In the upcoming film, A Million Happy Nows, Crystal Chappell (Olivia, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Carly, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) stars as Lainey Allen, a popular soap opera actress, who exits her daytime drama after finding out she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. She and her publicist/partner Eva, played by Jessica Leccia (Natalia, GL) move to a beach house overlooking the Pacific Ocean as the couple deals with the devastating diagnosis. Chappell, who also serves as a producer on the project, says the film's soap opera scenes were shot late last year at her old stomping grounds the DAYS studios in Burbank!
"First, we were going to build a soap opera studio in another studio, but I told [DAYS' co-executive producer] Greg Meng about this film and that I needed a studio," the Emmy-winning actress/producer tells Soaps In Depth. Another co-executive producer of DAYS, Albert Alarr, directed the film, and was helpful in securing the studio space, too. "It was totally fun shooting there," Chappell declares. "Everyone was so accommodating. We could have shot it elsewhere, but filming at DAYS gave us an authentic vibe."
A Million Happy Nows both sheds a light on Alzheimer's and tells the love story of how Lainey and Eva deal with this tragic twist of fate, which, it turns out Lainey knew there was a 50/50 chance of happening. The film's cast is jam-packed with familiar faces from the soap opera world including Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie, DAYS; ex-Joanna, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS), Robert Gant (David, Y&R), Hillary B. Smith (ex-Stacy, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL; Margo, AS THE WORLD TURNS), and Michael Corbett (ex-David, Y&R).
"We needed someone to play Lainey's rival and someone suggested Susan," says Chappell. "I reached out to her and she said yes. We did some good old soapy catfight scenes that you'll see. It was so much fun. She is so talented."
As a fan of GL's "Otalia" storyline, the film's writer, Marisa Calin, specifically wrote the movie with Chappell and Leccia in mind. "That's really flattering," notes Chappell. "It's important to not only bring more awareness to this disease, but to also show that it can [afflict] same sex couples."
Stay tuned for an upcoming feature on Chappell in the magazine for more on the project, but In the meantime, you can check out a preview of the film here.