GH’s Amanda Setton reflects on Brook Lynn’s evolution

Soap Opera Digest: It’s been such an important storyline period for Brook Lynn, who played a starring role in the Baby Bailey saga. Did you imagine, when all this baby ruse started, that it would end up carrying such emotional weight and shattering so many of Brook Lynn’s defenses?

Amanda Seton: Nope! Honestly, when I first came on the show as Brook Lynn, she was involved, bratty, getting busted by Detective Chase. You know, she always gets herself in trouble. You could see, I think – or I always hoped the audience could see – a kind of “heart of gold” level that Brook Lynn had. But even when she returned to the scene pregnant, or pretending to be pregnant, you’d think she wasn’t doing it for altruistic reasons, but she really was! She was doing it for her father. At the time, however, there was a kind of sneaky, scheming, doing-it-for-his-own-reasons, lying [tendency] which kept the whole thing very superficial. She could be pretty bitchy all the way through! I mean the turning point for me as an actor with Brook Lynn was the Valentine’s Day scenes in the hospital, where I just had to smash this man [by telling him Bailey wasn’t his daughter]. I could see what I had done was breaking this person, and it was so painful and so devastating, and I couldn’t tell her why, I had to take it all on the chin. These scenes were really painful. And after that, there was so much more of Brook Lynn with the baby and moving into the beach house and creating this kind of family with Chase, and it just deepened. This baby has truly given her purpose and a home. She created a home as a result of having this child in her arms.

Digest: Those scenes between you and James Patrick Stuart (Valentine) were truly spectacular.

Seton: Thank you. I love James so much. I think he’s an exquisite actor. He’s always so present and so specific, and as an actor, working with someone who gives you such specificity is a joy. We have so much fun together and we get along so well. As for those scenes, they were so heartbreaking because again Brook Lynn couldn’t tell her [why she had lied], so she was just beaten by him and his anger, and rightly so. In many moments of these scenes, in my reactions to her screams, I was like a frightened child.

Digest: The alliance between Brook Lynn and Maxie created a real bond between these two women. Talk to me about bringing this friendship to life.

Seton: I am so happy that Brook Lynn now has a friend, and a very good friend, and there is clearly a deep bond and loving respect between these two women. I love that dynamic, I love playing it on screen and I’ve played it on a number of different programs over the years. It was so much fun that they wrote that – on top of that it’s happening with Kirsten [Storms, Maxie], whom I love and adore so much. She’s so fun, she’s an amazing actress, she’s so prepared, she makes amazing choices. It’s child’s play to work with her. People on the team and upstairs call us Lucy and Ethel, which is so funny, because it feels like they feel what we’re doing, what we’re trying to create – those funny shenanigans moments and light. Hope you see more to come! I love it, and I adore it.

Digest: It was wonderful to see you working alongside Jane Elliot (ex-Tracy) in this arc as well; Gotta love how Tracy has Brook Lynn’s number!

Seton: Such a gift for working with her. She is so professional that her presence kind of shows up in front of her, in a positive way. She has an energy about her where you just want to elevate yourself to where she is. She keeps me on my toes when I start working with her, in a really good way! I was so happy to work with her. It’s my grandmother !

Digest: Brook Lynn becoming a mom, albeit temporarily, also brought a new dimension to her relationship with her father. The scenes where he expressed that he was proud of her for her efforts to protect Maxie’s baby were magnificent.

Seton: I love that Brook Lynn has all these different relationships on the show, that you can see her as a daughter, as a best friend, as a mother, in a way, and you see her in a light romantic . It was really fun to play all these different relationships and the specific dynamics that come with it. I love Wally [Kurth, Ned] such. I feel such closeness to him. There’s just this very easy father/daughter chemistry between us that seems very natural. I feel very safe with him and as soon as we get on set we can just say “Oh, hey daddy!” That’s really what it feels like. So those scenes, where I finally had to confess what was really going on, and Brook Lynn is so scared of disappointing him and feels like all she’s doing is disappointing him, just provided some really fertile ground for a lot of vulnerable moments. She tries to hold on; she tries to explain things to him, and she ends up breaking down. In this moment with her dad, we got to see the weight she was carrying and the fear the loss of Bailey instilled in her.

Digest: The scene where Maxie told Brook Lynn she would be called “Mama Brook Lynn” – I was a mess! When you have a scene with this much emotion, how much do you just put up with a plan and how much do you just let what happens between you and your scene partner happen and surprise you?

Seton: Especially these last ones. I try to be as present as possible. You do emotional preparation before; you just want to be in a place and space and energy so that once that emotion is elicited, hopefully by the actual words on the page or your scene partner, then real, true emotion will come out. This whole arc, from when Bailey was taken [by Peter] until Maxie comes to take the baby home and the whole Mama Brook Lynn scene, during those few weeks of filming, I just tried to introduce myself. I will say that I am really grateful for the way they played. I don’t sit and look at myself every day, but I wanted to see how the panic attack went, I wanted to see those scenes. I wanted to see how it read. And it all seems pretty true to me. I think it’s also a testimonial for writers; they wrote those scenes so beautifully, so well, and also to my scene partners — Kirsten, Josh [Swickard, Chase], Wally. They’re heavy hitters that I so deeply respect and absolutely adore, on and off screen, so doing these vulnerable scenes with people I care about, who I feel safe with and comfortable, made it much easier for me to go.

Digest: Let’s get into Chase and Brook Lynn. Why do you think this couple get married so well?

Seton: I think when there is chemistry that exists between two actors, the writers can feel it, and then as an actor, you feel it in the writing. I’ll also say the way these writers wrote these characters, with so much angst and such back and forth and so many pregnant pauses, did they, didn’t they, all these missed opportunities and these misunderstandings and miscommunication, I feel like there’s so much fertile ground for building energy, and if you have the two correct actors together, that energy is chemistry. Josh is an absolute joy. I feel so luckily I work with him. He’s a pro, an excellent stage partner. I think he’s hysterical, he’s hilarious. We have a lot of fun together and play very well with each other. There’s the romantic stuff, but there’s also this friendship that the writers have built with each other that has really grown over the years. As a result, we can play many different elements together. It’s not just romance. There is a real respect and connection between these two people.

Digest: I’m a sucker for the soap archetype at play here – “If only these two could get out of their own way!”

Seton: Yes, I think that is exactly what is happening! And I think it’s also rooted in the stuff of each of these characters, which is why it feels viable, so to speak. Brook Lynn has been alone for so long. She is an only child, her parents are divorced, she drives alone. I think she hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to trust people, and so here comes this incredible man who comes into her world, a standing guy who lies on her behalf, for the deepest cause, this handsome baby . She just falls head over heels, but she can’t trust that. She can’t trust herself. She’s had some pretty questionable experiences in her life with men and there’s been no real relationship building until Chase, and I think she’s very scared of that. Especially now, feeling all these feelings around Bailey, I think she’s scared even more, because her heart has opened up now in a way it never has, so she can love. in a way she couldn’t like before.

Digest: How would you say Brook Lynn is handling her separation from the baby now that Maxie has her back?

Seton: I think the reason she left town was because it was too much for her and she needed time. She needed to pull herself together. She knows Port Charles is the place for her and where she wants to be. I’m sure her feelings for Chase are part of it, even if she fights them as hard as she can. This relationship leads her to come back to Port Charles, but she has built a life there, and as far as Maxie and her are concerned, I think it’s really difficult. Deep down she knows it’s the right thing [for Bailey to be with her birth mother], so she just has to keep passing, and fortunately or unfortunately, I think Brook Lynn is used to that. She’s a fighter.

Digest: Since you are not on any social network, what would you like to say directly to the fans of “Chalynn” here in the pages of Soap Opera Digest?

Seton: Just that I can’t – we can’t – thank you enough! We do it for you, we do it to entertain you, and to create a level of honesty and truth on screen that elicits a kind of emotion and investment from fans, so to hear you’re in it and that you are delighted with the pairing, it fills our hearts. Josh and I are so excited to hopefully continue for many years to come. It’s so refreshing and it’s so nice to know how invested the fans are. We’re having fun, Josh and I. It really is.

About Madeline J. Carter

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