Appearing from September 27 2001 to November 28 2001, the character proved to be one of the most popular creations ever scripted, having gained "a huge following" after only three months on the series. When the character was killed off, the popularity and loyal following of Frankie resulted in her equally popular portrayer, Elizabeth Hendrickson, being brought back as the character's identical twin sister, Maggie Stone.
Audition and character conceptEdit
Actress Elizabeth Hendrickson had been auditioning for All My Children for over a year before acquiring the role of Frankie, and had originally auditioned for the role of Bianca Montgomery. The producers, however, felt that she was better suited for the part of Frankie Stone, a new character head writer Richard Culliton was scripting for an upcoming murder mystery storyline. Hendrickson approached the audition in a calm demeanor. "Going into this audition," she stated, "I was very relaxed, not only because I've been there like a dozen times, but I thought I had no shot at all. Frankie's character is nothing like me!! I was told she was tomboyish yet sexy. I thought to myself, how can I pull that off? So I threw on a tight little baseball shirt and just went in and did it." Hendrickson further relayed, "About two weeks later, my agent told me that it was between me and another girl and my tape was going to be tested. I for sure thought I didn't get the part. I always make my best impression in person. I feel that audition tapes are so impersonal. About a week later, I found out the news and believe me I was ecstatic."
Characterization and introductionEdit
The writers detailed Frankie to be a wisecracking tomboy with feminine sex appeal. Hendrickson described the character as someone who "would never in her right mind get all dolled up". So when a scene finally called for the character to, in fact, wear a dress, Hendrickson stated that it did not feel right. "I've really become that character when I'm on set," she revealed. "So I played that uncomfortable feeling throughout the scene, I think it worked."
Other aspects adding depth to Frankie were her rough-around-the-edges personality and vulnerability, the character being a complex blend of both, something Hendrickson found challenging but admired: "I really wanted to get that across. Even though her intentions were not always good, she always yearned for love from unexpected places."
Frankie's debut on the series is what Hendrickson describes as her most memorable day as part of the All My Children cast. She was nervous about playing opposite legendary soap opera diva Susan Lucci, and did not know how to introduce herself:
|“||My most memorable day would have to be my first day because I was so, I don't get nervous, I really don't. This might sound cheesy, but it feels like home to me when I walk on to a set or on stage, it's refreshing. And I was so nervous. My first scene was being hit by a car by Susan Lucci. Please, tell me how that is not freaky? I was so scared. And she's sitting in the car and I hadn't introduced myself to her yet. And I was so nervous. 'Should I go up to her and say hi, I'm Elizabeth? Or is she going to come up to me and say, Hi, I'm Susan. I'm not one to be star struck. But I guess I was for the first time. I was so nervous.' And it wasn't like a comforting scene where she was going to walk up and be like, 'Hi, I'm Erica Kane, nice to meet you. Welcome to Pine Valley.' Instead it was, 'I'm going to run you over with my car and throw names at you and make you look like a horrible person.' And then before the scene, she had introduced herself and she is just the sweetest woman in the entire world. She's so sweet. She said, 'Hi, I'm Susan.' Ahhh, breathe. Everything's fine. Now just go get hit by the car.||”|
Portraying Frankie called for Hendrickson to be somewhat androgynous. She was not sure herself of her character's sexual orientation or true motives when interacting with most characters. "At first," she cited, "in the description of the character, they alluded to the fact that she was a lesbian. Then when I started working, I went to Jean (Dadario Burke), the executive producer, and I asked 'Is she?' She said, 'Well, she's a con artist. You read your script and make the decision yourself.'"
Hendrickson theorized that when the writers saw the chemistry between Bianca and Frankie, "that's when they started pushing the fact that she was a lesbian".
But when it came down to Frankie's true purpose on the show, she was merely a plot device, a soon-to-be victim, to initiate a murder mystery storyline. At the time, Hendrickson found humor in her character's demise, citing that a character can always come back. The obstacle to Frankie being resurrected, though, came in the form of Frankie's dead body seen onscreen, on the floor for hours. This, however, did not stop Hendrickson and her co-stars from speculating: "Frankie's body was found. We have this running joke that it wasn't Frankie, it was Maggie this whole time, posing as Frankie. Maggie knew that she was in trouble, so she called Frankie to come, and in reality Maggie was the one who was killed and Frankie is still alive."
When asked in an interview if she had any reservations about taking the part of Frankie due to the character's potential romance with Bianca, Hendrickson stated that she did not, and that she loves roles that are challenging. This one happened to be a type of role she had never portrayed before.
Storyline EditMary Frances Stone appears in the headlights of Erica Kane's speeding car in late September 2001. Though "Frankie" is grazed by Erica's car, she appears uninjured. The fact that the young woman has not been injured prompts Erica to think that Frankie has staged the accident in order to con her out of money. Frankie is taken to the hospital, where she is revealed to be in good condition. She later decides not to sue Erica. However, she is duped into selling a story of her ordeal to a tabloid by sleazy writer Donald Steele.
Bianca Montgomery, Erica's youngest daughter, befriends Frankie as damage control for her mother, but Erica is not at all thrilled by the fact that Bianca has a new friend. Eventually, Frankie and Bianca grow closer, and Erica fears that her daughter might enter into a sexual relationship with the young woman. Bianca enlists Opal Cortlandt's help to get Frankie a job and a place to stay. Frankie, who later reveals that she is a runaway, says that she is not quite used to the idea of having a place she can call home.
Erica tries to use Frankie's drug-use as a tool to drive a wedge between the two girls. Erica publicly pledges to accept Frankie, but behind the scenes, she plots against her and tries to get Opal to hide a stash of drugs in Frankie's room at Cortlandt Manor. Erica's suspicions may be justified, as Frankie makes occasional mysterious calls to an unknown person to update that person on her progress with Bianca.
Bianca soon admits to Frankie that she is in love with her. Frankie is overwhelmed by the declaration and is brought to tears, stating that no one has ever told her that they love her. Not just the in-love aspect, but love from her family; it has never happened. Bianca is the first person to love her and the first person she has truly connected with. Frankie has a difficult time accepting Bianca's love; it makes her uncomfortable and she does not know what to call their relationship. Bianca tells her that she does not want to push. Frankie understands and is thankful to have Bianca in her life. After a week and some resistance, Frankie eventually tells Bianca that she loves her as well. Bianca is overjoyed by the profession. After she leaves, however, Frankie appears distraught, as though she does not know how to handle what she has admitted.She meets J.R. Chandler in the park as she smokes marijuana. She and J.R. head back to her room at Cortlandt Manor and proceed to get to know each other better under the covers. As they kiss, Bianca walks in on them. Heartbroken, Bianca storms away. A tearful Frankie places a call to Erica to tell her what has transpired. Erica is furious and vows to kill Frankie for breaking Bianca's heart. A matter of hours later, Frankie is dead on the floor of her room and Erica is seated in a nearby chair with a gun in her hands. Erica confesses (believing that a jealous Bianca is responsible) that she killed Frankie, but in the end, it is revealed that a henchman of Frankie's aunt murdered her.
Impact and specific character detailEdit
Character Frankie Stone had one of the most immediate and notable impacts on the soap opera medium. In a week's time, viewers were raving about the new Pine Valley resident as though she had been a popular character on the series for years.Template:Cquote2
The writers scripted Frankie's birth date to be on April 26 1982, two years older than Bianca. She was killed off by a gunshot wound on November 27 2001 (last seen on the show in the form of a dead body on November 28 2001).
Frankie's death had as much impact as her debut, with fans citing that she was killed off due to the show's fear of portraying a homosexual romance, since the character was already headed that way with Bianca. Head writer at the time, Richard Culliton, however, stated that he had always planned for Frankie to die in his murder mystery storyline. Despite Culliton's explanation, viewers largely mourned the death of Frankie.
Eventually, they got "the next best thing" with the character's identical twin sister, Maggie Stone. Brought back by popular demand, Hendrickson relished in the second chance. Though Maggie was undoubtedly different from Frankie, viewers were elated to have Hendrickson back.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Q&A with Elizabeth #1 (November 30, 2001)", elizabeth-hendrickson.net. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Cassidy, Shane. "Women We Love: The Ladies of March '07", lesbianation.com. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.
- ↑ "Backstage tales", Soap Opera Digest. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Twin Peaks", Soap Opera Weekly, 2003-07-08. Retrieved on 2008-01-22.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ "Hendrickson To Return as "Maggie"", www.soapcentral.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-12.