Soap Opera News - Standing Ovation - 5/97

By Rosemary Rossi

Carly Roberts is no Mother Teresa. After all, in less than 24 hours, she hopped from a robust round of sex with a handsome millionaire into the bed of the man she's living with- who also just happens to be her birth mother's ex-husband.

Yet General Hospital's Sarah Brown plays Carly with such depth and conviction that one can't help but love and hate this lass with the difficult past. One is always aware that Carly's actions- as misguided and self-destructive as they may be- come from her feelings of being alone and lost in the world.

Brown, who is up for a Daytime Emmy this week as Outstanding Younger Lead Actress, says self-preservation motivates her acting choices.

"It's not written for you to feel sorry for Carly," Brown contends. "But my experience with acting is that if you have a villain who's devious and wants to hurt people, she's going to get killed off. The audience takes joy in watching one of their favorite characters put an end to a one-dimensionally evil person."

Further, Brown notes, even villains have motivations. "I believe, in acting, people do things out of their need for survival, even if it means killing somebody. But if I just kill you out of spite, it's no fun to watch. There's no drama.

"It's more fun to watch Carly hurt her mother if you know that she loves her mother- because she's doing it out of love and out of pain," she points out. "We can all relate to doing things we know we shouldn't have done, but we were so hurt we just did them anyway."

As GH fans wait for the fallout from Carly's "two men in one day" caper- and when and how the big news of her biological parentage will hit her birth mother, Bobbie- Brown has layered her character with back story in an effort to explain the many faces she seems to be wearing these days.

"I decided the way not to lose my job was to spend every ounce of free time for a couple of months developing a history for her of things that would build psychological bridges to what she does," she explains.

"Carly is not downtrodden, by any means. She has had a life similar to many young women, where her mom worked so much that she didn't really have time to pay attention to her. She doesn't have a father figure in her life. She lost her best friend very young. She's been through quite a few tragedies and traumas," says Brown.

"And she didn't really have a relationship with the woman that she called Mom. In fact, Mom didn't have time for little Carly and might have had some bitterness toward her. She was a very cold woman and she didn't give a lot."

"So Carly learned how to manipulate people, how to get what she wants by smiling big and pretending to give them everything that they need. She's manipulative out of a survival instinct," says Brown.

And Sarah Brown certainly knows about survival instincts. So expect to see her- and Carly- on GH for many years to come.

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