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Days Of Our Lives

THE THAAO PENGHLIS INTERVIEW – TV SOAP AUSTRALIA -DAYS OF OUR LIVES

thao-boomer11.jpgBy Michael Fairman

This interview appears on newsstands now in the January 7th 2009 issue of TV SOAP Australia.

“NOBODY IS SAFE”

Following the news that two of Days of our Lives biggest icons have been axed, Aussie actor Thaao Penghlis concedes it’s all quite unsettling, but he isn’t anxious. Nowadays, he has his fingers in other pies and is adopting a come-what-may philosophy.

TV SOAP:

The news that “DAYS” Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn (John) were let go was certainly a shock. From your perspective, what do you think happened?

THAAO:

I was not there, so I don’t know what happened, but, Deidre and Drake to me were the icons! Deidre is a real trouper. She does not get into victim mode, but, she has been on the show for 32 years. I looked at her and went, “We were the best of DAYS in the 80’s.” We had the most fun because there was more money, and more rehearsals, and it wasn’t short changed. It’s certainly different now. I am sorry to see Drake and Deidre go. I am sure they will go off into the sunset somewhere. They’ll bring them back when they need them.

TV SOAP:

The fans don’t know how to take this!

deidre.jpgTHAAO:

The fans are up and arms I hear. I think what the fans don’t understand, and I do sympathize with them because something in their lives has gone away, (is that) the reality in producing a show, and to still keep some quality to it, is difficult. Everyone is under great pressure, and people behind-the-scenes and everyone works very hard.

TV SOAP:

How are things at the set of “DAYS”? Are people walking around on eggshells?

THAAO:

The actors come in and go to hair and make up and do not say much, and in some ways we are respectful of each other. Certainly no one is walking around feeling sorry for Deidre and Drake, because they don’t want to do that. In some ways, many of us don’t believe it is happening, but it is. Are we treading on eggshells? No. We have been through a lot in the last few years, and the fact that the show has been picked up for 18 months, is great. I think we have to adjust to things, like another curve ball.

leanne.jpgTV SOAP:

Are you worried about your job there?

THAAO:

I have not had much story of late. I am working this week a lot, but nobody knows and everyone is keeping a straight face. I think some actors have had their salaries cut. It’s not only happening at “DAYS”, it’s happening in Daytime. Everybody is doing it kind of quietly, but when you let go of two daytime icons, it’s like, “Whoa, nobody’s safe!” You just roll with the punches. I have come to a point in my life where I have been gone from “DAYS” and come back. I am concentrating on other things, which is what is helping me, so I am not just about “DAYS”.

TV SOAP:

You have been written off four times and brought back, though.

THAAO:

One year they killed me off, and they called me upstairs. When they call me upstairs, I know it’s never going to be about good news. I remember they said to me, “The character was going to be killed off at this time.” It was under the late James Reilly’s writing regime. I remember talking to the producer at the time, and I said, “I think it would be a better idea to wait till after the actor finishes his work to tell him this.”

TV SOAP:

Reilly kept killing you off!

THAAO:

Yes. One year I was killed four times. He did have me in some interesting circumstances and they were always over the top. The James Reilly’s of the world are gone.

thao-james.jpgTV SOAP:

What is happening currently with Tony Dimera in story?

THAAO:

My scenes are mainly with EJ and my father Stefano, and they are competitive scenes. I am concerned about EJ getting under the thumb of my father. I think Tony is an independent soul. He wants to give some integrity back to the Dimera name. EJ needs me because the character is not strong enough on his own as a Dimera. He does not possess what Tony and Stefano have, and that is to be a killer. You need those shadows. I would like to see where the father is trying to control him and gives him the empire, and I have to battle him for it. I know they like the two of us together. James Scott (EJ) is just too tall for me to work with! (He laughs)

TV SOAP:

How is it to still work with Joe Mascolo (Stefano)?

THAAO:

Joe and I go back a long way. You know, I really enjoy him, and his character had become so wonderful in many ways. Joe is as good as he ever was, right now.

TV SOAP:

If you were writing the show, what would you still love to do with Tony?

thao-joe.jpgTHAAO:

I think more than anything, I would love to unravel a real great mystery, and have someone like Anna along… like (famous fictional detectives) Nick and Nora Charles. Even with her stumbling, she comes across evidence. I love thrillers!

TV SOAP:

The Dimeras have been such an intriguing family lately, especially after Stefano came out of his coma.

THAAO:

It was the beginning of the rivalry with John and EJ, with Stefano coming back to life. Everybody was demanding that they are the rightful heirs to the empire. The Dimeras are dark, intense, and very European, especially Tony and Stefano. EJ is an Englishman, so that is a bit different.
We have a different passion that we share with
each other. We eat our victims, our poor victims!

TV SOAP:

How would you feel about leaving “DAYS” if that time should come?

THAAO:

I feel at this point with “DAYS”, if they were to let me go, then I would go, “Onwards”. I am not having regrets anymore. I did my best work and lifted the dialog from the page. You have to allow life to let you know there is going to be a change. So I am open about things. If I am meant to move on, that is fine, too. There is nothing to apologize for. It was my first Daytime Emmy nomination this year, and I was not utilized much after that. I just feel…. opportunity missed.

Days Of Our Lives

Jason Cook Recalls Landing His Soap Roles as DAYS Shawn-Douglas Brady and GH’s Matt Hunter

Daytime fans remember Jason Cook when he became wildly-popular as Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and Bo’s (Peter Reckell) son, Shawn-Douglas Brady on Days of our Lives from 1999-2006. He later made a brief return in the role in 2015 for the series 50th anniversary.

After departing DAYS, Cook was offered a role on General Hospital as Dr. Matt Hunter, the younger brother to Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) from 2008-2012. However, during his time on the soaps, and after, Cook has been focusing on his behind the scenes roles and passion as writer and a director of feature films.

Last week, the Michael Fairman Channel welcomed Jason, along with two of the stars of his latest film, Four for Fun, Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-AMC, B&B, GH). During the conversation, Cook revealed his continued admiration for the soap medium and the actors who work in it, and how it came to pass that he landed his parts on Days of our Lives, and then on General Hospital.

Photo: JPI

Cook spoke on becoming the on-screen son of soap opera’s most iconic couples, Bo and Hope: “I auditioned for Fran Bascom. She was the Days of our Lives casting director at the time. I was never a great auditioner, I don’t think. She made me feel really comfortable. I remember that screen test. And then, I remember when I got the part, I was actually working at a company at a desk job. I got the call at work and I just screamed, and at the time I didn’t quit my job. But then, I got that contract when I was 19-years-old and it totally changed my life.”

Photo: JPI

But, was Jason aware how key to the show being Bo and Hope’s son would be? “Yeah, my older sister was a fan of the show. She definitely let me know that I better not mess it up, because I was gonna ruin her favorite couple,” he shared. “I remember she printed out the family tree and it looked like a physics diagram. It was so complicated. A lot of detailed work went into it. But, I was excited.”

After being a known entity with a large fan following, eventually Cook made his way to a new role on General Hospital. Jason explained, “GH was fun. That was a situation where Brian Frons (ex-ABC Daytime President) brought me over there. I just told him I didn’t want to be like or want to do Shawn. He’s like, ‘Well, what do you wanna do?’ I said, ‘How can I screw things up around here and shake things up?'”

Photo: JPI

From that conversation things began to formulate. Cook revealed, “We started talking about the TV series House. I think in soaps, there’s an assumption if you’re going on a show that everybody wants to be the hero. I was like, ‘I don’t want to (be). I want to screw everything up.’ And then, they wrote it in that Matt Hunter burns the hospital down within like six months. I was like really proud about that. The other part that I loved about that character is that Matt, and his older brother Patrick (Jason Thompson), were both neurosurgeons. And if you (an actor) resigned your contract (with the show) you go to Patrick, you see Patrick. And if you don’t resign your contract, you see my character, because my character was going to kill you every time.”

For more on the interview, make sure to check out the replay of the livestream conversation below with Jason, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young.  Now let us know, did you enjoy Jason as Shawn-D and Matt on GH? Do you hope someday he might return on-screen to the soaps? Let us know in the comment section.

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All My Children

EXCLUSIVE: Jacob Young, Joan Collins and Nadia Bjorlin to Prague to Film ‘Murder Between Friends’

On Thursday night during the Michael Fairman Channel’s livestream interview centering around Jason Cook’s (ex-Shawn, DAYS and ex-Matt, GH) latest movie Four For Fun which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, ex-Rick, B&B and ex-Lucky, GH), revealed another upcoming film project with some very familiar faces.

Jacob Young shared an exclusive that he is set to direct, produce and star in a Agatha Christie-like murder mystery feature film aptly tiled Murder Between Friends.

Speaking on the upcoming project, Jacob said, “I’m flying at the end of the March to Prague to direct, produce and star in a film with Joan Collins (ex-Dynasty). Nadia Bjorlin (ex-Chloe, Days of our Lives) is in it, and Toby Alexander Smith from Eastenders (ex-Gray Atkins). Plus, a couple of my Broadway friends and a very well known Czech actress (Hana Vagnerova).”

Photo: BBC

According to Jacob, the production start date is April 1st. He added on the premise of the film, “It’s very Agatha Christie sort of ‘Knives Out’ without having a hundred million dollars to shoot it, but still will be a lovely film nonetheless.” Young said the plan is to finish all principal photography by April 17th.

Photo: JPI

IMDb has more on the film. It shared that former All My Children star Trent Garrett (ex-Asher Pike) is listed as co-directing the feature. Mark Rozzano is listed as writer of Murder Between Friends.

So, what do you think about this upcoming feature from Jacob that will feature Joan Collins, Nadia Bjorlin et al? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Then below, check out the full livestream conversation with Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young on ‘Four For Fun’ and their notable soap roles.

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Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives Star Blake Berris Chats On the Everett Lynch/Bobby Stein Mystery, Working with His New Co-Stars, and the Last Christmas Episode with Bill Hayes

On Days of our Lives, the return of Blake Berris is making for some very intriguing drama, with the audience guessing just which way the story will go.

When Berris arrived back on Days of our Lives, after previously playing Nick Fallon, he was taking on the new role of Everett Lynch, who has a past with Stephanie Johnson (Abigail Klein) and Jada Hunter (Elia Cantu). Only, as it has been revealed, the past he had with Jada was under the name “Bobby Stein,” who from what we can tell was far from a nice guy.

Blake visited the Michael Fairman Channel for a livestream interview this week, where fans in the live chat were weighing-on what could be the truth about the guy – is he a split personality suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder? Did the accident that cost him a year of his life in a coma, never happen? Recently, someone set fire to the beloved Horton house. Fans are suspecting it would have been “Bobby” who is working for Clyde Weston (James Read). Others believe that Everett/Bobby could actually be Clyde’s son. With upcoming therapy sessions with Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) about to start, things are about to get more juicy in Salem.

Photo: JPI

Here are just a few excerpts from our conversation with Blake on a myriad of Everett/Bobby subjects. Make sure to check out the full interview for more.

Did you know that they were going to make Everett Lynch a Jewish character? This is only the second time in the history of the show that they have even had a Jewish character on the canvas. Didn’t they reveal this at the Horton family Christmas episode?

BLAKE: No, they never asked me. I am half-Jewish on my dad’s side. There was never like, ‘You’re Jewish, right? We can call you Jewish on the show?’ At the Horton Christmas, “They made a real point of it, yeah.”

And now the new ‘character’ is “Bobby Stein” …

BLAKE: “Right, and that suggests more Jewish, and then Lynch must be coming from somewhere else, maybe the mother. I was so curious because I think the show has been historically, I’m gonna say, Catholic more than like Wasps. With the Bradys there’s this sort of Irish influence, and then the DiMeras, that’s Italian. So, we’ve got Catholics sort of on both sides that are dominant. Now I, “represent”.

Photo: JPI

What has it been like working with Abigail Klein?

BLAKE: I think she is extraordinary. We start off sort of frosty, or she’s frosty with me, like she doesn’t want to let me in. And then, for a while things are going really well. I just could not adore Abigail more. She’s such a good actor. I could always rely on her to bring me back into a scene and be there in this emotionally, supportive way.

Photo: JPI

Everett and Chad seemed to be becoming friend-ish, when all went awry when at the PCPD interrogation room, Everett let him know about Elia and Bobby Stein, and Chad let him have it for worming his way back in to Stephanie’s life.

BLAKE: Billy would call us the ‘disgusting brothers’ and that’s a reference from Succession, because all of a sudden they’re just so chummy with each other. It’s like all of a sudden we just had this like ‘Bernstein and Woodward’, sort of dynamic duo. I think that Everett really started to think of Chad as a friend and feels sort of disappointed, and he feels, “Oh, it’s that easy? I just needed to have some other identity and now you’re a fair-weather friend?”‘

Photo: JPI

In recent scenes, Jada sees Bobby Stein for the first time, and we see you and Elia Cantu share scenes with each other for the first time. What is it like working with Elia?

BLAKE: She’s fire, man. She comes in hot and she tells you the way it’s going to be. I think early on, we were trying to suss each other out and the more we worked together, the more comfortable you get with somebody. I think actors do this sometimes with each other; if there’s spice on screen, you like to keep some of what you have on-screen in your (real-life) interactions because it helps … it helps the work.  Eventually, we just sort of wore each other down and we’re like, ‘I actually totally get you, and you’re great.'”

Did you know that they were going to make Everett Lynch a Jewish character? This is only the second time in the history of the show that they have even had a Jewish character and didn’t they reveal this at the Horton family Christmas episode?

BLAKE: No, they never asked me. I am half-Jewish on my dad’s side. There was never like, ‘You’re Jewish, right? We can call you Jewish on the show?’ At the Horton Christmas, “They made a real point of it, yeah.”

And now the new ‘character’ is “Bobby Stein” …

BLAKE: “Right, and that suggests more Jewish, and then Lynch must be coming from somewhere else, maybe the mother. I was so curious because I think the show has been historically, I’m gonna say, Catholic more than like Wasps. With the Bradys there’s this sort of Irish influence, and then the DiMeras, that’s Italian. So we’ve got Catholics sort of on both sides that are dominant. Now I, “represent”.

Photo: JPI

You were on set and in the annual Horton Christmas episode which sadly marked the last for Days of our Lives legendary Bill Hayes, who passed away in January of this year.  What do you recall of that tape day?

BLAKE: It was the Christmas episode when we were watching Susan (Julie) and Bill, say ‘Merry Christmas.’  And there was something about it that just felt like it could be the last time. I mean, it wrecked us all on set. Bill gets so choked up and there was something really profound about the moment. They kiss each other as they have so many times before on the show. It was just beautiful. It felt beautiful to be there for that last Christmas. He’s just such an icon. Every time I’d see him, he was so with it … he knew my name, he knew his lines. What an incredible, incredible man.

Photo: JPI

Fans will get to see Everett in therapy sessions with Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall)? Would you say she is helping the guy?

BLAKE: Deidre’s always making jokes about Marlena, ‘She’s the worst therapist in the world’ (Laughs) I remember in the first therapy session, we almost couldn’t get through the scenes because it’s just so clear that Everett has a litany of very profound psychological issues that he is going to have to work through. He’ll keep coming back. This guy’s gonna pay the bills!

Photo: JPI

Viewers are waiting to see how they mystery of Everett Lynch/Bobby Stein plays out. What can you say as a tease for what’s to come?

BLAKE: As far as a tease, I would say, you have all these characters sort of, trying to wake up the ‘sleeping giant’ in a way. I think it’s safe to say that like if you poke a bear, the bear might wake up.

Watch the livestream chat with Blake in full below.

Now let us know, what do you think is going with Everett/Bobby? What has happened to him in his past? Share your theories in the comment section below, and make sure to catch Days of our Lives next week on Peacock for more to his story.

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