Melissa Archer brings feisty Llanview redhead Natalie Buchanan back to life when “One Life To Live” returns on April 29, thanks to Prospect Park’s The Online Network.
Before the show bowed out on ABC in January 2012, Natalie had found love again with her baby daddy, John McBain. But, after actor Michael Easton made the leap to “General Hospital’s” Port Charles, where his character shared a brief romantic moment with Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco), photo proof of which was sent to Natalie courtesy of her uncle Todd Manning (Roger Howarth), Natalie and John’s romantic fate took a nose dive.
When “OLTL” resumes in just over a week via Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes, Melissa said fans should feel confident that “things are definitely addressed.”
Beyond hinting at what’s to come for Natalie, in a new interview with AccessHollywood.com, Melissa shared new details on the fresh “One Life To Live” theme song, which was just produced by the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg – Snoop Lion. She also dished on what it has been like having so much new blood – including “Jersey Shore” alum Jenni “JWoww” Farley — as part of the cast.
AccessHollywood.com: Snoop Lion was just on set. Were you there when he stopped by?
Melissa Archer: I wasn’t unfortunately. That was actually the night of my screening for the movie I was in [‘West End’], so I wasn’t working that day. I missed the whole thing, but I got to see all the cool pictures and I heard it was a blast.
Access: What does the song he produced — ‘Brand New Start,’ The ‘One Life To Live’ new theme song — sound like?
Melissa: It’s really cool. And the girl that sings it— [Iza Lach] — has a gorgeous voice… It’s a really fun — it’s got a fun beat to it. It’s like slow and fast at the same time, if that makes any sense (laughs). So it’s almost like ballad-ish and then at the same time has a really fun beat to it.
Access: What was that day like when you heard they were going to bring back ‘One Life To Live’ — that this was really going to happen?
Melissa: You know, it’s so funny because I really hadn’t – I mean, I don’t want to sound negative – but I didn’t expect it, so when I heard that this was a go, I was like, ‘Wow! That’s pretty amazing,’ and I was really excited about it. I just feel like the idea of all of what they want to do is so smart and it makes so much sense from both a place that the fans can still go back to, but also from the standpoint of a business venture, because I think that’s where television’s going. So, I feel like why not be in, in the beginning of all of this — the transition.
Access: The previews look amazing.
Melissa: I love everything that they’re doing and each day… They’re looking at ways to improve, to shape it, but it’s got a lot of the old, but a lot of new. I think the new is really, really important, as well as the old because I think you want to have the feel that you’re still watching your show, but you generate a more current and up to date kind of show.
Access: ‘One Life to Live’ always did that. You guys always brought in people from pop culture. You had a Kardashian, obviously Snoop appeared on the show when it was on ABC. And now you have Riff Raff and Snoop again.
Access: And Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley. How did these new people fit in with the cast?
Melissa: Everyone fits in fantastically. I wasn’t there for Riff Raff either, but I did get to work with Jenni and she’s so great and so much fun. I feel like everybody just kind of comes in, fits right in, and the way they work the story, it all makes sense. It all flows together.
Access: What was it like your first day on set? Were there emotions? Excitement?
Melissa: I was really excited. I think that was probably the best way to describe it. I love the feeling [of] walking in and it’s a different place, a lot of familiar faces, a lot of new faces. I love how it was being, I don’t know if the right word is ‘run,’ but it was a different feel, even in that aspect. It reminded me a little bit of a reset. And then, to see the sets — they were just so stunningly done. I’ve gotta give such a shout out to our set designer and for everybody involved in that because [they] have done an amazing job. Some of them look so similar to the sets before and then [there are] some new ones where it’s just absolutely stunning… It’s just great. I love the lot, I love the whole thing.
Access: Your character had storyline without being on camera. How much of what we saw on ‘General Hospital’ informs Natalie back in Llanview. Obviously, while he was in Port Charles, John crossed paths with Sam McCall.
Melissa: I think that the fans will be happy to know… that things are definitely addressed. I don’t want to give away anything so, I’ll leave it saying it’s definitely addressed to some extent and you know… Natalie’s kind of upcoming path that she’s going to go down — because of [that] — I think will be very interesting.
Access: So is Natalie just a single mom trying to make it? She used to work at the Llanview Police Department…
Melissa: She is like a single mom trying to make it and that’s [not to say] she doesn’t have the support and love from her family, but I think that she’s very determined to do things on her own. At the same point in time, I think she’s trying to look for a revamp for herself because of all that she’s gone through in the past 10 years and then on top of [that], the recent things that have happened, I guess, in the last year. So I think that kind of leads where she’s gonna go and I don’t even know exactly where’s she gonna go. But what I’m watching so far, I think, is giving her a bit of a revamp which is great.
Access: One of the cliffhangers on the show’s finale on ABC was Clint proposed to Vicki, your TV mom and dad. Will we find out what happened with that when the show picks up?
Melissa: It is addressed absolutely and you’ll definitely start to find out what’s going to happen shortly thereafter. I don’t remember which episode it comes in, but definitely tune in for that.
Access: What was Erika [Slezak, who plays Vicki] like when the show started up again, because this show has been her life? She’s the matriarch of ‘OLTL.’
Melissa: She’s very excited about it and I don’t want to speak for her, but in what I’ve seen, she was very happy to be around her ‘One Life’ family again. It’s funny — it feels like we’ve all just had like a couple week’s vacation, in a weird sense. So it’s like coming back and everything is similar in the feeling… It’s been wonderful to work with her again and Jerry [verDorn, who plays Clint] and everybody.
Access: April 29 is not far away. Do you know what you’re going to do on that day? Are you going to have a celebration? A little party at your house?
Melissa: It’s funny you say that. I was actually thinking about that recently, like what I could do? I was even thinking if I could get it together fast then I might try and organize a little mini fan event out in LA and see if people want to watch it [together]… but I have to figure out if I can get that together fast enough.
“One Life To Live” returns Monday, April 29 on the free online streaming service Hulu, and through subscription at Hulu Plus. Fans can also purchase episodes, beginning on that date on iTunes.
For more information on Melissa’s film, “West End,” visit the film’s website, www.westendthemovie.com.
-- Jolie Lash