Once upon a time, ‘General Hospital’s Lucky, Liz and Nik were so close they called themselves the three musketeers. Lucky and Liz were the perfect couple. Nik was not just Lucky’s brother, he was his best friend. As illustrated by the accompanying slideshow, these characters have been a part of each other’s lives since the 1990s, as have the actors who portray them. Their relationships were shattered when Liz began having an affair with Nik. Jonathan Jackson (Lucky), Rebecca Herbst (Liz) and Tyler Christopher (Nik) sat down to talk about the controversial love triangle.
The big confrontation scenes where Lucky revealed he knew about the affair were so powerful to watch. What were they like to film? How did you prepare?
Christopher: I think we all kind of prepare individually when we have to do difficult scenes like that. It was a nice pay off for a story that’s been played out beginning last April. It’s been a long time coming. Sometimes we get a lot of stories, the turnaround is very quick and there’s not always a great pay off. I think that was a nice culmination to the story.
Jackson: Becky and Tyler were just amazing to work with. She was just so present.
Christopher: But we didn’t say anything.
Herbst: We just stood there and watched you.
Jackson: But listening is so important. It made what I was doing so much easier because they were both there and really engaged. For me, I felt like it was a real group dynamic to pull those scenes off.
That was the darkest Lucky has been since you returned. Did you enjoy playing that aspect of his character?
Jackson: It was really exhausting and not that much fun on one hand but from an objective place I think it’s cool for the character to go through that stuff. It makes sense.
Herbst: Emotionally, it’s really wearing on you. You go home and you’re very tired. It’s very true to his character. That’s what someone would do if they found out their fiance was cheating on them.
The rest of Port Charles seems to hold Liz a lot more responsible than Nik for the affair. Do you think this is fair?
Herbst: She made her bed. She’s going to lay in it. It is what it is. She did cheat. She did lie. A lot of people are upset. It’s [Lucky’s] family that’s upset. Lulu had every right to go off on Elizabeth. I think she knows that. I can’t expect them not to.
Why do you think Liz and Nik could not stay away from each other? Was it was Liz said, that Lucky still sees her as a teenager while Nik saw her as an adult woman. As a viewer I was surprised that was Liz’s POV.
Herbst: It’s hard to say because I truly believe that she is in love with Lucky and has been in love with him her entire life. But what happened with Nikolas caught her by surprise as much as everybody else. It’s hard for her to articulate it. She just knows that Nikolas did make her feel more like a woman and that in her relationship with Lucky she’s very much still that 16 year old girl that constantly needs to be saved. That’s kind of the role that Lucky has played in her life.
Do you think that there is a future for Liz and Lucky or Liz and Nik?
Herbst: As of right now, I don’t know that there’s a future for any of them.
Will Lucky ever forgive Liz?
Jackson: I have no idea. I think that if that were the case it would have to be a long while because their history, when you lay it out, is pretty tragic.
Christopher: Every child she ever had you thought was yours.
Jackson: They turned out not to be, yet [Lucky] still claimed them.
Speaking of Liz’s children, Liz is about to discover she is pregnant again.
Christopher: None of that has aired yet? We taped it ages ago.
Jackson: It was just a few weeks ago.
Herbst: It was right before I get put in Shadybrook.
Wait, Elizabeth’s going to end up in a mental hospital?
Herbst: She has a little meltdown.
So now Lucky may finally be a father with someone he no longer wants to have a baby with.
Christopher: Or he may not!
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What are each of your characters’ perspective on the pregnancy?
Christopher: I think he hopes it will make Elizabeth want to be with him in a long term relationship. But this is a story point we’ve playing for 15 years, that whatever child I bring into the world will be controlled by my grandmother, Helena. That’s the very first story we started telling when I came on the show. So that’s a fear of his. I guess she controls the Cassadine — although wouldn’t you think that since I’m the one who controls who gets what money… I’m trying to say that if I have a child how does my grandmother control my own children? That’s what I don’t understand.
Herbst: I think we were all shocked. Nobody expected this. This is the last thing she wanted. It is going to be a constant reminder of what she is calling a mistake. I think she pretty much knows it’s going to be Nikolas’s because there’s way more chances that it would be his than it would be Lucky’s but she’s praying that it will be Lucky’s because if it is than she believes there would be a chance for some sort of reconciliation. At this point, she doesn’t want to have a family with Nikolas.
Jackson: I think that he assumes and believes it’s going to be Nikolas’s because the odds heavily favor Nikolas.
Christopher: As I so frequently point out. “I’ve been with you 100 times. Lucky was with you once!”
Jackson: This is potentially the third child that she’s had with someone else besides him so I think it’s extraordinarily painful and sort of over-the-top emotionally. That little percentage of possibility that it could be his scares the crap out of him because if it was his he would have to deal with reconciliation and forgiveness, not even being with her necessarily, just even having to heal some of the wounds. Either way, it’s a horrible situation.
Will Lucky start using drugs again because of the stress?
Jackson: I asked them if I could just always drink and never stop. I’m just kidding. The crisis that’s going on with Elizabeth, the fact that Cam and Jake don’t have a mother right now, I think that sort of wakes Lucky up to say, ‘I need to get my stuff together because I need to be present for those kids.’
I like the way the Spencer men are telling Lucky, “Go ahead and get wasted. We’ll drive you home.”
Jackson: It’s a unique moral code.
It’s great to see the original three musketeers together. What’s it like working together again? There is an obvious bond between the three of you.
Jackson: Only when we do interviews.
Herbst: Yeah. Outside this room….
Jackson: Actually, it’s been a blessing for me. I was away for ten years or so, so to come back and work with everybody again, it’s been great.
Herbst: The adjustment period was very short. I thought it would take longer to get back in the groove, but really for me it was quick. It feels right.
Christopher: After the first two months… no, really, it was almost immediate.
You managed to keep Lucky and Elizbeth’s relationship alive through three different Luckys. How did you keep the thread going?
Herbst: The characters are still the same. Each individual actor chose to play him a little differently. You just roll with it. Each relationship was different. They all had their uniqueness. But Elizabeth remained the same.
In recent episodes, it seemed like Jason and Lucky were suddenly becoming friends. Is that going to continue?
Jackson: I think they’re doing a romance there, a bromance. There’re Lucky and Jason fan clubs popping up.
You’ve been on the internet.
Jackson: No, I haven’t. I was just making that up. That scares me.
Christopher: You could be J-Luck.
Jackson: I think the whole detective and the mob thing, having us work together is cool not only because I like Steve a lot and think he’s a great actor but character-wise because there’s always great areas of conflict in that relationship.
A lot of fans are angry with Nik and Liz right now. Do you enjoy playing the bad guys for the moment?
Christopher: It’s kind of hard to say because soap fans in contrast to fans of other shows really take it personally. They’re not mad at Nikolas for sleeping with his brother’s fiance. They’re mad at Tyler. It’s never good to be on that side of the fence. It’s one of those, do you hate it and want to stop watching hate it or do you hate it because it’s good? That’s where the fine line is. I was at an event at that was the number one thing I got: “My grandma’s so mad at you. My Mom, my aunt, my sister.” At me, personally. What are you mad at me for? I didn’t do anything. But obviously people are watching, or we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
Herbst: People just need to remember that we don’t write the show. We just do what’s on our pages. I got a letter the other day that said, “Shame on you. Shame on you Becky for making that choice.” Sorry. I don’t have any say so in what goes on.
How do you feel about your real life pregnancy being written into the show?
Herbst: I’m thrilled. I told Guza that it really didn’t matter to me one way or the other as long as I continue to work, however it’s much easier for it to be written in. I’ve covered up a pregnancy before. That’s just a pain. Everybody knows I’m pregnant and I get really big. It’s almost comical trying to pretend that I’m not.
How would you like to see this story resolved?
Jackson: It’s such a big mess. It’s not easily resolved. I don’t try to contemplate what I would do. I just try to get an idea of what they’re doing and wrap my head around it and approach it the best that I can.
Herbst: And just when you do that it changes.
Christopher: I hope that somehow we preserve the integrity of the characters. As Jonathan pointed out before, she’s already mothered two children that he wished were his. Just think about the implications if this child actually ends up being Nikolas’s. For him to once again stand by her side, that’s a tough thing to sell. Even for my character, for going on fifteen years now, he’s been very righteous and always honest and did the right thing. For him to betray his brother like that, it’s a big thing to come back from. I hope we find a way to at least salvage all of our dignity in all of this.
Herbst: There’s a lot more things that can happen. I don’t think this is the end. It will be interesting to see where the writers take it.
Christopher: Maybe [the baby’s] neither one of ours.
Herbst: Maybe it’s Sonny’s. He sneezed on me at one point.
Christopher: He has littered Port Charles with his seed.