By Deanna Barnert
Special to MSN TV
"General Hospital" is often rocked by explosive weddings, sadistic kidnappings and mob wars, but this time, Elizabeth, Lucky, Jason, Carly, Jax and their families will be shattered by real-world dangers that are every parent's worst nightmares. Young Jake Spencer is taken down by a hit-and-run driver Thursday, March 17, 2011, and their parents' nearest and dearest end up on the suspect list. At the same time, baby Jossyln Jacks is hit by something just as frighteningly real: cancer. Jake's on-screen dads, Jonathan Jackson (Lucky) and Steve Burton (Jason), talk to MSN TV about unleashing the heartbreak.
MSN TV: "General Hospital" fans have been bracing themselves for
Steve Burton: They should prepare themselves. It's intense, for sure. The set is very somber.
Jonathan Jackson: There have been some pretty heavy days.
Steve Burton: From what Jason learns, Jake opens the door, wanders out of the house and into the street and gets hit by a car.
Jonathan Jackson: Elizabeth calls 911 and then Lucky gets a phone call. He's with Siobhan [at their wedding ceremony] and has to rush to the hospital to find out what's happened. Elizabeth has wanted to be with Lucky ever since their marriage exploded, so he feels the call from Elizabeth is an interruption to his time with Siobhan.
When does Lucky realize how serious this situation actually
Jonathan Jackson: He doesn't know whether it's a life-and-death thing or [not], so he has to travel to the hospital with that big cloud of unknowing before him. When he gets to the hospital, he can see the fear on Elizabeth's face.
Just before the accident, Elizabeth receives Aiden's paternity
results. Would the revelation that Lucky is Aiden's father help her case for a
Jonathan Jackson: It would certainly change the game. To have a child with Elizabeth would do something to Lucky, especially since Cameron and Jake were from other fathers. The fact that this miracle came out of such a tragic situation would certainly open up the door, at least symbolically, for a new beginning and a divine purpose for them being together.
As Jake's biological father, how does Jason fit into this?
Steve Burton: I don't think you'll see Jason in more pain than you will this next couple of weeks, ever. Ever.
Jonathan Jackson: Lucky is Jake's father, but there is a deep, spiritual connection between Jason and Jake. There's also a lot to play between Lucky and Jason.
Steve Burton: They have an interesting relationship because of Jake. It goes beyond cops and robbers. Lucky's going to be devastated, and [I'm forced to face] my feelings for Jake, being an inadequate father and not being there for him, supposedly to keep him safe from my job, but now his life is on the line after a whole 'nother accident.
Jason and Sam have been talking parenthood. How might this affect
Jason's position on starting a family?
Steve Burton: The million-dollar question becomes: If he's away from me and not safe, then why can't I have my kid with me? It's probably too soon to be thinking about it at this point, but it will be raised.
How involved will Lucky and Jason become in the search for the hit-and-run driver?
Steve Burton: At first, Jason's too grief-stricken. He's letting the cops do the legwork.
Jonathan Jackson: Lucky's involved, as well as Dante. It's not a good scenario for a detective to be so close to the situation, but he can't keep himself away.
Sam, Luke, Sonny and Brenda, Carly, Lisa, Robin and Theo all become
suspects. What is it like to face a list like that?
Jonathan Jackson: It's already such a tragic situation. To throw that on top takes it to another level.
Steve Burton: Carly comes to me and says, "I think I'm the one," which would be absolutely crazy. I don't know who it's going to be, but it would be a too much if it were Sam, Carly or Sonny. At that point, Jason would just have to kill himself. His life's just not working.
Carly is on the road because of a scare with Josslyn. What's going on
Steve Burton: That comes into play after Jason gets to the hospital. Everybody's destroyed about Jake, and then Carly tells me Josslyn is going to die. She has kidney cancer and needs a kidney right away for a chance at survival. It is a total nightmare. I am in the middle of what really is a firestorm. It seems like I'm in the middle of everything, all the time! Can't Jason just have his own life, please? (laughs)
How does Franco's (James Franco) call to Carly on
Friday, March 25, play into the action?
Steve Burton: It's just yet another thing that Jason has to deal with, the ongoing threat of Franco and what he's going to do next. Hopefully, I'll get to shoot him one day.
Have you recovered from playing these wrenching
Steve Burton: We're still in it. The aftermath doesn't lighten the mood. The last couple of weeks is the most I've ever been challenged on the show. A couple crew members came up to me after two days and said, "Dude, I don't know how you do it. I'm emotionally worn out and I haven't done anything." After stories like this, I don't ever want to have emotional stories again, frankly, but that wears off after a couple months and you're ready to go again.
Jonathan Jackson: Whenever something like this comes, most of us don't want to have to go there. It's emotionally and physically draining. As hard as it's been, there are a lot of great moments. At the end of the day, hopefully, it's not mere entertainment. Maybe there are moments that can help people through things they've gone through in their own lives.
Deanna Barnert is a Tinseltown-based entertainment journalist. She has covered TV and film for over a decade, contributing features and celeb profiles to MSN.com, SheKnows.com, Lucid, Genre, Soap World Australia and other outlets. A member of the Television Critics Association and former editor of Soap Opera Weekly, she has appeared as an expert on Soap Net and "Rick Dees in the Morning." She also contributed to the Explorer Guide Los Angeles. Check out her blog, TVDeeva.com.