The first film in Alison Sweeney’s Chronicle Mysteries movie series made its Canadian premiere this past Sunday on Bravo with the second and third installments set to air in the coming weeks. We had the opportunity to catch up with Alison when she was in Toronto to promote her latest project and discuss her passion for true crime, doing her own stunts and her return visits to Days of our Lives.
You’ve been a long-time fan of true crime podcasts, was there a particular one that inspired you to develop this movie series?
There have been a few that stand out for me… The whole genre has taken off and there are so many that are interesting. There are certainly some really good Canadian podcasts that I’ve listed to as well – Somebody Knows Something is one Canadian podcast that I love. What I like most are the ones that start with an individual who has a case, story or cause that they want to look into. It’s about their personal drive to go in and figure out what happened.
Are there any other podcasts that you’d recommend?
Your husband is a police officer, how often do you bounce off ideas with him?
Yes! I do talk to him about some of the cases [we’re developing for the show]. I’ll try to get him to help me understand some of the law behind it. I’ll go, “If these people are doing this and a cop comes up, what would happen next?” Dave’s like “What are you talking about?!” [Laughs] I’ll have to explain to him that it’s not real life, it’s for my movie! So, yes – he does help me a lot.
Your co-star in the Chronicle Mysteries is Canadian actor Benjamin Ayres. How did you develop your chemistry together? You’ve had a lot of leading men throughout the years!
Yes, I’m lucky to have worked with some great people over the years and Ben is among them! He’s so fun and talented. I think that one of the things that hit it off for us was talking about true crime. I introduced him to a couple of documentaries and then he recommended a few to me as well. We would report back [to each other]at lunch and have sessions talking about our suspicions on the cases and who we thought did it! We ended up really connect over true crime!
How were you able to convince Linda Dano to come out of retirement? Another World (where she played Felicia Gallant) was hugely popular here in Canada, so I know a lot of fans are looking forward to the third movie.
I love her! Linda has been a friend for a long time and I think she had taken a break. She loves her life, but I knew she missed it [acting]. She loves watching Hallmark [the movie series airs on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in the U.S.], so when this role came up, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to lure her out of hiding and get her back on screen! She’s fantastic and it was such a perfect role for her. She’s great in it.
And we can catch her in the third one, correct?
Yes, Vines That Bind.
I hear that you are developing some more movies for the franchise. That’s great news!
Yes, we are in development for more movies. We’re very excited to get back to work! There will be two more that’ll air for you in the next two weekends. We’re getting ready to shoot the next one, so hopefully, you’ll see more by the end of the year.
Do you perform your own stunts?
Those are really fun to shoot when you’re an actor! Getting to be in stunts and working with the stunt coordinator was really fun for me. There is, of course, a stunt double, but they’ll use as much footage of me doing it as possible. They make it blend together so seamlessly!
Out of all the crimes that Sami Brady has committed (or been accused of committing), which one do you think would make for a great true crime podcast?
[Laughs] Oh boy, there would be so many seasons on Sami Brady! I suppose the one that would get all the podcasters going would be when she was wrongfully accused of murdering Franco!
Death Row Sami!
Being sent to death row, yeah… Obviously, no one was convicted of that crime!
That’s right! Lucas (Bryan Dattilo) and Kate (Lauren Koslow) got away with it.
Yes, they had gotten away with it for all these years. You could argue that for Lucas, it was self-defense! He was defending Sami, right? He had a good reason for it.
Sami and Lucas are a super couple, so it did work out.
Yes, it all works out!
It would have been a happy ending for that true crime podcast!
Killing Eve airs as the lead in for Chronicle Mysteries here on Bravo in Canada, are you a fan of that show?
I haven’t watched it yet, but I heard it’s an amazing show!
Is there any other show that you are excited about?
Well, I’m so excited for Game of Thrones to premiere on Sunday.
Days of our Lives fan can expect to see you back on screen soon. I understand that you came back to help pay tribute to Peggy McCay (who played Caroline)?
It was so sad to hear about Peggy passing. When [executive producer]Ken [Corday] called me and asked if I’d participate in the storyline about her passing, I said “yes.” Going back to DAYS is like going home again. Sami and Caroline’s relationship was an important one for both of those characters. I think that [head writer]Ron Carlivati did a phenomenal job of incorporating her passing into the show in a graceful way.
It’s a way that pays tribute to Peggy. We had one scene where characters are talking about Caroline – and some of that dialogue is actually about Peggy’s favourite moments – after they said “cut,” the conversation morphed into the actors talking about their favourite Peggy moments so seamlessly. People just stayed out there on set swapping stories about her. It just became a really emotional moment. It was really special. I’m really grateful to have been there for that.
I think that as sad as this occasion will be, fans are looking forward to it.
Right, of course… Everyone felt that way. For me, Peggy was kind of a real grandmother. I lost my grandparents when I was very young, so in some ways, she really fulfilled that role. There is something that is very healing in getting to share the emotion together. The fans are right to be looking forward to all these characters coming back together to celebrate her life and her story. I think it’ll be good for everyone to really enjoy it together.
How has it been returning to DAYS under Ron?
I really enjoy working for Ron. I think that he’s such a great writer and I love his perception of Sami. It’s old school… He sees Sami in her heyday.
As an actor, after 22 years, you kind of want to grow, change and develop the character. People don’t just stay static…. They change over time. Things have to affect you. So, when you are playing a character every day, that becomes a big part of what you are working on and you are showing that development. But for me, when I get to come back, it feels like it’s “Hurricane Sami,” and I have this whirlwind storyline and then jump back out again. It’s a little more fun to be that Sami that is just a hurricane. It’s so fun to play. I think it mixes up all the storylines in town and gets all the people on their tippy-toes.
DAYS definitely does become Must-See-TV when Sami’s back in Salem.
Well, that’s nice to hear! Thank you. It’s exciting to be there. I love it. I loved coming back for John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena’s (Deidre Hall) non-wedding where Sami stormed in all drunk and high, falling on her knees while she’s covered in grass and dirt. And then shooting her!
But then it’s revealed that Sami didn’t shoot her mother… They still protect the character.
They do protect the character and that’s why I think Ron does a good job. He lets people believe the stereotype of Sami and he is able to go full circle and teach the lesson.
They were also able to make that storyline about life support and how directives can impact families.
That was a real meaningful [element of the]story. A hard one. What I liked about that was that everyone’s perspectives were fair. Everyone had a point of view. There was Belle’s (Martha Madison) side, John’s side, and Sami’s side. They all had a pretty fair point. They were in disagreement with each other regarding Marlena’s directive and what she would really want. I thought that was really well done. It was so sad. Drake was so good in those scenes!
Chronicle Mysteries airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo in Canada. The first movie, “Recovered” is available on demand and bravo.ca. The second installment, “The Wrong Man” airs this Sunday (April 14), while the third movie, “Vines That Bind” will air on April 21.
Days of our Lives airs weekdays on Global and NBC. Canadian viewers can catch up on demand, on the Global Go App (which is now also available on Apple TV) and on GlobalTV.com. For more soap news and spoilers, click here.