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DAYS Freddie Smith Video Interview: Sonny's Return, PaulSon, Will's Death, Uncle Vic & Titan!

Photo: MF Soaps Inc.

Photo: MF Soaps Inc

This week on NBC’s Days of our Lives, Freddie Smith made his on-screen return as Sonny Kiriakis.

Now, fans of the long-running soap want to know what’s in store for the beloved Sonny, now that he has returned to Salem after many months away in Paris following the murder of his husband, Will Horton.  When viewers last saw Sonny it was at Will’s funeral.  Now Sonny has come back to Salem to help his Uncle Vic (John Aniston) with his company, Titan.  But will he rekindle a romance with his former flame Paul (Christopher Sean)?

Earlier this week, On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman sat down for this brand new video interview with the popular actor at the set of NBC soap.  There was plenty to discuss in our first in-depth video interview in almost a year.  From Will’s murder and his funeral, to what Sonny’s return means for others on the canvas and more, Freddie and Michael took the time to address several burning questions and more.  Here are a few excerpts from the full interview which you can view below!

Photo: MF Soaps Inc.

When asked if he was surprised to find out he was coming back to DAYS, Freddie responded, “I was just glad they didn’t kill me off … they just sent me away.  So, I was like ‘cool’.  We left on really good terms, so I was just happy when I got the call.”

If he knew what his storyline would be this time out before he started taping, Smith revealed, “I knew the story, and I really liked it.  I remember thinking if I am going to go back, I would really love if this is the story, and then four or five days later, I talked to the producers and the writers, and  … that was the story.  That was the story that I wanted.”

As to what viewers will see or the focus of Sonny’s return, Freddie said, “I know everyone wants to see Sonny in love and that’s also important, but it’s also important to see Sonny outside of his relationship, because a relationship is only part of who you are, as well.  Yeah, Sonny ran the club, but not really. (Laughs)   It was more of a backdrop.  So now I really like where they are going with it.  I think people are going to enjoy Sonny’s return.”

Fans had commented as to why Sonny was seated in the second row at Will’s funeral, when he was his husband, Smith expressed, “I just sit down and shut up and go where I am told to go. I was so emotional that day that I didn’t even think about it. We all on the set were super-sad all week.   Everyone was crying even off set, so I wasn’t being technical about it.  I was just sitting there thinking about what was happening.”

Courtesy/FSmithInstagram

On what he thought when he heard that DAYS was killing-off his on-screen other half, Will Horton, Freddie related, “It was definitely a shock, but  I also like that they go there, too. I know that might upset some people, but you got to mix things up.  They didn’t treat us differently, which was ultimately what we were going for this whole time.  I was definitely shocked (that were killing Will), but I actually heard about it before I knew I was coming back for it. But, I remember I was just in shock, just like I am now re-thinking it.  You don’t expect it to happen.”

As to where Paul and Sonny’s relationship is heading, Smith added, “We have been working together a lot.  I think the fans are going to be surprised that there is something else going on between Sonny and Paul aside from their past, and their romance, and their friendship. There is another element to Paul and Sonny that you are going to see.”

If DAYS were to write a storyline involving Sonny about an an issue facing the LGBT community, how would he feel about it, Freddie said, “I think so.  Yet again, if it’s organic and they want to shed some light on an issue I think that’s very important to do so, but I also think a lot has been done since five years ago where you could flip through the TV channels and there were not a lot of gay storylines, now it’s more common.”

As to what his fans are sharing on social media and their hope’s for Sonny’s return, Smith added: “People are rooting for Paulson, Paulson, Paulson.  But at the same time they are wondering if Will is coming back.  That would be an interesting twist to see, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

Watch Freddie’s full video interview below.  Then let us know your thoughts on what Freddie shared, what you hope happens romantically and business-wise for Sonny, and how glad you are to see him back on DAYS in the comment below!

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Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Guest
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Will ‘IS’ ALIVE!..ALIVE!…ALIVE!…lol

brenda block
Guest
brenda block

i was so glad that sonny is back im happy as can be hope they bring the old Will back and i hope sonny stays on for god with days love watching him so much he is so cute and handsome man very good actor .

Ricardo
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Ricardo

Welcome back Freddy smith, I am so happy he is back on Days. Freddie is a wonderful actor. I am hearing rumors that Louise Sorel Vivian Alamain is coming back to Days. What I am hearing is that she has Brady and Theresa baby. I hope this is true. I miss my Madame lol.

Kay
Guest
Kay

On Freddie’S Q&A he mentioned Sonny moves into the mansion. But in today’s show Deimos said he was keeping the mansion. So how does that work if Sonny is living there when none of the other family members are there (besides Deimos)?

Chloe
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Chloe

I hope the writers haven’t forgotten that he is Ari’s father. It’s bad enough that they bungled it by having him leave town, which never rang true to me. He loves that little girl & was a better father to her than Will. No way would he have just left.

Dylan
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Dylan

How exactly is he Ari’s father? Ex-stepfather at best.

Sarah
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Sarah

A better father than Will ? That’s complete bull! Sonny abandoned Ari right after Will died, disgusting!!

RW
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RW

Yes, because the way Will had Ari’s best interests at heart when he didn’t care that he could destroy his family by cheating on his husband twice, wasn’t disgusting at all.

kaylie15
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kaylie15

Will was Ari’s primary caretaker and always shown as a loving father. Sonny? Walked out on her when he was mad at Will and then when Will died.

Sara
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Sara

Will loved her, yes. And he tried. But he was not even remotely her only primary caretaker, especially not at first, and he wasn’t always a good one, either. He admitted himself that he broke the trust between two of Ari’s parents (affecting her home life), he threatened people in front of her, manipulated people in front of her, made the decision to take her away from her imprisoned mother and second father in a matter of 24 hours to chase a Hollywood dream he’d never mentioned having before, then neglected to get Ari BACK to her mother (chasing fame… Read more »

RW
Guest
RW

Mad at Will??? Mad at Will, like he forgot to buy the milk. His husband cheated on him TWICE!!!!! But, of course it’s Will, so he’s allowed to do whatever he wants and all is forgiven, no matter who he hurts.

Alex
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Alex

I hope they don’t ruin him. I’m very nervous about that.

John
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John

He’s already ruined in my opinion. Asking his ex boyfriend to wait for him on his husband’s grave ruined him.. And i won’t mention him being a deadbeat father.

kay
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kay

Yes, that scene with Paul at the gravesite was disgusting. I lost all respect for Sonny after that.

Eddie
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Eddie

I agree with you John and also Kay. I couldn’t believe what the writes did with Paul & Sonny on top of Will’s grave. And then to have that photo of Will & Sonny blow away was despicable.

brenda block
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brenda block

i am so glad to see sonny back i was praying that he would come back to days i wanted him to stay this tiem for real love having him back and he is a very good actor and love atching on days wish they would bring the old

Llanviewer717
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Llanviewer717

This is a great interview Michael. I’m so happy Freddy discussed Sonny being seen as another member of the Salem community and not only as a gay character. I’m looking forward to seeing Sonny in the business world and his interactions with a wide variety of people.

Isa Enocq
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Isa Enocq

LETS BRING BACK CHANDLER NOW !!!!!! LOve you Freddie so much <3

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

Great interview, Mr. Fairman!

Sunny/Sonny DAYS are here again!!

Willds1975
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Willds1975

Great to have Freddie back as Sonny! Now make the people really, really happy and bring back Chandler Massey!!!!

jason
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jason

Some of you live in La La land!! Freddie Smith obviously doesn’t want Will back, he wants to grab a little bit of the spotlight and that’s impossible with Will around ( he was always the driven force) ! He’s clearly rooting for (stupid) PaulSon.

kay
Guest
kay

I agree. I think Freddie really wanted it to be Sonny cheating on Will with Paul so the spotlight would be on him, but the writers made the focus on Will. Now with Will gone, the focus is on Sonny again, and that makes Freddie happy. He does not want Will on the show.

kiki
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kiki

Could Freddie be any more tone deaf & clueless? He was okay with Sonny sitting in the second row of his own husband’s funeral and doesn’t even care that LGBT people were insulted & hurt by that? Sonny is a deadbeat father who is now working for his mobster uncle! That’s not the Sonny viewers fell in love with. Look, Sonny got the short end of the story stick the last time around, but Freddie not caring about the hurt Will’s death caused and how ugly and shoddy the story was is very disappointing. I fully expect Sonny to be… Read more »

RichInIowa
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RichInIowa

Agree totally with every word, kiki.
If Smith is really so clueless as to the story he’s playing and doesn’t even consider his placement on the stage, that says SO much about the actor and his craftsmanship. Very disappointed. Time to let this character and story die its miserably written death. It just can’t be resurrected (much to the bigoted joy of many).

Nate
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Nate

Oh my, reading way too much into a seating arrangement. Maybe the director intended it to be a way of showing Sonny having too hard a time sitting that close to the casket? Real life people handle things uniquely and a character on a show is no exception. And maybe Freddie was too engulfed in the sadness of the storyline to think much of it himself, he nearly said as much in this interview. Geez.

RichInIowq
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RichInIowq

Thanks, Nate. You just proved my point as well as a lot of other folks’ points about the handling of the story, both in writing and direction.

Maxie1215
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Maxie1215

How many times does Freddie insult viewers intelligence? He is glad the show made a blatant pander to anti-gay hatred in Will’s death? Of course that’s going to anger people. He comes off as clueless and tone deaf. And Fairman’s sucking up doesn’t help. I”m not stupid. I know they will bring Will back, but since Freddie clearly doesn’t care for the character of Will, there’ll be little chance of Wilson ever being what it once was. Will was clearly the only true father to Arianna, and that’s a shame because it’s in insult to gay fathers, adoptive fathers and… Read more »

Art
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Art

You make some very valid points.

Stephen
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Stephen

It’s not the first time Freddie has sounded totally clueless and tone deaf. It’s happened more than once. He just told Soap Opera Digest that he had a “great exit”. Please consider what happened in this “great exit”. First a good bit of dialog (the problem is with what follows it). After coming home after being told of Will’s death, Sonny tells him mom this: ‘You know I was planning on coming back here before this happened. Will left me this message, and I listened to it over and over again, and I started thinking “what the hell am I… Read more »

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

Someone needs to educate you about deaths on soaps, Art. The term “Bury Your Gays” doesn’t apply to DAYS! DAYS and soaps in general have buried many characters who turn up alive. Did DAYS bury Sonny? Did DAYS bury Paul? No on both counts plus a no for Will being buried if he didn’t really die! DAYS couldn’t tell the story they’re now telling if Will hadn’t been “buried” and it had nothing to do with being gay. The actor was weak. His costar chose to leave with the door left open to him. Knowing Sonny could come back to… Read more »

Art
Guest
Art

4ever DAYS you obviously are ignorant on what the term Bury Your Gays means because it does apply to Will Horton and no amount shilling for the show or attacks on Guy Wilson because you don’t like him is going change fact of what they did which was wrong on every level. Will Horton has many more fans on his own than either Sonny or Paul combined. The show lost many viewers because of them killing off Will Horton and because of them having the worst writers in soaps who caused other viewers to also leave the show because of… Read more »

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

You are ignorant, Art, for expecting characters to be treated differently because of their sexual orientation. It’s also ignorant to expect Freddie Smith to lay down and die because “Wilson” doesn’t presently exist. I suspect you’ll need therapy when Sonny and Paul get together. Good luck!

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

You are terrible for trying to use the character of Will against Freddie, the actor! Give me 25 push-ups and 50 sit-ups and SHUT UP!

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

I see 4ever DAYS is continued to be allowed to make personal attacks on other posters (whilst misrepresenting what they’ve actually said in their posts, and barking orders at them!). Same old, same old, it’s been going on 4ever! Hah! Hah! It’s funny though. 4ever and Maxie1215 are both entitled to their view on this interview – and 4ever trying to shout other people down speaks for itself. I can’t begrudge Freddie for appreciating opportunity to develop his character outside of Will’s story, because that’s not really happened before. *BUT* Freddie said he was glad they “go there”, regarding the… Read more »

Nate
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Nate

A “blatant pander to anti-gay hatred…”? Really? I realize everyone has their own perception of things, but damn, that is out there, even for me. Holy crap.

Art
Guest
Art

Freddie almost seemed delighted that Will was killed and that “great exit” he got caused someone who had called him a friend to lose their job. I think someone needs to educate Freddie on why it was wrong to kill off Will and teach him about Bury Your Gays.

elm1951
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elm1951

so excited that freddie is back on dool…………………

Proxy
Guest
Proxy

The writing on Days is so bad it’s funny. Case in point: turning Sonny into a deadbeat dad and criminal. I get that Freddie hates the character of Will but his smug cluelessness in this interview does him no favors.

Jaime
Guest
Jaime

Sonny’s return is not sufficient. Days writers have done so much wrong and are working overtime to literally destroy the character of Steve our Patch man. As such there will not be a single reason left to bother with this unrecognizable program!

They did succeed in making me so dislike Kayla I wish only that this time Steve left her once and for all and found someone new.
Her hypocritical self righteousness is alarming. MBE is not in any form of awarding winning storyline now!

Tom Jenkins
Guest
Tom Jenkins

Well, I can’ t speak for others, but as a Gay male viewer, I’ve been loyal through the last Five months of Days of Our Lives which have been dreadful. Horrendous writing, bland performances and lackluster characters. I miss the character of Sonny and glad he is back and I hope something happens with Paul, who literally has NOTHING to do on this show except buy hamburgers and look on the computer for clues for Theresa’s baby’s kidnapping. I suspect that if “Will returns” it may only be as the spirit of Will, telling Sonny it’s all right for him… Read more »

Art
Guest
Art

Sonny’s return won’t help the show.The show has ruined many characters or killed them off and the writing is just awful.

Hugo
Guest
Hugo

Great interview, Michael!

The show made a mistake by ending the gay storyline last year, I’m really happy that it’s coming back with Freddie’s return. Sonny is one of the best characters Days of our Lives has ever had. I’m excited to see what’s next for him, I hope he gets back together with Paul who is a great guy and I believe genuinely loves Sonny. I would be fine with Will not returning but since it’s a soap he probably will, once Sonny is completely in love with Paul.

kaylie15
Guest
kaylie15

I can’t see how anyone would be happy to see any favorite character return to be mauled by Dena’s poison pen. Josh was no better. Days is now a show where the “heroes” can commit any crime without consequence or care and hurt whomever they want. They are only heroes because the writers like them. How many of the show’s legendary heroes – starting with Hope – are now murderers or accessories to murder? They think this is “dark and edgy” but it’s just nasty and mean. Sonny went bankrupt because he didn’t want to take a handout from his… Read more »

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

I hope Sonny and Paul are a success who succeed in a sex session on Will’s grave!

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

Too bad that’s not going to happen

Mila
Guest
Mila

I’m so happy that Freddie came back & is finally having the story that he deserved! He’s an amazing actor & Sonny is a beloved character & many Days fans are so excited for his return. Can’t wait to see what’s in the store for him & for PaulSon 🙂

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

It’s clear he’s happy with being in the spotlight but lets see how long that lasts. This whole interview contradicts his character. Getting involved with Titan for example. And why not say anything positive about Will, the character that got him his popularity instead of being thankful it wasn’t him being killed off. I truly believe Will is coming back alive and not as a ghost. Freddie’s coming off really bad in this interview. I don’t think his return is going to help ratings that much. In fact there’s a lot of people not caring about the return at all… Read more »

Nate
Guest
Nate

I am so happy to see Freddie back. I love the character of Sonny, and I know Freddie will do great. Looking forward to the show more than ever now. I hope Freddie will be with us a long time.

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Me, too, Nate. So handsome, charming, decent, sexy, and hopefully they’ll let his hair grow a bit. Can’t stand these buzz cuts. Looking forward to seeing what romance is coming for Sonny.

lecia
Guest
lecia

He is Ari’s father and the writers should let him adopt her. This would make Ari a Kiriakis which would not set to well with members of the Brady, Hernandez and Horton families who hate the idea for different reasons. He should move in with Gabi, and thus begin the storyline I’d like to see Gabi attempting to wreck his relationship with Paul. Sonny and Gabi have a connection but Sonny sees Gabi as a little sister and Gabi sees Sonny as the guy she should have married.

mark
Guest
mark

Obviously it was only a matter of time until Sonny came back from Paris.

After all, “once they’ve seen Salem, how ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm?”

Besides, Salem’s coffee is far too addicting.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alison Sweeney on Working with Bryan Dattilo: “28 Years Later, Some Things Never Change. Still Laughing Between Takes and Grateful to Have Such a Talented Supportive Co-Star”

This week, Days of our Lives viewers have witnessed that Sami Brady DiMera (Alison Sweeney) and Lucas Horton (Bryan Dattilo) hit the sheets, and Lumi fans everywhere rejoiced!

On and off, for almost three decades. Alison Sweeney and Bryan Dattilo have played the relationship between these two exes who share children together to the hilt, because Sami and Lucas’ history is well … complicated.

But, what will happen if and when EJ finds out that Sami had sex with her ex? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, Alison took to her Instagram and shared her thoughts alongside photos of her and Bryan, then and now.

Over the years, Bryan had remained one of Alison’s good friends.

Sweeney expressed: “I have always had such fun working with @bryan.dattilo !! 28 years later, some things never change. Still laughing between takes and grateful to have such a talented, supportive costar. Thanks @nbc for this great archive photo! And so grateful to @nbcdays for the incredible opportunity to play Sami.”

What did you think of the scenes where Sami and Lucas slept together and its aftermath thus far? Comment below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ali Sweeney (@alisweeney)

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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Breaking News

REPORT: Dan Feuerriegel is DAYS New EJ DiMera

Could Days of our Lives finally found their new EJ? Rumors have been circulating on the internet for weeks that the character of EJ DiMera may finally have a new face and a new actor portraying and heading back to Salem, especially since Sami (Alison Sweeney) is back on the canvas.

The role was previously played by longtime fan favorite James Scott, who had made it very clear he would never return to Days of our Lives.

Photo: DFeuerriegelIG

Now according to Daytime Confidential and their report from setside sources, the new EJ will actually be played by former Spartacus actor Dan Feuerriegel.

The Australian-born actor has been seen in Starz’ Spartacus franchise in the role of Agron.

According to the report, look for the new EJ to make his debut sometime this summer.

DAYS fans know that in story, EJ was brought back form the dead, from the serum from Dr. Rolf, but then was injured in an explosion and had reunited with Sami and had been recovery in Europe.

So, if this reports turns out to be true, what do you think of the new EJ? Comment below.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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