In 1990, legendary screenwriter and producer Bill Bell created the iconic role of Sheila Carter on The Young and the Restless and cast Kimberlin Brown to terrorize department store heiress Lauren Fenmore (played by Tracey E. Bregman. Two years later, Brown would crossover to The Bold and the Beautiful where she would begin to terrorize the Forrester family for decades – including another stopover in Genoa City in 2005.
The TV Watercooler had the opportunity to chat with Brown over video from the B&B set to discuss what it’s been like returning to the show, how she gets into the role, Sheila’s hopes for Christmas, and more!
It’s been 31 years since your debut as Sheila Carter on The Young and the Restless! 2022 will mark your 30th anniversary on The Bold and the Beautiful. Did you ever think you’d still be playing Sheila off and on with such great fanfare after 30 years?
You know, I didn’t. I really didn’t think it would last this long! On a show with the same character? I mean, yes, we have that in daytime — we know who they are — but most evil characters don’t last that long!
And I’ll tell you what the best phone call in the world is when you know you are an aging actress. It’s when you get that phone call to go back to work! It made my day, and it made my year. I just love playing this part. I really do. She’s my baby. They’ve given such incredible scripts to play off from. I’d always come back if they would have me, but 30 years now? I didn’t think it was possible.
At the start of the pandemic, CBS re-aired a lot of classic episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless which featured Sheila and it renewed the interest for fans. You did a video chat with Tracey E. Bregman as well around that time. Looking back, what was it like seeing that fan reaction after so many years?
Doing some things online [last year], was great but it’s nothing like coming back to the show, that’s for sure! I’d get messages from fans, “Please come back to The Bold and the Beautiful!” and “Please come back to The Young and the Restless!” I’m just so happy that Brad Bell chose to bring me back [to The Bold and the Beautiful].
I was actually invited by publicity to do a talk show via Zoom for Australia. [At the time,] I was somebody that they requested to speak to, even though I wasn’t on the show. I came in to do that interview and the gal interviewing me in Australia said at the end, “We’re all praying that you come back!” And sometimes it just takes the smallest thing, you know, to make people go, “Wow, I didn’t think about that one. Maybe I should look into it?” And two weeks later, I got a call asking if I would like to come back!
I interviewed Tanner Novlan (who plays Sheila’s son, Finn) earlier this year and we did discuss what an amazing twist it would be if Sheila turned out to be his mother. And now you’re back! I know the character did come back a few years ago but then ended up disappearing off the canvas. How quickly did you decide to say accept this invitation to return?
I said “yes” as fast as I could! As soon as they asked me! So yeah, that’s how it happened. I got a call from Casey Kasprzyk [B&B’s Supervising Producer] if I would consider coming up to Los Angeles for that interview and I originally said no because I had a job I was working on. I had an install that I was supposed to be doing for my design business and the weather up north changed, so I called Casey back and said “Hey, I can’t do my install now. I’d be happy to come in and do that interview.” And you know, they say everything happens for a reason. So, I’m thankful for that snowstorm. I’m thankful that I got in there for the interview and I’m thankful that I got the call a couple of weeks later asking me to come back [to the show].
That’s amazing. How do you prepare to get into the role? You’ve called the character evil and a lot of people play villains, but they don’t want to consider themselves as actually playing the villain. You seem to embrace it! Yet, Sheila still has this vulnerability that as much as the audience may dislike the pain she’s causing their favourite characters, they just love your portrayal of Sheila doing these evil deeds. Can you walk us through that process that you do? Is it sort of a balancing act?
For me, my acting coach Katherine Daly taught me years and years ago – obviously more than 30 years ago, when I was doing film work, that you can talk yourself into anything. And people do it every single day. So, with Sheila, you know there are a lot of evil characters, or they call themselves evil, and there are also a lot of bitchy characters. For me, what I do is create my own little backstory in my mind to justify the things that she was doing. I was giving her a believable side and a sympathetic side. There’s got to be a reason, right? That she wants so desperately to be loved and can’t get love the “right way.”
Talking yourself into an emotion before you play a scene is what makes it believable for me. That way, you’re just concentrating 100% on the scene and not on anything else. So, if I have to play evil, I just tell myself that I’m evil and you become it. If I have to be happy, I tell myself that I’m happy and then I become happy. It’s what people do every single day. I mean, if you have a great day, the more people you tell about it, the happier you’ll be. If you have a bad day, the more people you tell about it, you’ll climb deeper into that hole. So, if I have to climb into a deep hole, I just prepare myself with that as an actress. And I think that’s been part of the great success of Sheila.
There’s a great dynamic right now between Sheila and Deacon. What has it been like working with Sean Kanan? You both play off each other so well. Sheila doesn’t usually let her guard down like this.
Working with Sean has been great. It’s the first time we’ve ever worked together. We are actually neighbours out in the Palk Springs area. We see each other in social situations and now being able to work with one another, it’s been great!
For me, with my character, having the ability to work with these incredible actors I get to work with all these incredible actors that come into my storylines, or for me to come into his storyline, which is a fan favourite right now.
The fans are truly excited about Sheila and Deacon working together and I am as well. Sean and I have a lot of fun. A lot of the comedic stuff that you see us doing at the bar, those are things that we actually come up with that the show loves, and they want to keep that kind of playfulness, going back and forth because the one thing that eighter of us has ever been, has been playful! And yet, with each other, we are. It brings a whole new dynamic to my character as well, because people actually get to see me smile periodically and crack the occasional joke.
Do you feel like there’s a competition between Sheila and Deacon now? He’s made a lot more headway with Hope than Sheila has with Finn. He’s even convinced himself that he could win back Brooke? Sheila even came on to Deacon. Was some of the reasoning behind that jealousy? The way she spoke to him with that apple and tried to seduce him. He’s made so much more progress with Hope and Brooke in a lot less time compared to Sheila.
I think it’s hard for Sheila to see how he has made inroads that Sheila hasn’t been able to. He has the relationship with his daughter that she has been dreaming about having with her son. Brooke is being friendly to Deacon. Biting that apple and coming on to Deacon, I think it’s Sheila’s way to just testing the waters and seeing where he’s at. Sometimes in real life, women want what they can’t have. Men want what they can’t have. And right now, Sheila can’t have what she wants either – and that not only goes for her son but quite possibly Deacon too.
Sheila and Brooke were friends at one point. Before she got shot…
She got in the way! That was just a big mistake, okay. Can we leave it at that? [Laughs]
Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) also shot Sheila…
That’s true. And that hasn’t come out yet. You know, it’s amazing how high and mighty people can be and forget their own bad deeds. Brooke included. The last time I was on, Brooke was actually very cordial to Sheila – in the restaurant, talking to me and allowing me to talk to her. Once again, you know, Sheila left feeling like the door has been opened.
But now, coming back and disrupting the wedding [Finn and Steffy’s] the way that Sheila did, it definitely rubbed Brooke the wrong way. The little bit of trust that here might have been back when Sheila was working at Il Giardino, I think it’s gone because she’s fearful for her family. Obviously, she knows what Sheila is capable of, and regardless of how she personally might feel, Brooke has got to look at Sheila’s past and be worried about her family.
And now Taylor is back with Krista Allen in the role. What has it been like recapturing that rivalry with a recast?
I have started working with Krista and it’s been wonderful. I mean, I can’t tell you what our scenes are about or what’s going on – but we’re having a really good time, I can tell you that!
Can you preview what to expect with Sheila during the holiday season? I’m sure she wants to spend Christmas with her son and grandson. Is that Sheila’s Christmas wish?
As you said, it’s a wish and she has not been really big on getting her wishes these days, but you never know. I think everyone should just crack a bottle of champagne and watch what’s coming up!
Any romance for Sheila? Eric’s (John McCook) has struggled a bit in certain areas. Could Sheila use some massage therapy on him that she might have learned in nursing school?
I mean, she does need love as well. And Eric is the one person that she has always been madly, madly in love with. As far as romance on the horizon for Sheila? I think right now her top priority is becoming part of her son’s life and her grandson’s life.
Out of all their moral superiority, none of the Forresters have bothered to tell their good friend Lauren Fenmore that Sheila is around! Would you ever be open to popping back into Genoa City as Sheila should The Young and the Restless come up with a well-written story? Do you think there’s still much to tell? Between, Sheila, Lauren and Scotty?
You know, there’s so much story that can still be told with my character. There’s no doubt about it! Going back to Y&R, that would be a decision that Brad Bell would have to make in conjunction with them. But, the bottom line is that I love my character and I’ll play her as long as I’m asked to!
Soap fans have a sharp memory! 22 years ago you did a two-episode guest turn on Another World, where you played a character named Shelly Clark in scenes with Ellen Wheeler’s Marley Hudson in the psychiatric ward. It was teased in dialogue that Shelly was actually Sheila.
I was not actually playing Sheila… If you remember, Ellen was on B&B when Sheila was in prison. It was funny because when she was in the mental hospital on hers, she asked me to come and play her cellmate [of sorts, this time around]. I thought it was just brilliant! It truly was! Here as Ellen as my cellmate and here I am in her psych ward. The fact that she even came up with that [was great]as she was [also]directing back then. She just thought it would be a great twist of events that since she was there on Bold, that I was there with her [on Another World].
I think that was a great gift to soap fans, especially since Another World was about to end. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak today. It’s great having you back on B&B!
Thank you, so much! If it weren’t for my loyal fans, I would not be sitting here right now!
The Bold and the Beautiful airs weekdays on CTV2 and CBS. Canadians can also stream B&B on CTV.ca, the CTV app, and on Crave.