You can't kiss like Rebecca Budig can kiss -- thank goodness the 'All My Children' star is here to help!
And she's very willing to share her kissing tips with the Ministry this New Year's Eve, in plenty of time for the stroke of midnight.
(Pretty cool to get to practice your early smooching technique on the likes of Josh Duhamel -- of whom she speaks highly.)
Budig's come a long way since that first onscreen kiss, which was with Chris O'Donnell in "Batman Forever." His Robin had just rescued her Teenage Girl and "I didn't know what to do. Didn't know that I could touch him!"
And as she stood there, arms just hanging at her sides, things generally not going well -- that's when director Joel Schumacher came over.
"He said, 'Am I going to have to teach you two how to kiss?'"
"Talk about embarrassed!" she blurts. It was, she maintains, "the worst two minutes of the movie."
"That kiss was horrible. Then," she says, bouncing back into the minty voice of a consummate kisser, "I just learned over time. ... It's an acquired skill, kissing."
~~ At the Ministry, our acquired skills are more like, "typing really fast." *Totally* not fair. ~~
The following are Budig's "must-haves" as she preps for a kiss at work:
Soft lips, using something like Chapstick, but nothing gooey that'll stick on the other person; fresh breath, preferably with a single-use toothbrush, but mints, gum or breath strips will do in a pinch; then be in the moment and "focus on your man!"
"I just have fun," she says.
Yes, you can figure this out in time to impress your New Year's Eve date.
Budig's now back on "AMC" duty as Greenlee Smythe, the character she created in 1999. Greenlee, whom TV Guide delightfully calls "that adorable bag o' crazy," motorcycled off a cliff earlier this year and just woke up from a coma to find that, as happens in life and on soaps, a lot of things have changed.
Her current story line started airing Dec. 23, but there's one major difference from the last time around: After a four-decade history in New York, the drama is now based in L.A. She says the move was bittersweet. "Everyone was sad to leave our crew ... but everyone was happy that they’re investing in the show."
For Budig, living 15 minutes from work is a nice change from her previous bicoastal commute to do the show. It's also easier on Bob Guiney, her husband since 2004 and a onetime star of "The Bachelor"; one reason she left "AMC" back in March was to be with him at their home in L.A.
But enough about work -- let's get back to that kissing thing.Los Angeles is one of this year's New Year's Nation cities, and the event is to include the "Midnight Kiss," a shot at a Guinness world record for the most people kissing simultaneously in multiple locations. The kissing will be brought to you by -- hey, it's Hollywood, of course there's a sponsor! -- the Colgate Wisp single-use toothbrush, a gizmo Budig says she discovered during her bicoastal commuting days.
If you want to get in on the spirit of the big smooch, check out the video on Livestream tonight, and make sure to pucker up for midnight -- when it hits in the Central time zone.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photos: Rebecca Budig, top, is back as Greenlee Smythe on ABC's "All My Children. She was partnered with Josh Duhamel on the show in 2002, right, and they were nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award as America's favorite couple. "When I worked with him," Budig says, "everyone and their mother and their dog was in love with Josh, from men to, like, small children. He's just an incredible guy." And below, that's Budig with Jackie Joyner Kersee in 1997. The pic is there because we think it's cute. Credits, from top: Heidi Gutman / ABC; Virginia Sherwood / ABC; Tom Gannam / CBS.
P.S. One side note about this Wisp concept: Way back in the mid-'90s, when the Ministry couldn't even imagine what a blog might be, we had to scare up a single-use toothbrush for Melanie Griffith before she appeared on Rosie O'Donnell's talk show, which was shooting on location at Universal Studios Hollywood.
And deliver we did. But back then, delivering a single-use toothbrush for a star smoocher in need required the Ministry to first, um, have stolen a few, just in case, from a well-equipped country club ladies room.
Being able to obtain one legally now sounds much less felonious -- and hey, don't mention that stolen-toothbrush thing to Melanie, OK?
If you want to read more Ministry dispatches that mention Josh Duhamel, click here.