The Devil is busy in Salem, and so is Deidre Hall. The actress, who has played Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of our Lives on and off for 45 years recently found her character embroiled in a jewellery heist on streaming spinoff Beyond Salem and then became repossessed by the Devil upon her return to Salem!
The TV Watercooler caught up with Hall as she took a production break on set to chat about reuniting with some favourites on Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem and revisiting Marlena’s iconic possession storyline after more than 25 years.
Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem streamed on STACKTV here in Canada the same time it did on Peacock in the U.S., but fans were also able to watch it on W Network when it aired as part of a Thanksgiving Day marathon a couple of weeks ago. For the fans or lapsed DAYS viewers who may not have a chance to check out the 5-episode miniseries, it should be easy for them to jump right in, wouldn’t it as it’s not tied to any of the current DAYS storylines?
Yes! It’s really a revisit to some fun old days with former cast members! It’s a caper! “Who stole the jewels?” And we all go off looking for them. It’s your favourite couples and some beloved familiar faces. We had so much fun!
What was it like reuniting with some of those co-stars like Christie Clark (Carrie Brady) and Charles Shaughnessy (Shane Donovan)?
It was an embarrassment of riches! I raised Christie from a pup! She was a tiny, tiny girl when I met her. She’s grown, with children of her own – as the expression goes.
And Shaughnessy! I had not had that much time on camera with Charles Shaughnessy in a very long time! I had not realized how funny he is! He is hilarious – we ended up just yacking, yacking, yacking, and in fact, at one point, I had to say to him, “Shut up! I’ve got to shoot a show here!”
[Laughs] Because we just couldn’t stop [filming] and because of [COVID-19] protocol, we’re not allowed to get into each other’s dressing rooms or hang around in the hallways. So, suddenly, being on stage with our old buddies – Oh, it was all so tempting!
The audience loves that [seeing us all together] too.
You’ve mentioned in other interviews that you like to be surprised by your work (as in what’s coming up for your character). How surprised were you when you found out that Days of our Lives would be revisiting Marlena’s possession? It was such a ‘90s pop culture moment.
I think I had some warning on that. 25 years ago…it’s a lifetime! Having it at the hands of somebody brand new [Head Writer Ron Carlivati], because James E. Reilly created [the] possession [storyline] and as we know, Jim was a devout Catholic and he was devoted to researching this storyline. We knew we were in good hands there. Also, at different points, Drake Hogestyn (John) and I would pray before scenes because I am of that belief.
This time, [Executive Producer] Ken Corday sent over some Holy Water, a rosary, and a crucifix. As a matter of fact, can you see this? [Pulls out Holy Water from Lourdes.] That’s from Lourdes!
I do! That’s amazing.
I take the water on set! It’s just a way for us to feel creative and protected at the same time.
You really have to buy into it [the storyline]. We make it easy to play along and enjoy it. It’s not really to frighten you…exactly! But I will say that we have much better special effects now! So, there are some things where I go, “Woah! Didn’t see that 25 years ago!”
You and Bill Hayes (Doug) looked so spooky with those eyes!
I also had contact lenses last time, but there’s a moment where a possessed Marlena gets hit by Holy Water and her skin sizzles and they had special effects all over it! We got it to happen! This time, we also brought in big fan machines and lights. It’s been fabulously entertaining and very cleverly done!
How has levitation changed after 25 years? Marlena was pretty high up there!
I saw a show the other day and my eyes were closed in those scenes…and I thought, “I was way up there!” I didn’t realize how it had been! It’s the same device as last time [for the levitation]. There’s only one way to do that, really. And that’s how we did that.
Some viewers might not have been around for the first go, but the show has done a great job at recapping the original storyline. The flashbacks have been great to watch!
“MarDevil” and John face off in the DiMera family crypt this week. Was it fun to film those scenes?
No, but not for any of the reasons you may think! The DiMera crypt is a large, square room with a hard floor and no comfy couches where you can lean, like [the penthouse] bedroom or living room. So, the hours and hours that we spent in there were physically uncomfortable!
Marlena is such an important character that is connected to so many in Salem. This possession storyline is such a multi-generational storyline, which is something that the other soaps don’t really do anymore. What has it been like working with so many cast members on this?
It’s good. This storyline does incorporate a lot of the cast, Bill and Susan Hayes especially. I love seeing them on camera! Love it, love it, love it! That really brings in core family and makes it feel like a family show.
There’s even a Rosemary’s Baby twist happening as well with the Devil interested in Ciara (Victoria Konefal) and Ben’s (Robert Scott Wilson) baby.
Yeah, the Devil is after Ben’s baby!
There’s also the bomb that could be dropped at Abe (James Reynolds) and Paulina’s (Jackée Harry) wedding – that Lani is actually Paulina’s biological daughter.
Yeah! [Laughs] You’re going to want to look forward to that!
Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem is now streaming on STACKTV, the Global TV app, and online at GlobalTV.com. Days of our Lives airs weekdays on Global in Canada. Canadian viewers can also stream the show on STACKTV, the Global TV app, and online at GlobalTV.com.
Fans of Deidre Hall interested in her watercolours can help support the Wounded Warrior Project by ordering Holiday cards at DeidreHall.com.