Interview: Days of our Lives’ Bryan Dattilo

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Days of our Lives stars Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady), Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Horton) and Molly Burnett (Melanie Jonas) were in Toronto last week to meet fans and promote Days of our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos. We got a chance to speak with all three stars and here is our second interview, where Bryan Dattilo discusses his return to the soap, what’s coming up with Sami, Lucas and Will and teases the May sweeps storyline!

Welcome back to DAYS! Lucas has been missed.
Thank you! Thank you very much!

What has changed the most on set since you left and came back?
The production has changed a lot, [like]how fast we go through things. Before you could actually say, “I messed that up, could I do it again?” and now there’s none of that.

Was that hard for you? From what I’ve read, you seem like a fun guy to act along with.
Yeah, but sometimes you’ve got to watch it. You can’t have too much fun on the set. You can’t be that guy. You have to find a balance…cause in the past, I was that guy and then they think you’re not professional enough and they think you’re not taking your job seriously. But yeah, getting it right the first time and being prepared when you go in is a huge part of it now. Not that you weren’t before, but before you had a little more time to perfect things. Now, it’s all business.

What’s coming up for Sami (Alison Sweeney) and Lucas?
A lot of things, actually!

I heard they’re hooking up.
They hook up a bit.

As in sex?
The actually have the intercourse.

Oh good, there’s penetration.
There is. There is a little of that, I would say. And it kinda happens quicker than you think, so you have to keep watching.

We’re not talking about having to wait for May sweeps right? It’ll happen in the next week or so?
I can tell you it happens a lot sooner than you think. That’s about all I can say. Yeah, I was kind of surprised at how quick it happened.

What about his fiancé Autumn? Is she real?
She is real, however, we haven’t seen her. In my mind she’s real. I have an image of someone. Lisa Ling! Investigative reporter. That’s her. We like her. Very cute. So, that’s who I’ve put in my mind as “Autumn,” but as Sami would say, it’s Summer, or Winter or Fall.

Or April…
Yeah! We actually did that in rehearsal once and they were like, “If you can reproduce that, that would be great, if not, don’t worry about it.” So, we reproduced it.

You’re back for Sami’s story and Will’s (Chandler Massey) coming out story, which will be very important. It’s good that you’re back for that. When will we see Will actually come out to his parents?
We have done scenes where that has happened.

So, within the next three months?
In the next couple of months you will definitely see that payoff. The great thing about the writing on this show now is that you don’t have to wait a year for a storyline to payoff. It’s very rewarding to keep watching because things are changing and if you do miss something, you have to go back and make sure you get it. He comes out and I love the way the writers have handled it. I love the way they made Lucas so accepting, supportive and loving. All that was a pleasant surprise. I never wanted to be the dad that didn’t stick by his son.

Does Sami stick by Will?
Sami on the other hand has a little more of a hang up…as only Sami can have. When Sami usually reacts to something like that in the way that she does, it usually has to do with herself. At first she doesn’t handle it very well at all. [She] storms out and can’t take it. Lucas is the one that kind of brings her back and says, “You know, look, you can’t handle it that way. It’s just not right.” It’s kind of cool to be the voice of reason because she can act as far out in left field as she wants but she’s gotta come to home plate and step into the box with old Lucas!

Will we see Lucas outside of Sami and Lucas?
I always have the mom road to go down with…with Kate.

Lucas and Kate have a special relationship.
Yeah, Lauren Koslow does a great job playing Kate and we’re very close outside of the scenes, so to be able to work with her again is great. We actually have a good storyline with the business sense of things and how she runs a company and certain things transpire to where we both have the rug pulled out from under us. We then have to pick sides against each other, so there’s an interesting dynamic there that you have to check out. That’s going to be fun!

Is Kate going to get upset at Lucas for knowing that Sami was the mole?
Oh yeah! Especially when she finds out that Lucas knew and didn’t tell her right away. That’s the big betrayal there and he actually sides with Sami and agrees to work with her instead of his mother. That doesn’t go over very well with her [Kate]. She has a hard time accepting that! Then, she catches us in bed together! [Laughs] Oh did I say that? !All that happening is must-see television. Must see television on NBC…or Global, preferably Global since I’m on this side of tracks!

We get NBC as well in Canada, but Global does air the show a day ahead in some markets. So we’d get Monday’s show over the weekend On Demand or online.
Global does it right since they run it by you twice! That’s the way to do it! Hit ’em hard.

The thing we love about Sami and Lucas is that they’re both schemers. Lucas has been very supportive since he’s been back, but are we going to see that sly side of him?
I think that when he interacts with Austin (Patrick Muldoon), you might see a little of that. He loves to push Austin’s buttons! Especially when he finds out that Austin’s sleeping with his niece.

Or so he thought…
Yeah, so that was kind of fun, “Dude! You slept with my niece!” That was my favourite line. “What’s the matter with you!” I get to explore that a little bit when I get around my brother. I hope that they write more of that between us because I think it’s a cool dynamic.

So, no matter who’s playing Austin…he’s still a bit slow.
[Laughs] No matter who’s playing Austin, he’s still Austin. It’s kind of fun to have that to play with.

Are there any storylines that you’d like to see Lucas be involved with?
I’d like to see him get more involved with the Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) storyline and then finding out more about his real family and the whole Horton family tree.

Are they keeping him a Horton? There’s some speculation that Lucas could turn out to be Ian McAllistar’s (Ian Buchanan) son.
Well, I think it would be a great choice. It would recycle him finding out he was a Horton in the first place. It brings up a lot of stuff that was fun to play out before because you don’t know who you are, you don’t know who you come from and you’ve got to accept your new family. There’s the drama in that. To be related to a guy like that would be really interesting. He’s a great actor, so to be able to work with him, would be great too!

Do you believe that the daytime soap genre is dying? Or has it been murdered by executives who have no clue at what they’re doing? The genre’s alive and well in primetime with the success of Revenge and Downton Abbey.
That’s a good question! I don’t know if it’s been murdered by the executives, but there are a lot more soap fans out there than they might think. It’s been really tough seeing all the other shows go down. I know a lot of people [who were]on them and lost their jobs. I’m just so glad that we’re still around and we still actually have a show that people want to see. I think that with the way our show is now, they [NBC] would feel that it would be worth it to keep us…Hopefully!

Let’s talk May sweeps! There’s rumours about blindfolds and a safe house. What’s Lucas’ role in that?
I did have a blindfold briefly when I was brought into the scenario about the missing persons.

There’s missing people?
There’s missing people! We don’t know if they’re dead or alive. [Laughs] Island or not!

The island?
[Laughs] Not the island again! No, they’re not doing the island again but there is a scare of a mass slaying and then finding out what happens after that is really kind of cool. How it ties into the DiMera’s being the main villains of the show and how everyone is actually on the same page, going against them. It really ties in the stories and all the characters together.

Does it have to do with the “Anastasia Egg” that Princess Gina is involved with?
I think that there’s an egg involved. I don’t know whose egg it is.

Anastasia’s?
Anastasia’s egg…okay. [Laughs] You’re very well read on all this. I love how there’s always history involved with a storyline like that. That was fun to play. It will be fun to see what happens.

What have been some of your favourite storylines? Least favourite?
I don’t know if it was my least favourite, but being in the Iraq war might have been a stretch for Lucas. Even though he was in military school and knows how to handle a weapon and stuff, it was a tough sell because you don’t want to undermine the military at all and what they do because they are trained professionals.

I loved the storyline where I lost custody of my child when he was a little boy.

Speaking of that storyline, do you guys still have the “Will doll” somewhere?
[Laughs] The Will doll! That’s classic stuff! [Baby voice] “Mommy it hurts so bad!”

It was just too hard to keep a straight face during those scenes. We’ve had some outrageous storylines on the show and you never know what’s going to be accepted, but those are the storylines that people remember for years.

Like the possession.
Yeah, the possession’s the perfect example. At the time, you’re like “Really? What’s going on?!” But, after a while, it’s become this larger than life thing and now it’s a famous storyline. I think that our strength is family-based storylines with reality, morals, conflicts and interaction. But then there’s the other side of the show that gets kind of funky. So you never know what you’re going to get on Days.

Do you feel that era in the 2000s with James E. Reilly, Hogan Sheffer and Dena Higley hurt the show?
I think that each head writer brings their own style to the show and it shows through immediately. It’s really easy to tell if it works or not. I think the fans are extremely honest and they don’t hold back at all. I think the fans themselves keep all that in line. When we get a script, as an actor, you have got to portray whatever you get and make it believable and sell it, no matter what it is. Some writers, they go out on that diving board and really jump off. Some stick to the shallow end.

How do you feel the show is right now with the new team, Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas Jr.?
I think that the balance is really good right now. You don’t want to lose viewers for being too outrageous. You don’t want to do it for the “Wow! Shock!” factor, you want to do it for the family and the interaction that the family would have so other people can substitute their own life with it. Identify with it better.

What do the remaining daytime soaps need to do to stay alive?
I think to stay alive, shows just need to be honest and real because people will reward that. I think that when you do step off onto the deep end too far like that, it really turns people off and you insult their intelligence to a certain extent. You can’t do that. You’ve got to make sure that your fan base is on board with what you’re doing. The drama and relationships between people are enough, I think as an actor, to keep people watching. I don’t think you need all those bells and whistles. Stick to what works.


Days of our Lives 
airs weekdays on Global and NBC. Canadian fans can also catch up with the series online at GlobalTV.com, on demand or on their mobile devices.Check back tomorrow for our interview with Molly Burnett.

For the latest in television and pop culture, follow Jeevan on twitter, @JeevanBrar

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Jeevan Brar is a digital content producer and freelance entertainment writer based in Toronto. Jeevan has managed The TV Watercooler since 2008, the Canadian blog has focused on daytime soaps, primetime hits and reality TV guilty pleasures. The blog has also connected Canadian soap fans with exclusive interviews with the cast of enduring daytime dramas The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful. 'Like' The TV Watercooler on Facebook. You can also follow Jeevan on Twitter and Google+.

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