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Wally Kurth Talks on His Daytime Emmy Nomination For DAYS As Justin’s World Is Turned Upside Down

Courtesy/NBC

You kind of know when you are handed the ball in the world of daytime drama, and it’s your turn to shine, especially when you get meaty material that runs the gamut of emotions. And this past Emmy season, Days of our Lives’ Wally Kurth delivered the performances of his soap career (although we suspect there is some more to come in 2020!) in the role of the grieving Justin Kiriakis.

For Wally not only played grief, but starting life anew in a romantic entanglement that can be all too familiar when someone tries to move on after the loss of the love of their life. Add to that, the complication that his son’s husband, was believed to be the person who caused the accident that killed his wife, Adrienne (Judi Evans), and with that the deck is stacked for an emotional fallout that landed Kurth in the running for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at this year’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards to air on CBS on Friday night, June 26th, albeit in a virtual presentation.

While Wally is getting many accolades for his work on DAYS, let’s not forget the double duty he pulls on General Hospital, where this week his Ned Ashton. This week Ned is front and center during the encore presentations of the GH’ Nurses’ Ball episodes, which feature Wally singing his heart out in numerous memorable performances through the years.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kurth to get his thoughts and insight into his well-deserved acting nomination for DAYS, plus to find out his favorite GH Nurses’ Ball performances, and much more. Here now is what Wally had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

I am so thrilled about this nomination because you know, I willed this to happen.  I was like, “It’s got to happen!” (Laughs)

WALLY:  You actually were saying that, and you have been very supportive and positive.  I appreciate it.

What did you end up submitting? I believe I gave you “Power Performance of the Week” honors on my site for some of them, too.

WALLY:  I do try to put together a little story in my submissions for Emmys.  I think that’s kind of important because if you’re asking someone to watch 8 or 9 minutes of just you… I didn’t want to just (not that I had this material) but bludgeon them with one sad, sobbing scene after another.  I wanted to give them a whole range of Justin and a little story.  So, I did start off where Justin was asking Adrienne to marry him, and Justin is very happy, and it’s all good, and he gets down on his knee, and you see her, and it’s like, “This is something really good,” and I also wanted to include a scene with Judi Evans in my reel.  Then, I cut to where it’s a year later, and Justin is with Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) in their apartment. They are already living together, and they are discussing the anniversary of their marriages, and about the sadness of Adrienne, and she’s talking about Steve (Stephen Nichols), and then she brings up having to tell me that Adrienne died.  So, that was obviously in a flashback that happened six months earlier; where Justin is obviously very upset, and scared, and doesn’t want to hear it, and breaks down, and Kayla comforts him. Then, I did the continuation where Justin tells Kayla how much she has meant to him, and how he felt like he wasn’t going to survive, and how she came to his aid in a way to make him feel like he really has something to live for.   Then, at the very end, I did two scenes with Will (Chandler Massey) in the jail which is where Justin confronts Will, who obviously Justin thought was responsible for killing Adrienne.  It was a really lovely, really well-written scene where Justin tells him, “You’re a son to me, and you can be disappointed with a son, and you can be hurt by a son, but you never stop loving him.” I think it showed a nice range of the anger, the hurt, the happiness (because Justin tells him about Kayla), so you get an idea of what happened to Justin last year.  I thought it was a good collection of scenes that told a little story, and you could see the range of what Justin went though.  Evidently, it worked on some level because I got nominated.

Courtesy/NBC

In the scene with Will, doesn’t Justin also tell him, “Don’t give up on life?” in a very hankie-inducing moment?

WALLY:  Yes.  “Don’t give up.  Don’t give up on life,” which is really positive… even though he started the scene like, “I don’t even want to talk to this guy.”  Justin is there talking to Ben (Rob Scott Wilson), and Will kind of surprises him. So for Justin it;’ like, “Now I guess I’ve got to talk to Will about this,” and so he is still angry, he is still hurt, and you’re right, at the end, the scene has sort of transformed him in a way.  So, all of that stuff was just really nice, really nice scenes to get to play and very emotional.

I’ve watched most everything on the soaps from the performances to the storylines, and that one scene with the two of you was one of the best scenes I have seen in long time.  It was just so good from the writing to the execution of it. 

WALLY:  Oh yeah, I can’t even imagine a scene that was as good. Thank God that scene aired in December.  My story really didn’t get started until October/November, and all of those scenes that I included were from October, November, and December.

So, what did you think then when you found out that Chandler, along with you, and Paul Telfer (Xander) are all in the Supporting Actor category together?

WALLY:  I love it.  How great is that?  I love both of those guys.  I mean, I am such a fan of both of them.  Chandler kind of gets nominated every year, so I wasn’t surprised there.

Photo: JPI

Well, he had one year, as he pointed out to me (laughs), that he didn’t get a nomination. But, Chandler has been pretty much a perennial nominee every time he submits!

WALLY:  Yeah, Chandler just delivers.  He is a really an outstanding actor Paul, I think is great.  I love the character.  I was kind of surprised and happy for him because sometimes his character gets overlooked; just like the bad guy with the smarmy smirk and the great English accent.  So, there you go.  It’s terrific.  I think people saw more to his performance, and they should.  He works on a lot of different levels, and Paul brings a lot to the game.

And obviously, you know James Patrick Stuart (Valentin, General Hospital), since you work on that show too, and he is also nominated in your category. 

WALLY:  Yeah, and I have been a big fan of his too.  So, I was really delighted.  I called him up and left a message.  I love James.  We did a thing last year together where we went back east and played some music in some clubs,   I always think that James should be nominated.  He does such an exceptional job at bringing that character to life.  That’s not an easy thing to do either.  It’s kind of like a Xander character, and so, it is nice to see my fellow actors see the complexity in their performances and appreciate it.

Photo: JPI

Last week’s DAYS airshows contained scenes where Justin confronts Orpheus (George Delhoyo), over killing Adrienne, and Justin also goes to visit Adrienne’s grave.  I think you have another run of shows next year to submit for the Emmys (Laughs)

WALLY:  I do like to include the big four emotions that an actor has to play:  happy, sad, angry, and fear.  That is a scene where you get to see Justin really angry.  So, I will probably look to that as you get to see the anger part of the character, which I think is important.  You don’t get to see Justin very angry and lose it like that.

No, and that’s what was so great about it.  George was a great scene partner, though.

WALLY:  Oh, he was great.  George and I had a great time.  It was really awesome.  I mean, it was a challenge because it was very tricky, especially when Steve (Stephen Nichols) and Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) came in because you know; there is a part of the character that is just like, “Please, just let me shoot.  Just let me fire a bullet and just put it over his head or something, or maybe his hands are shaking so much that he misses the target!”  I don’t know, but you do just want to let him shoot, just one bullet.  (Laughs) Another moment that I really, really loved – and I’ll probably include it next year in my submission -was that scene with Suzanne Rogers (Maggie) at the hospital.  They gave me a beautiful speech to tell her that she should be her judge and jury and sentence herself to death, a beautiful speech about how she reminded me of Adrienne.  It brought out a different side of Justin that you don’t usually see.

Photo: JPI

When I spoke to Chandler about this nomination he related to me, “I am so happy for Wally because I feel like he is often underrated.” You have always been the guy on soaps who is always delivering consistent work, but now you’ve been given a story.  So now everyone can see what you can do or are reminded of it.  It’s hard without a story on the soaps; especially playing the Emmy game.

WALLY:  It’s true.  What did Maurice Benard (Sonny, General Hospital) say?  “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.”  It’s really true.  Let’s face it, you can only do so much, and that’s why I don’t get too competitive.  If I lose, that’s totally fine.  I feel like I’ve already won.  Being recognized by my peers, that’s it.  Being nominated is awesome, and honestly, after this, so much of it is the material and what the actors got to do.  It’s sort of out of your control, you know.   I am happy for all of my fellow nominees.  It’s all good at this point.  I’m really, really happy.

Photo: ABC

You’ve been nominated once before, right?

WALLY:  Yes. I’ve been nominated once before, two years ago on General Hospital.  It was the year that Jane Elliot (Tracy) left.  In story, Tracy leaves, so there was all of that emotional stuff to play.  That was the year I also submitted myself for Days of Our Lives too, and I was really proud of that work.  That year saw Adrienne having to choose between Justin and Lucas (Bryan Dattilo), and she chose Lucas.  There were just some really nice scenes there that they wrote for Justin and Adrienne, and she was dealing with cancer.  Anyway, I got nominated for General Hospital, and I learned from that year that I am never going to nominate myself in the same category for both shows.  That’s just stupid.

Well, you’re everywhere.  You’re on the Nurses’ Ball encore episodes right now on GH,  

WALLY:  Oh, isn’t that funny?  All of these Nurses’ Balls, it’s hilarious.

Courtesy/ABC

Are you watching them?

WALLY:  Yes!  I watched parts of them the other night, especially my performances. It looked good; actually, they were really good.  I’m always kind of surprised like, “Wow! The dances … the singing … the production!”  I always feel like there should be more people at the Nurses’ Ball.  Shouldn’t there be more people in the seats? (Laughs)  But other than that, good stuff, good story.  It was fun to see the beginning of Ned and Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) as well, you know that first year where she and Sonny were just breaking up on the red carpet at the ball, and the next year, Ned and Olivia are already together.  This week they aired where I sing with sweet little Brooklyn Rae Silzer (Emma), the Elton John and Kiki Dee duet, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

Photo: ABC

Do you have one favorite Nurses’ Ball number you performed of all-time?

WALLY:  You know, someone has been posting old Nurses’ Balls from the 90s, and I forgot that I sang “Forever Young” with Amber Tamblyn (Ex-Emily), and that was so sweet.  I also loved singing “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” in the very first one or the second year, we did it. Some of my other favorites include: “I Feel Good,” with the Quartermaine boys, and Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” – that was fun because I got to put my own vocal stamp on it, and I remember performing George Michael’s “Faith.  It was fun singing that with Lisa.

Courtesy/NBC

So, we know that this year will be a virtual Daytime Emmy ceremony, and we don’t know what that will look like yet.  So, how would you dress for it, if they had a shot of you from home during the broadcast on CBS?

WALLY:  I definitely am going to wear a suit and a tie.  I think that’s important to try to give the Emmys the dignity that it deserves.

So, thrilled that Wally received a Daytime Emmy nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series? What were your favorite moments of his last year? Are you enjoying seeing his performances on the encore GH Nurses’ Ball episodes? Comment below.

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Wally is a nice guy..but, I have to say honestly his acting at times is spotty. He was like a boy among men in those scenes at the hospital leading up to the Orpheus scenes at the jail and then in those scenes. The actors that play Steve and Orpheus are just so much more well rounded and their acting is natural. It’s a shame Emmy’s only look at a snapshot. I’m tired of hearing him relive Adrienne’s death over and over again. He nor she were relevant for years. Good luck to Paul and Bryton from Young and the Restless, he is so good consistently!!

Congratulations!

I am actually rooting for Wally to win this! I didn’t realize he was only nominated once before and for GH! Personally, I prefer him on DAYS. I like Justin way more than I like Ned. I miss Adrienne though!

he will get another emotional scene months from now when Judi Evans shows up in Salem as Bonnie Lockhart and its later revealed Bonnie died thinking she was Adrienne and Adrienne is alive thinking she is Bonnie(yep, more mind switching-UGH!)

Hell forbid… the last thing we need is to see any member of the Lockhart family ever again. Even if it’s a brainwashed Adrienne just acting like Bonnie. Bring back Adrienne in the same state that her brother Jack or her son in law Will were in. Amnesia from Rolf’s drug? Sure. Dopplegangers? Hell no. So done with that dragonshit.

Great article Michael! Wally is a nice guy and glad to see him nominated. However, I’m over the continuous reliving of Adrienne’s death, etc this time jump has been a flop. Judi Evans is one of the best actresses in daytime and it’s a shame her character’s death is giving him this vehicle. They should keep Chandler (OUTSTANDING ACTOR) and Freddie then send Justin/Kayla off to Port Charles, if they keep the borings together. There is no chemistry between Justin/Kayla and others could use the valuable screen time. Wally is a supporting actor for a reason.

I love Wally as a person and especially enjoy his character Ned on General Hospital; for some reason to me that role suits him better. Days writers gave him some good material for sure, however as much as I love him, I don’t find him to be a well rounded actor. Maybe it’s his dimples, but I couldn’t take his Orpheus scenes seriously and laughed. Reading comments on the latest daytime ratings, I’m not the only one. But in fairness to him, his acting wasn’t the only one canned. Wish him luck with his nomination.

Michael I enjoy your interviews!! Hope to see one of Paul Telfor and Bryton James; these two are so good not sure why they didn’t submit for leading men!! One thing Wally’s interview has pointed out inadvertently, is the lack of credibility with the Emmy’s. An actor gets judged on a 7-9 minute submission when overall quality of work for their entire year maybe less than stellar. Wish the people that voted on these nominations took into consideration more. It’s really an unfair award.

Oh, my just watched today’s episode please do not put Rafe and Justin in the same scenes again..painful to watch.

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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