Just the Facts
BIRTHDAY: December 2 * PREVIOUS SOAP ROLES: Lois, GH; Rocky, LOVING * MARRIED: Wallace Kurth (Ned, GH) on March 31, 1996 * TATTOOS: Five * TATTOOS SHE WANTS REMOVED: Three * DOES SHE REALLY SING ON MP? “God, no. I’m lip-synching.”
DIGEST: How is MELROSE PLACE?
RENA SOFER: I love it. Love it! I never thought I would work with a crew that I loved as much as the one at GENERAL HOSPITAL until I got here.
DIGEST: What’s your storyline?
SOFER: I come on as [Eve,] a singer at The Upstairs, and I have a strange connection to Amanda. I don’t do very well the first time I sing, and then I get hit by a car and Peter saves me. And Jack Wagner gets very smitten with me…. I mean Peter.
DIGEST: Was that a Freudian slip?
SOFER: Honey, that’s no secret [laughs]. Jack and I have an insanely good chemistry with one another. We have a lot of fun.
DIGEST: Did you know Jack before you got the job?
SOFER: I met Jack once before when he was holding court in the makeup room at GH – I think Mary Mae was singing and [Jack’s GH character, Frisco] was in Luke’s club. I was in full Lois regalia and I went up and met him, but I don’t think he was very impressed.
DIGEST: Why not?
SOFER: When I started MELROSE PLACE, he was like. “It’s so nice to meet you,” and I said, “I’ve met you.” “When?” “In the makeup room.” He couldn’t be bothered. He met a lot of people that day, I’m sure. Who cares?
DIGEST: How do you two get along?
SOFER: Oh, my God, he is so funny. This man makes me laugh on the set all the time. In fact, he gets me into tons of trouble making me laugh. They’ve got to wait for me to stop laughing before they can start to tape. He would be amazing on a sitcom. That’s off the record, because that’s gonna sound like Jack’s paying me to say nice things about him.
DIGEST: Why should that be off the record? If he’s a funny person, he should have a sitcom.
SOFER: He’s very funny, he should have his own sitcom. Okay. There you go.
DIGEST: He directed your first episode?
SOFER: Yes. He was very good. He helped me fine-tune who this person was going to be. He was quick and prepared, and he didn’t waste time. I love working with Jack – he’s so charming.
DIGEST: Who are your friends on the set?
SOFER: The only people I’m getting to know are Rob Estes [Kyle], Heather [Locklear, Amanda] and Jack. That’s who I work with.
DIGEST: Are they nice to you?
SOFER: Yes. Heather Locklear, who is stunning, drop-dead gorgeous, was nothing but gracious: “Hi. Welcome. It’s so great to meet you.”
DIGEST: Do you two talk babies?
SOFER: Constantly. It’s a sickness. Heather’s daughter is just adorable – she’s a year younger than Rosabel. So, I get to think back. “What was Rosabel like at that age?” I never loved babies before, but now that I have one, I love babies.
DIGEST: Does Heather bring her baby to the set?
SOFER: Sometimes. And sometimes I bring Rosabel – when she has a free day.
DIGEST: When she has a free day? She’s 2!
SOFER: Rosabel and [her caretaker] Paul are very busy people. Sometimes they look at me like, “You know, we really do have a full day scheduled here.” And I say, “That’s okay. But if you could find the time….”
DIGEST: Are you kidding?
SOFER: No! Rosabel has lunches and play dates and teas … not with real tea, obviously. She goes to Estelle Getty’s house almost every day and has lunch.
DIGEST: Estelle Getty, who played Sophia on THE GOLDEN GIRLS?
SOFER: Yes, Paul used to work for her. When you say to Rosabel, “What do you want to do today?” She says. “Stelle’s house!” She’s a very independent child. She just walks up to people and says, “Hello.” I love the way she’s growing up. I love the way she’s being raised by Wally, by me and by Paul.
DIGEST: How is Wally?
SOFER: Great. He’s got this new story coming on GH, and I’m so excited for him. They’re putting him together with Lisa Cerasoli, who plays V. – she’s wonderful. They’re going to let him sing again, which is great. GH doesn’t know what they’re missing by not [using him more]. Wally is so charismatic and dynamic. If they just give him a story, he will shine.
DIGEST: Like when Ned was with Lois?
SOFER: Let me tell you something: Wally and I had great chemistry, but it was not about me. There were two equal parts to our story that made it great.
DIGEST: How are things at home?
SOFER: We’re really happy right now. We look at each other and thank God and appreciate that what we have is very special. As bad as things ever get for us, it’s never as bad as a lot of other people have it. So, we’re always pretty respectful of that.
DIGEST: Do things get bad sometimes?
SOFER: Yes. I think marriage is a difficult thing and communication in a marriage, even when you think you have good communication, is still very difficult. The one thing Wally and I have going for us is that we always tell the truth. No matter what. Even when it hurts. Sometimes we don’t want to hear it; sometimes we invite it. But if you don’t talk to each other, it just bottles up and festers and then it explodes. I’d much rather have little mini kabooms than big, old mushroom bombs.
DIGEST: Do you want more kids?
SOFER: Absolutely. I’m on MELROSE right now, so the talk of having kids kind of stopped at that moment! Right now, we’re saving, “Let’s just see what tomorrow brings,” and if tomorrow brings the need to have another child, then we’ll go for it.
DIGEST: How long do you think you’ll be on MELROSE?
SOFER: I don’t know. All I can tell you is this morning, I got to my dressing room and usually, there’s a piece of tape where the plaque thing goes that has “Rena Sofer” written on it. This morning, there was a plaque stuck in there with my name engraved on it. So, I hope that means they’re happy with what I’m doing. And hopefully, the ratings will go up and the viewers will love what they see and I will have a job for a while longer.
DIGEST: And if not?
SOFER: Then, I will get another job. And I’ll take my damn plaque with me!
Lois And Brenda, Together Again… Sort Of
Digest: Have you talked to Vanessa Marcil [ex-Brenda, GH] since she joined BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 [as Gina]?
Sofer: Yes. I love Vanessa. I said to her, “Why can’t we have a crossover, just you and me, and be on one of our shows together?” I’d love to work with her again.
Digest: Does 90210 tape near MELROSE?
Sofer: Not even close. But she tapes right near my house, so I’m always like, “Come over and visit me if you’ve got time to kill.” She is going to blow that show out of the water. Mark my words.
Digest: I agree.
Sofer: I am Vanessa’s biggest fan. I think she is going to be a huge, huge, diva, Sharon Stone movie star. And I can’t wait for that to happen to her.
Digest: Have you and Vanessa dished Spelling prime-time shows?
Sofer: Yes. We talk about the fact that when we were going to work, I’ll look at Wally and she’ll look at Tyler [Christopher, who plays Nikolas on GH and is engaged to Marcil] and we’ll say, “How many lines you got today?” And they’ll say, “20, 30 pages. How many lines you have?” We’re like, “One-and-a-half pages [laughs].” We laugh that soap operas get such a bad rap, and they are such hard work. We got to go so much deeper on GH. A lot of our conversations are about that.
Digest: What else?
Sofer: And about the fact that we have it so much easier now! We make so much more money, and we get so much more exposure and we don’t have to work as hard. It’s unbelievable.
Digest: And nighttime?
Sofer: … is an artform that I’m not quite comfortable with yet, but I’m really studying and working hard on it. Ask me again in six months!
By Carolyn Hinsey
Soap Opera D