Alicia’s Exciting Come Back
© ABC Soaps in Depth

From a mobster’s sister to an AMERICAN HEIRESS. That’s an evolution that only GENERAL HOSPITAL’S Alicia Leigh Willis (ex-Courtney) can claim! In the MyNetworkTV sudser, she plays the title character, a pampered gal from an uber-rich family whose scheming brother tries to kill her and take over the dynasty. Add in a plane crash, a jungle and a hunky pilot and you’ve got the perfect primetime soap. “It’s got a little bit of everything – the love story, the action, the drama,” says Willis. “There never a dull moment.”

It’s A Jungle Out There
The shoot proved to be tiring but exhilarating. The hours were long and the cast and crew were away from their families for three months while they shot in San Diego and in a Mexican jungle! “I’ve gone through so many different emotions – I’m exhausted, excited, nervous,” says Willis. “The hours were grueling. Everyone kept saying, ‘You’ve done soaps. You’re used to the long hours and the dialogue.’ I told them, ‘Yeah, I’m used to a lot dialogue, but I’m not used to working 16-hour days six days a week.'”

Although Willis is in top condition and developed a rock ’em/sock ’em persona playing GH’s Courtney, she really got a workout during the filming of AMERICAN HEIRESS. “I think I did more fighting in the last three months than I ever did on GH, which is a lot,” she laughs. “I worked with some really cool stunt people. It was crazy… but amazing!I’m used to being on a stage every day, so to be out in the middle of a jungle, out in the water and in the sun, it was spectacular.”

A Return Engagement?
One thing’s for – her AMERICAN HEIRESS character survives every calamity she faces. The same can’t be said for her GH character. Then again, zealous fans started an Internet rumor that Courtney isn’t dead at all but rather still alive and being held captive by Helena. “You never know,” jokes Willis. “It makes me feel good that fans would possibly want me to come back.”

So far, neither GH nor any other soap has approached her. If they did, she’d be on the fence about how to respond. “My managers and I have decided that, for the time being, I’m going to concentrate on primetime and movies. But you never know what’s going to happen. I’m definitely open to going back. It was a great experience. I miss it, and I miss the people.”

What would convince her to journey back to Port Charles? A short-term run leaving her the opportunity to smell the roses along the way. “A lot of people want to work 24/7, and they can’t get enough of it. I’m not one of those people. I like to enjoy life and have those days when I can just hang out with my dog and go to the park. So if I had [the right] schedule, I’d definitely consider it.”

Coming Attractions
Meanwhile, Willis is auditioning like crazy. Along the way, she’s noticed a pattern in the type of roles she’s seen for. “The way I look and the way I really am is very different,” she says. “I’ve got the blonde hair and the blue eyes and a lot of the time, people don’t want to take you seriously. It’s the stereotype. I asked my manager, ‘Can’t I chop my hair off and dye it black?!'” Her reps obviously gave her a big fat no. But that’s not stopping her from stretching her wings in other ways.

After leaving GH, Willis signed up for a comedy acting class. “It’s something I really wanted to take on, and I love it!” she says. “I always felt like the class clown and thought, ‘Why can’t I do this?’ Going to class, I’ve realized that it’s a lot harder than it looks.” Plus, she learned how to play the guitar and is currently taking a singing class!

It is, indeed, a time for new adventures for Willis. Now that HEIRESS is up and running, what’s next on her to-do list? “Well, right now, I’m getting my feet massaged,” she laughs. “I feel like a princess!”