Julie Berman is one of the stars of the ABC soap opera General Hospital, playing trouble-making Lulu Spencer. Her character is the daughter of Luke and Laura Spencer, possibly the most famous couple in daytime TV history. But Berman is not overwhelmed by that pressure, and this year she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award fr Outstanding Younger Actress. Julie spoke with BuddyTV about her recent engagement, her role on GH and how she feels about interacting with her many adoring fans.
Below you will find a transcript of the interview as well as a c omplete mp3 audio file.
Hi, this is John from Buddy TV, and we’re talking with Julie Berman from the ABC soap opera General Hospital. Hi, Julie!
I understand that you recently got engaged, correct?
Yes I did, thank you.
Congratulations! How does that feel?
It’s a big point in my life, it’s a wonderful step, and we’re both really excited.
Is your fiancé a fan of the show, a fan of your character?
No, actually, we knew each other before I started working on the show. So he likes me for me, before I became Lulu. But now that I work on it, he’s definitely very supportive of everything I do.
He keeps up and watches the show with me, but he can only watch so much. He’s usually working during the week, so he doesn’t have as much leisure time to sit around and watch it smack in the middle of the day
Exactly. You mentioned obviously, your character: Lulu Spencer, daughter of the famous Luke and Laura, possibly the most famous couple in soap opera history. Were you familiar at all with the show, or at least with Luke and Laura before you joined?
No, I was really young when they were in their heyday, so I did not realize how big they were. I tried to research them when I auditioned for the part, because I heard they were a big deal, but there’s so much information on the internet. Soap opera storylines are so hard to follow if you have not been watching, so I could not understand what was going on.
You know, like, Luke froze the world and Laura was off on some random adventure, and doing this and that, and I could not keep up with what they did or what was going on. So I just kind of went into it, kind of a big deal, but I don’t think I really understood the full extent of why they were so popular, and what actually went on when they were in their heyday.
And how does that work when you’re acting? Do you just kind of pick it up on the fly? “Oh, this is what my relationship is with this character?”
Well, I ask people first to find out if there was any animosity between Lulu and any other specific character. She was so young before I kind of took her part over, that she really didn’t have any problems with anyone, so it really allows me to develop the relationships on my own.
Other than the relationship with her family, the major problem was her relationship with her father, which has definitely developed over time. I started to understand more what I can do with it, and how to work it. It was really just kind of day by day and looking at the material they gave me, and seeing how I could play with it to make it work.
But for the most part, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to really experience whatever relationship she has with other people, and evolve it from there, and see and be a part of the opinions that she is formulating about the people. I’m present when she’s giving me opinions about people, so it’s not too far of a stretch.
And right now you’re doing double duty, because you’re also appearing on the spin-off on SOAPnet, General Hospital: Night Shift. How does that increase workload for you?
It’s really, really crazy. It definitely takes up a lot of time, I think. Night Shift is brand-new, they’re still using the same crew and a lot of the same cast. But there’s a lot of new people, new cast members. It’s hard when it’s brand-new, no one really knows how to make the machine work very smoothly, you know, get into it and get used to certain things and kind of get a system going. It takes a lot longer than we’re used to.
And so Night Shift versus General Hospital… I mean, General Hospital just moves so fast, but Night Shift definitely takes a long time. But it’s fun, and it’s always nice being a part of something that’s new. I think it’s pioneering something big, and I think other soaps, if they’re smart, they’ll do something like this as well. Try and get some spin-off shows for primetime, because I think it’s a great way to generate more viewers and hopefully keep the old ones coming back.
Definitely. And with the spin-off with Night Shift, the plotlines are completely separate, almost existing in a parallel universe to the regular GH. Is that at all confusing for an actor when you’re trying to deal with remembering, “What am I doing on GH? What am I doing on Night Shift?”
Well, not really. I think originally they were trying to time it out right with what’s going on at that time on General Hospital, because everything is filmed in advance too. So I think they originally tried that, but it was impossible. There was no way they could keep the continuity from General Hospital that’s on five days a week, to Night Shift that’s on once a week.
We started filming Night Shift way in advance, so I think this kind of… by default, there really isn’t much continuity. So I think people just kind of take it as an extra dose of their favorite General Hospital stars on another TV show, and they can just stare at the guys a little bit longer.
Speaking of that, your character Lulu, she’s very attractive to a lot of different young men on the show. I’m just wondering, do you have a personal favorite actor that you like to work with, of all the many that you do?
I think I do like working with them all, because believe me, that’s not how my real life is or was before I met my fiancé. So it was really fun playing that. Lulu is a hot commodity for Charles, but I love working with Bradford Anderson, he plays Spinelli. His character has definitely grown and developed, and I think that’s the result of working with a character like Lulu as well as Jason and, I just think he brings a lot to the table. I think he brings a great energy. I think he’s unconventional for soap opera story. I was definitely rooting for Lulu and Spinelli to hook up, because I think it’s a little different, and I’m always for the different things that I can do on the show.
I definitely have to agree with you there, Spinelli definitely brings a different unique energy, and that’s something you’re not familiar with on soaps.
No, and I like that. It’s kind of boring to do the same old thing, and so it’s fun. I think it’s great they got him on the show, and I think it’s a great thing they nailed him down with a contract. It’s fun and it’s always nice to be a little bit more different, and just starting new trends and new things on the show, instead of sticking to this ‘hot guy gets the hot girl’ and stuff. It’s just fun to change it up a little bit.
And now this past weekend, you attended a fan club event, correct?
How did you enjoy interacting and meeting with all the fans that watch you everyday?
I loved it. I mean, there’s not many opportunities where you really get something set up, where you can interact with the fans for an extended period of time. Where you can do Q&A, and that sort of stuff. I think it’s really nice to see the people and hear their responses on what they’ve been watching, and it’s just great.
I mean, you do what you do because there are people out there who like it, so I definitely appreciate the fans. I love to meet with them and see that they’re happy, and that they still like us, and it’s fun, it’s such a really good time.
Now obviously, GH, Night Shift, an engagement, you probably don’t have a lot of free time. But is there anything you have planned for this summer?
No, I think you hit the nail on the head. I mean, I’m gonna try and do more, get more involved in meeting up with fans in different states and stuff, and hopefully hook up with someone who can help put on some different fan events. For me personally, as well as maybe me and a couple of the other characters on the show.
Like I said, I think the times I actually get to see the fans are once or twice a year. I’m actually starting to get more involved, so I can see if I can get out there and fly to different places, and see the people who can’t fly out to L.A. for the big Supersoap. Or fly to Florida for Supersoap weekend, or fly to L.A. for Fan Club weekend. That’s really all I’m trying to do, just get out there and see more of the fans, but other than that my life is pretty boring and short-lived I don’t have much time.
OK, well, thank you very much for talking to us, Julie!
Yeah, no problem. Thank you!
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)