After surviving a murder attempt, most folks would take a good hard look at themselves and the choices they’ve made in life. “Not Obrecht,” GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Kathleen Gati chuckled to Soaps In Depth. Her character “enjoys being dark and evil, so she was like, ‘Goody goody! Now who can I get vengeance on?’ That’s what makes her tick. It’s like cat and mouse for her. Meow!”
But Obrecht is hardly your garden variety alley cat. “She doesn’t just have nine lives, she has 100, and she always lands on her high-heeled pumps,” Gati said. “People say she’s crazy. She’s not crazy, she’s super, super smart! I wish I were more like her. She plans everything, she knows and sees everything before it happens, and she’s just so clever.
“Nothing fazes her, and she can survive anything, which I just relate to,” continued the actress. “I bring a lot of myself to the role — all the heart and pain and joy. And then I try to take a lot of Liesl into my own life… the good stuff, mostly. Like her indomitable spirit!”
Brilliant as Obrecht is, the greatest weapon in her arsenal may not be her cunning but the secrets she knows — foremost among them baby Wiley’s true paternity and Sasha’s faux maternity. And, as dark as Obrecht likes to think herself, she has lately begun experiencing a whole new feeling: guilt!
When it comes to guarding Valentin’s secret about Sasha not being Nina’s daughter, “Obrecht doesn’t want to hurt Nina, and she’s also like, ‘Fabulous. Great story!’” Gati grinned. “On the other hand, it’s heartbreaking for her that it’s all a lie and could blow up in her face. And although Obrecht believes Michael deserves [to be fooled by Brad’s] secret in some ways, that baby belongs to him. It’s painful!”
Yes, despite Obrecht’s tough exterior, she may actually be a softy down deep. “She’s a villain with a huge heart,” Gati suggested. “And her weakness is her love for her family and the people she trusts — which are very few and far between. When Nathan died, it was a huge loss. There’s no one else she’s had such a profound relationship with. But she really cares about her daughter, Franco’s her buddy, and she loves Nina. That’s it!”
Since joining the cast of GH, Gati has enjoyed guest-starring on primetime shows like ARROW, 24 and ALPHAS, but complicated, over-the-top Obrecht remains her favorite alter ego. “Obrecht has been the most fun, because I get to play a huge range of behavior,” she explained. “Every time I get a script, it’s like, ‘Oh, who do I get to work with today?’ It’s so exciting, because every actor and character brings a different dynamic. ‘Do I get to be real? Do I get to be superficial? Do I get to be tough? Do I get to be a jerk? Do I get to be kind?’”
Not only does Obrecht show Valentin and Nina very different sides of herself, but in a single showdown, she’s been known to shift from making maniacal threats to displaying heart-wrenching vulnerability. You just never know which version of Obrecht you’re going to get, either. “There are nuances for Obrecht,” her portrayer agreed. “And every little thing she says is pointed and meaningful, so I want to make sure I hit all the notes. That’s why I spend a lot of time on the material. People think I’m nuts, but it’s such a challenge!”
Gati revels in Obrecht’s villainy as well as her soft spots… but it’s the laughs that have helped her stretch what was supposed to be a two-day role into a seven-year run (and counting!). “I was so grateful when I was allowed to redeem myself through humor,” she recalled. “That’s Obrecht’s saving grace. Otherwise, she would have been off screen a while ago!
“Every time I get to do a little comedy or at the Nurses Ball, when I get to dance — va-va-voom! — it just makes my heart melt,” the fan-favorite went on. “Because you don’t always get to do things like that. Most jobs and roles are very linear. Many actors on the show say, ‘You have the best role.’ And yes, I do. Because I get to do everything!”
For more on your favorite GH stars, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
Reporting by Kelli M. Larson
This story originally appeared in our print magazine
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