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    Days of Our Lives - NEWS ROOM

    In our 'Days Of Our Lives' News Room, Soaps.com keeps you up-to-date with the latest Soap Opera news on the net. We also feature interviews with the soap stars, as well as local appearances by the actors and actresses.

    Days Of Our Lives Interview: Freddie Smith And Jai Rodriguez.

    Monday, January 02 2012


    Freddy Smith (Judy Eddy/WENN.com)
    "It's just a really honest coming of age story and discovering who you are."

    On January 12, Jai Rodriguez will guest star on "Days of our Lives" as Mateo, a friend of Freddie Smith's character Sonny Kiriakis, who is the first gay character in the NBC soap's 46-year history. Both actors recently sat down for a telephone press conference to discuss how their characters will factor into Will's (Chandler Massey) coming out storyline.

    Mateo, who Rodriguez described as more edgy and urban than your typical Salem denizen, will first be introduced through Sonny, who brings his buddy around regarding an investment opportunity. Viewers can expect Will and Mateo to hit it off immediately, but since Will isn't ready for anything more, Mateo, along with Sonny, will serve as a role model and help make him feel more comfortable in his new reality.

    Smith previewed that Sonny, who will start playing the field, will be there to support Will as he comes out to his family and friends. "What a better person to talk to than his best friend who's gay and he can help him, you know, tell stories of how he came out and what he went through, so Will knows kind of what to expect. But then Sonny also was saying how it's always different. You know, some parents are so cool, others are very surprised. And there's other gay characters who are coming in as guest stars and their stories are touched on as well. So you can see the different ways how people react. I think it's great because when people come out there's different reactions and they're hitting a lot of them, so this way a lot of people can relate."

    While Mateo makes an instant connection with Will, he's only slated for one episode at the moment. However, he could return, as Rodriguez mused, "I think there's definitely room for it, for sure, because it just seems like as the storyline develops there might be a natural place for me to come back and visit every now and again, but we'll see."


    Jai Rodriguez (Brian To/WENN.com)
    A fan of "Days of our Lives" while growing up (Rodriguez's grandmother learned how to speak English watching the Daytime drama), he had the long running series on his radar when deciding his next acting move. Telling his agents he would be happy to play a tree on "Days," they kept their eye out for a more complex opportunity. Rodriguez didn't think anything would come from it, "But then this role came up and [Mateo] was always described as like cool, masculine, sexy, normal. Not normal. I hate using that word. Let me not use that. Let me retract that one. Just kind of, you know, a guy who was more complex than his sexual identity. And I thought this is a character I want to play. And obviously 'Days' has a special place in my life."

    When asked about how they thought the gay storyline would be perceived with conservative audiences, neither actor felt it would be a problem. Rodriguez said, "I think the way that this storyline is being handled, it's obviously not gratuitous or overly sexualized, it's just a really honest coming of age story and discovering who you are. And the boys handle that so beautifully. I mean, there's some really, really great scenes that I got to watch just between, you know, conversations that were had between parents and kids and such. I think that audiences, they're going to be very surprised in the way that it's handled. I think it's going to satisfy, sort of, for some people, just kind of a need of like, 'Oh my gosh, I saw myself in that episode because when I came out, or when I was going through a difficult time, it was handled similarly.'"

    Regarding the audience's reaction, Smith added, "I feel like 99.9% of every comment or everything was positive. And people are so excited and they can't wait to see the storyline take off and they were like, 'Why is it taking so long?' But I love how they're telling the story and they're just taking their time and they're really letting these characters develop and I think that's really important."

    Since "Days of our Lives" will be the only soap opera on the air with a current gay storyline, the actors were asked if they thought such storylines would ever become more commonplace on Daytime. Smith replied by calling "Days" a stepping stone for other soaps to follow suit, while Rodriguez mused, "The interesting thing about Daytime, even though it's not scripted, but there are a lot of gay people in Daytime right now. A lot of talk show formatted shows have gay characters or people who are relatable like Nate Berkus, and the guy from 'What Not to Wear' is on 'The Chew,' and so the Daytime audiences are already kind of, you know, they have options. They have gay options during the day apparently. I think it's kind of interesting that Daytime is becoming a lot more gay friendly, so obviously the next step would be to include the characters in those scripted stories."

    If you haven't already, read Soaps.com's Melissa Reeves interview. Join us on Twitter @soapoperafan and Facebook. Come tweet and Facebook with us about "Days Of Our Lives," all the other soap operas, "Dirty Soap," "Glee," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Vampire Diaries," and "Venice The Series!"

    - Lori Wilson


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    USER COMMENTS

    Posted by allmylovingdays at Monday, January 02 2012 08:28 AM

    Thanks for the interview. Darn I hope they bring Jai back for more scenes. Didn't expect to hear that Sonny will be playing the field.

    Posted by NANAX3 at Wednesday, January 04 2012 08:28 AM

    I absolutely abhor the idea of making Will gay. Gayism is smeared all over our faces everyday and thrown down our throats whether we like it or not. It sickens me that this has to go down as a storyline. Nearly every program I liked has introduced this "lifestyle" and I find it disturbing. It should be kept between the two people involved, not displayed for the world. If a person is gay, then be gay and keep it to yourself. I am sick of seeing it everywhere I go.

    Posted by NotHeterophobic at Wednesday, January 04 2012 10:20 AM

    Hey NANAX3, I'm sick of seeing straight-ness everywhere I go. Keep it to yourself! It should be kept between the two people involved, not displayed for the world.

    How does it feel?!

    Some people.....

    Posted by Dawn_M at Wednesday, January 04 2012 05:26 PM

    NANAX3 - That's a very nasty thing to say!
    I'm straight, but I have NO problems with someone being Gay!
    Who am I do judge?!
    as for keeping it between those between themselves.... pfft. I can say the same thing about straight couples I see making out in public! NASTY!

    Posted by switzerland at Wednesday, January 04 2012 09:10 PM

    I am so sick and tired of some (I said some) writing this trash about their disgust blah blah blah! You have s/l's about rape, incest, murder brothers sleeping with brother's wives women being abused. And this, this is what you chose to be disturbed by? GIMME A BREAK! A woman like Kim K. can get married and divorced in 72 days and make a mockery of the institution of marriage but a soap opera s/l about a boy coming to grips with his sexuality bothers you? Please!

    Posted by BringJaimeback at Friday, January 06 2012 09:38 AM

    Hey NANAX3,a slob is a lifestyle.A drunk is a lifestyle.Homosexuality is not a lifestyle.Wrong use of the word.

    Posted by Love_My_Maltese at Monday, January 09 2012 03:11 AM

    Oh my...such a long winded post...only to have it vanish! LOL. Trust this one will be much shorter. NANAX3:I am curious as to why you feel you have the right to judge another based on who they are? Do you have the same issue with race? That too has no bearing on what type a person someone is...be it white, black, asian...whomever. If you could enlighten us with where to draw the line when it comes to predjudice....I would appreciated it. When my dearest friend first met my husband many years ago, she asked him if it bothered him she is gay? He simply said, "No". He asked her if it bothered her he wasn't?
    Religion, even gender, is a choice. Being a good person is a choice. "Lifestyle" is also a choice...at times. Unfortunately I do not have the lifestyle I would like due to lack of finances, but as far as I can tell...that is how most people define lifestyle.

    Thank you Days writers for bringing a very real, often misunderstood area to Days. Hopefully it will educate many who feel they have the right to stand in judgement or honestly are ill informed. I believe people who do not understand something...feel threatened by it and strike out. Either not caring or not realizing the hurt they cause others. That, NANAX3..."Is a fact". I cannot believe I just said that. Makes my skin crawl. I struggle with the over inflated ego's of some of the semi-veterans returning. On the show "Dirty Soaps" former Mimi talked of one of the many returns of Marlena. Instead of greeting her, she looked at her, snarled and asked, "Enough lip gloss?" Thank you Days writers for bring this storyline to Days. I am hopeful it will educate those who are frightened by the unknown and feel the need to stand in moral judgement. And yes, "That's a fact"...aargh! I cannot believe I just said that! Not my favorite character...lol.

    Posted by Love_My_Maltese at Monday, January 09 2012 03:21 AM

    ...and it continues. Having watched Days since day 1 back in ott 06, Days has tackled many difficult storylines. The loss of little DJ (Don Junior...infant of Don Craig and then wife Marlena Evans) due to SIDS, the sexual abuse of Kimberly Brady and resulting dissociative identity disorder, and so many more.It is no wonder Days has been around for so many years.
    Thank you to the many writers over the years for tackling some wonderful, educational and often misunderstood issues. The only thing I ask is...please bring back Wayne Northrup as Roman. "Chris" is Chris...and always will be to me.
    Does anyone know what is happening with Peggy McKay? She was only sitting for a long time and now seems to have vanished...upstairs watching her grandchildren. I'm sure this is old news, but due to some personal issues with deaths...I am behind on many of the scoops.

    Posted by bdar99 at Monday, January 09 2012 10:08 AM

    I am looking forward to this storyline. I've been watching Days,and The Young and the Restless for almost my whole life (I'm 33). I also watched other long running soaps (Another World). Honestly, how many times can you tweak these same storylines to keep the shows "fresh"??? We need a change of pace. Chandler Massey has really turned in some strong performances over the past few weeks. I'm looking forward to Sami's and Lucas's reactions to having a gay son. I think this will be good for the show.

    Posted by Donewithdays at Tuesday, January 17 2012 05:21 PM

    NANAX3, I think the problem lies within you, not the rest of the world. Have you ever heard the phrase "I'm right and the world is wrong." You say you see it all over TV in various storyline's this in it of itself shows the world has matured, maybe its time you do the same. Perhaps you should look at yourself, and your close minded views, that it is perfectly okay for heterosexual couples to romp around 1/2 nude daily but a gay storyline is wrong. Pull your head out of your butt, grow up and get some VERY needed education.

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