Martha Madison Talks to Soaps.com About Her Exit From Days
Martha Madison (NBC)
Taking over the popular role of Belle Black on Days of our Lives four years ago, Martha Madison enjoyed non-stop front burner storylines and won the fans over in the process. Her final scenes as the young heroine aired last Monday and she was kind enough to talk to me about leaving the show she so loved being a part of.
Talking to her two days after Belle and Shawn bid Salem adieu, I was curious if Martha watched her farewell. Turns out she did, but only by accident as she hadn’t watched in awhile and just happened to turn Days on the day of her last episode. While she wasn’t quite as sad watching, as she was filming the scenes, she did share, “My husband watched it with me and he just kept hugging me the whole time. He was like, ‘It’s okay!'”
If you wondered if those were real tears being shed at the Brady Pub while Belle said goodbye to her mother, Marlena, you would be right. But while those were tough scenes to get through, Martha told me, “I was really happy if it had to end that I got to do my last scenes with Deidre (Hall). It was very nice. It was very special.”
After those last moments at the pub, Belle, Shawn and Claire took to the open waters and set sail, much like Bo and Hope did so many years ago. While Martha understands they chose to send the couple off that way to honor history, she was a bit perplexed. “The only regret I have about the way the story ended was that we left on a boat. I think that is so incongruent with the history of the couple…you know the fact that we had near death on boats for the last two years, it didn’t seem to make sense,” she laughed.
So just why did two characters with a strong fan base and deep connections to core families get written off the show? According to Martha, “I got a million reason why, but most of the talk was about the fact that we had been front and center for so long that they had wanted to rest the characters, and I can understand that.”
Looking back, Martha shared that her favorite storyline on Days was the one just before her departure. “I really loved working with Jay (Johnson, Phillip) and I thought kind of switching up the dynamics for awhile was great because people didn’t really know what was going to happen and suspense is a good thing on daytime. And I just love working with Jay and Brandon (Beemer, Shawn) and especially Nadia (Bjorlin, Chloe). I love her, she’s so fun. I just felt like we had a really good thing going,” she sighed.
But Madison has no hard feelings about her axing, as she realizes that with the new writers coming on to Days, new ideas come with them and, “I really think that they’re trying very hard to make the show really, really great and if that means us leaving for awhile, then so be it. Good luck. I hope it works!”
While she misses everyone she worked with and of course having a steady job, Martha is leaving on a high note as she was pre-nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy. The actress decided to submit the scenes where her character says goodbye to her father, John at his deathbed and where she confesses her affair with Philip to Marlena.
While those are definitely worthy submissions, Days actors don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to garnering those much sought after nominations. I questioned Martha as to what she thought the reasons were for the show’s lack of recognition. Aside from it being the only soap on NBC and therefore not seen by many other people in the industry, Martha mused, “I think there is a factor of quality, period. I know that for the last couple of years we probably haven’t had as strong a production as we’ve had in the last six months.” She’s hoping the recent turn around in the show will make an impact on the Emmy voters this year.
As she waits to hear whether or not she receives that elusive Emmy nom for her work on Days, Martha is busy auditioning for primetime shows and mentioned that she has met with most of the other soaps. Having gone to New York twice in three weeks for meetings, she’s hoping she lands on an East Coast sudser, as that’s where she truly feels at home.
Although noting nothing has been set in stone and that she has nothing to base this on, Martha teased that she wouldn't be surprised if we saw her on another soap opera by the end of the summer!
When it comes to her fans, Martha couldn't be more grateful or touched by their outpouring of support, stating, "It's so nice to know that people have taken the time out to write to us and tell us you know what we've meant to them over the years and they're gonna miss us. It just makes it really personal and very special. I didn't realize there were so many! It's just so flattering. It's wonderful."
Speaking of fans, as promised, we asked Martha a few of your burning questions:
Tune2Days: Would you reprise your role as Belle in the future and would you prefer Belle to stay with Shawn?
Martha: It would depend on the circumstances. I feel like I would never say no to anything and I love that show and I love that role, but you know this is also an opportunity for me to try to do something different. I don't know what would be more beneficial for me as an actor, to my career at this point. You know, one day at a time.
I would like to see Belle come back as a strong and maybe a different kind of character. Maybe a different side of Belle and whether that means with Shawn, I don't know, but you know I think now that they've opened this whole door of the DiMera angle and 'Where's Brady?' and John's not himself, I think Belle could really dive into a whole new side of herself. If I could play something like that I think I'd really enjoy it, yeah.
Mollymommy: Would you like to be on Dancing with the Stars?
Martha: Oh my God, I would do it in a heartbeat! I want to do it so bad! I've danced my entire life...God it would be a dream come true to do a show like that. I'd love it.
Jaden2U: What was the most challenging scene you had to play?
Martha: I think John's death was the most challenging thing I had to do. It kind of hit me on a very personal level, on many levels. It was so tragic to see Drake leave because I've been a fan of the show as long as he's been on it. So that was really a struggle for me. I was kind of questioning at the same time, 'Why is this happening? I mean this is Drake! He's John Black!' So that was really personal and I've lived most of my life with a sick parent and there's nothing worse than wondering what the fate of your parent is going to be when they're sitting in that hospital bed. So it was kind of a personal thing for me and it was hard to try to pull back and I don't think I did. I couldn't. So that was an acting challenge for me.
All4Sami: How did you feel having Drake return to the show as your dad?
Martha: Oh, I was so excited are you kidding? I was skipping down the halls going "I knew it! I knew it!." But you know, how awesome. I mean he was literally brought back by the fans. That just shows the power of the viewers and I think that's really cool.
SandraJ: Is there anything the fans can do to get you and Brandon back on the show?
Martha: You know I can't imagine them being able to do anything they haven't already done. I really think that they're focusing on different characters right now and...we weren't let go because we weren't doing well or because our fans don't matter. We were let go to make room for some other stories that need to be told right now and I think that's fine. But they can always write at the studio if they want to! I don't know what else they could do. They've done everything possible.
Tetra6655: Was it hard coming into a role that someone else played and taking over?
Martha: Definitely there are challenges and to know you have such a high bar to live up to it was a constant pressure. But at the same time, I was so green you know coming into this, I don't think I was fully aware that that was going to be such a major challenge. The challenge for me was just remembering my lines and knowing how to work at the studio and all that stuff. I didn't realize, because I wasn't really in tune with the fan base at that time, that was gonna be such a big issue. I learned later on, you know. I started reading different things and letters and stuff and I was like, 'Wow! I didn't realize this was going to be such a huge deal to them.' And that put a lot of pressure on me, but I think it really worked for me. It made me really work hard and concentrate and try and make the fans happy. It was a very difficult role to fill.
Kclovesmax: Which co-workers are you going to miss the most? Which ones did you hang out with the most?
Martha: I'm definitely am gonna miss working with Drake and Deidre. I think it's so fun to play that dynamic, that side of Belle, with her family and they're just such pros, it just makes my job so much easier.
I hang out with, sometimes I hang out with Jay, Nadia and Brandon. I definitely hit the gym with them very often. Yesterday I was at the gym and all four of us were working out together. It was funny. But most of the time I'm kind of hanging out with my husband and my dog. I'm kind of a homebody.
Everyone: Are you pregnant?
Martha: I am not pregnant nor do I plan to ever be pregnant. You know kids are definitely not on the plate any time soon for us. We're both kind of fly by the seat of our pants people and if we ever have children we would want to be somewhere solid for a long period of time and that's not in the cards for us for awhile.
So there you have it! I'd like to thank Martha for taking the time to talk with me. She was very genuine and down-to-earth and I'm sure she'll have no trouble landing another gig soon. You can be sure Soaps.com will be watching and waiting to see where she pops up next!