Zach Tinker, Chandler Massey, Sonny, Will, Days, JPI Beyond Salem

Jill Johnson/JPI

“I feel like the movie’s an event, and events are always fun,” says Sonny’s portrayer. 

In case you haven’t been able to tell, we here at Soaps have really been feeling the holiday spirit in the run up to the debut of Peacock’s Days of Our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas on December 16. We’ve chatted with Eileen Davidson (Kristen), we’ve gabbed with Deidre Hall (Marlena), and yes, we even got to talk with the two fellas responsible, in a way, for the entire Christmas story.

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When we sat down to interview Chandler Massey and Zach Tinker about how Will and Sonny fit into the Christmas movie, the guys got into everything from the movie to how well they really get along, with a few surprises thrown in here and there. In fact, it was so much, there was no way we could fit it all into one article — but that was fine, because there are some movie spoilers that you’ll have to see to believe!

Soaps: What were your thoughts when you first heard that this movie was going to happen?

Zach Tinker: I literally found out through an email. I got the script, and it was like: Beyond Salem: Part Two, something, something Christmas. And I was like, “What?” So I was pretty pleasantly surprised because I had a blast on Beyond Salem.

Chandler Massey: And I’m so happy that it meant obviously the first Beyond Salem must have done pretty well for them to want another special.

Soaps: So how would you describe your roles in this? You’re the only two who play your actual characters.

Tinker: Yeah, we’re the narrators. Chandler put it well. He compared us to those old guys in The Muppet Show [Statler and Waldorf]. So we’re kind of like that. We’re the one constant in the story. And then the rest of it is a fun “What if?” kind of world. It’s Salem, but how it would be if things had gone differently and people had gotten in different relationships.

Will works on his laptop from his couch. Sonny sits beside him and lays his head on his shoulder.

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Soaps: Yeah, Zach, I noticed you were really the voice of the audience for this. Sonny was asking a lot of questions that my co-workers were asking, like, “Why is Will writing about Leo?!” “Why is Nick there?” It was actually really handy.

Tinker: I think I was a good tool for the writers because when you create a “What if?” world, there are gonna be some inconsistencies. So I think I was able to be that voice of, “Oh, but this is why.” I could question Chandler, who could be, I guess, the real voice of reason. “Let me explain why that happens.”

Soaps: Chandler, how did you feel when you found out that it was pretty much going to be a vehicle for Will to tell a story?

Massey: I thought that was pretty cool — a really smart idea and a great way to mix up the cast and the relationships and just kind of get a whole new feel with twists. Yeah, I thought it was very smart of [headwriter] Ron Carlivati.

Soaps: Was it much different from filming a typical episode of Days of Our Lives?

Massey: It’s really not. You get the same number of takes, which is ideally one, and the cameras and the setups are the same. We even use a lot of the same sets. So really the only difference is in the dialogue and —

Tinker: We get to say kind of curse words!

Massey: Yeah, yeah, it can be a little more “digital.” It didn’t feel too different from a Days episode to me. But because I think Will and Sonny are supposed to remind us of the “real world,” and everything else is taking place in their collective imaginations, it didn’t feel too different from a Days episode to me.

Soaps: In Beyond Salem, you guys were pretty much running around on an adventure the entire time, but this time we get to see, I guess I would say, domestic bliss between Sonny and Will. Is it easier playing that after building up something of a rapport with the last special?

Tinker: Yeah. [Laughs] Me and Chandler had to get to know each other real quick. I mean, they had us making out in the shower day three after we met each other. But Chandler’s very easy to get along with, and I think we have generally similar interests with sports and things. I felt very comfortable with Chandler, and hopefully he feels the same way. But yeah, it was nice. It’s interesting, because Chandler comes back and forth and I’m popping in and out, so we’re not around each other all the time. It’s like you have to get used to each other. But it seems to snap back into place relatively quickly. It didn’t feel like we skipped a beat or anything.

beyond salem will sonny leo shower screenshot

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Soaps: You guys work well on screen.

Tinker: You can’t tell that I hate him on screen.

Massey: That’s a credit to Zach as an actor.

Tinker: He really is right. And I bury that hatred for him deep down, so you can never tell.

Soaps: Did you get to interact with the cast much? 

Tinker:  Not as much as I think everyone else got to, but we did have the one scene that I’m sure you know I’m referencing where the whole town is there. So that was a blast. [Editor’s Note: It most definitely is.]

Soaps: What was your favorite thing about doing this movie?

Massey: It was probably just to get back in the town and see everybody again. It kind of feels like a nice vacation for my life. And yeah, it’s just cool to see old faces, and I count Zach as an old face now.

Soaps: Would you two be up to doing more of these specials if they keep making them?

Tinker: Oh, yeah, they’re a blast. They’re really fun and just exciting. Any show’s event just gets me excited. So yeah, I’m always down to to go to Peacock and do a little special.

Massey: Yeah, I want them to do one for every major and minor holiday.

Tinker: Just the most minute holiday.

Massey: National Donut Day. And Tax Day!

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Soaps: One last thing — do you guys have any special holiday plans?

Tinker: I will be here. All my family is out here, so I will be playing a lot of Halo Infinite.

Massey: You play on PC or Xbox?

Tinker: Xbox, baby! What? Are you PC?

Massey: You’re a casual gamer.

Tinker: Well, we’ll play cross-play.

Massey: I’m actually staying with my girlfriend’s family and meeting most of them for the first time, so… yeah, it’s a big step. In Florida, in the swamps of Florida.

Tinker: What, they live in the swamps?

Massey: No, I mean, I make fun of it. She lives in South Florida, so it’s swampy.

Tinker: I was doing a bit with you. I thought you were going to roll with it.

Massey: Oh crap.

Tinker: Wait, I’ll do it again. They live in the swamps?

Massey: In the swamps.

Tinker: Wow, that’s crazy!

Massey: They’re swamp people. Uh, no. [Laughs] So those are my plans. Hopefully, that goes well and I get the stamp of approval.

Well, for what it’s worth, he gets our stamp of approval. In fact, both of them do! There’s one more sleep until A Very Salem Christmas, so while we wait, why not take a look at a gallery of Will and Sonny’s relationship to see how they got from pals to loving tellers of Christmas tales!