fantastic experience. I canít complain.
http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/NR/rdonlyres/ACDBB566-F4E4-400D-AF66-65461BB471CD/203358/mariaarenabell_paulrauch152.jpgTVG: Will you consider submitting yourself for Emmy consideration in 2010? Iíll stuff you if you donít!
SH: Iíll do it because you said so! [Laughs]
TVG: Are you planning on attending this yearís Emmy telecast?
SH: I hope so. Iíd love to get all dressed up and look fabulous. Maybe I should bring Kitty ó what do you think?
TVG: Do it! Brilliant idea. You have to walk her down the red carpet. I bet that photo op will end up in every mainstream magazine.
SH: I will leash Kitty and walk her down the red carpet just for you! Sheíll be my date!
TVG: Lucky bitch!