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DAYS Kyler Pettis Chats On: Theo Living With Autism, Avenging Abe's Shooting & His On-Screen Love Life!

Courtesy/NBC

It was an emotional week for Days of our Lives young Theo Carver (Kyler Pettis).  After being devastated that his father, Abe Carver (James Reynolds), was shot during one of the super villains (Clyde, Xander, and Orpheus) heinous acts of terror in Salem, he decides to take matters into his own hands to avenge his dad, who has been lying in critical condition at University Hospital.  Only Theo’s plan sort of backfires!

Playing a young man living with autism, and who is growing up through teen angst and beyond right before the audiences’ eyes, has made Kyler Pettis’ Theo a character to root for on the NBC daytime drama series.  While this young man has been raised by his father for most of his adult life (his mother Lexie died years ago), it’s evident he feels a deep and unbreakable bond with his dad.  But what will happen when Dr. Valerie Grant (Vanessa Williams) comes to Salem?  How will that bode in the father/son relationship?  Meanwhile, Theo is finding himself popular with the young ladies in Salem.  He is currently dating Claire (Olivia Rose Keegan), but he seems to have always been carrying a torch for Ciara Brady (Vivian Jovanni).  Just who might end up being the love of Theo’s life long term?  Pettis weighs-in!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Kyler as he approaches his 24th birthday next week on October 16th, to get some insight on to how he approached incorporating Theo’s autism into his portrayal, what it has been like seeing the fan reactions to his character on social media, his thoughts on his co-stars, and what he thought of Theo’s brief moment of attempted violence, with gun in hand, trying to take down one of the villains.  Here’s what he had to say about it all, and much more!

This past week after Abe was shot, Theo went to his dad’s hospital bedside and was quite shaken up.  Wouldn’t you say?

Courtesy/NBC

KYLER:   Yes.  I think he feels a responsibility.  Lani (Sal Stowers) is not there, and I think Theo feels like, “What am I going to do if the doctor asks me a question?”  It’s scary. Theo’s a young man, and his dad is in the hospital after getting shot.  I mean, what do you do?

So then, Theo decides he is going to make Clyde Weston (James Read) pay for shooting his dad!  And we see, Theo with gun in hand.  What did you think of these key scenes and moments for Theo?

KYLER:  Theo really wanted to shoot Clyde Weston.  But he gets disarmed by Clyde when Clyde kind of creeps up on him. Theo had many chances to pull the trigger, but this is Theo Carver, we are talking about here.  I think the idea was stronger than the action in his mind.  It wasn’t his best moment! (Laughs)  And then … Clyde got away.

So that left Theo visibly and emotionally shaken that he even was attempting to shoot someone?

Courtesy/NBC

KYLER:   Yeah, at the end of Friday’s episode, Theo said to Roman, “I’m sorry. I screwed up.”  Roman (Josh Taylor) stopped him in the alley, and Ciara also tried to stop him and said, “This is not what you should do.”   I think after all was said and done, Theo realized it did not turn out the way he thought.

What I think you should be commended for in your portrayal is how you play an autistic young man.  You never play this over the top; you understand that Theo has lived with this his whole life.  How do you try to communicate in your performances that having autism is a part of the character, without playing it so overt for television?

KYLER:  That was on my mind when I took the role, and I definitely researched it.  Honestly, the thing that helped me most was looking at Theo as a person first rather than, “This is an autistic kid.”  Then it made me be able to approach the role with more humanity.  I looked at him and I looked at his storyline, and as well, I talked to people who interacted with autistic people.  I also spoke with our co-head writer, Dena Higley, who has an autistic son.  It was challenging to step into, but it’s something I look forward to as an actor, and it’s fun.

Back in 2008, it was Dena Higley’s idea to have an autistic child on the DAYS canvas, and for a family to learn and struggle with this in order to raise awareness to the viewing audience.   She decided to have Lexie (Renee Jones) and Abe’s son be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.  I do hope DAYS continues to cultivate what they started, and to show a human being living with autism, but that it doesn’t define who they are.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

KYLER:  I think DAYS is doing a good job incorporating that storyline as well as this new Theo, whose handled it his whole life and worked on it, and can function in society.  I am so glad the show is pulling both those elements together.

DAYS fans just learned that Dr. Valerie Grant is back in the picture, and she will be arriving on to the canvas in less than two weeks (she debuts on the Oct 25th episode) to help Abe.  From what we surmise, Theo may not be happy about her being in Salem?

KYLER:  Yup!  She’s back in the picture and he mentioned in a recent episode it has just been him and his dad this whole time.  I think Theo has gotten comfortable with that he and his dad are buddies, and it’s just the two of them.  Theo often mentions throughout his storyline how his late mom, Lexie, has been a big impact on his life.  I think not only is it about a new person coming in and intruding on what Theo and Abe have, but Theo also sees it as intruding on what he and his mom had.

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How has it been working with James Reynolds and Vanessa Williams?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

KYLER:  It has always been fun working with James.   He has the qualities that remind me of my own dad.  So, it’s easy to sink into that father/son relationship with James.  As far as Vanessa, she is so charismatic and right when they yell “cut”, we kind of joke about the scene and mess around a bit so we get more comfortable.  Then when we shoot those scenes, or those that have high tension in them (where there is negative energy coming at each other), it’s fun to joke between the scenes to ease up the tension, and then get back into it.

Do you think Theo might manipulate the situation to keep former flames, Valerie and Abe apart, if a spark reignites between them?

KYLER:   I don’t think Theo is much of a manipulator.  I think he has his own ideas, but I don’t think he would go to that level of manipulation.  Theo’s moral compass is pretty high, but he might have some people in his ear to instigate that for him.

The scenes between Theo and Abe in the hospital are very tender, but not overdone.  Should viewers expect to see more scenes like that as Abe struggles with his health?

KYLER:   There are some more heart-tugging scenes between Theo and Abe you are going to see.  It’s a vulnerable situation between a father and a son, but I do think fans will see more scenes with that dynamic coming up.

Photo: Instagram

This past week, Abe told Theo he was so proud of him, which was a hankie-filled moment!

KYLER:  Yes, yes, yes!  It’s always touching when a father says that to a son, you know.

Theo is also a young leading man on the show, and he seems to have two young women in his orbit:  Claire and Ciara.  What are his feelings for these two?

KYLER:   I think it’s hard, because it’s the infamous love triangle of soap operas.  I think Ciara was Theo’s one true love, and they have been best friends forever.   But I don’t think the love Theo had for Ciara really changes that quick.  I think he still has love for her, but it’s more as a friend.  I think they discovered that the relationship is not going to go in a romantic way right now.  Theo is at an age where he is thinking, “There are all these pretty girls running around Salem, and I want to get some attention.”  That’s when Claire comes into the picture.  He is a bit more intimated by Claire.  She is more fast-paced than Ciara has been, but at the same time I think this is what he has been looking for.

Is Theo truly OK with Claire pursuing her singing career?  If she were to become a big star, would he feel threatened that she wouldn’t be interested in him anymore? 

Courtesy/NBC

KYLER:  Ok, let’s look back at the prom.  If there were some threats, I think he could handle it, but Theo is definitely rooting for Claire to succeed.

Is this though a slow burn love story between Theo and Ciara, where eventually down the line, they could end up with each other?

KYLER:  I do think that, and throughout this whole time, Theo has had his eye on both Ciara and Claire.  There is definitely still a connection between Ciara and Theo, even when they are talking about mundane things.  I definitely think there is a little flame there, but it’s not acted upon.  So, it’s definitely in the back-burner of his mind for now.

One of the other reasons Theo wanted to shoot Clyde was because Joey (James Lastovic) was kidnapped.  Doesn’t Theo see Joey as his best bud?

KYLER:  Joey has been Theo’s friend for a long time.  I think if anything, the best Theo can do is help out around town now.  I think the whole gun incident really scared him.  As you can see, he was very unprepared to hold a gun, or shoot a gun.  I mean, his hand was shaking the whole time! (Laughs)  So, I don’t think he is going to try to take more action that way, but he will try to cooperate with everyone around town.

Was playing Theo holding the gun on Clyde, and shaking so badly, hard for you to play?

Courtesy/NBC

KYLER:  You know what?  It was really funny.  I came on to the set holding the gun, and I thought I was going into full-action mode.  I was excited and ready like a pro!  Then the producer came to me and said, “OK … well … Theo is new at this…”   So then I had to do a 180 turn and play it the other way, but it was really fun.

Then they dressed you down, per se, and you were like, “That’s not what I wanted to do!”  (Laughs)

KYLER:  Yeah!  I was like, “Where is the explosion?  I want to put some flying kicks in here, too!” (Laughs)

It is very hard when young characters are aged (SORAS’d) and brought on to a soap opera with a bunch of actors the viewers has never seen before, and are then interacting with a bunch of actors the audience is very familiar with.  Certainly, it is a difficult adjustment for the fans.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  With social media being the place where fans vent negatively, or praise positively, what are your thoughts on how that has personally affected you since coming to DAYS?

Photo: KPettisInstagram

KYLER:  That has been a big thing in my life.  As we are progressing in life, social media is only going to get bigger.  I think it’s a great tool to be exposed for other projects and to get my name out there, but it is also very intimating.   I am a person who really likes privacy.  For instance, when I go out I wear baseball caps most of the time and sunglasses, because in real life I am very introverted.  So it’s kind of intimating that anyone can look you up, and then you look at your phone, and look at social media and you can get negative comments.  But for the most part … it’s been all positive for me.  I will say it is also imitating coming on to a show that has been on the air for 51 years – so that alone also kind of gave me something to think about, because these fans have been watching for a long time.  Soap opera fans are very loyal, and they have been watching the show forever, and I am like, “Alright, I am stepping into some new territory here!” (Laughs)

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It’s rough out there!

KYLER:  It is!  It’s very rough, but I have to say most of the comments have been pretty positive so I am grateful for that.

Since you have been playing Theo, have people with autism reached out to you, personally? 

KYLER:  I have had people who have autism message me on Twitter, and they say, “Thank you so much for portraying someone with autism, and we are loving you in this role. “  And to be honest, their opinions on Theo were the ones I was most concerned about, because you can play this character so wrong where you could get so much backlash for it.  That was something I was very concerned about when I took this role.

Are you enjoying the ride at 23-years-old (soon-to-be 24) being on your first network TV show?

Courtesy/NBC

KYLER:  No, not really. (jokingly laughs).  It’s great!!  I have wanted to act since I was little and I remember wanting to act inside the TV!   It’s all I think about.  I am so prepared when I come to set.  I have been getting the scripts, and I actually like reading them to the point where I will go, “This is happening?  Oh, my God!”   I will text my scene partners and go, “Did you just read that?”  It’s weird to think about in a way, because there was my dad downstairs watching me on TV.  So I walk past him, and there I am on the TV.  I have so much more to accomplish and do in my life, but this is such a big milestone for me being part of the cast of DAYS.

Ultimately, do you want to be acting in motion pictures?

KYLER:  I have always had a passion for the medium of film, and I do love movies.  Ultimately, that is where I want to be, but at the end of the day there is so much good work right now on TV.  You have ABC, FX, but then Netflix, and now Hulu.  If I could get to a point where I have the power of choice, I would love to pick projects that allow me to work as freely as an artist as I would like, wherever that takes me.

Photo: KPettis Instagram

What happens when people give you a compliment and say, you are “good looking”?  Do you say “thank you” or do you shy away, or deflect answering the question?

KYLER:  I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the attention, because it’s nice.  You’re not being called ‘ugly”, so I like it.  But I know this whole thing isn’t reality, because they are seeing me for the person I am on TV, but it is nice to hear.

I was watching your brother, Washington Huskies wide receiver Dante Pettis, scoring touchdowns during the Washington vs. Stanford game on ESPN two Saturdays ago.  And all of sudden the announcer goes, “Dante’s brother, Kyler Pettis is on Days of our Lives!”   I went “Woot-woot!”  Do you watch your brother play?  He is having a fantastic season.

KYLER:  Yup.  I watch every game.  That was a good plug for Days of our Lives on ESPN. (Laughs)

You and your brother Dante seem to be overachievers! (Laughs)

KYLER:  We so are!  We plan things like: we want to do a talk show together and do joint interviews, and then we want to get a house together in the state of Washington that will be our family vacation house.  We definitely have plans that we are hoping to execute!

Photo Credit: Brad Everett Young

In closing, do you think Days of our Lives viewers should anticipate more sadness, or rough times ahead for Theo?

KYLER:  It’s not so much sadness coming up, but more of that the audience is going to watch him grow.  He is entering into a new stage of his life and you are going to see soon how the teens are going to interact on their own, and not so much just with their families, and those relationships are going to get pretty juicy for the fans.

So, what did you think of Theo trying to avenge his father’s shooting on last week’s episodes of Days of our Lives ? Are you enjoying Kyler’s portrayal of Theo Carver?  Do you hope Theo winds up with Claire, Ciara, or someone else?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Scott (ATWT Fan)JimJayyJohn GordonCelia Recent comment authors
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Patrick
Patrick

First off – “Thanks” for the pic of… Abe / baby Theo / Lexie

Patrick
Patrick

“…You never play this over the top; you understand that Theo has lived with this his whole life ”

REALLY well said.

he’s so good in front of the camera

love that Theo and Claire are together…. you want things for Theo

it’s just a matter of time… when his confidence is his

Celia
Celia

So well put, Patrick….again, I ‘hear’ the poet in you.
I am absolutely ‘in love’ (lol) with Kyler. ….love his acting and his gorgeous looks. This kid has a fruitful future ahead….sky’s the limit. He has THAT much potential.
And, what seals it for me, is his humility. Love it!! Kudos!!

Patrick
Patrick

OF the SORAS teen set @DAYS

truthfully…. after all this time

I can accept … Ciara and even Joey…. because of Claire and Theo skillset

I WISH somehow … that CHASE was back on the show

I’ll still prop…. that Lauren Boles does in fact need to return

damned if we do and danged if we don’t

oh well

gee thanks a lot Ken Corday…

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

Out of all the teens, he is the one i dont mind watching…back when the character was a kid i wrote to the show about bringing Valerie Grant back for Abe and have Theo try to keep them apart suspecting Valerie is attracted to his uncle Cameron Davis…it is revealed Valerie is Camerons birth mother not Celeste..well, anyway…i wish they had asked Tina Andrews to return…she and her family were written out forty years ago because too many dumb people disapproved of Val’s interracial relationship with white David Banning, Julie’s son…Tina was and still is a very beautiful person…what big publicity Days might got had she returned…i also thought Debbie Morgan would had been ok…but i will give the new actress a chance…like how Days goes back to its history by bringing Valerie back!!!

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

DAYS should be commended for showcasing autism and for strengthening the AA representation. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Theo with his dad, Abe, and the returns of Valerie and Lani.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Sal Stowers (Lani) isn’t coming back to the soap.

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

Yes she is, Scott. I don’t know when she returns onscreen or for how long, but I do know she’s there for the 13,000th episode in January.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Just because she was there does not guarantee her return to the soap, as I’ve seen multiple photographs from episode celebrations with [former] cast members who are no longer part of the cast.

Jayy
Jayy

Lani will return early next year. That has already been confirmed by someone who’s been announcing Days characters arrival/departure for years.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

If it’s a potential “47a” person, I do not believe them nor their supposed “sources”. I’ll wait for something more reliable and actually creditable.

Jayy
Jayy

Nope I’m not talking about that person at all.

Jim
Jim

Well Scott, Lani is back now.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

And your point is, Jim? Responding to last year’s comments… nothing better to do?

Mateo
Mateo

He is a very good looking young man. Autism is poorly represented here. I appreciate his desire to do a good job in the role but the casting directors really misfired with all these teens and the stories they are involved in. I wish him luck in his acting future…

CindyHaskins
CindyHaskins

Lauren boles coming back to days it is never going to happen her time with the show it is over with.vivian Jovanni is Ciara brady and it is time for all to excepted it.

Patrick
Patrick

Lauren Boles… in fact… should return… her keen intellect and presence lends credibility beyond

she would be saving Hope.. character

no matter… bring her back as another of the core characters grandchild.

done

CindyHaskins
CindyHaskins

Sorry but I don’t want chase back on days he is nothing but a rapist that belong in prison along with aiden.

CindyHaskins
CindyHaskins

Also theo belong with Ciara and not with Claire the spoiled rich brat.

Patrick
Patrick

I really like the widowed / single father and son story potential

even I feel protective of Abe…. argh! Abe… is in fact 1/2 of a supercouple… Lexie

without bemoaning too much…. this is something I can grab on to

color

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

I think Kyler is doing a great job with Theo. After reading this interview, I can see why. Kyler is an intelligent and thought filled young man. He has a very bright future as an actor.

Lulu
Lulu

I love Kyler whose portrayal of Theo is good.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

I must admit, when Days of Our Lives announced their decision to SORAS several younger characters under the previous regime, I was skeptical about the casting choices. But, Kyler Pettis’ portrayal of Theo has changed my opinion on the matter, and he has been doing a fantastic job. Cannot wait to see what comes next for him and the character, as he is truly a highlight within the teen cast.

Patrick
Patrick

I watched 4 DAYS eps Sunday night

and yes… their was Ciara Alice… just OK already… she’s in the show

after a year of being on the air… i’m letting the SORAS LIVE

because Theo and Claire are doing bang up job

I was so taken with Claire… trying to one up and deflect with Paul ( he was “babysitting” Claire from the 3 stooges)… OY Christopher Sean can do NO WRONG… Sonny shows up at the door… and the two of them know there’s no use denying the attraction chemistry… whatever…. it’s just a matter of time.

oy! The writing has gotten better…. what do we have here ?

of the 4 hours I watched… the only time I was ughed out… was when Chloe showed up on the screen… and here comes Phillip. it looks like Chloe is leaving town… ( ie: maternity leave ) so who knows… perhaps when she comes back… sans Phillip… Chloe will begin anew.

Celia
Celia

Yes, yes, yes, Scott. I find myself searching for words in describing both his persona and talent. Every word coming to mind falls short …..unusual for me to pick one fitting word from my ‘arsenal’, LOL. What can I say? Enthralling? I am hooked.
One drawback: neither Ciera, nor Claire are suitable. If Theo is to have a love interest, he will need someone to complement him; someone vibrant, smiling……someone with whom to have fun.
These girls seem to be in perpetual darkness; especially Ciera.

Celia
Celia

PS. My above comment sounds somewhat shallow. Therefore, alliw me to re-phrase. These kids are waaaay too morose, for being so young. Amidst tgat ‘fun’ comes intelligence, compassion and understanding. Both these girls come with too much baggage; adding to his own.
Let’s get away from the doom and gloom that is DOOL! Very hard to do, for example’ Ciera…..she gets the “sky is falling” from her mother.

Celia
Celia

Grammar check. I should be ashamed of myself….that should read ” neither Ciera, nor Claire IS suitable”.

RJ
RJ

Kyler is doing a great job as Theo. Look forward to more scenes with Theo, Abe, and Vanessa.

John Gordon
John Gordon

Forgive me for saying this but this show gets just a little bit tedious to watch after a while. How much longer are the “three bad guys” going to be plotting their so called stupid Revenge on this town with 3 sets? Sometimes, I’m embarressed to watch this show, yet every night there I am putting in on the NBC App (through my TV) and watching it on full-screen, super Hi-Def quality….unfortunately, the storylines are beyond lame, and dragged out for much, much too long to a point where one almost doesn’t care anymore. Finish up the storyline with the 3 bag guys, and move on to something else already.

Jim
Jim

Great interview! Kyler Pettis is a great actor, and I love Theo. Interesting reading this 3 months later when some of what Pettis is previewing has come to play out with Valerie.

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Photo: NBC

During the podcast conversation, Eric explains how he has to sometimes suspend belief to make stories work in daytime which included Brady not figuring out that “Nicole” was Kristen, although it certainly re-ignited his thoughts of her!  Plus, he chimes in on the fun he has had working with his co-stars: Arianne Zucker (“Nicole”) and Stacy Haiduk (Kristen/Susan) in their many scenes

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Courtesy/NBC

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DAYS Stacy Haiduk and Eric Martsolf Talk Kristen & Brady’s Twisted Relationship : The Mask, The Deception, The Sex

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Fans of the NBC daytime drama series have followed the tortured relationship between Kristen and Brady for years and through many plots; Kristen was first played and brought to life by Eileen Davidson, and for well over a year now by Stacy Haiduk.  Not only has Haiduk reprised the role of a frustrated, vengeful Kristen, she is also playing at times multiple roles: the wacky and often misunderstood, Susan Banks, Kristen playing Susan, or Kristen pretending to be Sister Mary Moira.

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Photo: JPI

Eric, what has it been like working in this part of your storyline; where there’s the character of Kristen in its many forms: Arianne Zucker playing “Nicole” (but it’s really Kristen), Kristen as Susan, and the real Kristen, etc?

ERIC:  It’s been a nightmare Michael.  (Laughs)  I don’t know who I’m sleeping with anymore.  I’m at the point where I go home at night, and I just tug on my wife’s cheek just to make sure that she is not my ex-girlfriend from high school.

When you first heard of this storyline, and that it was going to facilitate how Arianne was going to come back to the show… and that it was supposed to be Kristen in a Nicole Walker prosthetic mask with a voice alternator, what went through your mind?

ERIC:  I think in the back of Ron’s Carlivati’s (head writer, DAYS) mind, he was thinking to himself, “This dude started his soap career on Passions, he’s okay with this kind of thing,” and honestly, nothing surprises me anymore.  When you’re thrown into that supernatural, crazy reality, doesn’t-live-here sort of atmosphere for you first soap gig, you don’t sweat a mask and a voice modulator.  That’s just par for the course.  My biggest problem was the body thing … that Brady is not able to distinguish one body from the other, because I would as Eric.  My God, I know every inch of my wife’s body.  So, it’s difficult to get my head around that, but at the same time, I’m going with the whole “love is blind” thing here. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

(Laughs) I was going just going to say that Brady would absolutely know Kristen’s body from how passionate their relationship has been in the past, as well, he would Nicole’s body from his relationship with her.

ERIC:  Since Kristen did finally just succeed – let’s use the word in “seducing” him, and using her wonderful feminine wiles as only Kristen has to get Brady in to bed, there was also another twist.  What plays after that is that he notices the tattoo that’s been removed, and she plays it off as scarring from the fire.  What’s going through his mind as he is making love to Nicole is a “Kristen train”.  He can’t get Kristen out of his mind, and the guilt that he feels about that is horrendous.

Right! Brady is thinking: “Why am I feeling this when I am supposed to be with Nicole!?”

ERIC:  Right!  Brady has been waiting for a relationship for God knows how many years now – at least a successful one.  He is so eager to have this work, even though he has been concerned about how Eric (Greg Vaughan) would feel about this.  In Brady’s mind, Eric is done with Nicole.  He’s good.  He loves Sarah (Linsey Godfrey).  This is fair game.  Brady and Nicole have always been close … they’ve been close before … so, for him, it’s, why not give it a fair try?   However, he finds himself now thinking about another woman the whole time.  That’s rough.

Courtesy/NBC

Do you think in the back of his mind, that this whole time, he possibly knew that “Nicole” was Kristen?

ERIC:  Well, you just have to wait.  There will be a reveal eventually, obviously, but until then, let the games play on.

So, once Brady and “Nicole” have sex, he keeps thinking about Kristen?

ERIC:  Constantly!  She just plagues his mind.  I think he’s realizing that his affection for Kristen is anything but dead and is very alive, and I think this is Kristen’s master plan from the very beginning.  She knows that she pervades his soul, and once she does reveal herself, I would guess he would probably be surprised, maybe a little angry, but in the end … you can’t deny what your heart and your body wants, right?

One of my favorite recent scenes had Brady half-naked and Kristen as Susan getting into his room, because she was looking for the MIA Nicole mask she so desperately needed.  She finds herself gawking and lusting after Brady under her disguise, and he tries to remove himself from the situation and says, “Susan, I’m going to get in the shower…”

ERIC:  Yeah! And, “It’s not going to happen, baby.”

What was that like doing that scene?

STACY:  I loved it!  I thought Eric was brilliant in it.  I watched it, and I thought, “Oh, my God!”  (Laughs) It is one of my all-time favorite scenes.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  Kristen is a tiger.

STACY:  She is a tiger.  She’s got a goal, and she is going to go after that.  She has obstacles that are going to come in-between her goal, but she will go after whatever she wants.

When Stacy comes in to Brady’s room as Susan, were you not laughing?

ERIC: No!  I thought she was hot. (Laughs)

STACY:  He did … he loved it.  You liked me, didn’t you baby? (Laughs)

ERIC:  I don’t think anybody can deny that Stacy Haiduk’s portrayal of Susan Banks is ridiculously good.  Everything from her delivery … to her facial expressions.  I think it is amazing.  I mean, it is corny, and it is fun, and soaps need characters like that once in a while to lighten the load of the heavy dialogue and the drama.  It’s a welcomed addition.  So, I love playing scenes with Susan.

Photo: JPI

Eric, you always have been able play the straight-man so well in comedic scenes with impeccable timing,

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STACY:  You’re brilliant, Eric.

ERIC:  You guys are being very nice to me.

STACY:  You are.  I remember on the day how much fun we had, but then, seeing it back and the crap that I was giving you, and just the stuff you were giving back was so beautiful, and innocent, and so alive.  It was so funny.

Does Kristen think that now that she finally got Brady into bed that she won … that she got what she wanted … even if she had to don a “Nicole” mask to do it?

STACY:  Well, no, because she still can’t be really Kristen.  I think she is grateful that she gets to be with him.  That’s one of her biggest goals: to be with Brady and she wants to have him fall back in love with her again.  But for her, now it’s all about, “How do I reveal myself so that he doesn’t get scared away?”  That’s the toughest part for her.  Kristen’s love is so deep that it goes beyond this mask.  So, how is it going to be when he sees her?   Is he going to freak out?  What’s going to happen?

ERIC:  Did you think Kristen would be a little pissed off and think, “Oh my God.  He did go for Nicole?”

STACY:  Yes!  I do, because she’s like, “Finally, I got him!  But wait a minute … did I get him because I was Nicole … or because I was Kristen?”  As Kristen, she always believes there is something deeper between them and a deep connection.  That remains a driving force to her.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  That’s why I love these characters so much, because of you and the history of Kristen with Brady.  She’s always wanted him as much as he has wanted her.  She’s always wanted to be loved.

STACY:  Yes … and very much so.

ERIC:  Kristen had always wanted to be a part of the DiMera Empire, just as Brady has always wanted to be a part of the Kiriakis Empire, and they’ve always wanted love.  They’ve never had it.  They believe in the back of their minds that anything is attainable.  So, I can see why Kristen would just forgo the Nicole disguise and just go, “He wants me.”

STACY:  Kristen wants to believe that Brady knows it.  She says to herself, “He knows it’s me inside and behind the mask.  When he finds out, he will fall back in love with me.”

Now that she actually had sex with Brady, wouldn’t that make Kristen even more insatiable to be with him? Like, “I’ve got to have him!?”

STACY:  The fear is still .. what happens she takes this mask off?  She always says, “I’ll reveal myself, but I have to do it slowly when it is the right time.”  I think there is that built up frustration now for her, absolutely!

Photo: JPI Studios

Arianne Zucker really has Stacy’s mannerisms down as Kristen.  It really comes into in scenes where “Nicole” goes off on someone or loses her temper.  Eric, you have worked with Arianne for years on this show.  What do you think about her performances in this storyline?

ERIC:  I have worked with Ari over the years, and I have enjoyed it a lot.  Ari did do her homework.  She did study Stacy’s tape, and she watched her mannerisms, and she took it very seriously.  I know that because she is a hard worker, as much as a goofball as she is, she does work hard, and she wanted it to be good.  I think my favorite parts were the Kristen meltdowns.  You have to understand though; Stacy and Ari get along very well!  They’re kind of two peas in a pod.  So, it wasn’t a big stretch for her to take on how Stacy would play those types of scenes.  They’re both animated, they’re both wild people by nature, and so, it was a good fit.  It was a smart idea from the writers.

STACY:  It was a good fit!

ERIC:  I’ve been out with the two of them, and it’s hard to tell the two of them apart. (Laughs)

STACY:  We are just like two cuddly bunnies.

ERIC:  They’re like flirting with each other, and hugging each other.  You find yourself thinking, “Are they going to start ordering the same food at the same time?  This is getting weird. (Laughs)

Courtesy/NBC

In the recent scene that aired; where Kristen as “Nicole” turns off the light while having sex with Brady, is she worried her plan will now go awry?

STACY:  Yes.  I think she is worried about her body because it is burned.  You know, how they take a tattoo off, and it’s as painful as can be.  Not that I’ve had that done personally.  I like my tats, but I hear it is painful.  So, in the storyline, the burn is that pain that she has and the tattoo. There’s a part of her that thinks,  she has to cover it up, and turn the lights down low.

ERIC:  “Nicole” is sleeping, and Brady is rubbing his hands over her shoulder and touching her body, and as he goes over the burn marks.  He sees a flash of the tattoo!  That is a pivotal moment when he starts to put some pieces together.   He thinks, “Woah! That’s exactly where that tattoo was.”  It’s a slow little rollercoaster ride.

Courtesy/NBC

In the past, Kristen then played by Eileen Davidson, drugged and raped Father Eric.  Stacy, did you ever see that story arc?  Literally the sex scene is playing on the screen at Kristen’s wedding to Brady and then all hell breaks loose.  This to say Kristen is notorious for the ways and the lengths she goes to get her men into bed.

STACY:  Yes! I saw her Eileen do those scenes.

ERIC:  You also saw how close Kristen and Brady were to their dream, to their happiness, their goal, which was they were going to marry each other.  Brady is looking upon his loved ones in this town and thinking, “I know what you all think of her, but I’m going to show you our love on this screen, and once you see the connection that we have here as a couple, you all are going to be convinced that we belong together as well.  This is the happiest day of my life,” and the screen comes up and it’s his brother banging Kristen instead.

Marlena (Deidre Hall) played the wrong DVD!

STACY:  It was so good.  See, I try to find as much info as I can on the character’s past, because all of the time I’m trying to find where these characters have been in their dark and twisted past.

Photo: JPI

ERIC:  You’re putting your own stamp on Kristen.  You got a direct call from DAYS casting department, didn’t you … when they were recasting the role?

STACY:  Yes.  You have to understand, I had two really separate characters to play when I was on Y&R.  One was a doctor, and one was this crazy passionate, wild, little minx.

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ERIC:  I will say to find the wild and the beauty in one package is not easy in any town, yet alone Los Angeles.  I’m glad they called you, because you have that.  You have that villainous nature, but you also are able to show a vulnerable side to Kristen that is going to be a lot of fun and interesting to see.

Stacy is one of those people that will leap off of the screen at you and you will remember her.  She is one actress that will have fans talking about their work, like when you played crazy Patty Williams on Y&R.  The audience was on the edge of their seats going, “Oh, my God!  What is Patty going to do next?”

STACY:  I never knew what she was going to do!

Photo: JPI

Eric, has Stacy come to you at any point where she been overwhelmed by the task at hand; playing Susan while playing Kristen, etc, and the two of you have a moment where you work through some of the challenges of complex scenes  … and ones where she is playing multiple characters?

ERIC:  We’ve had many moments  to speak of.

STACY:  I always come into Eric’s room, and am like, “I’m scared!”

ERIC:  It’s funny you mention it.  We have had some very emotional scenes, and Stacy – who cares so damn much about this job and portraying this character correctly – that she gets a little overwhelmed, and the material that they give her is overwhelming for any anybody on any level.  I have looked at her in the eyes, and said, “You’ve got this gig.  You are this character.  You are knocking it out of the park.  Just do it.  Just be you.”   I can’t wait for people to see some of the stuff we have shot recently and have been doing.

Photo: JPI

Stacy, do you think Kristen can be redeemed? Many characters on daytime … and on DAYS … have done horrible things and later turned over a new leaf.

STACY:  The thing is that villains are bad and all that other crap, but they’ve got a lot of stuff going on inside and insecurities, and they’ve got a heart.  I’m sorry, the villain with a heart of gold, can be very  true.  I never see villains (and I play them a lot) as bad.  You have to find where it comes from … how far does this go … where did that little seed change … and what made them go into the dark, but also, where is the good?  You want to bring the good to it, too.

ERIC:  Let’s face it!  Star Wars is all about Darth Vader and how he became that because it’s intriguing.

Because of the pace in which DAYS tapes its episodes; do the two of you find time to run lines together before you go hit the set?

ERIC:  We are running out of time to run lines.  It’s pretty wild.  Funnily enough, I was recently filming a movie and I was so underwhelmed at the pace of everything.  I’ve gotten so accustomed to moving at this militant style, that as hard as it is, it is preferable to me now.  I almost like it because you don’t have time to overthink what you are going to do, and you end up getting more visceral and natural reactions to the material.  You can overthink a scene, and you can come to a wrong performance that way.  When you burn your fingers on a hot stove, that’s the most natural reaction you are going to get.  You can’t have ten minutes to think about how you are going to scream about that pain.

Photo: JPI

But, would you like the pace of shooting the show to be a bit slower?

STACY:  I would like to, but I do think sometimes just jumping in, and going and seeing what happens is great.  I love that.  I do appreciate that.

ERIC:  It’s scary.

STACY:  It is scary.  I would love if we would get to do a rehearsal and then two takes just to see, and then they can mix  together what happens.  Sometimes I am hard on myself as an actress.  I’ve always been.  It’s that jumping in when you only get to do one take.  You have to just give it everything you’ve got.

ERIC:  You can have a second take.  Want me to give you a little secret?  All you have to do is screw up your last line.

STACY:  I can’t do that.   I don’t even need it to be perfect because nothing is perfect.  It doesn’t matter what I’ve done if I sometimes don’t feel it.  I need to feel it when I’m on that set.  I need to feel something because when I shut down, I close myself off.  It’s like an athlete who has just got to  train as hard as they can to reach their goal.

ERIC:  You’re an Olympic swimmer!

STACY:  You’ve got to do it as hard as you can.  You practice, and you practice, and you practice, and you practice, so that when you come to that day, you do the best you can, but sometimes you are disappointed because you didn’t get that one last thing you had hoped for.

Courtesy/NBC

How do you view what happened to Eric with Kristen, who disguised as Nicole, tricked Brady into bed with her?  Some fans commented that that they thought it was akin to a rape.

ERIC:  No, I would disagree with that theory.  I believe there is a high degree of deception in this, but there is a willingness on behalf of Brady.  He’s not drugged.  He’s not being forced to do anything.  Deception, yes.  Rape, no.

Stacy, what do you think?

STACY:  Total deception.  There is no rape.  There is absolutely no rape.  These are willing participants; he just doesn’t know exactly who he is dealing with.

ERIC:  I appreciate the context of how somebody could construe that, and the seriousness of the matter.  I don’t think it really has a place in this particular storyline.

Do you guys think that Brady and Kristen are each other’s star-crossed lovers in a weird, twisted, bizarre way?

ERIC:  I don’t know.  I think they’re magnetism can’t be denied.  I think the hurdles that they’ve jumped through are astronomical.  Will they end up together in the end?  Who knows!  Will there ever be an end?  Who knows!  It’s definitely been one of, if not the most, in-depth relationships Brady has ever had.

Photo: JPI

And intense!

ERIC:  Yeah.  They’ve just gone through so much to be together, and when you do that, anybody who is married knows that, that’s where the good stuff is; the wars that you win together and the battles that you go through.  When you come out of the war, and you’re still together, that’s the bond.  That’s what lasts.

What would Kristen do if she couldn’t have Brady in the end?  Would she find a new obsession?  What if she could not nab her man?

STACY:  Wow!  Hmmm. (Laughs)  She’s going to get her man.  She wants her man.  She wouldn’t settle.  She’d keep fighting.  I would say to her, “Kristen, keep fighting the good fight.”

So, do you think Kristen will reveal herself to Brady sooner than later? Will Brady figure out what Kristen has been doing to get to him?  Will Brady turn Kristen away if he knew she was alive and back in action  … or would he fall back into her arms? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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