The Hope mannequin on THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL is quite an uncanny likeness of actress Annika Noelle from certain angles, which Matthew Atkinson (Thomas) admitted spooked him a bit in the beginning! “I was walking through the sets and I was passing by Thomas’ apartment set,” he recalled to Soaps In Depth. “And it was dark, because we keep all the sets dark if we’re not shooting on them.
“So they had just happened to place the mannequin there on the couch just to leave it there while we’re not using it,” Atkinson continued with a chuckle. “I go walking by the set and I look over and I literally got scared half to death. I thought Annika was sitting there in the dark reading lines or something! It took three or four seconds for me to realize, ‘Oh, wait a minute, no, that’s a mannequin. This is weird. I need to get out of here.’ Because it’s like a Halloween horror show!”
The actor was impressed with the work that the special effects crew did taking a mold of Noelle’s face and creating the Hope mannequin. “It definitely looks a lot like Annika,” Atkinson marveled. “It’s enough like her to know that it’s her and enough not like her to be really crazy.” Taping dialogue scenes with his plastic partner also poses its own set of challenges. “Annika is probably 15 or 20 feet away when we’re shooting those scenes,” Atkinson revealed. “And she had a really tough job because she’s supposed to be vocalizing the mannequin’s lines but she’s also so far away it’s hard for me to hear.”
But this is a much different acting challenge than the ones the B&B stars face when the soap subs in mannequins for scene partners due to the current COVID restrictions and regulations. “As far as acting with a mannequin, I feel like it was actually really easy,” Atkinson admitted. “Because the problem you have in other scenes is, okay, they replaced Thorsten [Kaye, Ridge] with a mannequin because he’s too close to you for these scenes. So you’re going to have to talk to this mannequin as if it’s Thorsten, as if it’s a real person you’re having a conversation with. Which is obviously really tough.
“In these scenes, he’s actually talking to a mannequin,” he added. “We’re not faking it. He knows that it’s crazy and it shouldn’t be happening, and I think because of that, it actually makes these scenes really easy because I know that this feels wrong. So it almost informs the performance and makes it easier in a way.”