INTERVIEW: Katelyn MacMullen on her Emmy nom and the General Hospital legends who helped her nail some really heavy scenes

Posted Wednesday, June 02, 2021 10:28:05 AM

General Hospital's Katelyn MacMullen (Willow Tait) opens up about how the support of superstar colleagues like Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos) and Genie Francis (Laura Collins) has paved her way toward Daytime Emmy success.

General Hospital isn't short on talent, having pretty much dominated the list of this year's Daytime Emmy Awards nominees. And one of the ABC soap's rising young stars, Katelyn MacMullen (Willow Tait), says she has that pool of incredibly gifted performers to thank for her own nomination in the Outstanding Young Performer category. She spoke with Soap Central about her nomination -- the second one she's received since joining the show in 2018 -- and shared all the details about how some of GH's most legendary cast members helped her deliver the wow-worthy scenes that had everyone talking last year.

Soap Central: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination! How does it feel the second time around?

Katelyn MacMullen: Thank you so much! Oh, my gosh, it's so exciting! Not that it wasn't exciting last year, because it was super exciting, but I didn't know I could feel this excited all over again. [Laughs] I'm very good friends with Tahj [Bellow, T.J. Ashford] and other people in my category, so we've gotten to message each other and take time to celebrate, which has been really fun.

Soap Central: General Hospital dominated this year! Has there been a celebratory feeling on set since the nominations were announced?

MacMullen: We actually haven't been back to set yet -- we've been on a two-week hiatus -- but definitely on social media, we've felt it! We've said to each other, "Dang, GH really did have a lot of nominations this year!" It's been really exciting.

Soap Central: How did you find out that you'd been nominated?

MacMullen: My mom came into town kind of randomly over the hiatus, and I was in the kitchen with my boyfriend, trying to make tea, while she was online doing something. I had forgotten that day was the day they were going to release the list of nominees. I mean, we had just found out a couple of days sooner that they had set the date! So, she was like, "Did you know that this was going to come out?" And I was like, "No!" And then she blurted out, "You're nominated." And I was like, "What?!" And she said, "Wait, let me double-check that," because she thought she got it wrong. [Laughs]

Soap Central: I'm so glad she didn't! Can you imagine? "You've been nominated! Oh, wait, just kidding."

MacMullen: Oh, I know! [Laughs] But I was so excited -- I hugged my boyfriend and was like, "Oh, my gosh, I have to call everyone!"

Soap Central: Who did you call?

MacMullen: I think my agent and my manager texted me, so we ended up on the phone, and then I talked to Tahj, Briana Lane [Brook Lynn Ashton], Briana Henry [Jordan Ashford], so many people! I also talked to Kim Delaney [Jackie Templeton] -- she called me, and that was exciting. I was geeking out.

Soap Central: Are you a big fan of Kim's?

MacMullen: Oh, yeah, totally! I told her the other day when we were working together, I said, "I'm literally reading a book right now that you're mentioned in!" Like, it was crazy.

Soap Central: What book is it?

MacMullen: It's about acting, and it was written by William Esper, her acting coach in New York. It's a technique book that I've been reading, and she was mentioned in it, and I was like, "OMG, this is crazy!"

Soap Central: I love to hear that you're reading about your craft and wanting to keep learning about acting.

MacMullen: Thank you! It's fun, and sometimes you need to brush up on stuff. You're like, "Do I remember how to do this?!" [Laughs]

Soap Central: You must, since you've been nominated for another Emmy! Which scenes did you submit for your reel?

MacMullen: I submitted scenes from the baby reveal, when Willow finds out that Wiley actually wasn't her son and that her biological son had passed, then also Chase [Josh Swickard] in the hospital, and the grave scenes with Elizabeth [Rebecca Herbst] and Willow, where Willow is at the grave of her son, and then also when Willow walks in on Chase and Sasha [Sofia Mattsson] having their fake affair, when a whole argument ensued.

Soap Central: So many of those scenes were very emotional, and a lot of it was heavy material. Do you remember how you prepared or got in the mood?

MacMullen: Oh, my gosh, for the hospital scenes, I remember I was trying super hard to get there. I saw the script, and I was trying so hard to prepare, because I knew it needed to be -- obviously -- very emotional. But sometimes I feel like, when you try to get there, all of a sudden, your emotions just shut off, so I was feeling very frustrated. I was like, "I just don't feel it, and I know I need to feel it." That was during blocking that that was happening, where I just wasn't feeling emotionally there, but then I ran into Donnell [Turner, Curtis Ashford], and he gave me a hug for some reason, and he said something like, "You're gonna kill it. Go get it." And him hugging me, as unbelievable as it sounds, made me feel so moved, and I was like, "Awww, I have such great friends here!" And then, all of a sudden, I was like, "I can cry!" [Laughs] It was a little blessing.

Soap Central: Was it difficult for you to narrow down the scenes you used for your reel, or did you know pretty quickly what work from the year you wanted to showcase?

MacMullen: I knew for sure that I wanted to do the baby reveal, because those scenes, I walked away from them and knew that that day, I really pushed myself. I always try to look back and think which scenes surprised me or which scenes did I really have to push myself for, you know? Because normally they end up being something that maybe is Emmy-nom worthy. So, I knew for a fact that I wanted to do the baby reveal scenes, but I had trouble with a few other scenes. There was another one that I was contemplating, which was when Willow found out that Chase and Sasha's affair was fake, when she was in the hospital. So, I was thinking about those, but all in all, it was pretty easy to narrow it down. Those scenes were a little bit longer, so in the end, I thought, "Okay, I just want to make this reel a little shorter, so I won't use those."

Soap Central: How much would you say your costars influenced your own performances in the scenes?

MacMullen: Oh, my gosh, so much. Not only the people that you're in scenes with, but also the people outside of scenes who are supporting you. I remember with the baby reveal scenes, I had coached and done my own prep, but Laura Wright [Carly Corinthos] spent the day with Josh and I in her dressing room, going beat by beat and moment by moment, giving us really good advice. She was such a help that day, because we were both so overwhelmed, like, "Oh, my gosh, we're about to do these scenes, and we are so scared!" And she was giving us the greatest insight and notes and stuff. So, she was wonderful. And then, afterwards, Genie Francis [Laura Collins] was hugging us and telling us to get home and relax. She was so supportive. And the directors and the crew, I mean, everyone around us, it's all one big family in that way, you know? Everyone is there to support. But scene partners, for sure. Chad has given me crazy good advice during our scenes, and Josh works extremely hard with me to understand our scenes, and with each of them individually, our friendship and our trust with one another can show up, and if we didn't [have that in real life], it might not translate on screen, you know?

Soap Central: What have Josh and Chad said to you about your Emmy nomination? Have they shared their congratulations with you?

MacMullen: I was just texting with them for a bit, and they said congrats, which was super nice. And I'm sure when I see them, it'll be fun. We do most of our talking when we see each other at work, because we're stuck with each other for hours! [Laughs] But no, I got some really sweet text messages, which meant a lot. I'm sure they'll ask me more about it when we return to work, but yeah, they're super sweet.

Soap Central: Did you do anything to celebrate your nomination?

MacMullen: Yeah, I've gone to one dinner for a celebration, and that was nice. And I've been hanging out with my mom a lot, since she's in town. And that is a celebration in and of itself, because she doesn't live here, and it's cool to just say, "Oh, let's go do this today to celebrate."

Soap Central: We don't know much about how they're going to be doing the ceremony, whether it will be in person or online again, but have you thought about what you might wear yet?

MacMullen: I think they might try to do a ceremony that follows COVID rules and regulations, and I think it'll be socially distanced, but I'm not entirely sure -- we haven't gotten the full details for it yet. But I have some ideas in mind for what to wear. I'm not the best at dressing myself, so I'm probably going to go somewhere and have somebody help me. Like, two years ago, I was like, "Do I go to somebody for help? Do I do this myself?" And then I was like, "No, I'll be fine." But then, I ended up last-minute shopping, because I am so indecisive. So that year I said, "Never again. You need help, girl!" [Laughs]

Soap Central: What about for a speech? Is that something that you will plan in advance, or are you more the type to wing an acceptance speech in the chance that you win?

MacMullen: Oh, I'll definitely plan in advance! I know me: if I was up there and I didn't have a speech prepared, I would just probably mumble. So, I definitely need to write a speech -- which, I'll probably have somebody help me with, too! [Laughs]

Soap Central: Yeah, girl, get your groupies together to help you! That's the way to do it. Is there anything else that you'd like to add?

MacMullen: I would just like to extend my gratitude and say thank you to you and anybody who watches the show, who's invested in storyline, and who has supported us. It means a lot to me to have gotten the opportunity to be on this show and to have such amazing experiences. I'm really, really grateful to everyone.

What do you think about our Emmy nomination interview with Katelyn MacMullen? Do you think she'll take home the gold in the Outstanding Young Performer category this year? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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