It’s both the best of times and the worst of times for “General Hospital’s” Kimberly McCullough and Finola Hughes. The two actresses have played mother and daughter for over 25 years, as McCullough grew up. Hughes last appeared on GH for Robin’s wedding in 2009. Now she has returned to the show full time as McCullough prepares to leave to focus on her burgeoning directing career. Hughes and McCullough danced around their top secret storylines, admired Robin’s hair, and sang the praises of the show’s new regime.
After all these years, does the chemistry return instantly when you work together?
Hughes: I don’t think it comes back. I think we always have it.
McCullough: We worked together a couple years ago on “Night Shift”. It wasn’t that long ago. I see Finola so it’s not like we have to get that back. I always pop in to say hello to the children.
What is the real reason Anna has come back to Port Charles. She says she’s back to see her family, but it seems like she is up to something.
Hughes: Well, I’ve come back because Patrick tracked me down. But he’s also told me that Robin’s character has been having some problems and I think that I beat myself up a little bit about the fact that I wasn’t available to her with the health issues that she’s had recently. So, I think that sort of persuades me to come back sooner than I normally would. I’ve definitely been an absentee mother.
McCullough: It’s okay. I forgive you.
Hughes: I feel really guilty about that.
Tristan Rogers and Emma Samms are also heading back to Port Charles. What sort of trouble are you going to get into?
McCullough: Don’t you mean Tony Geary as well? He’s always a troublemaker.
Hughes: Luke and Holly get up to a little bit of trouble. And then I reunite with my ex-husband and we have some things to deal with, discuss talk about. It’s all really starting to unfold today and tomorrow.
McCullough: It happens soon. You’ll have an idea of what we’re trying to not talk about. It’s really hard to make your mouth move and talk about what you’re not being asked. Though I guess that’s what politicians do all the time.
Kimberly, you have made it known that you will be leaving “General Hospital” soon. Can you talk about how you will be leaving Port Charles?
McCullough: No. Sorry. You’ll just have to watch. It happens very soon… It was sort of a difficult task, I think, to figure out how I was going to leave the show. I think a lot of the fans loved the couple of Robin and Patrick (Jason Thompson) and don’t want to see them break up. They’ve been through so much so, what do you do? I actually ended up staying on the show six months longer after my contract [expired] just so we could figure that out because I care so much about these characters and their legacy and also what Patrick will have to deal with after Robin is gone.
Hughes: She is such an integral part of the show and your story over the years and how it developed from being this child growing up into having a very significant place in the fabric of [Port Charles].
McCullough: There was that but I also think that Robin is a symbol of a very special time on the show also. Because I was the kid who was kind of brought up in all that when it was Robert Scorpio and Anna Devane and Luke. It was such a great time. I’m sort of the product of that era.
Hughes: And you have really nice hair.
McCullough: I try to wash my hair frequently.
General Hospital has a new headwriter and a new executive producer. What can you say about the show’s new direction?
McCullough: It’s hard for me to leave, to be quite honest because there’s this new juice on the set.
Hughes: It’s a rebirth. Frank’s just amazing. He really cares about the details and the broad strokes. That’s a really amazing talent to have. Not a lot of people have that.
Hughes: It’s a lovely combination. He’s worked so many years with his headwriter, Ron [Carlivati]. I think together they’re dynamic and Frank is one of those people, he’s very hands on and he’s on the set. That’s how Kimberly and I both grew up working that way. Gloria Monty was very much like that and she was on the set. So it was this one vision in an ensemble show because you obviously have an ensemble cast and you have many writers and a handful of directors. So that’s a lot of people’s visions. I think to just have one person leading that and having a solitary vision is very powerful.