General Hospital has a stellar casting department, as evidenced by the gem of a find in actress Briana Lane. The daytime newbie was asked to briefly fill in as Brook Lynn Ashton for Amanda Setton, who was unable to return to work after giving birth, because of the COVID pandemic. Though Lane had no prior soap opera experience (outside of a stint as Hope's body double on Days of our Lives), she immediately won over fans with her portrayal of Brook Lynn and instantly felt like a natural Port Charles resident. The industry has recognized her incredible talent by nominating her in the Outstanding Guest Performer category at this year's Daytime Emmy Awards, an honor that Lane tells Soap Central was completely unexpected.
Soap Central: Congratulations to you on your Emmy nomination!
Briana Lane: Thank you so much! I'm still processing! I'm surprised, in shock, and overwhelmed with gratitude. It's just an incredible honor. It's amazing that soap opera actors are getting such great recognition for their work, and I just feel so lucky to be a part of it all!
Soap Central: You were asked to come in as a temporary recast -- did you at all imagine that it would end in an Emmy nomination?
Lane: It was an honor just to be cast and to fill in for the mega-talented Amanda Setton, and then to get nominated?! It was far beyond anything I could have imagined. It's pretty wild. And I'm even more shocked because the category was open to both males and females, which means it's such a competitive category. So, I was just like, "What?! Are you sure? Did they make a mistake?!" [Laughs]
Soap Central: No way! People loved you! Were you nervous, though, to be a recast, even though you knew it would be short term and that most fans knew you were covering while Amanda was on maternity leave?
Lane: Totally! I was super nervous because I had never done a soap before, and the process is so different than anything I've ever done. You'd only get one take, you have so much more material to go over in such a short amount of time, and I was just kind of thrown into the fire. It was scary the first few times, but after I got used to it, the cast was so welcoming and kind and helped me get comfortable, and because of them, I feel like I was able to [get comfortable] and the transition was a lot smoother. I think because you don't do a lot of takes and you don't get a lot of time to rehearse, it feels so intimate; it feels like theater. So, in the end, it was one of the most artistically fulfilling roles I've ever done.
Soap Central: Which scenes did you include on your reel?
Lane: I ended up submitting the scenes in the hospital where I couldn't speak, with Ned [Wally Kurth] and Olivia [Lisa LoCicero] and Sonny [Maurice Benard], and then I submitted two fighting scenes with Ned -- of course! -- and some resolution scenes with Ned. So, there's a ton of Wally! [Laughs]
Soap Central: Not a bad thing at all!
Lane: He is the world's greatest scene partner. He's so generous and emotive, and he made me feel so comfortable. It was easy to act with him.
Soap Central: How much influence do your scene partners generally have on your own performance?
Lane: I think it's really important. The chemistry between the two people and making sure you're on the same page as to what the story is and where the characters are in the moment is essential to doing good work. At General Hospital, all the actors are so talented, so any scene that I had with someone, I felt like I became a better actor. Everyone is so committed and so dialed in. I mean, these actors are able to just, "Five, four, three, two, one," and drop into a scene immediately. It's incredible to watch, and it makes you settle in a lot faster, as well.
Soap Central: Do you remember how you got into the mood or prepared for the scenes that you have on your reel?
Lane: It was interesting because in the scenes where I couldn't speak, I obviously had no lines to memorize, so I just had to have my own lines in my head, my own thoughts about what the character was thinking. So, that was just a whole experience, and it was nice because there was no pressure of having to figure out what my next line was, so I was super dialed in and present in those moments. And it was pretty easy to get into character for the hospital scenes, because I was already laying in the bed, so I felt very comfortable and very tired immediately! So, that was some method acting there. [Laughs] And with the Ned stuff, Wally and I talked a lot about the characters and where they were at. I love Wally -- he comes from the theater world, so he's very hands on with his work and loves dissecting a scene, which I love doing, too, and it was very helpful to have some dialogue about the characters before we went into the scenes. It helped a lot, he and I being on the same page with everything.
Soap Central: Have you been in contact with any of the other nominees to share congratulations with each other?
Lane: Yes! Katelyn [MacMullen], who plays Willow on the show, she and I FaceTimed right when we found out about the nominations and had a bit of dialogue. Wally reached out to me, and I talked to James Patrick Stuart [Valentin Cassadine], I talked to [GH executive producer] Frank Valentini, Mark Teschner, the wonderful casting director over at GH. So, it's just been incredible. And a lot of the other cast mates have reached out. They have the best cast and crew over there at GH. It's truly insane, and I still just can't believe it.
Soap Central: You actually have some previous soap experience playing Hope's body double on Days of our Lives...
Lane: Oh, my gosh, yes! That was my first job! And you don't understand -- I have wanted to be on a soap opera forever. [My first manager] took me to the set of General Hospital when I was like 17, and from that point, I had always wanted to be on a soap. Like, that was the goal. From a teenager and into my early 20s, I was like, "Get on a soap, get on a soap." And then I ended up doing episodic work, which is amazing, and I love episodic work, but I've always to do a soap. That first job at Days of our Lives, it was what got me my AFTRA membership. And from that point, I was like, "One day, it would be so cool to be on a soap." So, it's been a dream forever, and it is pretty surreal to have been on one and then to be nominated for an Emmy. It's crazy!
Soap Central: How did you celebrate the news that you'd been nominated?
Lane: I had just landed from Hawaii the night before, so I was still jet-lagged the whole day. But two days after, I went to dinner with a bunch of friends. One of my girlfriends just had her show picked up by ABC, my other friend got promoted at Berlanti Productions, and my other friend's show got picked up for season two, and I got nominated for an Emmy. So, it was this big celebration dinner, and it was really fun. So, that was great.
Soap Central: Have you thought about what you might wear to the ceremony?
Lane: Oh, my gosh, that is the biggest stressor! Katelyn and I are getting ready together, looking for dresses together, and it feels like you're shopping for your wedding dress, but the entertainment industry equivalent of your wedding dress. [Laughs] It's a big moment in your career, a career milestone, and you want to look beautiful. So, it's a lot. But once I find the dress, I'll feel a lot more relaxed.
Soap Central: Oh, for sure. I mean, those photos will follow you for the rest of your career. Not to put more pressure on you, sorry!
Lane: Oh, my gosh! [Laughs] Those Google image results will be there forever!
Soap Central: Will you prepare a speech on the chance that you win, or will you wing it?
Lane: I think we're doing some of the speeches beforehand, but in general, I need to write things out and then memorize it. I'm pretty good at improvising because I was part of an improv comedy team, but for this, for the Emmys, I would definitely want to know what I'm saying!
Soap Central: It's an emotional moment, a big moment, so I can understand that.
Lane: Yeah, and your nerves are at an all-time high, and you just don't know what's going to come out of your mouth. [Laughs]
Soap Central: As I mentioned before, the daytime fans really embraced you, so would you consider returning to soaps in a new role?
Lane: I would love to do a soap and play a different character. That would be so fun. For me, the soap experience is so artistically fulfilling that I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Soap Central: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Lane: I just want to thank all the fans for their support because they've been so validating through this whole experience. Coming on as a new kid on a soap and just having the fans fully embrace my take on Brook Lynn made such a big difference. It was nice to feel validated for the work that I was putting out there, and their support gave me confidence. I felt the love, and I really, really appreciate the fans.
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