Soaps.com's Deanna Barnert caught up with a few stars of your favorite Daytime soap and got the scoop from Lauren Koslow (Kate), Kristian Alfonso (Hope), Chandler Massey (Will), Deidre Hall (Marlena), Bryan Datillo (Lucas), and Galen Gering (Rafe) at the Paley Center's Evening With Days Of Our Lives. Warning, there are teasers!
You're such a fashionista: Do you have any hard and fast style dos and don'ts?
I love fashion. I started out as a costume designer. I just love clothes and kind of see them as a type of armor. You go to the armory and, do you need light armor tonight? Heavy armor? That's how it hits me, more. There's not too many rules. Better than no rules!
Have you ever looked back and regretted your choice of armor?
Definitely! Usually, it has to do with the decade. [laughs] Especially in my youth. I probably wore some things I should have passed on, but it's okay.
How is Kate handling the single life? Well, she's not quite single...
We got the divorce papers and she called herself Roberts, today. Yeah! I always liked Kate Roberts. I hated to see it go, but then I got used to DiMera, just like Kate did. I don't know what's going to happen. She was in love and happy with where she was. What happened was just a crazy thing. She looks at Ian that way. She told him she still has feelings for Stefano (Joe Mascolo). So I don't know what's going on with them, and I think that's how she feels. She jumped into this thing, but I meant it to the one night it was.
What is it like for Kate having her kids back in town?
I've always enjoyed that part of the character, but the way it's evolved, it's fantastic. It's written like they're adult children. As much as I had fun when I was constantly manipulating their lives as if they were dolts, sometimes that was... I loved doing it, but this is nice for the audience too. The relationship is different. It's a mature one. She's just as involved and ferocious about them and wants just as much for them, but they get to be part of it too. She's bringing them to her side. She wants to have the power, and wants the entire family to have that power. I'm excited about what's going to happen there.
Are you enjoying Salem now that Hope's back on the proverbial case?
It's always fun to travel somewhere with a character. Then it's like, "Ugh, I just want to get back to Salem!" They never fed me in Alamania, except once.
What did you think when you heard Stefano was working with the CIA and maybe he's not all bad?
That's why Hope walks a very fine line: She acknowledges that Stefano isn't all bad. They've been through a lot together. There is that tension and even though Hope may be getting to him, he would never reveal that to her, but they were locked up in a turret for quite awhile together and they depended on each other to survive. He took care of her. It's not black and white for her. There is that respect. Not love! But respect.
Are you liking the changes coming under the new writing regime?
I am! I go to work every day grateful and thankful to walk through those doors and do something that I'm still passionate about after all these years. Never once did I ever thing, "Ugh, I'll just look at it the night before," or, "I'll just memorize when I get to work." I spend a lot of time working on my scripts, because I love what I do and feel very blessed to be able to walk through those doors. And I still get nervous. Peter will look at me puzzled. "Are you nervous?" "Yes! Let's run lines. Let's try it this way. Let's try it that way." I love what I do. I have a great time.
Will finally told his parents he's gay! Tell us about that.
It was definitely not a planned conversation. I mean, Will was planning to come out at some point, but Sami got on his nerves to the point that he just said it. She walked out, which is the only scenario Will probably didn't prepare for when he thought about it. That's the surprise, but it paved the way for some nice Will/Lucas scenes. So far, there hasn't been much of a bond between Will and Lucas. That was intentional, because he's been in China and the relationship is – it's not strained, but they still have to bridge that difference that's been created because he's been across the world for two years. Will's done so much growing and changed so much that when he came back, there was an adjustment period.
Will Sami get it right?
Sami is a person who reacts badly at first. Once she gets it together and realizes it's not about her, then she'll probably become Will's number one supporter.
Now that Will's finally come out, will he start dating?
That's going to be awhile down the road, officially dating. They're taking their time, like everything else in this story, which I like. It's not like Will to jump into a relationship when he's just come out and he's still getting used to it.
There is a divide among fans over whether Sonny (Freddie Smith) should stay his BFF or become a romantic partner: Where do you fall?
I go back and forth, honestly. I love working with Freddie, so much. We have a nice bro’ vibe, in our scenes. It's always spontaneous. We love to surprise each other in scenes. In soaps, they throw couples together so fast. If they take their time with it, it could be a really nice relationship.
What is it like for the cast when you go through behind the scenes shifts in writers like this? Well, the first one brought you back, didn't it?
Right, and I like the way we were brought back. I love the Marlena/Will relationship. That, to me, is money in the bank. I've had an overwhelming response to people saying A, we love the gay story, B, we love the relationship between Will and his grandmother. I run into people saying, "That's how I learned what to say to my son." A therapist game up during one of these events and the dad came to her and said, "I don't know how to handle this. I'm okay with it, but I don't know the words." She told me, "I taped your scenes with Will and I sat in the office and showed them to him. He said, in tears, 'That's how I'll handle it.'" Marlene [McPherson, ex-head-writer] and Darrell [Tnomas Jr., ex-head-writer] have given us the language of acceptance – not just for gay people. For helping our kids through hard times.
What have you been talking about during your recent speaking engagements?
I'm promoting my books, which are available through my website, and I'm talking to large crowds of women at women's conventions. The talk that's evolved is the importance of women's friendships in each other's lives, from the caveman to today, where we're all getting through it. It's been met with howls and sobs.
Next book maybe?
We'll see. It could be the story of women's friendships and how they help each other through things. I'm in favor of a manners book. If everyone from a five year old would sit down and learn.
How are you feeling about the coming out storyline?
The coming out storyline has been done in Daytime, but it's a little overdue, the way we're doing it. We tackle it on a deep level and I'm glad to be a part of that. I'm glad to be the parent who was accepting, not the one who ran out of the room. We forced it out of him, in a way, and he blurted it out. Sami couldn't take it, so she left me [Lucas] to deal with the whole situation.
How are you handling watching Sami with other men?
I don't watch. What do you mean? I'm in the closet, watching her? [laughs] Here's the interesting thing: As with all relationships, when you work closely with someone, you get closer. When you don't, you're just not spending that time, and spending time is what relationships are about. The relationship changes, but when I see Ali [Sweeney, (Sami)], we pick up right where we left off. She's awesome and we laugh our butts off. I love her. A lot of times, we totally see eye to eye; and if we have conflict, I love that we have debate - She's good at it, but I'll take her down! I like working with her. She's my buddy, so it's weird not seeing her. That part stinks.
With that said, I've been fortunate to work with Christie Clark (Carrie) and Ari [Zucker (Nicole)], who are both insanely talented, as well, and I love. The problem being, is it legitimate in the story they've told? Have they flushed three years down the toilet, or can they make it work? You can tell any story, as long as you back it up.
So do you feel like it's working now?
I feel like we're trying to make it work, but I don't feel they've told enough of the backstory to sell the audience on why it should work. That's just my belief. It is a soap opera, after all. People maybe overlook that stuff. Nonetheless, it's been fun. I just want to see the show do well. It's not all about me. I want to see the whole thing firing on all cylinders. I've had times where I felt I had a great storyline, while others weren't great, and vice versa. Unless they're all good, the show as a whole is not what it can be. When they're all good, you can't stop watching. That's what I want and that's what I think we'll have.
Have you seen any changes under the new regime?
Yes, but I can't tell you anything... I will say, there's a certain large fan base that's going to be happy with some of the recent changes.
Rafe always finds himself in a triangle, usually with two men: Do you find yourself rooting for him?
When is it ever two women? They told me it was going to be me and two women, and next thing you know, there was another guy and one woman. Wow. It's all good. It's fun with one woman and two guys, because it's a bit more adversarial. You get to square off with a guy. But it's also fun to see the women be catty and fight over you - even though it's not me! Did they just say Galen or Rafe? Guys, it's TV. Don't fight over me.
Will Rafe get involved in the big coming out storyline?
Will's, of course: Is there another one?
Somewhere, every day, someone is coming out. That's why it's great to have this story. Honestly, I've been involved in stories that get people. They come up and say, "I'm so glad you did that depression story" or the miscarriage story.
And Rafe 2’s [AKA RoboRafe or Arnold] story?
No, not the doppelganger story. [laughs] But it's great when our work touches someone out there, personally.
I have to ask: Do you miss the "Dirty Soap" cameras?
It's a mixed bag. Sometimes, it was really fun. Other times, it was, "Can you guys please leave?" Not the crew. The crew was lovely. But I had a lot of days where I was shooting "Venice" at the same time and trying to vacation. It was like, "We have to shoot today?" I wanted them to go away at times, but I was also like, "This is cool! It's fun. It's relevant." The most torturous part wasn't necessarily the shooting: It was watching the show to see what they were going to edit together, which is weird for an actor.
And life outside of work is good?
Oh my god, I got to play golf with Freddie Couples! Do you know who that is? No!? Ugh, woman! He's the Michael Jordan of golf and I am on cloud nine. I had a great day. Family's wonderful. Everything's good.
Take a look at photos of the actors from Paley Center Event.
Join Soaps.com on Twitter @soapoperafan, "like" Soaps.com on Facebook to dish on "Days Of Our Lives," all the other soap operas, "Dallas," "Glee," "Grey’s Anatomy," "Scruples," "Vampire Diaries," and "Venice The Series."
- Christine Fix as reported by Soaps.com's Deanna Barnert