When Katelyn MacMullen learned she’d landed the role of GENERAL HOSPITAL‘s Willow, she literally fell to the floor in joy — and shock! ” I had zero expectations, because I’d never done a screen test before,” the young actress admitted to Soaps In Depth. “I was super thankful I even got the opportunity to be part of the process. You just never see this kind of stuff coming. Last year, I was filming a sorority slasher [called The Row]… so to think that I’d be a teacher on an ABC show was totally unexpected and awesome!”
Once tapped to play Willow, MacMullen started getting to know Port Charles’ locals and the drama they get into… and accidentally turned into a GH fan! So when she learned her character wasn’t just a teacher but also Wiley’s birth mom, she was floored yet again. “I thought it was crazy,” she recalled. “As someone watching the show, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ And then I’m like, ‘Oh wait, right… I work here!’”
This being her first TV role, the actress was given a slow start on GH, along with incredible support from the cast and crew. “[Executive producer] Frank Valentini has been really patient and awesome,” she raved. “And all the directors and the other actors are very aware I’m pretty new, so they help me. Literally everyone here has given me a piece of advice that I have taken and used.” And MacMullen is even taking notes! “I actually have a notepad, and I write down everything people say to me,” she shares. “Working with people who are so committed, so down-to-earth and so helpful is exciting. It’s like a hardcore acting school.”
And she couldn’t be more grateful to her leading men, Josh Swickard (Chase) and Chad Duell (Michael). “They’re both just great, goofy, humble, talented guys who don’t take themselves too seriously,” she said. “As an actor, they say you have to be able to laugh at yourself in order to put yourself in positions you’d never be in and do them justice.”
Time after time, MacMullen has risen to the challenges of her new role. For instance, “being in a room with Nina, Valentin and Lulu was definitely like me against the world in a sense,” she chuckled. “After our first scene together, James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) said, ‘I’m so proud of you for going up against three really big personalities.’ But it was really fun. I just had to keep that authority or they wouldn’t have taken the bullying seriously. Willow’s actually a bit stronger than I am, which is cool. I’m a very emotional person, so sometimes I have to dial it back a bit. I’m the first person to just cry, but I don’t want Willow to be too overly emotional. She has a strong survival instinct, and she’s been through a lot. I look up to her, in a sense.”
And with Willow at the center of the current custody battle, she’s anxious for Brad and Nelle’s baby swap — and the death of the real Wiley! — to come to light. “I have no idea how that’s going to play out, but it’s going to be completely transformational,” MacMullen theorized. “And it’s not going to be pretty! I’m just excited to take this journey together and see where this goes.”
For more from your favorite GH actors, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine
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