The TV Watercooler had the pleasure to catch up with The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood to discuss her latest storyline which depicts Steffy’s opioid addiction, being part of one of the first television productions to resume filming during the pandemic, and her character’s new love interest!
A new statistic released earlier this year by the Government of Canada said that 12 Canadians die each day from an opioid overdose. It’s an addiction that touches many lives. Can you walk us through the process of when you found out that you’d be taking on this important story?
We found out that we were going to be telling this story at the beginning of the pandemic. We talked about it in March, but then we obviously weren’t filming for three to four months. I had that time to dive into it. I really didn’t know much about it. I knew that there’s such an increase, especially now, with opioid addiction. It doe s happen to so many people. It doesn’t discriminate. You realize that the “Oh that’s not the type of person who’d be on it,” but it could happen to anyone. It could happen to the mom, or the teacher. And it can happen so quickly.
We did tell this story extremely quickly, for many reasons, of course. But, I’m so proud of our show to be telling this story because it’s something that we needed to talk about. I was so shocked to find out that this has happened to so many people – [even people] that I know.
I did a lot of research on YouTube and a lot of stories there. It happens very quickly. It can [stem from] something simple like going in and getting surgery and taking a few pills. There were some stories where if someone wasn’t getting a refill, they’d just go, and it get off the streets. God knows what you’re really getting and what it’s laced with.
It was really important to tell this story and unfortunately during this pandemic, it has skyrocketed even more. We knew that we wanted to tell this story, of course, we knew we wanted to speak about it, but we just didn’t know for how long or how we wanted to navigate this story because it is such a depressing time right now. I’m happy that we did tell this story, it was very quick, but we all felt that we could only tell the story for so long because when you go on the news, it’s all so depressing. So, we thought we’d tell the story, talk about it and now we need to lighten up the story because it is so dark right now.
Steffy is a character that has faced a lot of loss. Her mother has been in and out of her life. Her twin sister passed away. She also lost her grandmother and namesake. The baby she raised was really Hope’s and then she lost Liam as well. While Steffy had a physical injury after the motorcycle crash, she’s used the opioids to try to heal a lot of that emotional pain. So many people try to heal that way. The scene where she confronted Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) was very powerful.
Yeah, you really see the turning point. Yes, she gets in an accident and gets addicted to these pills, but it was a domino effect of so many things. Obviously, she’s not thinking about things in a pragmatic way. She’s a tough woman and she has buried a lot of her feelings for a very long, long time.
I think that the beginning of that domino effect, emotionally, was that phone call that she thought she was getting from Liam (Scott Clifton), but it ended up being Hope (Annika Noelle). It was Hope saying, “Oh, Kelly wants to stay another night.” These are all the things that have always gone through her mind in the middle of the night. These were all her fears and it was finally coming true. She truly felt alone. She knew that she didn’t have Liam and she was willing to move on and focus on her work and on her daughter. But that shift was “Kelly wants to be there. I’m really starting to lose everyone and everything.”
So yeah, it really is that domino effect. She was dealing with physical pain but so much emotional pain and just needed to get it out – and she did that day at Brooke’s house.
There’s so much emotional scarring from that triangle Steffy’s parents had with Brooke. It’s not really water under the “Bridge,” with Brooke, Ridge (Thorsten Kaye; previously Ron Moss) and Taylor (Hunter Tylo). That’s a huge beat that only soaps get to tell.
Yeah, absolutely! It’s an interesting dance with shows like ours, because you do kind of have to pick and choose what stays with you and what doesn’t because we move so quickly. We’re always going to a new storyline and moving on to something else, but with Steffy, I try to hold a lot of things close. She’s a tough chick, but she’s emotional. She’s this beautifully flawed character and I really love that about her.
I try to not just move on from things, even though we do tell so many stories and she does have a lot of issues from her father leaving [the family for Brooke]. She didn’t want to fall in the same footsteps with Liam and the Hope triangle. She does have her issues with Brooke. Her namesake was her world and to know that she can’t lean on her anymore, it’s a lot. Steffy has been dealing with a lot. It was extremely challenging, but I’m grateful to tell the story.
There’s so much stigma around this addiction as well. I’m really glad the show played that beat as well last week with Steffy watching the video at the rehab clinic and deciding to share her story and not be silent. Is this a beat that we’ll revisit a little more?
I think that’s a possibility. I think that’s always going to be there now. I love that touch. I love that they did that. I just said, “Roll the cameras and let me watch this story of this person telling their story. It brought me to tears. The amount of people that have reached out to me via social media, especially on Instagram, and have shared their stories with me. To know that we have executed this story in the right way, oh my gosh, I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team for this addiction story. The amount of people who reached out were amazing. It was cool to see that.
It must be instantly gratifying to do that hard work and as someone who is as active as you are on social media to get that feedback. It must be rewarding.
It was very rewarding. It absolutely was. I was very proud of the whole cast and crew. We filmed a lot in like two weeks. Very intense scenes. And when we’re also dealing with and following new protocols…You know, it’s tough. It’s these emotional scenes and Steffy’s breaking down but nobody can come and hold her.
We shot it in a way to make it look good. We block shot a lot and had to make it work the best we could. We filmed very quick. It was one take, one take, and then we just kept moving because we had so much dialogue to get through.
Everyone was so spaced out at Brooke’s house and the emotions everyone was feeling made viewers forget that this is being taped with pandemic protocols in place. Steffy having that knife helped.
I think it was a nice touch. Some people can think that could be out there with the knife, but I loved it. I felt like this moment with Steffy was bound to happen. Another reason was because of Ridge. He would have loved to go and grab his daughter. Obviously with the protocols, he can’t! So, they had to give me something to keep people away from me. Ridge would have gone “This is my daughter. I’m grabbing her and getting the hell out of here.”
Liam broke down too. It was also nice to see him get called out. He’s flip-flopped between Steffy and Hope so much. I think a lot of fans were cheering when he got called out, actually. Steffy’s moved on with Finn (Tanner Novlan). When’s that portrait of Liam and Steffy finally coming down?
I honestly thought that portrait was going to come down when she was losing her mind! [Laughs] I thought that was going to go into the fireplace. When Liam and Steffy were going at it, I really thought that was going to get ripped down. I’m surprised that it didn’t!
Tanner has been so additive to the group. He’s absolutely wonderful. He’s a fellow Canadian, so obviously we bonded over that. It’s also tough because with two Canadians together, our accents come out, so we have to be very mindful of that!
He’s so sweet. I’m very excited and I know that a lot of the fans are excited as well. For years, everyone wanted a new love interest for Steffy. Especially with like you said, Liam keeps flip-flopping. Come on girl, have a backbone! You need to move on!
For Steffy, there is something very familiar about him. He feels as though he’s home. He’s now obviously seen her at her worst. They’re just extremely real with each other and she can see that he’s looking out for her. They are having real conversations about what they want. It’s very obvious that Finn wants to have children in the future and he wants to get serious. Of course, if he can handle Steffy through her terrible times, then he’s a keeper!
For sure! That’ll make them stronger. You guys will be the official Canadian Soap Super Couple!
But poor Vinny (Joe LoCicero)!
I know! [Laughs]
He’s had quite the crush on Steffy and even sent her some pills. He knew what she needed! Will the show address how Steffy was able to get more pills?
I hope so! I mean, I was impressed with Steffy [for not revealing it]. I mean, snitches get stitches! She didn’t say anything! She kept that quiet. I was like “Oh, okay.” No one said anything, but I think we’ll get down to the bottom of it. I didn’t know that Vinny had a crush on Steffy so who knows what’s going to happen in the future. He gave her opioids and something else that day…It was laced with something!
Not the greatest way to get closer to someone…
With everything going on, it can’t be easy to film those heavy scenes. How do you take a step back and recharge?
I’ve always been pretty good about getting into a scene, being present, and really bring it. I’m proud of myself over the last few years, growing as an actor. In the beginning, during your first week, you feel like you know all the dialogue and you feel good and confident and then the week after they give you 8-12 episodes and then you can feel like you’re drowning for three years! At least, I did. It was so much dialogue, storyline, and trying to figure out the backstory and trying to connect everything. Then you finally get into things. It takes years!
I just try my best to be present in those scenes. Even though we do film quickly, I’m not a fake crier. I want to really be there, really listen and be as present as I possibly can.
I have been able to just shake it and go home and be fine. But now, this storyline was very difficult. We left after I did those scenes, I got in my car and I still couldn’t shake it. I had to put on some music and blare it so that it could take me out of my headspace, because I was just off. And how could you not when you know that this is happening everywhere. To know that this is a sad time right now. My heart breaks for so many people. I’m hoping that we get back to even ground.
When people ask me, “How do you get there? How do you get into those emotional scenes?” For me, I’m really just thinking about the scene and the people that have gone through this or possibly losing a child, and then feeding off the other actors, who you know, are phenomenal.
We didn’t really know what it was going to turn into. When you see Thorsten – watching him and he’s talking about his daughter, “Steffy, I never want to see you like this.” He’s putting himself in that situation if God forbid, his daughter was in that situation. So, we’re doing this dance with one another. I couldn’t have done it without the cast. I think we were all shocked and really felt it. There was an energy in the room. Yes, of course, it was very tough to shake but for me personally, I really have to be there mentally.
This is a story that we had to tell and it’s heartbreaking.
The show as a whole, you all should be so proud. You were the first soap back. Your team was one of the first television production teams to be back filming. That’s huge.
It was wild going back. I was so excited to see everybody because we were constantly told to stay inside and stay away from the world, wash your hands – I get it. But you know, you also need that sense of community. It’s so important for your mental health. So, I was really excited to get to be back and be with my second family.
After going through all this, it was so nice to be back with everyone and be so present. You’re able to really know what’s going on. “I want to know what’s really going on in your life!” We hadn’t been together in months, so it was really great to catch up with one another.
But it was also daunting. You have to get tested [for COVID-19] and then they take your temperature, and you’re socially distanced. It definitely took a few weeks to figure it out all.
For your storyline particularly, not sure if you filmed the motorcycle stunt yourself this time, but you have done it in the past. What was filming that like this time around?
I was on the motorcycle. That was one shot that we did a long time ago and then they used a stunt double awhile back. We were going to film it, but due to COVID, it was tough. We’re in it now and we’re a well-oiled machine. We know what we’re doing, but if you throw in [a stunt like this], we’ll figure it out! It’s nice and smooth…knock on wood! I’m hoping we can get back to normal. It would be really, really nice, but we’re making it work!
And poor Tanner! He’s new to the show and not only does he have a lot of dialogue but he’s standing eight feet away!
He got to bring his wife into work! [Kayla Ewell, who previously played Caitlin Ramirez on the show.]
Yeah, she came in! Kayla is absolutely adorable. She’s perfect for a Steffy double. It’s funny be she used to be on the show.
I was really wondering how we were going to do this. Coming back, we were all wondering because we’re known for our romance and our love scenes! How are we doing to be able to do this? The directors have been great about it. With certain tight shots, they make it work. It’s just crazy. Steffy finally gets a new love interest and I get to kiss a doll! [Laughs]
The blowup dolls are infamous now. They got great publicity for the show!
I know! [Laughs] When I saw the ratings, I said, “People are excited that The Bold and the Beautiful is back! They also want to see how we’re doing and executing this since we’re the first ones back…And also, I think they want to look for a doll!”
How do you keep soaps sexy in the age of COVID, right? I think The Bold and the Beautiful is doing a great job. Your character and Dr. Finn finally get to take that next step.
Yeah, they’re in it. SINN is what everyone is calling it! SINN in Los Angeles! They’re in a good place right now. Today’s show aired and Steffy said “I love you.” They’ve been through thick and thin already. Everything has kind of happened so quickly, but it kind of had to. They got to know each other, and he loves so close to her. Everything’s kind of fast-tracked.
A little too good to be true!
I know! Don’t jinx it! I got so excited with a new love interest. Yay, finally! Something will probably happen… hopefully, not!
That’ll make everyone keep tuning in! Your former co-star, Courtney Hope, is headed over to The Bold and the Beautiful as Sally. Is there someone from Y&R that you’d love to work with? I think CBS re-airing the classic episodes from early this year reminded soap fans just how fun the crossovers between both shows used to be. There was such a missed opportunity with having Sheila back a few years ago, although I’m so glad that Steffy confronted her.
Yeah! I don’t know who… Oh my gosh. I love Eileen Davidson’s character [Ashley]. Or Victor Newman (Eric Braeden)! I’m always game. That would be so fun! Who knows? That’s always a possibility.
The B&B ladies had some fun with the makeup challenge video during lockdown. How did that come about?
We were doing drinks on Fridays, we’d come on Zoom and it was so nice. We heard that people were doing the makeup challenge on TikTok and we thought, okay, why don’t we do it? It was interesting. It’s so funny to see all our videos put together because you just didn’t know what to expect. I did not expect Heather Tom’s to be like that. I love her so much for it. Oh my gosh, she’s hilarious.
It was crazy because the last time we were all together before lockdown was an outing where we went for drinks and had a big dinner. We were having so much fun and were making plans for the following week and who knew that would be the last dinner and drinks together. That’s a moment that I still cherish so much because we haven’t had that in son long. It’ll be nice to get all the girls back together again.
Thank you for your time. This storyline has been so important. Those were some really powerful and heartbreaking scenes to watch. Definitely Emmy material.
Hopefully we have an Emmy’s next year!
Well, it was great that we got a ceremony this year! I know a lot of people were wondering how you and Maurice Benard (Sonny, General Hospital) were able to film your segment together!
[Laughs] It’s Maurice Benard, of course I’m going to sit beside him! Hello! I was getting tested and he was getting tested. I mean, the protocols are different for each of the shows. We’re all learning right now. If you look at General Hospital…
They’re so close!
Yeah, they’re just in it! It’s different. I think it’s because we were the first ones out, we had different insurance policies and all that stuff that we were figuring out. It’s grateful to be back straight out of the gate, but maybe things will change soon!
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The TV Watercooler had the pleasure to catch up with The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood to discuss her latest storyline which depicts Steffy’s opioid addiction, being part of one of the first television productions to resume filming during the pandemic, and her character’s new love interest! #boldandbeautiful #steffyforrester #SINN #cbsdaytime #soaps
Get the facts about opioids and the opioid crisis in Canada. Learn more about the problematic opioid use, how to get help, and what resources are available in your province here.