Lesley Bohm Photography
This year marks 20 years since Crystal Chappell debuted as GUIDING LIGHT bad girl Olivia Spencer and a decade since the soap’s conclusion. But her Spring field family still holds a special place in her heart. That’s why she invited some former castmates to be part of the sixth season of VENICE THE SERIES, the digital drama that she both executive- produces and stars in.
When the first two episodes were released to Vimeo on Sept. 2, fans saw Gina and Ani, the newlyweds played by Chappell and her GL love interest, Jessica Leccia (Natalia), “end up in a New Jersey farmhouse where there’s a ghost! They have to figure out what this apparition wants and why it won’t leave.”
With GL alumni Kim Zimmer (Reva), Michael O’Leary (Rick), Jerry verDorn (Ross), Beth Chamberlin (Beth) and Orlagh Cassidy (Doris) readily agreeing to join the already existing cast in some unexpected roles, Chappell said that she couldn’t help feeling both “humbled and flattered. The endurance of the relationships from that show is amazing! We’re all a little bit softer in some areas… but it’s the same personalities, sense of humor and work ethics.”
Also this season, Gina will support Ani as she steps into a new job as a fashion-magazine photographer. But will it be as dreamy a gig as Ani hoped? Chappell, who never wanted to “sit in an office and crunch numbers,” suggested that life can be surprising. “I actually have some skill in managing and overseeing things,” she offers. “I didn’t expect to be in this place, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”
To that end, the producer has also been busy relaunching her other soap-starstudded drama, BEACON HILL, after a five-year break! In it, she stars as Claire Preston, the alcoholic daughter of a powerful senator (GL’s Alan, Ron Raines). Fellow VENICE cast member Hillary B. Smith (Margo, AS THE WORLD TURNS) “is coming on to play my mother. It’s a stretch, but she can do it. She’s that good!” Chappell previewed. With more familiar faces also turning up, you won’t want to miss it on Vimeo “by this December or January.”
Later this fall, fans will be able to catch Chappell in theaters in Loco, a thriller in which she plays a single mom whose gifted son is led astray by drugs. But in her own life, the Emmy winner feels most at home behind the camera. “If I never act again, I won’t miss it,” she confides. “But I would miss producing. I would miss creating something and seeing it through to the end.”
For more on what your favorite GL stars are up to now, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine