Lesli Kay came onto The Bold and the Beautiful scene to take over the part of Felicia Forrester from fan favourite Colleen Dion. It didn't take Lesli long to make Felicia her own, and she's got an Emmy nomination to show for it. Lesli is nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Emmy for her colon-cancer story line.
This latest Emmy nod is especially sweet. Years before, she had won the Emmy for her role of Molly on As the World Turns, a part she thought she would always be identified with. "I was Molly for seven and a half years," Lesli explains. "I thought this would be it. I would always be Molly. But then I played Lois on General Hospital. Now, they never said that this was the reason, but I ended up becoming pregnant, and suddenly my story ended. So, I'm pregnant, about to turn 40, we're down to a few thousand dollars in the bank, and then B&B comes along."
When Lesli took over the role of Felicia, she got a doozy of a story line to work with: seemingly terminal colon cancer. Unfortunately, Lesli had personal experience with cancer from which to draw upon for her role. "I'm a very emotional person and compassionate, and I can very easily feel what other people are feeling. My father had the exact same type of cancer and died of it when I was 27, so (the emotions) were ridiculously readily available."
Living with cancer
Because of what Lesli went through with her father and through talking with cancer patients, she felt the need to be true to those who are living with cancer. Leslie reveals: "That's why I didn't hesitate to shave my head. I wanted to do it justice. With the amount of chemo Felicia had, she had to have lost her hair." But as she was acting out these scenes, "I thought of the people sitting at home who were bald with cancer, and I was so afraid of running the risk of offending them."
Head writer and executive producer Bradley Bell's original plan was to have Felicia succumb to the cancer. Fan support and petitions might have played a role in Felicia's survival. However, Lesli insists that out of respect for realism and those who have lived with and died from cancer, she would not have stayed if Felicia's survival was far-fetched. "I met a girl with stage four liver cancer who survived. She confirmed that you can live. I would have wanted them to kill me off if it was unrealistic."
Being in the competent hands of Bell, however, Lesli was confident that Felicia's story would be told well. "Brad created Felicia. He has lived with these characters for 20 years. I have trust in his writing. He is true to the characters."
At the present time, Lesli is excited about her latest project with her husband (and former ATWT co-star Keith Coulouris). Keith wrote, directed and co-stars in the independent movie Shadow People. Lesli co-stars with her husband in the role of Gretchen, a woman who is carrying quite a bit of baggage from her secret past. Gretchen and Daniel (played by Keith) rent a guesthouse from an affluent couple, spending their days feeding their drug habit and plotting a way to teach their landlords a lesson in humility.
Gretchen is worlds apart from Felicia, and Lesli was eager to play her. "It's hard to categorise her with an adjective. As people we all are one thing at one time or another. But a horrible thing has happened to Gretchen in her life (that we don't know about in the beginning). And when people do stuff to her, she fights back."
Right now they are shopping the film around to festivals. If you want to know more about the movie, and perhaps lobby to have the film played in your hometown, go to the movie's official web site: shadowpeoplemovie.net.
- Cindy Elavsky