Soaps.com: After four years of playing Chelsea Benson Brady, you’ve decided to part ways with Days of our Lives. How did you come to this decision?
Rachel Melvin: I had never really anticipated being on a show for more than a year, much less three. I think booking Days was a nice little surprise; it was fun for a while and I had always said that I would continue to stay there as long as I was challenged. It’s not that the show is simple for me at all anymore, but I think a year ago before the writer’s strike, I had just decided I was ready to move on to other things and being that there was an impending strike I didn’t really know if it was the best time to leave. To make a long story short, I just decided to stay and then throughout the year it just became more clear to me that the next time my contract was up it was definitely gong to be time for me to go and just explore other options because it was something I needed to do artistically.
Soaps.com: It seems like you haven’t had much storyline lately. Was that a factor in your decision?
Rachel: It’s definitely not. I could see how it would appear that way, but I basically made this decision a year ago when I was still doing the Bo and Chelsea pancreas storyline and I was working quite a bit. The fact that I wasn’t working a lot I don’t think has anything to do with me personally, it’s just the cycle of soaps and storylines and I just happened to be back burnered. It worked out well for me because I was able to start auditioning early and now that it’s pilot season I know a lot of casting directors. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and you have to find the good in everything. Yeah, I was bummed I wasn’t working as much as I would have liked, but it was allowing me to explore other options at the same time and creating other windows of opportunity for the future. So I took advantage of it.
Soaps.com: Since you’ve been at Days for so long and assumingly made some close relationships, was this a difficult decision for you?
Rachel: I think honestly the hardest thing that went into the decision is that I’m going to lose the familiarity of everything and comfortability of like…it’s kind of like high school you know? You fall into a pattern and I think change can always be scary, but you have to go into it with an optimistic outlook and recently, like last week, I just started to realize I’m not going to be able to try on a bunch of cool different Chelsea clothes and I was like, ‘Oh, man! I’m not going to have wardrobe fittings anymore!’ There’s certain aspects I’m definitely going to miss. I’m also a workaholic and I’m obviously not going to be auditioning every day of my life so it’s going to be boring a lot of times and that makes me uneasy, but as far as the people there, you know if I’m close with anybody I would miss, I’m going to see them outside of work so in that aspect I’m not too worried. When Blake Berris (ex-Nick) left, I was devastated because he was one of my favorites to work with just because we kind of had the same work method and mentality. Just the possibility that I may never get to work on another project with him it’s very sad because you don’t get to share that, for a lack of a better word, that intimacy with somebody because you’re opening up a vulnerable part of you when you act, so it’s kind of weird.
Soaps.com: Is it tough now going into work everyday thinking it’s almost over?
Rachel: It’s actually not; it’s a weird feeling. I thought it would be tough. I thought I would start to get scared and freaked out and I’m kind of really excited to see what’s next. I don’t know, I’m auditioning a lot right now and there’s a lot of heartache and there’s a lot of excitement and it’s just a different kind of energy I haven’t felt for the last four years. I think it’s cool and I’m trying to be confident and positive and you know, I’m going to work again and I hope to God that I do and it’s exciting because I don’t know what it’ll be on or who it’ll be with and what character it will be.
Rachel: I feel horrible saying this because I know most of our viewers are very amazing people and decent, but I just have this deep attraction to dark roles where it goes into like drugs and rape and confused sexuality and just stuff I’ve never experienced first hand, because there's the mystery of it all. I think for any actor the most fun thing to play is someone that you’re not because that's when you’re really acting. I just like darker roles and I’m kind of excited to play that and pull them off and just show that my talent actually goes against what I look like, if that makes sense, because I think a lot of times I look like the good, innocent, straight-laced character and I would rather be the secondary character that’s a little more intriguing and relatable, I guess, and real.
Soaps.com: Are there any shows out right now that you would really like to be on that would fit that kind of character?
Rachel: Television shows, I’m not too sure. As far as television shows in general that I would love to be on, I would love to be on “Weeds” just because I definitely admire everybody on that show. I think they’re very talented and I think the casting director on that show has got to be possibly one of the most talented casting directors that I respect because I’ve not seen one casting where I’ve been like, ‘Oh, they’re horrible.’ Everything is so great and to be cast on that show would be a huge feather in my cap as far as I’m concerned because I respect the casting director’s opinion so much. I think for the roles that I’m kind of looking to play, because they’re so edgy, I don’t think I could be on anything other than Showtime or HBO.
Soaps.com: When is your last day on Days?
Rachel: As it has been explained to me I think it’s the 27th, but I’m not exactly sure on the exact day, but it’s the last week of March. My last airdate will probably be sometime in late April I think.
Soaps.com: Do you know how they plan to write Chelsea out or if they are recasting the role?
Rachel: They’re not going to recast. I have a heads up as to how I’m going out. I don’t think it’s pertinent to a storyline, but because I don’t know I would prefer to not say. I don’t want to get in trouble. (laughs)
There’s a lot more to come, so check out part two of our interview to find out what Rachel had to say about Chelsea’s rocky love life and part three for Rachel's feelings on her missed storyline opportunities.
- Lori Wilson