Fear No Evil

Is Richie really as evil as he seems? Will he ever get his revenge on his sister Annie?  What’s in store for his romance with Babe? Sit back, relax and enjoy my exclusive interview with All My Children newcomer, Billy Miller.

By: Amanda

It was a chilly, rainy morning as I was sitting in my office, frazzled and swimming in paperwork. All of a sudden my phone rings and when I answer I hear the warmest, most intriguing, male voice with its ohhh soo detectable Cowboy twang. Had I been transported to Dallas and South Fork Ranch? Was I talking to one of the ohhh so delicious Ewing brothers? Unfortunately for me, that would be a negative. Instead, I was talking to one of the hottest newcomers in daytime – Billy Miller.  Late last summer, a casting call surfaced looking to fill the role of a character named “Wes” who had just been released from jail and just happened to be the brother of current Pine Valley resident, Annie McDermott Lavery. The Net was ablaze with names of former and current soap hunks that were vying for this brand new role. However, it was daytime newcomer Miller who was the lucky one and yes he “knew the character was really Richie but using the name Wes and coming to Pine Valley under false pretenses.”

“My manager Selena (James Levey Management) set up the first audition for the role in Los Angeles,” says Miller. “After the audition in LA, I flew here to New York to do the screen test.” The stars and planets must’ve been in line that particular day, as Miller walked away with the sought after role. “I literally got a call from my manager and the show on a Tuesday telling me to pack a bag and move to New York on Thursday, so I did just that and cancelled my Friday night date with my girlfriend and moved to New York…it was all a whirl wind,” Miller says laughing. 

But Miller is “having a blast” living the life this whirl wind has brought him. Viewers are also having a blast, loving to hate Pine Valley’s newest resident evil. Richie first came to town using the name “Wes,” secured a job at The Comeback, and even began a romance with a bubbly Pine Valley blonde. From his very first interaction with Babe Carey Chandler, viewers sensed that a romance was on the horizon. “Richie DEFINITELY has his sights set on a romance with Babe,” says Miller. Just when Miller was finding his groove and the chemistry meter was rising with his Babe co-star, Miller received a one two punch.

Viewers were shocked and saddened when news broke Alexa Havins was leaving All My Children and the role of Babe, a role she had created and played for the last 4 years.  “Alexa was great,” raves Miller. “From the moment I touched down at the airport she was like hi I’m Alexa and we are going to be working together.” Havins and real life hubby Justin Bruening even helped Miller get settled into life outside of Pine Valley. “I cannot say enough great things about them and thank them enough for all their help getting settled into the city. They were like oh you need to live here, go eat here, this is fun to do, etc.” And then in a blink of an eye both Bruening and Havins were gone and making a new life in the sand and surf of Los Angeles. “Alexa and I screen tested with one another and just had a certain rapport,” says Miller. “I later found out that she knew she was leaving at the time we screen tested, but she could just not say anything yet.”

But luck and fate must’ve been on Miller’s side once again as the role of Babe was quickly recast and the Babe/Richie romance seems to have moved full steam ahead, this time with Charleston, SC native Amanda Baker playing the role. “Amanda has done a great job making the role of Babe her own and I think she is doing a great job with it,” he says.

“It is tough to come in and take over a role from someone who has held it for 4 years and sure her portrayal of Babe is different from what viewers saw in Alexa’s.”

So what does Miller think of his new leading lady? “Amanda is so much fun to work with and a true southern lady I need to add.” So does this mean Babe and Richie are going to continue moving full steam ahead and it is going to be smooth sailing, right? “Richie is definitely having a problem starting or developing anything with Babe because Junior keeps getting in the way,” Miller says slyly. If Richie is not careful, he may blow his chances with Babe especially when it comes out what he did to gain coveted bone marrow. “Let’s not go there,” he says with a sigh. 

Since his dirty deeds are sure to come back to haunt him and ruin his relationship with Babe, Miller and I began to brain storm on which Pine Valley beauty Richie might choose to tangle with next. “I’ve heard a lot of things…Amanda, Greenlee, but that is not for Billy Miller or Richie to decide rather the Greek Gods that are our writers. Again at this point Richie has his sights set on Babe and no one else, but if one of the other eligible bachelorettes crossed into his sight….who knows what might happen.”  He continues laughing, “after all he has been in prison for 7 years.”

And let’s not forget he spent those 7 years in prison, thanks in part to a little fib his sister Annie told about him. When Richie first arrived in Pine Valley, it became evident that he was there to blow his sister’s fairy tale life out of the water. But boy how things have changed over the last few months, as Richie seems to have left Annie alone just a bit. “I really do not know what is going happen between them,” reveals Miller when I asked if Richie is going to seek revenge on his sis once again. “I think Richie, for the lack of a better word, has laid off the sister revenge for the moment.  He has bigger fish to fry.”

Maybe all the turmoil Annie is presently going through in her life, will help the siblings make amends with one another? “I do think that they’re flecks of moments when Richie feels sorry for his sister and his niece, but they’re in ways that are true to the character.” After listening to his last statement, the thought jumped in my mind to ask Miller how he would write the character of Richie if given the chance, after all writing is something he definitely knows a little something about. 

“You know, I really would not change anything about the Richie character,” says Miller. “As the character has become more established in Pine Valley, reconnected with his sister and had new people enter his life, I think that the writers have changed the role just a bit and ‘tailor’ made the role to fit me and some of my real life traits a little bit more. I am having fun playing the role though, and it is fun to go back day after day and see what is going on now.”

You might be surprised to know that Miller has a degree in communications. “I entered the University of Texas Austin’s film school with the intention of writing, directing and producing screen plays or television shows,” he says. During his senior year, something happened that lead Miller to get bitten by the proverbial acting bug, thus leading him to our screens today. “I had to shoot my senior thesis film and my actor decided to back out at the last minute,” he says chuckling. Miller knew that the show must go on, and with no time to find anyone else and his grade on the line, Miller did what he had to do. 

“I had to step in and do the part,” he says laughing. “I did not want to act at all, but I did it. I can still remember at my graduation party my professor told me that I did a good job with the directing, but I did a GREAT job with the acting and should consider making a career out of it. My dad looked at me and said you must be out of your damned mind,” he says laughing. It was not long after that, that Miller revealed he signed on with James Levy Management working in their mail room and kind of seeing what he wanted to do in the acting and directing business. 

However, after talking further it became apparent to this writer that Miller may have gotten some mini bites from the acting bug prior to stepping in to film his thesis. “I would go to the state theatre and study acting there through UT’s acting department,” he says. “Behind the scenes is so technical and sometimes can take away from human interaction and I wanted to have the experience and know what I was talking about if I was going to possibly direct these people someday.”

So should Richie ever meet his untimely demise on the show, how would Miller feel about being given the opportunity to work behind the scenes at AMC as a writer, director or producer? “Oh yeah without a doubt, I don’t know if I would be the guy they would come to and ask,” he says laughing. “I would definitely have to tone down my style of writing, but it would be a lot of fun.”

Like many in daytime today, Miller too has heard from fans how disgruntled they are with the current writing on the show and with many other daytime shows currently on the air. While he sympathizes with fans, he wanted them to know this. “There is A LOT of work that the writers in daytime have to turn out in such a short amount of time. I have learned that aspect of the writing genre by working on the show. Everybody and I mean everybody works such insane hours and it is definitely fast paced with things changing all the time.”

By now my day had gotten better and before I knew it Miller and I had been on the phone for quite some time. Storms were approaching the New York area, but Miller wanted to make sure that fans knew how much he appreciates their support since joining the show. “I cannot thank the fans enough for all the support and feedback that they have given me since I joined the show. I know it is hard and takes awhile for any viewer, no matter how long you’ve been watching a show to warm up to a new character. Please keep watching and writing in with want you want to see for Richie.”

Billy Miller, actor, writer and all around great person. I am definitely fearing no evil in Pine Valley and am glad to have another bad guy around. I would like to thank Billy for taking time out of his busy schedule to conduct this interview with Soaptown.  Additionally, a huge  thank you goes out to his manager Selena at James Levy for making all of this happen. 

For more information about Billy Miller or to join his fan club, check him out on myspace and at http://billyjmiller.net

photos courtesy of BillyMiller.net and ABC

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