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Credit: ABC, John Paschal/JPI

The casting that almost was.

The second outing of Peacock’s Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem this week has given us so many blasts from the pasts at this point, it can be hard to keep track. Though there’s been a ton of familiar faces from the ’80s, we got to see the return of one, slightly more current character: John’s son, Paul.

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But believe it or not, if things had been just slightly different, Christopher Sean would never have taken on the role to begin with! Before hitting his first big contract role on Days of Our Lives, the actor almost hit it big on another daytime staple: General Hospital. And it was not for an insignificant role. In fact, it was connected to one of Port Charles’ biggest heavies.

“I remember auditioning,” Sean recalls on Soap Opera Digest’s podcast, and it was for a role connected to Sonny. “Sonny’s cousin or someone,” the actor muses. “I can’t remember exactly, but I remember getting in there and I had the utmost confidence.”

“Long story short,” he continues, “I get in there and destroy the others. I do so good.” General Hospital casting director Mark Teschner was blown away and wanted to know a bit about Christopher — where he was from, what his story was. You know, what someone does when they’re really excited about the new talent they just found.

It didn’t take long for a call-back and the actor was asked in to audition in front of the show’s producers. It was the first time Christopher had ever made it that far. Except, it wasn’t producers. It was singular.

“I get in the room and it’s just [executive producer] Frank Valentini in the back,” Sean explains, “and I was like, ‘Oh my God. I thought it was going to be a whole bunch of people, and it’s just one guy. That means he must be the decision-maker. It’s only him.’”

That was enough to throw the still green actor off his game and cause him to start panicking. He forgot his first line and, Sean winces, “after that, I basically tumbled and rolled down the hill through the whole performance.” Teschner was supportive and encouraging the whole time, but it wasn’t enough. “I remember leaving there and thinking, ‘Well I screwed up.’”

And that was that. No General Hospital role and no further clue as to who it might have been. Did the show go with someone else? Did they decide to scrap the role if they didn’t find anyone who was the right fit? Or did they just put it on the backburner for a bit until they did?

The son of John Black over on Days of Our Lives, Paul has always been one of Salem’s consummate good guys. So it would have been truly fascinating if Sean had landed that General Hospital role and turned out to be a lost branch of the Corinthos family tree. That could have put him down a much darker character path. But alas, it didn’t come to pass.

Still, things turned out more than OK.

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“I remember thinking,” he concludes to Digest, “’I will never allow myself to do that again.’”

Shortly after, the actor landed his Hawaii Five-0 role, then a couple months later he was on contract on Days of Our Lives. And though he’s been gone for a little while, Paul’s clearly never far from Salem’s heart, seeing as how he’s back on the second season of Beyond Salem!

Take a look at the Corinthos family tree photo album to ponder who (if anyone) it might have been!