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Kate Mansi Hits It Out Of The Park As DAYS Abigail Turns The Tables On Ben!

Courtesy/IMDB

Photo: Courtesy/IMDB

If you missed Friday’s episode of Days of our Lives, its a must-see for the star turn of Kate Mansi as Abigail.  The actress who left the series at the end of December of 2015, is certainly going out with a bang as she shortly will wrap up her on-screen run.  Mansi and the DAYS team should remember this episode come next year’s Daytime Emmys, as her performance contained so many layers, and so many emotional turns that should be in contention.

In story, it was the long-awaited showdown between Abby and serial killer on the loose and Abby’s ex , Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson)! Was this her mind playing tricks on her, or was this reality?  Over the last several weeks, DAYS has been playing up Abigail loosing her grip and imagining Ben!  This time however, it’s looking like the real deal.  When she is confronted with being alone with the criminal, at first Abby concocts a story how Chad (Billy Flynn) has been abusing her and how miserable she is, and what a mistake she made to be with him.   She tells Ben, she wants to be with him.

A very untrusting Ben tells Abby she is his everything, and he even tattooed letters of her name on his knuckles while in prison, so when he makes a fist her name is there!   The creepy doesn’t stop there!  Abby tells Ben, “she needs him” and that Chad is away for the next few hours.   Ben heads upstairs to make love with her, and once in the bedroom Abigail continues what looks to be her seduction of killer Ben, only she reaches into the nighstand and grabs a pair of scissors and stabs in the arm.  She then knocks him out with a blow to the head via a vase.

Courtesy/NBC

Perhaps, one of Mansi’s best moments was when her cell phone rang and Chad was on the other line, with blood on her hands and mutli-tasking tying up Ben’s feet and looking for ways to do it, she carries on a conversation with her husband to keep him away from the DiMera mansion so she can torture Ben.

Next, Abby grabs a drink and comes back with some accelerant  in order to set fire to Ben in a turn the tables, turn about his fair play moment!  Ready to make Ben suffer, she throws her drink in his face.  He wakes up the horrific scene he now faces.   In other fantastic note on Mansi’s performance she stands on the bed and jumps up and down and dances around as she throws the accelerant all over the bed and Ben!

Courtesy/NBC

Next Ben, tries one last attempt to throw Abby off her game by toying with her that he is all in her mind right now … he is not real!  To ensure that he is, and that she is no fool, Abby punches his stab wound with her ring hand.

When he yelps, Abby says he sure seems real to her!  Ben doesn’t think Abby will really light him on fire, but she goes for the matchbox and lights a match, just as Chad has come to the mansion with the door locked and the security guard knocked out!

Kudos to Rob Scott Wilson for making Ben so incredibly twisted and to the amazing performance by Kate Mansi!  What did you think of the scenes?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Mateo
Guest
Mateo

Rob Scott Wilson, this is proof that you can GROW as an actor. He was skin deep in the beginning but as he worked through this role he became his own man. He soared in this role and it was one hell of a ride. I love his character of Ben Weston. He definitely deserves attention, kudos and award noms for this performance. Kate Mansi took this to all the heights that she should have in this turn of events. I have loved watching her blossom as a younger actress. She definitely held it tightly in her hands and crafted… Read more »

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

Both deserve emmy nods next year…

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

Oh, my, Jimmy! Never have I seen Kate give such a well-executed performance….and Robert….such excellent delivery.
I am still wondering if all this is playing out in Abby’s head. But, how do we explain the knocked-out guard outside? Did Abby do that too? It just does not seem feasible for Abby to have left baby Thomas alone in his carriage alone like that. Besides, Jimmy, babies cry….impossible to stay in that position for too long.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

“…I have loved watching her blossom as a younger actress. ” she stated herself… how… in her last year.. in Salem… she gave her ALL boy did she ever ! prove me wrong I am so thankful… that Kate Mansi, Billy Flynn, and Robert Scott Wilson… just flew just put themselves out their…. REELED these three underlings… newbies… upstarts… CATAPULTED Kate Mansi and Billy Flynn were robbed of emmy it was … speculated… should they have submitted in LEAD darn tootin… as professionals with; they mined themselves WORTH When DAYS was transitioning…. ie: for the renewal… who carried who sparked;… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

you know… she was a part of an MF interview… and she was so forthright… in her person… in her wherewithal command

she shared how… the three of them… in that studio… ie: Billy, Rob, and Kate

would rehearse.. and discuss openly their character motivation and how they related to each other and most importantly… just took their own work… for their character places beyond

you dream of this stuff.. DAYS of ole was elevated…

beyond treat

Ms. Abs

Harry
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Harry

I don’t watch Days, Patrick but have caught a couple of episodes with Abby in it.
Is it just me? Or does Kate Mansi have a certain young Scarlett Johanasson essence about her?

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

@Harry I cant explain… if you will… the phenomena… that occurs.. and lightening strikes… between writers and actors Kate Mansi 4 years prior to her last year… meh? EXCEPT… when she starred… with Patrick Muldoon… as Austin Reed it was an all out fest of feast.. of comedic, cougar, and a burgeoning exploration Kate Mansi roared in her debut faltered for 3 years… and impaled with EJ and CHAD… more Chad. just took us all by storm.. and STARRED with scripts to boot I don’t know… like I said… I liken this to.. for example… Billy Miller… knock me out…… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

ps:… on the emmy nomination live show… Laura Wright herself… said… she’s on the panel I know.. that Doug Davidson… Paul Williams… Y&R is also.. ON just saying… you know… I really respect what Laura Wright said… on air that .. there was a time… when these behind the scenes production TOOK THE TIME… to introduce… newbies no more… as we are all well “versed” they NOW currently shoot… upwards of 2-3 shows a day so… it’s CHEER accolade out loud.. when newbies FIRE on all cylinder… kate Mansi, Billy Flynn… and Robert Scott Wilson… of DAYS these newbies… by… Read more »

Harry
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Harry

Beautifully said, Patrick.

Karim
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Karim

Im waiting to see the bed and Ben burn. Finally Will, Paige, Serena, and Wendy have finally been avenged.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Will would *never* want to see a man burned alive! Will had a good heart, and he was devastated when he thought Nick had been killed (by a bash to a head and then drowning), despite the fact Nick had made his life miserable. And then when Nick survived and caused him more grief, he tried to *stop* Sonny, when he thought Sonny was going to shoot Nick! You can’t have it more wrong if you think Will would want someone stabbed and burned alive – even someone who had killed people! Will was very upset when he thought Nick… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Will was a fighter though. He knew how to throw a punch – and he used to hit the bag at the gym back in the day – and he had a fighting spirit. He was a high school athlete. His uncle was a prize-fighter. He loved sport. (He was captain of the volley ball team back when he was tall!!) Griffley ignored that so that they could have him exterminated in double quick time. What I am saying though, is that Will would never never never want to see a man stabbed and burnt alive!! Absolutely never! That is… Read more »

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Yes, WAY over the top–and eerily and chillingly TOO close to the infamous case in Texas where the wife tied her husband to the bed, stabbed him repeatedly, dragged his body outside of the house and buried him. At the trial, the (woman) lawyer brought in a bed and re-enacted the horrible scene in the courtroom. TOO MUCH. Too bad the writers took Abby back to being a victim of her fear and emotions after having her be strong when she withstood the horrors Ben inflicted on her. Would love to have seen Abby remain rational and strong–maybe take a… Read more »

Dylan
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Dylan

Hi Stephen. Very well written posts, but I am not sure I understand the mixed messages youre sending out. You take issue with the fact that Will, a fictional character, was a kind soul, and would wish no harm or comeuppance on another character, even a violent murderer. But then you, a real human, go on record saying that two other REAL people, deserve some sort Of comeuppance for scripting the death of Will. Huh? I too am vocal about my displeasure with writing regimes, but I never wish personal harm or comeuppance to the writers! When you give more… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

@ Dylan I said “I’ll be glad to see the back of Higley! That’s what I want to see!”. That’s UNAMBIGUOUS. If you check the phrase in a dictionary you will see that it has no connection with violence or harm or hurt whatsoever! It means here that I would like to see Higley gone, and in this case that means gone from Days – which is a perfectly acceptable opinion to express. Dylan, you sound erudite, and I do not buy at all that you do not understand the very common and basic English phrase of “seeing the back… Read more »

Llanviewer717
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Llanviewer717

This was a terrific episode. It was beautiful to watch Abby get revenge on crazy Ben. I loved her expression as she was calmly chatting with Chad on the phone while tying Ben to the bed. Ideally, I’d like to see her start the fire. Crazy Ben shouldn’t be killed. He is crazy after all. I don’t want Abby or Chad or the baby hurt. either. But, it would be great if that mausoleum they live in burned to the ground. That’s no place to bring up a child. Looks like it’s off to the funny farm for both Abby… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

You say “it was beautiful to watch Abby get revenge on crazy Ben”. It was horrific! I am sad to see the character to have gone this way. Abby is the Woman Who Lived! And four people lost their lives! But on Friday, it was all about her: Abby, Abby, Abby – and doing to Ben what Ben had done to her. But she lived! And four people died! Their families have a right to proper official justice – and answers! Abby is acting to deprive them of that. She has no right. And she has no right to assume… Read more »

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

We’ll probably be seeing Abby scaring and scarring Ben, Stephen, but I do see your points.

I understand how some viewers could be burning mad about this. I’m not a doctor, but if I were to take a stab at it, I’d say Abby is suffering PTSD.

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Have to agree with you!

Amy
Guest
Amy

To Stephen You do give valid points. I’m not sure what what to think about the scenes involved. I’m just grateful that Chad arrived in time to stop Abby from killing Ben. However, there are a lot of DOOL fans who are more than celebrating. They think what Abby did to Ben as more than poetic justice. There is no doubt in my mind as to what happens next. Ben will be sent somewhere he cannot escape from again. Justin, the DA, will agree under the circumstances that Abby should be placed under psychiatric care in an institution where she… Read more »

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Where can you go after that? Days, unfortunately, has taken a page from GH–taking all their characters one (or more!) steps too far.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Nancy…OH, I AGREE!!!!! That stuff with John (who I think is dreary, dull and boring, anyway) and his CREEPY-LOOKING father is just too ridiculous…and even more PAINFUL to watch!!!!! No Thank You. Next……….

Later.

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

I found excellence in the acting; sadly, I found no beauty in the dark, morose path Days has taken with Abby and many of the other characters. I agree with nancy. I find no entrtainment in the “pursuit” of mental illness, murder and evil. As much as the acting is, by far, over the top ( not the teens), I do not understand the point? The introduction of these weirdos, the destruction of Will, the unforgivable ‘misuse’ of Kassie D and Melissa A, did not follow a cohesive or coherent thought for me. As nancy said, Abby, and the baby… Read more »

Mister Media
Guest
Mister Media

I agree 100%. Her performance was riveting. She played so many layers and conflicting emotions as the scenes progressed. This was daytime drama at its best. I hope she knows how effective and affecting she was. This was great acting – not just for soaps but for ANY genre.

blake
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blake

I think it’s unfortunate that Rob Wilson was not nominated at this year’s Emmys. Hopefully with the recent scenes he will be next year.

And I am going to miss Kate Mansi as Abby.

Tom84
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Tom84

I agree, he was fantastic in the latter half of last year and it would have been great both for Robert and the show to have that recognised with an Emmy nomination.

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

Those bedroom scenes sure are going to be hot-lol

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

Ben will wish he never had the hots for Abby, Jimmy!

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

Abby has an appetite for revenge, but I never liked wiener roasts!

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

I prefer mine with chili…

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

Paging Brittany Underwoos…

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

Underwood…

Mary
Guest
Mary

Absolutely NOT!!!! There are far better actresses out there!

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

I suppose we’ve all seen our share of characters knocking other characters out with vases on all the soaps, but this seemed more real because it wasn’t a vase. It was a lamp. Ben went limp from a lump by a lamp, LOL!

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

She used the lamp to ‘knock his lights out’-lol

4ever DAYS
Guest
4ever DAYS

LOL, Jimmy! Great comeback! Do you think Abby will pop popcorn on an open fire? lol

Marissa
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Marissa

Kate Mansi set the screen on fire. Literally. Best exit story DAYS has given an actor in ages.

Laura
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Laura

I’ve been a fan of both of the character of Abby and Kate a long time. I do hope they find a recast soon because I haven’t loved a couple like Abby and Chad is so long. That said, I’m going to miss Kate so much in role! I feel like she has just been fantastic over the last year and especially during this story & Friday’s episode. I’m very proud of her, and I hope she wins an Emmy next year!

Rj
Guest
Rj

Kate did an excellent job portraying her part and Rob too, but the scene was not my cup of tea. This kind of constant muder, meanness, revenge is not want I want to keep watching on Days. Very upsetting and distrurbing not the type of escape I want to watch regularly on a soap. I know this is following up /ending the story line of Ben’s viciousness, serial killing, etc., but I keep hoping Days will move in another direction now. Murder after murder. Enough is enough. Let’s move on to more evolved human relationships, drama.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Thank you for your comment, Rj. It cheers me up! I was upset to read that people are enjoying this nastiness, and it heartens me to see others who dislike it are speaking up!

CeeCee
Guest
CeeCee

O no, Stephen! Don’t feel that you are alone in thinking this way. You are speaking the truth.
At the risk of sounding repetitious; I do praise the acting, but abhor, just as yourself, the morbid, and basically, ineffective storylines.
I think we would all enjoy seeing a healthy romantic relationship and a dose of good drama, as Rj proposes.

Dylan
Guest
Dylan

And you guys are all right. I hate watching constant misery and despair and grief and violence and evil. I lost 6 family members in two years, including a cousin, an aunt, two brothers, and my mom. It is not entertaining in real life, and it is not entertainment on the screen. Give me scenes with Kate, Nicole, and Theresa tosaing back martinis and planning business strategy and I am on board! When Days is at its best, it blends romance, family, love, humour, and an outrageous outlandish story or two. But they are balanced!! I do hope Days returns… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

@ RJ – How exactly was Abby supposed to have reacted to re-appearance in her home? A psychopath everyone thought was sitting in a prison cell. How exactly was Abby supposed to react when Ben took hold her claiming that he still loved her?

Tivette
Guest
Tivette

OMG…I was rivetted to Friday’s episode and replayed it immediately as it was all so good! Kudos to Mansi & Wilson as their performance will long be remembered in soap history! They both deserve Emmys for their roles for sure…just amazing and such growth over the arch of the story and their characters. Bravo!

Mary SF
Guest
Mary SF

Personally I am hoping this is all in her mind and we are watching Abby’s descent into madness otherwise to see another Horton act no different than a DiMera is painful. I do think most people can be pushed into doing horrible things but in general most decent people like the Horton’s don’t go around killing and torturing people no matter how deserved. If this is all in her mind, then Abby will exit by being checked into an institution for the mentally ill which fits with the history of show since her grandmother had a mental illness– it will… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Thank you for your comment Mary. I found it painful to watch too. And I agree that it would be better if it was all in Abby’s mind, but I think that’s wishful thinking now. I believe that there is no limit to the horribleness that Griffith and Higley will create on this show – they demonstrated that amply six months ago!

lou piikes
Guest
lou piikes

Kate Mansi deserves both an Oscar and an Emmy. She has proven herself worthy of my praise.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

“Michael Fairman” this thread… is simply…. one of your best it’s a chilling account of Abs …. “… as her performance contained so many layers ” from the get go : could she be experiencing… a mind spiral that just goes she’s protecting her son at all cost she’s protecting her love for her husband is she unaware of what she’s doing… it’s a fascinating glimpse of dark, raw emotion, tit for tat, and that overdrive she’s consumed and we’ll find Abs mind not with is Abs combusting…. coming undone you take in to account… her family history… can’t wait… Read more »

Mo
Guest
Mo

As I watched Abby pour lighter fluid on Ben, I thought, the writers have ruined another character. Very disappointed in what I saw on screen. I hope she does not go through with it. Also, pouring lighter fluid like Abby did, she no doubt got some on herself, which is not a good idea. I think Rob did a great job. He has really improved since he first appeared in Salem. Of course, getting a story helped. I thought Kate did a good job conveying that Abby did not enjoy kissing Ben and was only doing it to save herself.… Read more »

Jim Preston
Guest
Jim Preston

Maybe it will turn out to be….she did all THAT and Ben wasn’t actually there?

xmascarol
Guest
xmascarol

great job Abby now if only someone could put out Ben’s lights that would be even nicer.In his case lights on but nobody home.

Kat
Guest
Kat

On the edge of my seat. The best dramatic scene I can remember. Sure there is lots, but this was great. Hard to believe Ben used to be on price is right. Hope to see more acting from him. Loved Abbi! Feel bad for who replaces her. She just made it impossible.

Mo
Guest
Mo

Yesterday’s ep was gruesome. Kate did a good acting job.

I was surprised Chad waited so long in calling 911. And did JJ get a promotion when we weren’t looking? Now he’s giving orders. Say what?

I do think these eps were too gruesome and dark and not what I want to see on Days. I am very disappointed in the way Days is going. I think Ted and Betty Corday would be disappointed too.

Mary
Guest
Mary

I disagree. Ben callously strangled Serena, Paige and Will then tried to frame Chad for the murders. Ben then kidnapped a very pregnant Abby. He took Abby to motel in the middle of no where and forced her to give birth there. Oh, Ben also kidnapped a woman forced her act as midwife then killed her after. Then Ben took the baby away from Abby. Instead of staying in prison where he belongs Ben escaped to torment Abby once again. Sorry, Ben got exactly what he deserves. Those episodes were gruesome but not as gruesome the others where took lives.

Mary
Guest
Mary

Kate Mansi gave am Emmy winning performance. The actress chosen to replace Kate will have some very big shoes to fill.

Rj
Guest
Rj

While the scene may have been too graphic, violent, and gruesome for my taste, I understand that it may have followed a progression in the storyline, but the issue for me is the broader one that I wish Days would not choose to go down this path so consistently, especially showing such vivid images of Abby stabbing Ben with the scissors , etc. – I realize she needed to do that to incapacitate him, but if Days is trying to attract a younger audience is this what we want the youth to be watching? With that said, there may be… Read more »

Joyce Dahnke
Guest
Joyce Dahnke

HI FOR THE LONGEST TIME I DIDN’T LIKE ABBY ESPECIALLY THE EJ& ABBY AFFAIR BUT WHEN THE RECAST CHAD THE CHEMISTRY THAT ABBY& CHAD HAVE DAYS STRUCK GOLD SHE THE LAST YEAR WOW WHAT A CHARACTER TURNAROUND THE STORY LINE BETWEEN HER & CHAD& BATTY BEN&I WILL MISS KATE MANSI AS ABBY FOR SURE HER & BILLY FLYNN AMAZING CHEMISTRY DIDN’T THINK NO ONE COULD TOP EJ&SAMI OR BO& HOPE & THESE 2 SURE HAVE& WHOEVER PLAYS ABBY NEXT TOUGH SHOES

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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