The character of Nina Reeves on General Hospital has been divisive since first introduced in 2014, then played by actress Michelle Stafford. Daytime Emmy winner Cynthia Watros took over the role in June of 2019. Each actress put their own spin on the character.
Cynthia Watros: Tapping Nina’s Wounded Child
At a recent Zoom fan event for Coastal Entertainment, Watros shared with fans the big emotions that drive Nina. The actress revealed her take on why Nina continues to sabotage herself.
“I play Nina as this girl whose growth has been stunted because of the coma that she was in,” Watros explained. “She’s very intelligent, and she’s a businesswoman. She does all these things, but there’s a little girl inside. I touch upon that with Nina because she didn’t quite develop the way someone who wasn’t in a coma would necessarily develop, you know, and her big emotions around kids is because she was pregnant [at the time of her coma].
“When she woke up,” the actress continued. “She didn’t have any kids, and I think that hole is huge, and that’s why she has such a longing and a weakness around that.”
When you take into account her family history, her own mother, Madeline (Donna Mills), caused her 20-year coma, gave away her twins, and told her they were dead. Nina had good reason to feel vengeful. “She has some demons, and she’s very impulsive,” she added. “When she feels like she’s trapped or pushed into a corner or feels like she was attacked, she’ll lash out like a child would do.”
As an actress, tapping into intense emotions, week after week, can take its toll on your own mental health. “There was a week, there was one day within that week, that I just said it’s too hard. I didn’t even talk to the crew or anybody about this.”
A good director or producer will look out for the warning signs and lend their support. “I worked with a great director, and Frank [Valentini, executive producer] came down and talked to me.” Watros was honest about the incident. “I couldn’t stop crying, and I almost felt like it was a bit of a panic attack sort of situation.”
That wasn’t the first time she experienced that particular form of overwhelming intensity. Watros had a similar incident on the set of another ABC show. “I was on a show called LOST, and I remember it happened to me there when I got shot in the stomach, and it was an elongated dying,” she recalled. “I had a hard time with that. I had to kind of go in the corner and cry, as Cynthia, just to let it go.”
The talented thespian is pleased with the material that the writers have written for Nina. “I’m really happy with what the writers give me. They give me a lot of really interesting things.”
Since her days as Annie Dutton on Guiding Light, Watros has shown that she can take complicated characters and make the audience love them or hate them, but the fans are guaranteed an emotional ride. “I love what I do, but sometimes it can get a little challenging. But that’s part of the job which I love.”