Soap fans are in for a special treat this Thursday, Dec. 16, when Peacock will drop a new holiday special Days of our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas which will follow Will Horton (Chandler Massey) as he writes a screenplay before his Christmas Eve deadline with assistance from Sonny Kiriakis (Zach Tinker).
Will (and Sonny) manage to create a festive story based on family and friends in Salem – using some feel-good holiday movie tropes, but with several twists and turns that the audience may not see coming!
The new movie, which will be streaming the same day in Canada on STACKTV, will also star Deidre Hall (Marlena), Eileen Davidson (Kristen), Jackée Harry (Paulina), Drake Hogestyn (John), Camila Banus (Gabi), Arianne Zucker (Nicole), Raven Bowens (Chanel), Eric Martsolf (Brady), Billy Flynn (Chad), Paul Telder (Xander), Lindsay Arnold (Allie), Lucas Adams (Tripp), Carson Boatman (Johnny), Greg Rikaart (Leo), Dan Feuerrigel (EJ), Blake Berris (Nick), and Alison Sweeney (Sami).
The TV Watercooler got a chance to speak with Chandler Massey and Zach Tinker ahead of the special’s premiere to get a preview of the Holiday special, their own favourite Christmas movies, and what it was like Zach to develop comfortability alongside Chandler in an already established Days of our Lives supercouple.
The TV Watercooler: Congratulations on the success of Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem! It was a fun miniseries. How soon after did you find out that Peacock wanted this Christmas special?
Zach: Like a month and a half, maybe.
Chandler: Yeah, that sounds right.
With Zach, you coming in as a Sonny recast and all the COVID-19 safety protocols on set, how were you able to find that comfortability with Chandler? How easy was it to capture that magic that had already exited with that supercouple?
It was weirdly easy with Chandler. We’re similar when it comes to sports and video games. We’ve got similar interests and he’s just a good guy. I think it’s easy to get along with people who are good people. [Laughs] I think that kind of made it easy for me. I was like, “I can kiss this guy. Easy.”
Freddie Smith, who had been in the role of Sonny before, was very classy with his social media post when it was announced that Zach would be taking over the role. This usually doesn’t happen with a recast.
Zach: No, and that was super nice to get his blessing to do this role. It means a lot.
Chandler: Yeah, and it shows what a good guy he is. When I got recast, I started a petition to boycott and was egging the studio and stuff. So yeah, Freddie was better. [Laughs]
They had to kill Will off and then you came back. It all worked out. I’m also assuming that you guys had to really become comfortable with each other, and then with Billy Flynn as well when you had to perform in drag.
Zach: Yeah, and it also helped that it was all our collective first time in drag. We were all on the roller coaster for the first time. I couldn’t have asked for two better dudes to have done that with. It made it a lot easier having two guys who I really trusted and liked.
Let’s set up A Very Salem Christmas. Will and Sonny are in Arizona. It’s Christmas Eve. Ari is still in her room. Will’s got a deadline for his screenplay and Sonny helps him out.
Chandler: You’re gonna expect this alternate reality version of Salem, where relationships that people have are a little different. Everything seems familiar, but also new. It’s kind of a wacky ride through like a bunch of “What If” scenarios.
What if Sidney was still being raised by Nicole or Kristen was married to John.
Zach: It was like a whole new universe.
Were there any tropes you were looking forward to doing?
Zach: I like the best friend being in love with the friend but the friend is in love with another person. I think that’s in every Christmas movie, so it was like “Oh, I know this one!”
Chandler: I wanted a snowball fight. That’s a trope, right?
Chandler, you just had a Christmas movie come out, Next Stop, Christmas, with Lyndsy Fonseca (ex-Colleen, The Young and the Restless) and Erika Slezak (ex-Viki, One Life to Live).
Chandler: Yes, that was sweet. It definitely got me in the Christmas spirit and it was a seamless transition from that back into this Christmas special, so that was a ton of fun. I had never been to Connecticut, either. So, I got to check that off the list. It was a fun time.
Do you have any favourite holiday movies that you watch with your families every year?
Zach: A Christmas Story. My favourite of all time. Easy.
Chandler: Have you seen Krampus? My grandparents and I, we just curl up by the fire and watch Krampus every year.
Zach: But that’s a horror movie.
I think when your grandmother on the show gets possessed by the devil, it’s totally fine to watch Krampus with your real grandma at Christmas time.
Chandler: Right? That makes sense, yeah.
Sunny Delight, Amanda Bottom and Belinda China Shop make a comeback at Christmas. What was it like getting back into those heels?
Zach: Great and awful! It’s great when you are back in them but the process of getting into them takes about two and a half to three and half hours. Which is just very long, uncomfortable, itchy and hot! Taking the makeup off can take up to three days. It’ll be a few days later and I’ll be like “Oh, I have eyeliner on, and I can’t get it off!” But it’s a blast! You feel very free in drag. I’d never done it before the first time [we did for Beyond Salem] and then for this second time, I was like “This is baller. This is fun!”
Chandler: It was a lot of fun!
How were you able to get a hold of the choreography so quickly?
Zach: Pretty fast! Chandler is much better with choreography than me. My brain just doesn’t understand it. I can memorize lines, but there’s something about steps and movements.
Chandler: They are just lines for your feet, Zach.
Zach: It doesn’t repeat the same way for me! I don’t know why.
Looking back, are you more comfortable doing drag, or would you opt for a Santa striptease?
Zach: No, I love the drag. As much as an arduous process that it is, I love it. It’s so much fun.
The fans love to see Will and Sonny together again. Can you tease if either of your characters will be back in Salem soon? Will’s grandmother is possessed by the Devil and his mother, Sami, was missing for months. Sonny’s dad just married his mother’s lookalike.
Zach: I don’t know how much we can say, but there is a possibility that we will be returning.
Okay – we’ll take it! Zach, were you invited back to The Young and the Restless (as Fen) to take part in Christian LeBlanc’s upcoming 30th-anniversary special?
Zach: As of now, no. I have not heard from the show. I was a little surprised. I thought I would make a one or two-episode return. It’s interesting that Fen is just away…Maybe he’s back into drugs? Who knows? He’s a crazy little boy.
Chandler, was there anyone you were happy to see or work with again?
That’s a good question – I really just did all my stuff with Zach because [our characters] were writing the story. So, we are kind of self-contained in that area, but maybe next time?
Days of our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas begins streaming on STACKTV in Canada on Thursday, December 16 and will air on W Network on Thursday, January 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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. Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem is also available to stream on STACKTV and the Global TV app.