Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, marlena, john, santa hat, christmas, jpi, days

Jill Johnson/JPI

“What this movie offers is John and Marlena in the same room fiercely attracted to each other and not able to to express it.”

The holiday spirit, Deidre Hall knows, has always been alive and well on Days of Our Lives. So she feels that Peacock’s Days of Our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas isn’t at all a stretch.

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“Our Christmas shows are always special and moving and festive,” she notes. “But the Christmas special really was a different animal, and it incorporates a lot of storylines.”

Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, Eric Martsolf, Lindsay Arnold, Martha Madison, Brandon Beemer, Isabel Durant, Marlena, John, Brady, Sarah, Shawn, Claire Christmas

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Oh, Hell No

Now let’s just get this out there right away and address the elephant in the room. There’s no devil in this Christmas tale — though you may find a couple of clever nods to the hellraiser. And that was just fine by Marlena’s portrayer. Going from demonic possession to this “was heaven,” she sighs. “It was so good to be back — and in a way that was Marlena-invested. It was heartfelt, there were scenes in the old inn — it was nice to be back.”

And speaking of that inn, Marlena’s portrayer knows that the trailer’s already gotten folks talking. “It has me walking into John and Kristen’s bed-and-breakfast,” she laughs. “People just go, ‘Wow! Wait a minute! What?’ But that’s just a taste of what’s to come in this.”

John in a black Christmas sweater. He stands at a desk answering a phone with a staircase and Christmas tree behind him.

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That Is One Far-Out Inn

OK, so what’s to come? The whole film is, as we all know, Will’s story. He’s writing the characters as he sees fit, and as he promises in the trailer, there are plenty of twists and turns. Because while in some ways this is “classic” Marlena, it’s not the “real” Marlena. “Well, she tends to have things go her way,” Hall says of her beloved character. “It’s just the nature of the beast. But in this scenario, she’s not married to John.”

Seeing John with Kristen “is shocking to an audience, and shocking to see Marlena sort of pining for him just a bit,” says Hall, adding with a smile, “It’s terribly sweet.”

When asked if she felt like the movie really gets back to the heart of who Marlena is, Hall is quick to spread the love, saying it accomplishes that for everyone in the film. “I think our entire dynamics,” she notes, “and our character relationships are quite good.”

Plus, like any great Christmas movie, she promises that some of the cast puts on “a spectacular production number. They had weeks and weeks to rehearse that. The remaining cast sat in the audience and got to watch them do it. So much fun!”

John, Marlena, and Sami, in a sparkly black dress, clap and smile in the Horton Square

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The Direct Approach

The cast and crew have had to stay spread out ever since Covid started, but for this one, glorious scene, that all changed. “I got to sit next to Alison Sweeney (Sami),” Hall shared with the excitement of someone reunited with a best friend. “We yacked and yacked and yacked for a couple hours, and we were all allowed to be in the same room, which was… gosh, it’s like being in kindergarten. You missed your pals on the playground.”

Of course, one of those pals — Sweeney — isn’t just a Days of Our Lives vet but a Christmas movie pro, having put more than her fair share of time into Hallmark’s holiday fare. But “Alison,” Hall notes, “besides being a consummate Christmas angel, has directed. And there were moments where she actually had some very good ideas about this. So as actors, we had a little more insight into what the directing process was and seeing it through her eyes. It was terrific.”

Hall hopes that folks love the movie just as much as she clearly does. And what’s more, she wants it to bring joy to everyone who watches. She knows there are folks who “don’t have family come and visit and don’t have a place to go or can’t get out. We are, by the nature of the show and what we do, companions to people who are orphans at the holidays.”

Hopefully now with A Very Salem Christmas, everyone has a home and a family for the holidays. And for anyone looking to make their homes a little bit more like Salem, our Days of Our Lives gift guide will bring you closer than ever to the folks and places that you love.