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THE CHRISTEL KHALIL INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

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As one half of one of daytime’s most popular couples, (Cane and Lily), actress Christel Khalil is at the center of one of soaps hottest storylines, which is set to explode this week!   Lily has just found out that Billy is the father of Chloe’s baby, and Chloe is about to give birth practically in front of Lily, or is she?  Elsewhere, Cane has just realized he has been a fool, and has run out the door to find Lily.  Christel reveals her perspective and what to look forward to next, in one of soaps all-time best quadrangle story arcs.

Last week, Christel was also nominated for an NAACP image award, and is still in the running for a Daytime Emmy nomination after the in-house voting at “Y&R” for the Younger Actress category.  In this revealing interview, she talks about working with Daniel Goddard… voted “soaps sexiest man”; and the real life love of her life… musician and husband, Stephen Hensley. Christel also gives her insight into how the Maria Arena Bell  writing regime has affected the “Y&R” scripts and dealing with the pressures of awkward Red Carpet moments!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:
How do you like the amazing “Y&R” quadrangle you are part of?

CHRISTEL:
I love the storyline!  I love the actors that are involved in the storyline.  Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) is one of my best friends.  It’s hilarious when we have fighting scenes, and when we have photo shoots.  When we look at each other really mean, we laugh at each other afterwards.  Billy Miller (Billy) is a great actor and I have worked with Daniel Goddard (Cane) for a long time.  It’s great to have everyone come together.  There is not a weak link in the bunch.

ChristelKhalil-bestbuds1.jpgMICHAEL:
This week is a HUGE and pivotal week for the “Quad”.  Chloe is about to give birth in the cabin where Billy and Lily are having a romantic getaway!  Set it up for us.

CHRISTEL:
We are there for a Valentine’s Day trip and Chloe follows us there.  She is looking through the window and she hears Billy tell me that he is the father of her baby.  Billy and I are about to make love in the cabin.  But before we do, Billy is feeling very guilty and that’s when he says to Lily, “Listen, I have to tell you something.“  Chloe overhears it and bursts through the door.

MICHAEL:
What happens next?

CHRISTEL:
Her water breaks.  At first I don’t believe her, but then I see clearly that her water broke. So, we don’t have much time. We have to deliver the baby right then and there.

MICHAEL:
Billy has known for some time that he’s the ‘baby daddy’, and that makes things all the more horrible!

CHRISTEL:
Billy found out when Chloe fell off the ladder and she went to the hospital.  He asked the nurse, “How far along is she?”  When he finds out he keeps it quiet, because he figures out that he is the father.  And at that point, Cane and Lily did not know.

MICHAEL:
Isn’t it odd that Lily, who just found out about this lie, is helping to deliver the new little bundle of joy?

CHRISTEL:
So, here is good ole’ Lily!  This is how I thought about it.  If you see someone about to have a baby, your logic and hatred goes out the window.  I mean, it’s a big snowstorm and we are all snowed in.  So, I guess I’ve got to help this person!

MICHAEL:
Where is Cane?

ChristelKhalilandDana.jpgCHRISTEL:
Cane is at home.  He ends up coming there, but he is not there for the whole delivery part.

MICHAEL:
Does he find out who the baby’s father really is?

CHRISTEL:
He finds out whose baby it is.

MICHAEL:
Will devoted Lily/Cane fans be happy in the foreseeable future?

CHRISTEL:
Yes. They will be happy, because of the way Cane finds out and how he reacts to it.  Then the way that Lily reacts to it ends up working out really well, also.

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MICHAEL:
So, there will be some stuff coming up after Valentines Day between the star-crossed lovers?

CHRISTEL:
Yes.  It happens very quickly. It’s just so funny because the writers took so long to break us apart, and then all of sudden, its “bam”.  I understand why it would be that way, though.  In real life when you are apart from someone, you want to be with that person.  And when you are finally able to, you jump at it.  I can see how it would happen, but it’s a little funny.

MICHAEL:
Will the baby be a problem?

CHRISTEL:
The baby will be a huge factor.  As long as Cane feels he needs to be the baby’s father, no matter what, whether he is the baby’s father or not, it will continue.  He had been thinking this is his child, and when he finds out that it isn’t we will see Cane’s character change in a lot of ways for the good.  I think the quadrangle will go on forever.  Cane and Billy are brothers, and Chloe and I are always at each other, so I think it will always go on.

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ChristelKhalil-Dan-Liz.jpgMICHAEL:
In a few words, describe Elizabeth Hendrickson to me.

CHRISTEL:
Elizabeth is feisty, funny, and a firecracker.

MICHAEL:
Billy Miller?

CHRISTEL:
Billy is crazy, funny and a Texan.

MICHAEL:
Daniel Goddard?

CHRISTEL:
Daniel is inappropriate, and that’s Daniel. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:
You recently got married to musician Stephen Hensley.  Short romance wasn’t it?  How did the two of you meet?

ChristelKhalil-Henley.jpgCHRISTEL:
I met him at church.  I remember when I first met him.  I did not like him.  I was not attracted to him.  He had long hair and a beard, and he looked like Jesus.  I remember  thinking, “Wow, this is really creepy,” and then I had a friend who invited me to a barbecue and he was there.  We started talking and we hit it off.  We were talking for three hours straight.  I remember being so blown away by him… the way he talked and acted.  I never met anyone like him.  He is a Leo and I love Leo’s.  So, we started dating and he came to Hawaii with me, a month after meeting me, for my birthday.  He is so spontaneous, like that.  We always knew we wanted to get married.  So we originally set a date of July 8, 2009.  We wanted to have a small wedding in Italy.  Then all of a sudden it was July.  I said, “I don’t want to wait a year to get married.  It’s so long and I don’t want to do that just because everyone else does.”   So, we decided to get married this past September 21.  Because it happened so quickly, we did not have time to plan a real honeymoon, so Adrienne Frantz (Amber), who has a house in Lake Arrowhead, let us stay in her Lake House for three days.  I got to bring my three dogs, which was great for me, since it’s hard to find someone to take care of them, usually.  For our one-year anniversary we want to go somewhere really big… like Italy, Fiji or New Zealand.

MICHAEL:
I missed something in the story.  When did Stephen cut the hair and the beard?

CHRISTEL:
It happened gradually.  First, he cut his hair to his shoulder.  Then after he did that, I thought it was too long.  Then he cut his beard where he had a goatee.  Then he chopped his hair off before he came to Hawaii as a surprise for me.  He did his hair in ‘Faux Hawk’ and I was like, “Oh My God, I love those!”  That is what he has now.  I just told him flat out, “You need to cut your hair.”  He is so attractive!

ChristelKhalil-Stephen-Happy.jpgMICHAEL:
What do you think makes a successful relationship?

CHRISTEL:
Stephen is a musician, and we are both creative.  I think the number one thing is communication for friendship, and relationships with your family, or your partner.  I am the kind of person when I am upset I want to be left alone, and then I will talk.  But he wants to talk about it right away, which is good.  I think it’s always easier for a woman to come around then a guy.  He’s more sensitive than I am, and I am sensitive in a different way, and I am a brat.  I realize I am kind of a control freak.  I don’t want to be.  It’s very stressful being a control freak, because you want everyone to do it like you, and nobody does.

MICHAEL:
You were just nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Lead Actress in Daytime Drama, an award you won last year.

CHRISTEL:
I was the only person from “Y&R” last year, so that’s probably why I won.  Usually, there are so many nominees from the show.  This year there weren’t.

MICHAEL:
Debbi Morgan was the eventual winner in your category last week.  Do you like the whole process of picking out a dress to go to these types of ceremonies and to walk the red carpet, or don’t you really care?

CHRISTEL:
I care.  I try to put it off as long I can, because I hate formal gowns.  I am more of a jeans sort of person.

ChristelKhalilRedCarpet.jpgMICHAEL:
So, what’s prepping for an award show red carpet like for you?

CHRISTEL:
Basically, it’s choosing a gown. You go to lots of different shops or designers and look at choices and options.  Usually, it’s expensive and you don’t buy it, and anything you see any celebrity wearing is usually borrowed.  The day of the award show, you can hire someone to do your make-up and hair, or do it yourself.  I do it myself because I am too cheap to hire anyone.

MICHAEL:
Is that including your own make-up?

CHRISTEL:
I do it myself… make up… hair and everything.  I do it simple.  I probably should get a stylist, but I never do.

MICHAEL:
The red carpet can be daunting, with all the people, the paparazzi, and the pressure to look good.  Are you cool with it?

CHRISTEL:
I am, but at the beginning it was bit uncomfortable.  You have a lot of people screaming your name, “Look over here! Over here,” and if you don’t, you feel bad.  The photographers are like, “Christel, Christel to your left, to your right.”  It’s always cool, but I hate posing, I really do.  (She laughs)  I feel like a goofball when I am standing there.  And there are certain poses that actresses know how to do to make their dress look good.  I just don’t know how to do it at all, so I feel like an idiot.  I am that girl in school again who is like, “Ah, don’t look at me.” (She laughs)

MICHAEL:
Are the crying scenes, as Lily, the easiest or hardest type of scenes for you to play?

ChristelKhalilMonteCarlo.jpgCHRISTEL:
This is my theory: crying scenes are the easiest, because whatever brings you to that, it will be truthful, because you are actually really crying, whereas, when you have a normal scene, its harder to stay truthful the entire time.  But for me, crying is not easy.  There are times when I have to be angry or screaming in a scene and that will make me cry.

MICHAEL:
Have you noticed a difference in the scripts under Maria Arena Bell and this new regime?

CHRISTEL:
Yes. I love Maria Bell.  I love what she is writing.  Honestly, I loved when Josh Griffith was writing the show, when Lynn Latham was gone because of the strike.  It was amazing, and we miss Josh.  I think with Maria here, it’s great, too. She knows the history of the show, which is
something Lynn Latham did not know.
So, it’s great having someone who
knows the show and how she writes it.

MICHAEL:
Why was Josh Griffith let go, do you think?

CHRISTEL:
Who knows?  The politics?  It’s never based about talent or what someone can really do, but Josh was great.

MICHAEL:
How is working with daytime classic soap executive producer, Paul Rauch?

CHRISTEL:
Paul is a tough guy.  I like being told what to do.  I do really well with clear- cut direction.

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MICHAEL:
Right, because you are a control freak (he laughs), so coming from him that probably works well for you.

CHRISTEL:
It’s funny, because Daniel Goddard and I have this joke.  With his acting, he is very analytical and precise, and I am totally go-with-the–flow.  I think that’s why our chemistry works so well.  There are days when he makes me think about something more, and times where I will make him calm down.  It’s a good balance, and it shows on screen.  I think that’s why people like us together, because we have this really great way of how we work together.  I am like, “Daniel, just shut up and calm down.”  And he will say, “Crystal, think about this.”  And I am like, “Eh. It’s OK.” (She laughs)

ChristelKhalil-SoapNetParty.jpgMICHAEL:
Remember way back at the start of the Cane/Lily relationship, so much was made of their age differences.  Lily the younger woman and Cane the older man.  What happened to that?

CHRISTEL:
I don’t know.  It cracks me up so much about some of the characters on the show.  In real life my husband is nine years older than me.  It’s so funny how these relationships come and go on soaps.  It’s like, “Oh, look who I am with now!”

MICHAEL:
Coming up this week on “Y&R” it’s going to be, ‘hold on to your seats’ kind of drama. What can we tell your fans to look forward to?

CHRISTEL:
Make sure you watch, because it’s crazy the way everything unfolds.  It’s so great!  It does not happen all at once, but it’s not over a long drawn out period, either. You will have an, “Oh, my God,” moment!

Leave a comment | 4 Comments
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4 Comments

  1. NATHAN JAMES

    January 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    SHE IS WONDERFUL ACTRESS AND ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL GAL GO CHRISTEL

  2. sandy gaydos

    June 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Great job on Y and R! Just started watching since All My Children, and One Life To Live were taken off the air. U r a brilliant asset to the show, and a fabulous actress. Keep up the good work!

  3. Shafalah

    February 22, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Daniel Goddard is so sexy and charming – what a gift to women!!

  4. Shafalah

    February 22, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Keep up the good work Young and the Restless!!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Executive Producer Anthony Morina Talks On Daytime Emmy Drama Series Win For Neil’s Memorial & Honoring Kristoff St. John

Last Friday night, The Young and the Restless was named the Outstanding Drama Series at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on CBS. The show won on the strength of their submissions, which centered on the death of Neil Winters; including when the residents of Genoa City find out of his passing, and the subsequent heartbreaking memorial service in his honor.

However, what made those hours of television unlike anything seldom seen; were not only was Genoa City saying goodbye to Neil, but the cast was saying their goodbyes to their beloved friend and colleague, Kristoff St. John (Neil) who had passed away suddenly back in February of 2019.

Y&R’s executive producer, Anthony (Tony) Morina accepted the award for the top-rated CBS Daytime drama during the Emmy telecast, which now makes Morina a five-time Daytime Emmy winner himself!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Tony on the series emotional Emmy win, and what it meant for him to win the gold for these incredibly moving and special episodes that were at its epicenter paying tribute to Kristoff in the best way the soap opera could. Here’s what Tony shared on the Y&R Drama Series victory and more.

Photo: JPI

Congratulations on your Outstanding Drama Series win. The episodes that you submitted were at every level, so gut-wrenching, sincere, and beautiful.  What did you think about the process that you went through to make these right for Kristoff and the character of Neil?

TONY:  Occasionally, when you are in this business, as you know, you work so hard to achieve certain things, sometimes you think you’re achieving something, and you’re not, and sometimes something shows up that surprises the heck out of you, and this was kind of it for me.  But what didn’t surprise me, of course, were the actors’ ability, the director’s ability, and the crews’ ability, and for these episodes it was at such a high level.  Sometimes there is an emotional element, or an otherworldliness thing that takes over.

Photo: CBS

Yes, because it was all so real and raw; in that we were watching the characters who loved Neil Winters mourn him, but we were also watching all the actors who loved their co-star.

TONY: When everybody was in that church set and were giving their eulogies, it felt like everybody was so behind each other, and everybody just cared for each other so much because they cared so much for Kristoff.  All the eulogies that people were doing were a page and a half to two pages.  They were really long, but you could feel the emotional tension, and you could feel how people just felt.  Kristoff was a very unique special person, who ended up going through some rough times, but he really was beloved.  Sometimes you love people, and sometimes you say somebody is beloved.  Whenever you saw him, he put a smile on your face.  He made you feel like he really cared about you.  Those shows came together really out of this feeling of love.  We did two whole shows that day.  We did that whole show and the show that came after it.  I don’t know how many hours of a day it was, but people had so much emotion attached to it that those shows really kind of took over themselves with everybody just trusting and letting go and supporting each other.  I got a text from Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) saying how it was one of the greatest experiences he’d ever had in terms of how it all came together.  Those shows just meant a lot to us, and I really felt that if we didn’t win, I’d be perfectly fine with that, because I was just so glad that we were able to do these episodes, and people got to see it.

Photo: JPI

At what point did you decide, “We are going with this to submit for the Emmy!”

TONY:  I actually knew that day.  I think, I actually said to Josh Griffith (head writer and Co-EP Y&R), “This is going to be our Emmy show … or one of our Emmy shows.”  The other show when everybody finds out Neil died was an incredibly powerful show to me too, but I knew that day when we shot the funeral that you rarely see that kind of rawness.  When you get into this business, and you want to become an actor, it’s tough, but you know that in the end what you want is to get into a position where you can share who you are as a person in an artistic way.  I think the Neil memorial gave people a way to say, “This is why I do this because I get to really share myself, and I get to express how passionate I am and how much I care about other people.”

Photo: JPI

Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm) came back to honor his dear friend and on-screen Y&R brother.  How was it having him on set with you to share this experience?

TONY:  Shemar was amazing.  He was there until the bitter end of our tape day.  He could not have been kinder and more supportive of everybody, and really laid out his emotions, and it was like that with everybody.  I would say this was the the most amazing experience I have ever had.

What do you think Kristoff would say?  I think he would be very proud that you gave Neil a real proper sendoff.

TONY:  Absolutely.  I also think Kristoff, would have thought that Neil deserved it, and would have loved it, a, it’s an interesting question because you have got to say to yourself, “Does Kristoff feel he deserves it?” As a character, he’d definitely feel he deserved it.  He was a part of that community.  He was a part of Genoa City.  Those were his friends and his family.  Would Kristoff feel he deserves that?  I don’t know if he would have felt he deserved it, but I know he would have loved knowing how much people cared for him.  I think that would have meant the world to him.  I really do.

Photo: CBS

I loved your acceptance speech.  I thought it was one of the better ones of Emmy night. 

TONY:  Thanks so much.  Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) has been amazing.   He gave me a lot of guidance on where to go, and my wife, Sally (Sussman Morina) really helped write the speech because the rules were you’ve got 30 seconds.  I really believe in the notion that when you have an opportunity to speak in front of people about something, it has some meaning to you and to other people.  I think you have to put thought into it because how many opportunities do you get in life to share about yourself and how you feel about people?  So, I really appreciate you saying that.

Photo: CBS

What did you think of your Y&R actors: Bryton James’ (Devon) and Jason Thompson’s (Billy) major Emmy victories?

TONY:  Well, personally, I am enormous fans of both people.  I like when nice, good people have nice things happen to them, and you know them.  First off, I was so happy for Bryton because I know he and Kristoff were close, and I know he was deeply affected, as Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R) was, as everybody was, but they were like family.  I love Bryton personally, and he laid his heart out there.  As for Jason Thompson, people think the world of him, and I think he is an unbelievable actor.  I taught for years, and I have worked with a lot of actors, and I think Jason has such control of his work.  I’m impressed by him.  I’m just as impressed by who Jason is.  I think he’s deserved it other times too, and this was his first win; which must be very special for him.

Photo: deCazotteFacebookPage

During the In-Memoriam tribute on the Emmy broadcast, former producer, Lisa de Cazotte was also featured.  What can you say about your time working with her at Y&R and over your career?

TONY: I’ve known Lisa De Cazotte since Santa Barbara when Paul Rauch (former executive producer) brought her there, and that’s where we first met. Lisa was probably my favorite producer to ever be in the booth with because she let you be yourself, and she let you do your job, and yet, she still had control over the room and the studio.  She was a great touchstone for me, because when you are in this position, you need someone to bounce stuff off of or just say, “Am I really being an idiot here?” because we were old friends, she could say, “Tony, you’re being an idiot.”  (Laughs)  We miss her terribly.  She was really a loved person, and she was just fantastic at what she did.  I just miss her as a friend.

Photo: JPI

And of course, the In-Memoriam featured the late Y&R co-creator, Lee Philip Bell who also passed recently. 

TONY:  Yes, and that’s what was interesting about that speech I gave, because you had to mention those three people: Lee, of course, Kristoff, and Lisa – three truly linchpin important people in daytime drama for many years. Losing all three made it a particularly rough year for The Young and the Restless family.

I also wanted to talk about Eve LaRue (Ex-Celeste Rosales), who had never won a Daytime Emmy but she did for her work on Y&R! She was very emotional and moved by her win as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series.  What can you say about Eva?

TONY:  She is such a lovely person and she did a great job for us.  I’m just glad for her because I know she had ever won before.

Photo: JPI

One of the clips shown on the Emmy broadcast that Y&R chose for air from Neil’s memorial was Victor’s emotional eulogy; which Eric Braeden delivered so beautifully.   I know how found he was of Kristoff; so it made that on-screen moment all the more heartbreaking. What can you say about Eric?

TONY:  Eric feels as deeply as anybody who I have ever known.  Really, he can come across sometimes as a certain kind of image for people on-screen, but he cares deeply, and is the most supportive actor of every other actor.  Eric has a depth and is a fantastic actor, and he knows how to use his talent.  He actually called me last night and left a message.  He just said, “Hey, I saw you on TV,” and then he just laughed for 5 minutes.  It was really very funny.  He’s not used to seeing me on TV, and so he just laughed.  It was hilarious.

What did you think of Y&R’s win for Outstanding Drama Series knowing they submitted the episodes of Genoa City finding out Neil had passed, and his funeral? Share your thoughts on Tony’s remarks via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Daytime Emmy Winners: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Scott Clifton & Heather Tom Talk Winning the Gold & Returning to Work at B&B

This week, The Bold and the Beautiful has been airing encore presentation of Daytime Emmy-winning performances from some of the cast over the years as a prelude to tomorrow night’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS.

The weeklong Emmy celebration concludes tomorrow with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood’s (Steffy) Emmy-winning performance from last year which won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series prize for the first-time in her daytime career.

Michael Fairman chatted with Jacqui, along with five-time Daytime Emmy-winner and a nominee for Lead Actress again this year, Heather Tom (Katie) and three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Scott Clifton (Liam).  As daytime soap fans know, Heather and Scott hold the distinction of being the only actors to win in all three acting categories: Younger, Supporting and Lead.

In this candid and fun conversation on the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Jacqui, Scott and Heather remember the nights the won Emmy gold, their acceptance speeches, things they wish they would have said, and what it was like waiting for their names to be called, plus taking a stroll down memory lane and remembering when they taped their Emmy-winning performances.

Scott reveals why he chose not to submit himself in Lead Actor this year, even though he has some of the finest performances throughout the Baby Beth baby switch storyline,.

Later the trio talk about The Bold and the Beautiful being the first U.S. soap opera and first U.S. broadcast show back in production following the shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic and how B&B is looking to shoot episodes during the times we live.

Watch the full video interview below.

Then let us know, what was your favorite part of the moments shared by Jacqui, Scott, and Heather in the Emmy conversation?  Do you think Heather might tie Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki, OLTL) tomorrow night with her sixth win in the Lead Actress category?  What do you think of B&B’s return to production following the sentiments shared.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Thaao Penghlis Chats on His Daytime Emmy Nomination & How He Makes Tony DiMera One of a Kind

He has been one of the longstanding cast members of Days of our Lives and certainly of Salem’s notorious DiMera Clan; and while Thaao Penghlis may be off our screens for a time and then comes back again; though the years one thing has been true, he delivers top-notch performances in a way that is uniquely ‘Thaao’.

This year at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards to be broadcast on Friday night, June 26th at 8 p. m. EST, Thaao is vying for the Outstanding Lead Actor prize amongst a formidable group of other daytime favorites.  And this makes it two years in a row that Penghlis has received an Emmy nomination although this time in a different category.

As fans know, Penghlis takes the art of acting seriously, and expects other he works with to bring their A-game, just as he does time and time again; whether it be playing DAYS dashing Tony or the evil Andre or when he portrayed Victor Cassadine on General Hospital.

Michael Fairman TV spoke to Thaao to get his thoughts on: receiving the Emmy recognition and what it means to him what he thought about his nominated scenes, plus what he might be doing at home during the ceremony, and where he hopes Tony DiMera’s future is headed.   Here’s what Thaao shared.

Photo: JPI

Tell me about what scenes you submitted that landed you a Lead Actor Emmy nod!

THAAO:  Well, the week I came back to DAYS, I had 11 shows, and this material was from one show of three I did one day!  When you think of other actors doing 150 shows, and I did less than 50 this past year, my choice is kind of limited.  So, when I came across these particular scenes, which were with Eric Martsolf (Brady) and with Arianne Zucker (Nicole), what I liked about it is that usually when you see other peoples’ work, its histrionic, it’s great tears, it’s drama – and what I was able to put together had a through line and an arc from beginning to end.  It makes it very logical when somebody is following your story, and you can show a whole ebb that makes sense.  I had some lines that were really difficult to say, like, “Coming back from the dead is not easy.”  When I get lines like that, I throw it away, and because of that, it becomes humorous.  I have to say I work well with Arianne.  She was great.  I found in the past, when I have worked with some actors, they step on your lines.  I found the best way to stop that is I put my hand up, and I say, “Hey!” and everything goes silent.  They go into shock mode, and I say, “I haven’t finished,” and then I go on.  (Laughs)  So, when Kristen as Nicole starts to talk to Tony the way she does, and she says, “You’d better behave…” I thought, “This is a DiMera you are talking to,” so, I just snapped back at her.  I gave her a, “Hey!”  So, she shut up, froze, and I went on.

Photo: JPI

Would you say your reel was more comedic … or both funny and serious?

THAAO:  It is both.  There are subtleties to it.  There is a teacher I know in Australia, and she is very critical.  She said, “I want to see your work.”  I showed it to her, and she wrote back, “Oh my, God.  How did you make those transitions so readily?”  I went, “Oh.  How did I do it?”  I didn’t think of that.  I think it’s an old technique.  It’s called having to do 3 shows in one day, and you had better get your stuff right, and it’s about how do you make a scene work?  There is one director who I did a miniseries with who said to me, “Where did you get your training from?”  I said, “Daytime.”  He said, “My God.  You certainly know how to have a camera follow you,”   Well, the camera has to follow your movement.  So, when I finished a transition, I’d move to another spot, and the camera had to follow me.  So, what happened in the arc of this Emmy-nominated piece is that I took charge and controlled the scene so that it became a scene of lots of transitions. And of course, charm, I did all of what I thought Tony would be.  He is a DiMera.  I have one of those looks. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe it’s as I get older, but I’ve learned how to work the camera where I may slam something first to get your attention, and then the camera comes onto your face, and you’re going, “Oh, what the hell is he thinking?”  So, I can play the dark side quite readily, and yet in my real life, I’m not so bad. (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

You have Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Steve Burton (Jason, GH) also in your category, and these guys who are obviously been soap veterans like yourself.  What do you think about the group you have been nominated with? 

THAAO:  I never worked with Steve Burton, but hear good things.  I know Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan, GH).  He’s a lovely actor.  I have worked with Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R).  He’s a lovely actor.  He is well-trained.  So, it is nice to see that the nominees are all vets.

Right, they are all vets.  It seems like a good group to be with. 

THAAO:  I agree, and I love that the Daytime Emmys are coming back to television.  I think it is an upswing when they think of daytime dying.  I think whoever made this happen is taking on the responsibility of taking daytime back.  It is why people love novellas.  People love the story, they love to follow the characters, and we’ve got fantastic fans.  I mean, what would we do without them?  You can’t sustain the show without them, and you pay a price, you have to know how to entertain them because once they know who you are and what you’re about, they get bored.  So, you have to be ahead of your audience all of the time.  That’s what I have always tried to do with both characters that I’ve played on DAYS

Photo: JPI

They’re doing a virtual ceremony this year.  How do you think you would dress while watching the ceremony?

THAAO:  You don’t wear a tux in your house, do you? So, I’ve invited some people for a celebratory time.  Lauren Koslow (Kate, DAYS) and her husband Nick Schillace (head of make-up, DAYS) and Leann Hunley (Anna, DAYS) are some of my great friends who have been very supportive of me through some tough times this year, and I’ve got a friend who has got  a wonderful restaurant, and he is going to cater it.  Probably it will be a group of 10.  You know, could you imagine being here on your own, in a tuxedo, with a glass of champagne? (Laughs)

I know, kind of awkward! (Laughs)  You’ll put something nice on for the big night, right?

THAAO:  Yes, you know me.  I’m always dressed.  What would you suggest?  Sweatpants on the bottom and a tuxedo jacket!  How about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Now, you have been previously nominated for Daytime Emmys, too!

THAAO:  Yes, and last year I was nominated as well for Outstanding Guest Performer.  So, it’s kind of nice to be back-to-back, and in 2008, I was nominated for Lead Actor when I played the clown in the Tony and Andre storyline.  Thank God, DAYS recently DAYS had James Reynolds (Abe) wining in the Lead Actor category.  I thought, “Wow.”  That was for years and years of good work that he’s done, and also, Greg Vaughan (Eric) wining for Supporting Actor was very nice, but we haven’t had that many wins in the acting categories over the years.

Photo: JPI

DAYS tapes so far ahead of air; that what was once a seemingly major concern has paid off swimmingly during the coronavirus pandemic.  The soap is the only show to have enough episodes in the bank for months ahead when production shut down and enough even when other shows go back into production.  Who would have thought?

THAAO:  We used to think it was ridiculous that DAYS taped eight months ahead, but look at us now! Who would have thought is right?

What would you love to see happen with Tony when DAYS does resume filming new episodes again? 

THAAO:  I’d like to go back and play the head of the DiMera family.  I’ve never been granted that, and I think, at this stage, with the way I worked with Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano) it would be nice to see the transition just like Michael Corleone did in Godfather.

So will you be rooting for Thaao to take home the gold as Lead Actor in a Drama Series come Emmy night?  Do you hope DAYS writes Tony into upcoming story, and if so, how would you like to see him on the canvas? Comment below.

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