Days' Chad looking confused and pensive
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

“We’ll spend ten minutes going, ‘How do I say this wild line?’”

Right now, Days of Our Lives is almost like two separate soap operas running at once. There’s the return of Bo and Hope, packed full of sci-fi tropes, returns from the dead and the old Days of Our Lives staple: brainwashing. Back in Salem, meanwhile, we’ve got good old-fashioned sibling rivalry, romantic feuds and broken hearts.

It makes a bit of sense, seeing as how the “Bope” return was originally conceived as a Beyond Salem chapter, and the soap spinoff was always a bit more on the wild and weird side. But while some fans are happy to roll with the more out-there stories, others would just as soon never see them again.

So far, Billy Flynn’s Chad is staying squarely in the relatively “normal” Salem camp as he tries building a new relationship with Stephanie. But that hasn’t always been the case. Chad has had his share of weird stories — and that, Flynn explained, wasn’t always something he easily embraced.

Peter Reckell, Miranda Wilson Bo with bandaged head looking at a photo with Megan jpi days

When he appeared on General Hospital pals Steve Burton (ex-Jason, now Days of Our Lives’ Harris) and Bradford Anderson’s (ex-Spinelli) podcast, Stone Cold and the Jackal, the actor shared how at one point, he had no idea how he could even do some of the things they were asking of him, let alone get them to a point where the viewers would buy it.

That was particularly true when André was still around and he brainwashed Chad to ditch Abigail and get close to Belle in order to help get the family fortune back from Sami. Because how else could he possibly do it?

“I remember I was brainwashed or something,” Flynn recalled. “And at first, all that insecurity and stuff pops into your head. You go, ‘This is stupid. Nobody’s going to buy this. I can’t do it. I suck.’ Whatever it is.”

Brainwashing just doesn’t happen in real life — at least, not in the way it’s doled out in Salem. People also don’t return from the dead, split personalities aren’t running around wreaking havoc and honestly, even something as “innocuous” as romantic triangles just aren’t nearly as commonplace in the real world as in daytime.

But then Flynn had a lightbulb moment.

“I was like, ‘If Steven Spielberg asked me to do this, I would do it, and I would do it with a smile on my face,’” he explained to Burton and Anderson. And who wouldn’t? But then he continued with the real revelation. “Or like Twin Peaks. I love Twin Peaks; I think it’s hilarious. And I’m like, ‘This is Twin Peaks! I’m doing a genre!’ And everything changed.”

Once upon a time, Flynn had some idea in his head that he’d treat his job like he was Tom Hardy acting in a movie. He’d “do the work I imagined I would be doing.’” And that, through some sort of force of will, would change “this soap opera thing. And you know… that’s impossible. You’re never going to be able to do it.”

After that, he decided he’d just have fun with it and instead of fighting daytime, he’d “embrace the genre for what it is.”

Abigail as Gabby trying to grab the baby from Chad

In a way, Flynn added, that’s made his acting better. The moments he embraces are the scenes he ends up liking more and feeling are more genuine than the ones he tries to overprepare for.

At the end of the day, when he’s struggling with a really wild scene or line and can’t figure out what to do with it, “I go, ‘Oh. Just say it. Let the words fall out of your mouth and move on.’”

Wiser words have probably never been spoken about a town like Salem.

A good chunk of Chad’s wild storylines have been with Abigail, so take a look back at them with the former couple’s photo gallery.