When actors leave soaps and their roles are recast, the door is closed forever for original players to return. But not always.
For instance, Tamara Braun is checking back into General Hospital but not as Carly, the role she once played that’s now inhabited by Laura Wright. Soap Hub asked fans if it’s jarring to see familiar faces return in new roles. Read on for the results.
All Is Forgiven
Under half of you, 48%, feel that it’s great just to have the actors back. A lot depends on if the performer is capable of convincing audiences that they’re an entirely new person.
Three-time Emmy-winner Sarah Brown, who first played Carly on GH, came back in 2008 as raven-haired Claudia Zacchara, a gum-smacking mobster who gave Sonny a run for his money.
GH let audiences in on the joke by playing a funny quick beat between Brown and Wright, acknowledging that they looked familiar to one another.
Despite having played Roman for almost 20 years, Josh Taylor will forever be known to many lifelong Days of Our Lives fans as Chris Kositchek, who left Salem in 1987. It’s a testament to Taylor’s portrayal of Chris, a groundbreaking character, that fans still recall him fondly.
It helps when time passes and an actor returns to a role in a different storyline. Quinn Redeker’s first role on The Young and the Restless was Nick Reed, Nikki’s abusive father. His second character, Rex, rarely (if ever) shared a scene with Nikki.
The rest of you, 52%, find it confusing when familiar faces came back to a show to play other roles. It helps when actors acknowledge the onscreen elephant in the room.
When Tracey Bregman brought The Young and the Restless’ Lauren over to The Bold and the Beautiful for a wedding, she noted to Bill Spencer (played by Jim Storm AKA the late Neil Fenmore, her character’s father on Y&R) that he looked familiar.
While Heather Tom and Don Diamont didn’t return to Y&R to play new characters, they did join sister soap B&B to bring to life Katie and Bill. It is a bit odd when Y&R characters like Sheila pop up and look at them and don’t mistake Katie for Victoria Newman (Tom’s Y&R role) or Bill for Brad Carlton (Diamont’s role).
The latter is especially notable since Sheila once took a blackmail photo of Lauren and Brad making love.
The best advice for viewing enjoyment is to give the actor a chance to create a new persona. In time, if all the factors come together — acting, writing, production — you’ll be thinking of the actor as the new character in no time at all!