FORMER "ALL MY CHILDREN" star Susan Lucci has new roles to take… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Soap legend Susan Lucci is finding life after Erica Kane. She appears on Lifetime's "Army Wives" on Sunday night in a three-episode character story — one of the first since her 41-year run on "All My Children" ended last fall — with fellow "Children" alum Kim Delaney. Also a beauty entrepreneur, Lucci, 65, co-stars in "Devious Maids," Marc Cherry's prime-time soap pilot for ABC, and hosts Investigation Discovery's new show "Deadly Affairs," scheduled for a fall debut.
How did your arc come about on "Army Wives"? Did Kim Delaney suggest you for the role?
We got a call from [executive producer] Jeff Melvoin, and he spoke to me about his idea for the story arc. He sounded so passionate and involved in the storytelling of his show, and also so proud of his company of actors and the writing on the show. It made me feel right at home. At any rate, the character sounded really interesting, a departure for me. And I went down to Charleston [to shoot] and actually had my first scene with Kim. All my scenes have been around Kim and with Kim, since I've been on "Army Wives," although Kim and I never worked together at "All My Children."
Tell me about your character on "Army Wives."
Her name is Audrey Whitaker, and she's the wife of a two-star general and also the daughter of a two-star general, which means she grew up around the military and feels there's a lot of politics involved, some of which forced her husband into an early retirement. My character came on as a way for Claudia Joy, Kim's character, to sort things out because there's another couple who's introduced, Jackie and Kevin Clark, and Kevin Clark is vying for the same position as Claudia Joy's husband.
When "All My Children" was canceled, there were rumors you'd join "Desperate Housewives," which didn't happen, but now you're cast in Marc Cherry's new pilot for "Devious Maids." What happened with Marc Cherry?
There was a lot of rumor about my joining "Desperate Housewives." I believe it was largely fan-driven. It was everywhere; I was reading it too.
You mean they didn't start with Marc Cherry?
I don't think so. I believe they were fan-driven because when Marc and I had a wonderful lunch together and met for the first time, Marc was aware of all of that in the press as well. At that time he said the show was just about to wind up. He was developing two new shows and he preferred to consider me for one of his new shows, if I was interested. And I said of course I was. So I flew out and read for him. I auditioned for him. It's part of his process. You know what? I'm really happy I auditioned for him. First of all, I feel that he knew what he was getting, and I knew what I was getting. And also I auditioned because I know I got the part, and it feels very good.
When the production company Prospect Park bought "All My Children" to produce it online, you ended up deciding not to continue?
That was put out, I believe, by them. That just simply was never true. I did not walk away from them. Suddenly there was something all over the Internet saying I had walked away when I had not. As far as I knew the lines of communication were ongoing, so I was quite shocked to read that I had walked away. Finally I did speak out and say on my blog that I wanted fans to know the truth. And I dated my last communication saying, "Please let's keep the doors open and when you're ready to go ahead, please do come back to me. I'd love to play Erica Kane on 'All My Children.'"
And they never did?
They never did. Then they announced that they were not going to go ahead.
What other kinds of nibbles came your way after "All My Children" was canceled?
This pilot that I just finished for Marc Cherry called "Devious Maids," I'm so excited about that. And I just finished shooting my part in the pilot yesterday.
Who do you play?
Her name is Genevieve Delacourt, and I love the name. The character breakdown is this: She spent her life attracting one powerful man after the next but now in her 50s she has been reduced to having affairs with the pool boy and not feeling very sexy anymore, and it's driving her nuts. She is a woman who lives in a beautiful Beverly Hills home and has two maids working for her. I'm one of the households with the wonderful maids. Unlike Erica, she's somebody who tries to get people to do things for her, whereas Erica was much more do-it-herself. It's just very juicy, the script, and very fun.
You asked about the nibbles. The one I took and I'm thrilled about this too is a brand new show on Discovery I.D. called "Deadly Affairs," and it's crime reenactment, which is such a flourishing part of TV right now.
So "Deadly Affairs" is about romantic affairs?
Yes, it's about crimes of passion. That seemed like such a nice idea for me, something different. I always like to try something new and grow but be in the right hands, to be with smart, talented people who know what they're doing. So I feel a very lucky actress.