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DAYS Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk & Paul Telfer Talk On Masks, Villainy & Their Wildest Storyline Yet

Photos: NBC

Take three great actors, add a prosthetic mask into the equation, and let them have at it! That’s just what NBC’s Days of our Lives is in the midst of serving up to its fans with this latest plot device and twist.  Last week, it was revealed that the nefarious Kristen DiMera (Stacy Haiduk) is alive and well and pretending to be Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) donning a mask, a voice alternating device, and some other body tweaks!  The goal …  to be with Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) and she will do anything to accomplish that!

Enter Xander (Paul Telfer) who has been in the thick of the plot being the only one we know of, so far, who knows that Kristen is parading around as Nicole.  They hatch their next moves inside a room at the Salem Inn.  They even went so far as to set it up to appear that Nicole’s daughter, Holly was killed, so she could blame Eric (Greg Vaughan) and cause a break-up of the long-suffering lovebirds and play it off as she needs to be consoled by Brady!

Michael Fairman TV chatted in an entertaining and wickedly funny interview with Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk, and Paul Telfer to get the lowdown on what happened when they learned they would be wearing or working with a mask, how they pulled off the emotions in the storyline twist, and what to look forward to from here.  Under the clever pen of head writer, Ron Carlivati looks for the hits and twists to keep coming as this storyline continues to rock the world of Salem for some time to come.  Here’s what Arianne, Stacy, and Paul had to say about their latest on-screen predicaments and schemes!

Ari, at what point did you know that you really weren’t Nicole … and that you were Kristen playing Nicole?

ARIANNE:  I actually didn’t find out until a little bit after the van went off the road in the storyline; thinking it was Holly who was killed.  Sometimes, the less I know makes it fresher, and I think if I had known before those scenes, and the scenes with Eric (Greg Vaughan), and when I first came back, I would have had a little too much Kristen on my mind, and I don’t know if I could have been as raw as I felt in those scenes.  So, anyway that’s my long explanation.  I found out after I started back on the show! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Additionally, did you have a conversation with Stacy about certain mannerisms hat Kristen has if you’re “masquerading” as Nicole?

ARIANNE:  Our co-executive producer, Albert Alaar had talked to me about watching Stacy because everything was happening fast.  Stacy and I really hadn’t had a chance to even talk to each other even from the last round of me being thereI remember Stacy was inundated with dialogue up the wazoo when I came back for that twelve-episode arc.  So, because of all of that, Albert said, “Watch Stacy! Watch her mannerisms, watch what she does,” and then I’ll throw a little Ari in it.  I just hope that I do as good of a job as Stacy does.

Paul, you and I talked about this on the NBC ‘Inside Salem’ podcast, when we played back for you (for the first time) the clip of Kristen taking off her Nicole mask.  Xander had the perfect set-up line for the reveal: “The part of Nicole Walker is being played by Kristen DiMera!”  Did you not have a good laugh doing that scene?  How did you get through doing that moment?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  Oh, yeah, I was laughing my ass off the whole time.  This is an insane storyline with masks and doppelgängers.  But, it looks great on-screen, and that way it’s edited.  So, I was really happy.

STACY:  There was one moment when Nicole would hold steady to unfold the neck.   So, Ari started that to the point where I’m pulling it off completely.  I think it’s cool.  It’s “Mission Impossible”.  How nice!

PAUL:  That’s what I going to say.  If Tom Cruise can make a hundred million dollars doing this stuff …

STACY:  … then, we can do it!

ARIANNE:  Right?  We can make a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of that.

STACY:  We’ll make it look good!

What is the real deal between Xander and Kristen?  They are conspiring and in cahoots, but there’s this underlying sexual tension between them.  I think Xander respects Kristen in a way, because she can one-up him!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  I think every character who Xander has interacted with who isn’t a member of his family, he’s trying to either get something from, or get into bed with, and he can’t really do either with Kristen, because she’s crazier and more dangerous that he is up until this point.  That’s certainly the way that it feels.  The way Stacy plays it, she is not to be messed around with. Honestly, I think that turns him on.

STACY:  Yeah, there you go.  That sounds good. (Laughs)

PAUL:  I mean, it makes sense.  Just like, “Wait a minute.  This is a bit spicier than I’m used to,” so, he’s excited, but at the same time he knows which side his bread is buttered on, and he doesn’t want her to murder him!  (Laughs)

STACY:  Well said.  I like that. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what does Kristen think of Xander at this point?

PAUL:  That, he’s a useful idiot.

STACY:  She actually needs him to go out into the world because she can’t leave.  When she does, she has to leave as Nicole, and then it becomes a whole other storyline.

PAUL:  It’s fun because Kristen is actually the boss, and Xander is convinced that they’re actually partners and that becomes our whole dynamic where she’s treating him as her lackey, but he’s like, “No, we’re partners, because I know your secret.”  Then, it becomes kind of a bargaining chip between the mask and all of that.  It’s so crazy because certain evil characters when they come back, they have to come back in disguise; whereas Xander’s always quite happy to be just jogging through town square with his shirt off after holding someone ransom or kidnapping a baby like, “Ah, whatever.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Arianne, it’s been awhile since you got to play the villainess side of Nicole, and with this return to DAYS you get to play that side of her as well, even though it’s really Kristen. Do you enjoy playing the bad girl?

ARIANNE:  Stacy and I were just saying today that you have these conversations about the villain character, (and Paul, I’m sure you’ve felt a lot of this too) people hate you or they love to hate you, and you’re like, “Hey, it’s a good thing because I’m doing my job if you hate me,” but in order for the storyline to move, you’ve got to have a villain.  Nicole used to be kind of villain-ish but playing someone like Kristen who is such a valued villain on this show is just … oh, my God!

Stacy and Paul, what do you think is the most heinous thing your characters have done so far?

STACY:  The most heinous?  (Laughs). Wow.  You know what’s funny is that she’s done all of these things, and I don’t think she thinks what she does is bad.

PAUL:  It’s so funny because you totally would expect her to be like, “The other characters are evil.  We’re the good guys!”

STACY:  I mean honestly, so she kidnapped Nicole, and took her baby.  There’s Marlena and the window.  I mean, it’s hard when she’s done all of these crazy, horrible things.  I’ve just really enjoyed playing her because she’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s this brilliant, deviant person who just wants one thing, and there’s one thing on her mind, and everything else gets in her way.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is the one thing Brady?

STACY:  Brady, Brady, Brady, and I think even Xander has to repeat it over and over again.  We were playing in rehearsal, and I think I had him do that.  I don’t remember the line, but I said something, and he goes, “Brady Black,” and I go, “Say it again,” just because I want to hear him say it again.  That’s her driving force.

What did Greg Vaughan and Eric Martsolf say when they found out about what the twist was?  Did you tell them?  How did they find out?

ARIANNE:  Well, Eric Martsolf always has a great chuckle.  He has a great laugh, and I think Greg Vaughan just stared at me for a minute.  Then, I told him about the mask process … about making the mask …. and how I thought I was going to pass out and die.  (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is putting on the mask an extremely weird experience?  How long does it take to put on? 

STACY:  About an hour?  It’s quick, and I thought we were going to suffocate when we were under that because I’ve never done my whole face before, but I’ve done body things. Make-up department is like, “You’re going to be fine.”  It was heavy too, really heavy.

ARIANNE:  Yeah, and because it’s so heavy, after a while, it starts to pull your skin down a little bit, and you’re like, “No, no!” (Laughs)

Did anybody else go running around with the mask on?

PAUL:  Oh yeah.  Everybody!

I knew it!

ARIANNE:  How could you not?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what is the relationship between the real Nicole and Xander, which we saw play out before her death?

PAUL:  She’s my wife!

So, Xander sees Nicole as his wife?

PAUL:  I’m happy to give Xander’s perspective on Nicole, and then Arianne can feel free to correct it.  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  Alright, that sounds good.

Photo Credit JPI Studios

PAUL:  The way I’ve tried to handle it over the years in our ins and outs of this failed romance is that they’ve saddled poor Arianne with: this psycho chasing after her, and kidnapping her and her baby, and whisking her off to foreign lands – and also to Nashville.  When Xander first came into town, before they decided to make him a total psychopath, it was all working nicely, and Nicole wasn’t really on the up and up with Xander, and she wasn’t really honest about what her intentions were.  Meanwhile, Xander was involved in all of this chicanery with Serena, so once that metastasized into full-blown evil, and Nicole was aware of this, it shifted from, “I just really wanted to take this girl to the movies,” to, “Well, I guess I have to kill her now.”  (Laughs)  So, I think he’s just been playing that out ever since.  “Well, if I can’t date her, and if she won’t love me, then I guess I just have to torture her for the rest of her days.”  I think now on the other side of her supposed death, I think Xander has probably reconciled that his twisted romantic notions, or torture, or whatever he was doing with Nicole, is probably over, and he’s moving on to greener, more alive pastures like Sarah.  To be fair, I do think they’ve purposely made it confusing.  Not just for the audience, but for us.  There’s a real sense of, “Am I playing this to Nicole as Kristen, or do you want me to play this just to Nicole?”  Very often they just go, “No, just play it to Nicole,” because it’s funnier if for Xander it just occasionally slips his mind because she looks just like Nicole.  I’m kissing her… like he’s just enjoying the fact that he can.  “I never really got to kiss Nicole much, but this is Nicole’s face, so I’m going to.”  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  That’s hilarious.

Ari, what would you say is their relationship?

ARIANNE:  Well, I’m certainly not as long-winded as that.  (Laughs)

PAUL:  He’s a creep!

ARIANNE:  He is a creep.  What cracks me up coming from Nicole is, “Ew, what a jerk.  He’s so gross.  Yuck, yuck!”  Like, really?  You’re not going to make that one work, huh Nicole?  When you reach that far back to the history of Xander and Nicole, it doesn’t have a lot of depth for the two characters because the next thing you know he’s trying to kill her and Eric.  It’s like that scary online dating when you go on one date and it didn’t work out because that guy is going to kill you.

PAUL:  Xander is like the ultimate bad Tinder date.

ARIANNE:  Totally. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

That is classic.  The bad Tinder date.  That’s basically it.  Xander also apparently feels bad for Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) as she is having her bout with alcoholism.  Is that correct?

PAUL:  Yeah, I’m actually excited to see some of that stuff.  It was great doing it because I love Suzanne to bits.  I was very afraid of ruining Xander by making him too nice, but at the same time when I was first brought on to Days, I wasn’t offered a villain role originally.  Xander morphed into a more severe villain than I’d been led to believe he would be, and it happened quite quickly.  So, I’m actually quite happy to right the ship a little bit back towards he’s bad but he has some occasional glimmers of goodness in him.  So, Maggie really represents that because she’s actually quite nice to him and nurturing in a way that no other character on the show is.  When she has her dalliance with alcohol, he’s one of the few people who doesn’t judge her for it, and we finally get a little bit of Xander’s back story.  I’m actually excited to see those scenes because they felt nice to do, so hopefully they come across well.

Stacy, how did you track this storyline, when Arianne would be playing Kristen as Nicole? 

STACY:  Well if I didn’t get the script, I didn’t know about it.  So, if I wasn’t in the script that time, then I would be looking at Paul going, “What are we talking about?” and then, Ari had obviously already shot those scenes, so they were written for me, so I’m like, “What did I do?  What did I do?” It’s just scenes between Xander and Kristen at the Salem Inn.  Occasionally, you’d get somebody knocking at the door, but then I’d have to quickly put on my mask. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, Ari did you ever have to go to Stacy to get tips about Kristen’s past or anything?

ARIANNE:  It was all about the future moving forward.  I think old, former Nicole had some crazy similarities with current Kristen because it felt kind the same as pulling some things from what she used to do … you know, just a couple of crazy chicks in one crazy character. (Laughs).

The other big part of this is Rolf’s diary that Xander has in his possession.  Is Kristen in cahoots with him on that?  Is she trying to get that from him?

STACY:  I think she is.

PAUL:  Yeah, that’s when she starts to get mad at him; when she realizes that he’s not just being her underling and he’s off scurrying around with his own agenda in the meantime.

ARIANNE:  He’s manipulating and doing his own thing.

PAUL:  I use it to start manipulating Eve (Kassie DePaiva).

So, what would you say to the fans to look forward to?  “You never know who you’re talking to on DAYS?” “Gird your masks?”

ARIANNE:  I definitely think fans know that’s not Nicole the way she is.  And, you never know who is going to give you a shot in the butt and turn you into somebody else.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Well, that’s true.  You never know.  One day they’re going to tell you that you’re playing Julie today! (Laughs)

ARIANNE: “Today the character of Julie will be played by…”

STACY: “… you will never guess by whom!”

PAUL:  This was fun.  This is a fun way to do it.  Let’s all do all of our interviews together moving forward!

So, what have you thought of the plot twist? What do you think of the Nicole mask and the performances and comments made here by Arianne, Stacy, and Paul? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Chris
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Chris

I hate this storyline. As a newer fan of Days, I fell in love with Nicole & Eric as a couple. I was really hoping they would get a second chance at love.

Joyce Westmorelsnd
Guest
Joyce Westmorelsnd

I still want the real Nicole back and a love story for her and Eric.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy

The only reason this storyline works is because of the astounding level of commitment by all the actors involved. Paul, Ari and Stacy are phenomenal additions to the DAYS cast, and I’m glad they’re sticking around beyond May Sweeps. All of the characters are so complex, have their own agendas and motivations, and are connected to so many people on the canvas. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all plays out!

view88
Guest
view88

Sorry to disagree with you Jimmy, well i agree that the actors are decent to great, but. The story is so contrived and writing is so bad, they really aren’t pulling it off. I’m remembering back in April early May when Nichole told Chloe, get your hands off of me….it was like watching someone at their first day in acting school, a lot of the episode was like that. Haven’t watched Days since. I also quit for a while when Abby became Gabby. I wanto watch, I want my show back, but its like looney toons under this regime. If… Read more »

Jimh
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Jimh

I think the story line has some good moments here and there but can Ron think of anything else but masks-does he have a Halloween mask fetish…glad i got to watch this show decades ago when it was a classy soap with well written character driven story lines!!!

aria
Guest
aria

I feel so sorry for dool fans , I mean if your into cartoonish, repetitive never ending face coming off, multiple personality your going to be seeing a lot of that endlessly and its going to feel like its never going to end. so get ready because this will become the norm.

boes
Guest
boes

LOVE the interview, thank you, Michael Fairman!!

sonniorsolita
Guest
sonniorsolita

I am NOT a fan of mask storylines, just too out there for me. And I stopped watching GH during its mask nonsense. BUT, having said that, these actors are making this ride worthwhile and I am enjoying watching them play this out immensely. So huge props to Ari Zucker, Paul Telfer and Stacy Haiduk. And now having said that, I hope Ron C. is paying attention because this was your one pass on this type of story. Please after this plays out can we bury the “masked imposter” daytime trope once and for all!

Betty Carter
Guest
Betty Carter

I hate this storyline think it’s so stupid!! Stop watching!!

Adam
Guest
Adam

Still rather have Eileen back as Kristen, Stacy just doesn’t do it for me. Love Xander! He is a fun character and sooooo hot!!!!

Joyce Westmoreland
Guest
Joyce Westmoreland

It is fun to watch. Does Kristin want Holly too? The story is interesting.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

I think the mask thing is not only stupid but unbelievable. On GH viewers were not made privy to the fact that Faison was under the Duke mask or Liesel O. under the Anna mask, until the big reveal. With this we know that there are two women playing each part with the crazy mask making it look like it is only Stacy/Kristen the whole time, and Nicole/Arianne is somewhere else. I think this us a lot to be left to the imagination, and an insult to our brains. What really seriously scares me, is what is this SL doing… Read more »

Elaine
Guest
Elaine

I’ve been watching Days since All My Children ended. I’ve really become hooked, but this storyline with Kristin/Nicole and the mask (what about her voice?) is absolutely ridiculous. It’s bad enough that almost everyone that dies in Salem eventually comes back. (maybe a good place to live…you’ll never die!) But this story is just over-the-top ridiculous. And that’s saying a LOT for Days. I’ve found that out since seeing some of the crazy storylines. Seriously don’t make me switch to The Young and the Restless. The creators and writers need to get a bit more realistic.

carol1952
Guest
carol1952

I just told my best friend I knew this was coming.It doesnt bother me any, makes the story more exciting. I remember when they did something like this years ago.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Since we have no where to post any of the new stuff happening with Siera, Claire, Ben, Eve and the rest of Salem, I’d like to say that this fire bug Claire is hopefully on her way out and Ben will be redeemed. I am so sick of these SLs, especially Jack and Eve, crazy Kirstsn/Nicole, and the list goes on. Next we have to watch Pepi LePew romancing Hope, and then what, Xander sleeping with Maggie?

Ronda
Guest
Ronda

Oh yea, were stupid, Kristen sleeps with Brady and he never notices a rubber mask, cause the mask never ends, Kristens as skinny as a stick and Nicole has a shape but her whole body transforms once she puts on the mask! This is right up there with Marlena and the Devil story!! Dumbest story ever!

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Molly Burnett Promoted To Series Regular on ‘Queen of the South’

Wanna know where you can find Salem’s Melanie Layton, sorta?  You can watch her killing it on USA’s drama Queen of the South.  That”s where former Days of our Lives star, Molly Burnett has just been upped to series regular for the show’s upcoming fifth season.

According to Deadline who broke the news, Burnett will continue to play her complex and delicious role of Kelly Anne.

Soap fans Molly as Melanie on DAYS from 2008-2016 and when she stepped into play the role of Maxie Jones for Kirsten Storms on General Hospital in 2016.

Queen of the South is based on the bestselling book La Reina del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. It tells the story of Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga), a woman who is forced to run from the Mexican cartel and seek refuge in America.

Burnett’s Kelly Anne is a frequent member of Teresa’s drug operation, has already killed her abusive husband, was an informant, and had a cocaine habit.  When viewers last saw Kelly Anne she was finding her sobriety and her way back into the Teresa’s operations in New Orleans.

Since exiting Days in 2014, Burnett has also been seen on  CSI: Cyber, Relationship Status and True Blood. 

So intrigued to watch Molly on Queen of the South? Comment below.

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Breaking News

Days of our Lives Returns To Production After Temporary Halt Amid COVID-19

UPDATED:  According to Deadline  the cast and crew of NBC’s Days of our Lives will actually be returning tomorrow, October 20th to begin taping ahead of schedule after a positive Covid-19 test shut production down originally scheduled for two weeks.

The outlet cited, “Following a thorough investigation including contact tracing, quarantines, testing, and a deep cleaning of the studio, the health and safety experts at Days of our Lives have determined that it was safe to return to production before the end of the two-week period. As a result, the show will be back on set tomorrow Oct 20.”

The word of the early return initially got out Monday, although at that time unconfirmed by the show, apparently, via a posting by Lauren Koslow on her Instagram account where she is pictured in a Kate Roberts outfit in her dressing room.

Koslow shared: “Stepping into Monday in alice + olivia black velvet,” She also tagged the post #dressingroomselfie and the words. “Stay strong.”

She also added a quote from poet Maya Angelou: “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

So, happy to hear it seems like DAYS is back … once again? Comment below!

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Days Of Our Lives

Kristian Alfonso Bids Farewell to DAYS as Final Episode Airs Today Sharing; “Thank YOU From The Bottom Of My Heart For Welcoming Me Into Your Homes All Of These Years”

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 marks the final appearance of Kristian Alfonso’s iconic run as Hope Williams on NBC’s Days of our Lives, a role she played on and off for more than 37 years.  Make no mistake about it, Alfonso was a staple of Salem and the DAYS family since she made her debut back in 1983.

However, over the summer viewers learned she would not be returning to the show when the series began production again in September, after she was told they were planning on resting the character of Hope for five months or so.  A decision that prompted Kristian to make a decision to leave the show for good and start a new chapter in her life.

To celebrate her run and to say a thank you to everyone at the show and her enduring fans, Kristian posted a video on her Instagram account of some backstage moments through the years to the tune of “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life”.  She accompanied her post with these words of thanks to everyone that has been by her side every step of the way:  “Being today is my last airshow, I wanted to share some of my favorite memories onset & behind the scenes I hope you enjoy it.  Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me into your homes all of these years.  And making me a part of your lives #xoxo ❤️  Thank you Ken & @nbcuniversal @nbc for a #beautiful #ride . #❤️ #😘”

 

So, are you sad that Kristina will be gone for DAYS on-screen after today?  Share your thoughts om this, her final airdate, via the comment section below.

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