INTERVIEW: Michael Caruso on killing popular soap hunks, his DAYS connection, and other Ladies of the Lake secrets

Posted Monday, May 8, 2017 2:07:27 PM
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INTERVIEW: Michael Caruso on killing popular soap hunks and other Ladies of the Lake secrets

Emmy-nominated producer Michael Caruso gives viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the magic that led to Amazon's upcoming series Ladies of the Lake.

Brilliant is a word often used to describe Michael Caruso, the Emmy-nominated producer behind digital drama delights Winterthorne and DeVanity. He's known in the soap opera industry for his hyper-glamorous stylization, so it was a no-brainer for soap star Kyle Lowder (ex-Brady Black, Days of our Lives; ex-Rick Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful) to team up with his old pal in bringing Ladies of the Lake, the scintillating book by DAYS' executive producer Ken Corday, to the small screen.

But why exactly should soap fans tune in to the four-episode miniseries, slated for a release on Amazon beginning Monday, May 15? If scandalous drama, an all-star cast, ultra glossy stylization, and classic soap opera magic aren't convincing enough, perhaps the following teaser tidbits from Caruso himself will lure you into the dazzling world of Ladies of the Lake. Oh, and he also shares how creating the series may (or may not) have affected production of DAYS. Keep reading for the juicy details.


"Kyle Lowder and I have been friends since college; we've known each other a million years. I just happened to be on the phone with him one day, and I said, 'Oh, my God, did you see Ken Corday just released his book, Ladies of the Lake? I would kill to adapt that.' And he said, 'Too late, brother, I'm already on it!' So we agreed that we would put our heads together and work on this, and we went and had a wonderful meeting with Ken. We pitched this idea of a limited-run miniseries, and he loved the idea and said, 'Okay, go off and write it.' So I said, 'Kyle, give me two weeks to write this.' So I went off and read the novel probably like seventeen times to try to figure out the best way to adapt it. Then I wrote the adaptation... and Ken really, really liked it -- thank God!"


"The show itself is very hyper-stylized. This is kind of like The Real Housewives and The Kardashians on crack. The women are always dressed to the nines, and they always have a ton of makeup on, and they're always hyper processed. And that was a very deliberate choice. It's basically a take on what people think of when they think of wealthy women in Southern California, specifically Los Angeles... But we're talking about four friends who kill their husbands, so it's almost like a Tim Burton version of glamour; it's super, super ratcheted up and pure fantasy."


"The four leads -- Martha Madison (ex-Belle Black, DAYS), Lilly Melgar (ex-Lily Corinthos, General Hospital), Marie Wilson (ex-Summer/Bree, DAYS; ex-Meg Snyder, As the World Turns), and Jessica Morris (ex-Jennifer Rappaport, One Life to Live) -- instantly gelled with each other. You're always kind of nervous when you put people together in the same room. You wonder if they're going to mesh and if they're going to be cohesive as a unit, because they're going to be spending a lot of time together. But they all acted like sisters from day one. It was amazing. They were so supportive of each other, and they were so excited to do this. I have to say, across the board, everybody wanted to be there, everybody came to set excited and enthusiastic. And you could tell they were having a lot of fun with it...Corday was generous enough to allow them to keep all the dresses at the end of the shoot that Kyle and I had picked out for them. So free dresses and you get to murder your husbands?! Of course they were happy!"


"It's so funny because the male characters are all so despicable in Ladies of the Lake, both in the book and in the script. We only see each husband once in the show, and we did that deliberately. I didn't want anybody to sympathize with the husbands, so I only ever wrote one scene for each husband, and they're all so evil. And yet, the guys that are playing all of the husbands -- actors like Ian Buchanan [ex-Duke Lavery, General Hospital; ex-James Warwick, B&B] and Wally Kurth [Ned Ashton, GH; Justin Kiriakis, DAYS] -- could not be nicer. I mean, literally, they are the nicest, loveliest people that I've ever worked with, and I'm like, 'I feel bad that we're going to have to kill you in 45 minutes because it's been so much fun working with you!'"


"Some people think Ken was focused on Ladies of the Lake instead of Days of our Lives, and that is not the reality. At the time that we were doing this, Ken was negotiating a pick-up and he told us very specifically that he needed to work on Days of our Lives, and he really needed that to be his focus. He handed over full creative control [of LOTL] to us because Days of our Lives was his focus. Nothing was taken away from Days of our Lives to produce this: no resources, no money, nothing. This was a completely separate venture. DAYS was not affected by this at all, not even a shred, and Ken is as passionate about Days of our Lives as he ever was. He was so great and so supportive of us, but... he was not involved in the day-to-day production."


"There was a natural cliffhanger in the book itself, so we have that, and I added a second cliffhanger. The story does wrap up -- you're not left with any questions. But you are left with a little something, so if Ken were to ever want to do a sequel, we set that up as a possibility."

For more Ladies of the Lake fun, be sure to tune in to the series' Amazon premiere on Monday, May 15.

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