Where are They Now? Carrie Genzel (ex-Skye Chandler, 1996-97)

Genzel Raises a Glass to Her Life as "Skye"

 

Carrie Genzel (ex-Skye)

Imagine lying in a bed in your night gown all day, and getting paid to do it. Landing the role of dysfunctional eldest Chandler daughter Skye Chandler fulfilled that dream for Canada native Carrie Genzel. "In the early days, it was pretty much me, a bed, an I.V. and Michael Sabatino (ex-Jonathan Kinder)," Genzel said of her start at All My Children in 1996. "I just remember feeling like I was a part of something big, something really special and something with a lot of history to it."

The role of Skye was originated in 1986 by Australian actress Antoinette Byron, but was most popularly played by Robin Christopher from 1987-91. Christopher had since moved across town to Proctor & Gamble's Another World leaving the role vacant. "I had never seen Robin's portrayal of her until after I had left the show," Genzel said about her predecessor. "I didn't want to watch someone else's version of Skye and have that influence my work, and I was told they wanted to take Skye in a different direction."

"So I thought it was best to just do my own thing and make her work my own," Genzel said.

But taking on the legacy role of Skye was no easy task for Genzel. "It was a great honor to play a Chandler… that was one of the reasons I was so excited to join the show. The Chandlers have such a rich, no pun intended, history on the show," Genzel said. "I don't think I was told much about Skye at the beginning. When I auditioned I remembered being told that she was Adam's (David Canary) daughter, strong willed and bit of a trouble maker."

Genzel auditioned for the role from Los Angeles. She was among Michael Bruno's bevy of potential soap actresses. Casting Director Judy Wilson came out to see Genzel on the West Coast. "It had taken them quiet a while to cast the role so I had to make up some shows that already had been shot," Genzel said. "Once I got the role I asked everyone about Skye and most people couldn't remember much about her. I got most of my information about her from the fans actually."

The producers quickly got Genzel situated in the role, including lining her up to shoot her reel for the opening credits. "I remember being really excited to shoot my opening shot. Then it seemed real to me, that I was on the show. But, it's a bit nerve wrecking because you know that it'll be shown over and over again for years so you want to look good," Genzel said.

"We shot it in the first week or so of me starting and at that point, Skye had only been seen in her white nightgown and she had amnesia and didn't know who she was," Genzel said. "It was a challenge to try to embody who Skye was in a look when I was still trying to figure that all out… but I think it turned out alright."

One of Genzel's first days included shooting her opening sequence reel as Skye.

"I was thrown right in from the get go and was working pretty much every day," Genzel said about her early days on set. "I remember being very excited to be part of the show and trying to remember everyone's name." One name she would not forget was onscreen husband Sabatino.

"Michael was a big help to me at the beginning, but he was also a lot of fun to work with. Even though he played such an evil character, he was always making jokes to lighten the mood," Genzel said. "So I relied on him a lot to show me around. He was very kind and generous and made me feel comfortable… we talked about our dogs a lot."

"I know I got some great advice from the vets of All My Children and that got me through those early days when everything seemed pretty overwhelming," Genzel said.

Not even the support of a veteran Daytime performer like Sabatino could prepare Genzel for the long days ahead as a front burner player at All My Children. Especially when the bulk of her storyline was opposite Canary in his dual roles as twins Adam and Stuart Chandler. "I knew that I would have to tape the scene twice and that for some lines I would be speaking to David's stand-in," Genzel said. "Those scenes were more difficult for David having to tape those scenes as both characters. There would be a line on the floor that we both couldn't cross for when they spliced both parts together. We'd typically do one part early in the day and then shoot the second part later that afternoon." This would allow Canary time to go through a makeup transformation into his second character.

"They were fun to do and it always tripped me out to see it air and see both characters there as though they had always been," Genzel said about the technicalities of playing opposite Canary in a dual role.

The oppurunity to work oppsite David Canary as Adam and Stuart was a highlight of Genzel's run as Skye.

Genzel also appreciated the meaning behind the scenes and found them fulfilling as an actor. "I found them [the scenes] to be quiet fun actually because Skye was so different with her dad and her uncle, so I got to show those differences in one scene," Genzel said. "It was nice to see the conflict between Skye and Adam and then see those walls come down and see a softer side of Skye with her uncle Stuart. I think it helped the audience understand her better because she could say those things to Stuart that she wouldn't have said to Adam because she felt so comfortable and not judged by Stuart."

Genzel also spent most of her early days opposite Daytime veterans Robin Mattson (ex-Janet Dillon) and Susan Lucci (Erica Kane). "The storyline with the three of us was so much fun. We used to laugh so much at the crazy stuff those three would get themselves into," Genzel said. "All three women were strong, cleaver women, but they had no idea what they were doing when they try to execute these crazy plans they would come up with."

"Those were some of my favorite times on the show, when the three of us were working together," Genzel said. "I was a lucky girl to be working with the best of the best, and I was so determined to keep up with them and was working so hard to understand the character and get used to a new medium."

Working with Lucci sometimes meant making accommodations in the schedule. "I think the hardest day on set for me was just before Susan Lucci's holiday. She had planned a trip and it happened to be around the same time we were working together a lot," Genzel said. "We had to pre-tape the shows before she left so there wouldn't be a hole in the storyline. So on the worst day I had to do 3 1⁄2 shows in one day. I had over 90 pages of dialogue and 4 hair/make-up and wardrobe changes. It was killer, but I got through it."

"I think that I got to work with pretty much everyone, Skye was always in everybody's business," Genzel said. "That's one of the things I really liked about the character is that I got to work with so many different people on the show."

Genzel cherished the comrade of the cast and found many friends among her ensemble. "Everyone made me feel so welcome and you're around each other so much that I just felt that I blended in with the rest of them," Genzel said. She became especially close to onscreen sister Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley Santos) despite the fact that Skye and Hayley were supposed to be on bad terms. "I swear we were separated at birth," Genzel said about her co-star.

Genzel's most memorable storyline involved the "Girls Club" with Robin Mattson (ex-Janet) and Susan Lucci (Erica).

"In fact we used to joke that we had a little too much fun on the set and so they stopped pairing us together," Genzel said about her relationship with Ripa. "We were kind of troublemakers…too much laughing and not enough listening to the stage director."

The onscreen sisters also shared a secret pop culture obsession. "We're both Star Wars freaks, believe it or not, and sometimes it was just quoting lines or a situation from one of the movies that would get us going," Genzel said.

One of Ripa's offscreen antics was a surprising new look after a weekend break. "We always had fun in the hair and make-up room, that's where we all goofed off and caught up… that's where all the real dirt gets spilled," Genzel said. "Kelly came back from a weekend with platinum hair and when we had taped the show Friday it was just blonde, not too big of a deal, except we were taping the same day in 'Pine Valley.'"

"We were all shocked that she came back Monday with the platinum Marilyn Monroe colored hair," Genzel said. "We all joked she was going to get fired for ruining the continuity of the show."

"Because we got along so well, it would make us laugh when we had to be mean or dislike one another," Genzel said.

"We had a lot of fun on set, especially during camera rehearsal," Genzel said. Not all the funny moments on set involved Ripa and Genzel. "I remember there being a big scene with Michael Knight (Tad Martin) and Michael Lowry (ex-Jake Martin) and a bird or bat flew in the scene… they both freaked out, I mean freaked out," Genzel said. "It was such a departure from the scene they were doing that I was a shock to see them react and jump and scream the way they did."

Genzel also became fast friends with John Callahan (ex-Edmund Grey) and then wife Eva LaRue (ex-Maria Grey). "I loved working with John and Eva. I did feel strange a few times I had to kiss John, especially in one fantasy scene where Eva was in the scene as well. Talk about never wrecking!" Genzel said. "Eva and John had become friends of mine off the set so we all had a big laugh about it at the end of the day."

"We all joked she was going to get fired for ruining the continuity of the show."

-Genzel on an incident with co-star Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley)

It would not be uncommon for the Genzel and the Callahans to find themselves hanging out after a long days work. Their favorite hangout had an All My Children connection. "Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo Santos), Eva and John, Lauren Roman (ex-Laura English), Michael Lowry we all used to hang out at Chris Bruno's (ex-Michael Delaney) martini bar," Genzel said.

Bruno and Genzel's professional paths almost lined up again. "I was very sad to see Chris go, he was very liked by the cast and crew. Years later, I worked on The Dead Zone, which he was on, but the days I was working he wasn't there, so I didn't get a chance to see him," Genzel said.

Another fun off set event was attending the Daytime Emmy Awards, especially since All My Children was nominated for both years Genzel was with the show. "It was held at Radio City Music Hall both times, which was really exciting for me. That building has so much history and it was an honor for me to be sitting there with the rest of the cast and see all of the actors from all the other show," Genzel said, "as well as some of the greats like Oprah, Bob Barker, Mr. [Fred] Rogers, Rosie O'Donnell… people I watched or grew up watching."

"The general tone that night was always one of celebration, a night when we as a cast, and a show, could celebrate another year of hard work and hopefully a chance to see some of our own get honored," Genzel said. For their work in 1997, All My Children was recognized as Outstanding Daytime Drama.

Genzel had a hard time tuning in to her friends left in Pine Valley.

Despite the popularity of Skye as a character, the Producers decided it was time to go a different direction and Genzel was let go. "Fans were so great, they would cheer me on, even when Skye did some of her nastiest stuff," Genzel said. "It actually wasn't my decision to leave… I was told at the time that the writers didn't know how to redeem Skye after the whole paternity test debacle so they wrote her off."

"I was very disappointed to leave and thought Skye was just catching her stride, so it was sad to go and feel like I had a lot more story to tell," Genzel said. "I never really talked to the writers about storylines or who I was working with. I was happy to be working as much as I was."

"I didn't watch the show all that much after leaving. I found it too hard to see all my friends till working where I had just left and still wanted to be… it was sad for me to watch," Genzel said.

In a surprising move by ABC in 1998, Skye appeared on sister soap One Life To Live, this time being portrayed again by Christopher. "I didn't know she was returning," Genzel said. "I know the fans really love her." Christopher eventually moved Skye to General Hospital where she stayed until 2008.

One of the missed opportunities in Genzel's eyes was a true love story for Skye. "She was so busy trying to get away from her husband who was trying to kill her and then falling for Edmund, who was a married man, a happily married man at that," Genzel said, "she never had the chance to find true love. It's too bad."

Genzel's career continued to grow after leaving Pine Valley. "I've been so busy these past few years working on other shows that I don't have too much time to catch up with people. But Lauren and I chat from time to time, and I've seen Kelly Ripa and Michael Lowry over the years," Genzel said.

A promotional photo from Genzel's run as Skye.

Genzel has two major motion pictures set for release this year, including The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus that Oscar Nominee Heath Ledger was filming when he passed away. "I was supposed to work with Heath and was very disappointed to not get the chance to work with him," Genzel said. "[It's] so sad that he passed away at such a young age." Genzel also stars opposite Megan Fox in Jennifer's Body, and has landed a starring role on a sitcom named Under One Roof on MyNetwork TV opposite reality star Flavor Flav.

But Genzel would never rule out a return to Daytime Television. "It'll be hard to find a character as fun and special as Skye though, the bar is set pretty high," Genzel said. "The Daytime genre is such a unique one and such a part of our culture it would be really sad to see it slowly go away. It guess it's up to the fans to watch and keep those [Ratings] number up so they keep making them."

"I was just lucky enough to be a part of a larger legacy which to have been a cast member of such a long running part of American history," Genzel said. "Being a cast member of All My Children is a truly a special experience."

 

 

For more on Carrie Genzel check out her Website
For more on Skye Chandler check out her Quick Guide Biography
Interview conducted on June 30th, 2008