GH's Sarah Brown: The Exit Interview

'I Want Nothing Less Than Everything'

Soap Opera Weekly - April 17, 2001

Rarely does an actors announcement that she's leaving a soap create the kind of uproar that erupted when Sarah Brown (Carly Roberts Corinthos) decided it was time to quit General Hospital. Fueled by an array of rumors, her devoted fans bombarded the Internet in an attempt to oust the woman they blame for Brown's departure, new GH Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps, and to get Brown to reconsider. Then again, Brown is a rare breed of actor. In her five years on GH, she's not only been deluged with praise from co-stars and critics, but she's also taken home three Daytime Emmy trophies: two for Outstanding Younger Actress, and one for Outstanding Supporting Actress.

Brown sat down with Soap Opera Weekly's West Coast Editor, Janet Di Lauro, to set the record straight about her GH exit, her future plans and her five memorable years in Port Charles.

Janet Di Lauro: Did the fan backlash regarding your GH exit take you off guard?

Sarah Brown: You know what really took me off guard? Those rumors on the Internet about Jill and myself having some sort of blowout and that that is what caused me to leave General Hospital. These rumors are completely false. Plain and simple, [this alleged blowout] just never happened.

JDL: How did this uproar make you feel?

SB: I was blown away and incredibly flattered that people cared enough to stand up and take issue with what they thought was an injustice, but at the same time I felt really badly for Jill, that she had to be put under that kind of pressure this early on in her career at GH. I felt badly for ABC that all that negative publicity had come down on them, when they did absolutely nothing wrong. I have no ill will toward them in any way, shape or form.

If anything, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities they've given me and for the wonderful time that I've had the last five years. I've had an amazing time. If (former executive producer) Wendy Riche was there, Id still be leaving the show. [My exit] has nothing to do with Jill. I respect Jill. I would have loved to have worked with her. It's just not the thing I want to do this next year. I'm moving on because I have other dreams for myself. That is the reason why I'm leaving the show.

JDL: Was choosing to leave GH a difficult decision?

SB: Its definitely a decision that I labored over, and yet it's something that I've been thinking about for two years. My heart is telling me that now is the time. I need to move on and make my way into directing, which is something that I've wanted to do since I can remember. There's not really a place to do that and stay on a soap. I realized it was time to cut down on my workload in terms of the daytime gig, in order to focus on the things that I really hope to do in the future.

JDL: Whom will you miss most from the cast?

SB: Maurice Benard (Sonny),whom I adore. Amber Tamblyn (Emily)...Billy Warlock (AJ)...Steve Burton (Jason), although I was going to miss him anyway because he's not there anymore. He's off being a big movie star. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis)...John Ingle (Edward)...everybody.

Most importantly, I think Maurice and I have developed a wonderful working relationship with nothing but trust, mutual respect and admiration, and the ability to learn from each other. I'm going to miss that. But he lives five minutes away and we will keep in touch.

JDL: What will you look back on and remember most fondly about your time on GH?

SB: The incredible people, the fans who are so devoted and so much fun, the creative process, the freedom [to create]...I'm going to miss everything about General Hospital. I'm going to miss Carly. I got lucky. I had an amazing ride, and the fans have been so amazing. I can't tell you how moved I was to read some of the petitions [on the Internet]. These smart, smart women came forward and said things that will affect me for the rest of my life about this love story that Maurice and I and the show created with Carly and Sonny, and how profoundly they were moved in their own personal lives. It made a difference to me and I want everyone to know that. I can never look back at the five years I spent here and go, ''Wow! What did I really do?'' What I really did was make several million people happy for a long period of time, and that really fills me up and makes it worthwhile. I'm so blessed and so thankful for those fans.

JDL: Lets talk about your future plans. Is anything definite in the works?

SB: I have a movie that I'm going to be shooting in May up in Canada. It's a feature film, tentatively titled Shock Treatment. Thus far, I'm the only person cast. I'm the second female lead. I have several irons in the fire at the moment, but I can't really talk about them.

JDL: You had discussed going to film school. Did you ever apply?

SB: I didn't, actually, because my story on GH became so heavy. Then I took on the two plays (Cyrano de Bergerac and a scene from The Rainmaker in a benefit ensemble show). The time was just too short. Feb.16th---the day that I was supposed to apply--came up on me. It just jumped up and bit me. And I did not have my script, the one that I believed in most, ready and fully fleshed out, ready to go. I started creating a couple of my own, but the process is new to me and I needed a little more time. Once I'm done working at General Hospital, and I'm working on features and other things and have a little more time on my hands sitting around in trailers and so forth, I hope to really focus and concentrate on film school. I want to do it right and be solely focused on that when the time comes to apply again. I want to have the best script possible and be fully prepared.

JDL: Do you ever see yourself directing full time?

SB: I'll never stop acting, but I would like in the next 10, 15 years to shift my career focus into predominantly producing and directing. Eventually, I would like to follow in the footsteps of Barbra Streisand, Susan Sarandon or Penny Marshall...These are the women whom I admire, who have made an incredible leap from acting to directing and producing and are able to do all three. That's what I want. (She smiles) I want nothing less than everything.

On GH's Emmy Shutout

During her five years on General Hospital, Sarah Brown has received four Emmy nominations. However, this year she was conspicuously snubbed in the Lead Actress category. ''I was shocked, not so much for myself, because I don't know whether or not it was a smart [decision] to move into [the Lead Actress] category, but I felt it was what I had to do, admits Brown. I certainly was shocked for the whole show. I don't feel in any way, shape or form that our cast deserved to be shut out. I was really incredibly surprised that we were shut out on every level except a couple of technical [nominations].

Most of all, Brown found co-star Amber Tamblyn's (Emily) exclusion from the Younger Actress list disgraceful.''That Amber didn't get nominated, who did amazing, incredible, brilliant work....'' Brown contemplates. "[Prior to the Emmy announcements] I just knew that Amber would not only get nominated, but that this was her year to win. She did brilliant work. I was incredibly surprised that she didn't get her due.''


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